September 7, 2009

UCLA Anderson Admission Director's perspective on The Role of the GMAT in the MBA Application Process

In her recent blogpost Mae Jennifer Shores, Admissions Director Anderson School of Business provided her perspective on the Role of the GMAT in the MBA Application Process.

According to Mae aspirants either love or hate standardized tests such as GMAT. She stated,"If you perform well on them, you tend to love them; if you perform less well on them, you tend to hate them. Those who are fond of the GMAT are prone to accept score results as evidence of their ability to perform well in an MBA program, either reinforcing a track record of strong performance or making up for a not-so-illustrious academic record. (It is these kinds of applicants you sometimes see on the b-school forums, where they use their laser-like focus to compare and fret over 10 point differences in GMAT scores."

She added,"Individuals who dislike the GMAT test often view it as an arbitrary and inaccurate measure of their ability to perform in grad school. A common refrain is: ‘I just don’t test well on standardized tests – my brain does not function that way;” or “Performance on standardized tests measures one’s ability to perform well on tests and not much more.”

Mae said that the GMAT test, when considered along with one’s prior academic experience at the baccalaureate level and beyond, is an accurate predictor (at UCLA Anderson, at least) of how one performs in his or her first year in the MBA program. Fortunately for most applicants, there is no exact cutoff or minimum at UCLA Anderson of either of these measures. The distribution of GMATs and GPAs that reflect an ability to perform well, as reflected in each year’s incoming class, is fairly broad.

She further added that beyond these numeric measures of preparedness for an MBA lie such qualitative measures as leadership and teamwork skills, managerial experience, initiative, ability to learn and growth from mistakes, introspection, ability to articulate clear reasons for an MBA and career goals going forward, contributions (to school, work, and/or community), etc. It is here that the bulk of time of applicant evaluation is spent. Although less quantifiable dimensions, they are equally important.

She finally said that whether or not one loves or hates the GMAT, one may want to temper his/ her view. "At the same time that the GMAT is not the quintessential measure of an applicant’s merits, it is a useful evaluative tool in the admissions process. A healthy dose of ambivalence just might be in order...", concluded Mae

Link: The Role of GMAT in MBA Application Process

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