MBA Life

Why do business schools require a GMAT score?

The GMAT is an obstacle all MBA aspirants must clear before they can get into their dream MBA. There are always those gifted ones for whom the GMAT is a walk in the park, who get 700+ scores with seemingly little effort. If you happen to find yourself in such an exalted company, more power to you. However, for the rest of us, this test is often a hard grind.

You try everything to motivate yourself – watching Rocky training montage videos, meditation, music, workouts, etc. But the GMAT can still be a hugely frustrating experience. And you would not be the only one to question the logic of the GMAT in the first place. How exactly is reading comprehension or sentence corrections supposed to help anyone determine whether you are fit to be admitted to a top B-School? let’s take a step back and look at it from the other side. Why do business schools have so much faith in the GMAT to screen applicants?

GMAT is a standardized admission test that tests candidates for

1.    Problem solving

2.    Logic

3.    Critical reasoning

These are critical skills required to succeed in business. Testing candidates on data-sufficiency, logic, etc. mimics real-life situations where you won’t always have all the information, or even reliable data, at your disposal to make decisions. The GMAT also tests your ability to arrive at the right conclusions under time pressure. The ability to make quick decisions and adapt is a key skill for a manager and the GMAT seeks to put candidates through the drill with its test format.

Business schools prefer the GMAT because it is a standardized exam and hence a great leveler. The conditions and the test difficulty are the same for everyone, regardless of their background. The GMAT is effectively an aptitude test to screen applicants.

The MBA program attracts a wide variety of applicants with diverse backgrounds. Increasingly they are not restricted just to the traditional pre-MBA profiles such as banking, finance, consulting, etc. Business schools need a standardized test to confirm the overall ability of the applicants to handle the academic coursework of the MBA program.

The GMAT is also used as a differentiator between similar candidates to make decisions on merit scholarship awards. Sometimes your GMAT score will follow you even after the MBA – certain employers use it as a benchmark to make employment offer decisions.

So, as you can see, a good GMAT score will serve you well. Try to get close to or surpass the mean/median scores of your target schools. Don’t be disheartened if your first attempt or even the second or third attempts don’t go as planned. Many applicants improve significantly on their subsequent attempts.

Good luck with the exam.

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