MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • An article in Fortune Magazine looks at how MBA job recruiters are courting military veterans because of their management experience and ability to work under pressure. Although veterans sometimes struggle with the lingo of the business and consulting world, with the help of their affinity groups and military networks they are rising to the occasion.
  • The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced that it is relocating its San Francisco campus to the Hills Plaza building on the San Francisco Embarcadero.  The new campus will provide more space for alumni events and include up-to-date hi-tech equipment.  There are also rumors that Wharton may use this campus to extend its full-time MBA program’s presence on the West Coast.
  • Future MBA applicants should look into the DMAC, the Diversity MBA Admissions Conference held annually at UCLA. The DMAC provides the opportunity for underprivileged or underserved applicants to meet admissions directors from top-tier business schools looking for unique candidates.
  • GMAC explains how it maintains the integrity of the GMAT. Lawrence M. Rudner, vice president of research and development at GMAC, highlights the ways in which the organization ensures that the test is accessible to all, that there is no cheating, and that all the questions are culturally appropriate.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek has posted the top-10 full-time MBA programs with podcasts on iTunes U. MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Columbia University, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and Wharton  are just some of the schools offering online resources.
  • The Economist describes the hardships faced by a business management program launching in Africa while the country falls into civil war. In January the IESE, a Barcelona-based business school, partnered with Management et Développement d’Entreprise (MDE) in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, to launch the country’s first advanced management program.

best-mba-guide ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Students Sticking to their Local Roots


Recent data from GMAC’s GMAT Trends in Student Mobility Interactive Report shows a rise in citizens from different countries sending their GMAT scores to global business schools in the last year:

  • Saudi Arabia is up 191% with 3,036 scores sent.
  • Iran is up 182% with 2,344 scores sent.
  • Vietnam is up 151% with 3,235 scores sent.
  • South Africa is up 97% with 1,629 scores sent.

But these scores are not being sent to American schools. It turns out students from abroad have been looking at other more local options when applying to graduate school. Although many are sending their scores to American schools, more are sending them to regional international business programs that use the GMAT exam:

  • Russian citizens are opting to study in Europe, which is why the percentage of scores sent to the US dropped from 68% to 53% from 2006-2010.
  • South African citizens are now sending 56% of their scores to local programs as opposed to 29% in 2006.
  • Even Canadians from Ontario—who took the most GMAT tests this year in Canada—are sending 71% of their scores to domestic programs.

The number of GMAT score reports sent to regional business programs in Africa, Western Europe, the Middle East, and Canada has reached a five-year high this year.

The bottom line: More students around the world are taking the GMAT in order to apply to MBA programs, but the majority of these prospective students are staying in local programs, leaving the US MBA market behind.

best-mba-guide ~ Helping You Write Your Best

4th Annual AIGAC Conference: An Inspiring Way to Kick Off the New MBA Application Season


In the first week of June I had the great pleasure of getting together with colleagues from around the world for the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants’ annual conference.  This year it was in Palo Alto – thanks to the conference organizers for arranging 3 days of perfect weather! Here is a summary of highlights.

  • I particularly enjoyed a session on the “Next Generation GMAT.”  Ashok Sarathy, Vice President, GMAT Program, GMAC, described its content and the process of developing it and rolling it out in detail next year. Essentially the changes address a weakness in the current test as perceived by businesses, in that it doesn’t measure a factor of increasing importance in business: integrative reasoning. GMAC identified four dimensions to test in this area: ability to assimilate disparate information; ability to interpret data; ability to convert data; and ability to recognize and evaluate tradeoffs and outcomes. To my current and prospective clients: I will work with you to find ways to portray your integrative reasoning skills right away!
  • Interactions with admissions directors from a various MBA programs is always one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of the conference. This year we welcomed admissions officials from Tuck, Columbia, Darden, UCLA Anderson, Yale, Cornell Johnson, and IE in Spain. Haas hosted one session on its campus and updated us on numerous points from financial aid to career services, and Tulane participated as an AIGAC member. Finally, we were thrilled to tour Stanford GSB’s new Knight Management Center and talk with a representative about the program. This year, our theme with the admissions officials was “fit,” and we discussed it primarily in the context of essays and interviews.  We learned some of the nuances of these programs’ current concerns and preferences. In the session on fit and the interview process, one concern emerged loud and clear among the various adcom members: the increasing tendency for interviewees to appear too casual in their dress, their speech, their body language, and their grooming.
  • Not least, I enjoyed talking with many of the AIGAC members representing test prep companies including Veritas, Kaplan, and Manhattan GMAT, and related services such as the online social network Beat the GMAT (please check out Accepted’s forum there!). Since GMAT concerns are a significant factor in MBA admissions, it’s valuable for me to learn about their services as well as the needs and trends they perceive in the market. 

Stanford GSB's new Knight Management Center

By Cindy Tokumitsu, author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has worked with hundreds of successful MBA applicants in her last ten years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning MBA admissions strategy.

MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • Forbes blog has a very helpful post about your admissions interviewer’s perspective.  The article explains that admissions committee members look at you (and your application) as a full package and won’t separate your interview from the other application elements.
  • GMAT announced that test takers will now be able to access real questions from past exams on their iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.  The “Official GMAT” app has been released and has many new features that will make studying for the GMAT much easier. A performance-tracking center will even let you know how you are progressing by using mini exams.  How great is that? ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Admissions: After the GMAT


I read this week with pleasure about two GMAT successes: Carl Incognito in Here Comes the Sun reports that he earned at 770! He provides some good test taking tips too. Similarly Target: MBA admit for fall 2012 reveals that he landed a 760 in My GMAT Experience !!! Congrats to both of you.

However, many of you out there are now working hard on your GMAT preparations. I am hoping that the experience of Target:MBA and Carl Incognito gives you inspiration or at least a vision of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Both Carl and Target:MBA want to take a break. in Carl’s words, “I’m off to go enjoy me some sunshine.” Sound good to me. Great next move. Please catch a few rays on my behalf, as well on behalf of those still slaving away in the GMAT salt mines.

What should they do when they leave the beach? How should they use their time given that they aced their GMATs?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If they haven’t already narrowed their school choices, now is the time. They might be tempted to simply choose the top X given their glorious GMATs.  First of all, Carl and Target:MBA, look at that shiny number in the context of your overall application. It is definitely an awesome asset; it does not guarantee acceptance.  Choose your schools based on your MBA goals, overall competitiveness, and personal preferences.
  • Nail your resume. It is unlikely to change much before you submit, especially if you are aiming for round 1. 
  • Ask potential recommenders if they are comfortable writing a positive letter of recommendation for you. Prepare material that will help them write the letter, especially if they are not familiar with your target schools or the MBA admissions process. Give them a time frame for writing and submitting the letter. Set appropriate expectations in terms of your needs. If anyone hesitates, move on to the next possibility. Ask only people who know you well and can comment on your professional attributes.
  • Start thinking about possible essay topics. The first schools have posted their questions. Consequently we have started posting our tip posts and will add continually add to our 2012 MBA Application Advice page/RSS feed.
  • Explore resources offered at, starting with:

By Linda Abraham



Photo of seagulls at the beach by bterrycompton

MBA Admissions News Round Up


  • An Inside Higher Ed article, “Mastering Business, Quickly,” discusses the rise of one-year master’s programs in fields like accounting and finance, designed for non-business students as an alternative to the MBA. These programs, including a popular one at Wake Forest University, require no previous work experience and “aim to help students apply their liberal arts and sciences ‘passion’ to business while teaching the technical knowledge that’s needed to do so.” They arm students with teamwork, leadership, and communication skills, as well as “cultural competence.” Wake Forest’s one-year M.A. program grew from 13 students in 2006 to 96 students this year. Duke and Vanderbilt have similar programs in place.
  • A GMAC press release reports that the GMAT test is now accepted by more than 5,000 business and management programs around the world. Five years ago only 3,800 programs used the GMAT. The number of GMAT test centers has also increased significantly in the last five years, from 400 in centers in 86 countries in 2006 to more than 550 centers in 110 centers this year. These increases are due mostly to the large number of programs which recently adopted the GMAC in Asia and in Europe. “The dramatic growth in programs that rely on the GMAT as a critical part of the admissions process is a strong testament to the validity, reliability and security that have been the hallmarks of the GMAT,” said Dave Wilson, president and chief executive officer at GMAC. “We are meeting this increasing demand by continually expanding our extensive global network of test centers, where candidates can sit for the GMAT exam nearly any day of the year.”
  • Yale SOM’s Pre-MBA Leadership Program has undergone recent expansion and enhancements, reports a Yale SOM news report. This year, the two-week, introduction–to-b-school program received a donation from Goldman Sachs Gives and will include a one-day trip to the New York City Goldman Sachs headquarters to “get an inside look at one of the world’s leading financial companies and meet with the firm’s executives.” The program will also include a resume review session. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Should You Retake the GMAT?


That depends (obviously you couldn’t have expected a clear yes or no answer here). What was your score? What is the GMAT average at your target MBA program? How many times have you retaken the test in the past? Are you a reapplicant? Is the rest of your application rock solid, or do you have other less-than-perfect profile elements?

I’ll try and make this as concise as possible. You probably should retake the GMAT if your score is less than the average GMAT score for your target MBA program AND:

a)      You have other weaknesses in your profile.

b)      You have plenty of time to study and do better next time.

c)      You’ve only taken the GMAT once or twice before.

d)     You are a member of an over-represented group that usually does well on the GMAT.

e)      You are an MBA reapplicant who received feedback that pointed directly to your GMAT score as your application weakness.

f)       And you were doing better on practice tests and believe you had the proverbial “bad day.”

Now, if you fall into all these categories, then I’d say you should 100% retake the GMAT, but if it’s just one or two of the above, then you’ll have to weigh the situation.

If you have other weaknesses and you have plenty of time to retake the GMAT, then you may think retaking it is obvious. BUT, what if you’ve already retaken it five or six times? If that’s the case, retaking the GMAT may not be your best bet; instead, you may want to adjust your target school list. You may just be applying to schools that are beyond your reach.

Please visit Accepted’s new GMAT & MBA Admissions 101 to view advice on studying for the GMAT, taking the GMAT, and interpreting your results. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA & EMBA Admissions News Roundup

  • Applying to Yale SOM? In a Yale news article (“Ten Questions from Prospective Students“), Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico answers applicant questions about the admissions process, Yale’s GMAT/GRE preferences, the SOM curriculum, and the incoming dean, among others. Check out the article for details. 
  • Top b-schools in the US are now accepting the GRE, which puts applicants at a new crossroads – should they take the GRE or stick with the traditional GMAT? A recent MBA Podcaster video addresses the pros and cons of each test in “The GRE vs the GMAT: Which Test Should You Take For Your MBA Application?” Watch the video for insight into the debate.
  • Some more news on the GMAT/GRE front: NYU’s Stern School of Business will be dropping the GMAT/GRE requirement for its EMBA applicants, reports a recent Financial Times article. The reason? The Stern adcom believes that more emphasis should be placed on work experience and previous academic achievements than on test scores. Most EMBA applicants are already in their 30s or 40s and many have higher degrees; a GMAT or GRE test score is less important in these cases. Stern joins Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg in this decision.
  • Are you a young social entrepreneur, activist, or community leader who is looking for new ways to impact society? is extending its deadline for its largest grant program, the Do Something Awards. Awards include $10,000 community grants, a $100,000 grant, and media coverage, in addition to continued support from the organization. To apply or nominate someone you know, visit The extended deadline is March 15, 2011. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Admissions Tip: Handling a Low GMAT Verbal Score

Yesterday I talked about overcoming the challenge of a low GMAT quant score. Today we’ll discuss how to handle a less-than-perfect verbal score.

With such a strong emphasis on teamwork and communication in b-school (and for the rest of your life as a successful businessperson), it’s no wonder that stellar written and spoken verbal skills are essential for MBA students.

If your verbal GMAT score is low (in the bottom of the 80% range or lower for your target programs), then you will need to construct expressive, flawlessly written essays. Maybe you couldn’t prove it with your test performance, but now’s your final opportunity to put your best verbal face forward. In addition, be sure to include examples and anecdotes that highlight your solid communication skills.

There are two more steps you can take if you’re worried that your low verbal score may interfere with your chances of acceptance:

  • You can enroll in additional writing and/or communications courses at a local college (and earn As). This option is particularly important if you’ve received low grades in your college English courses in addition to scoring poorly on the GMAT.
  • You can ask your recommenders to comment positively on your written and verbal communication skills.

Tomorrow: How to Deal with a Low GPA

Read other articles in this series: ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Admissions Tip: Handling a Low GMAT Quant Score

A low quant score on the GMAT (at the lower end of the school’s 80% range) is never good news, but it doesn’t equal immediate rejection. As I mentioned last week, no single score is scrutinized independently, but rather your entire profile is examined as a unified package.

Interpret your scores as an adcom member would: Is the rest of your profile stellar? Do you have solid grades in quant-related courses? Is it possible that you’re just not great at standardized tests? Is your score perhaps not so low for people in your demographic group? Are you applying to schools where the average GMAT score is not far off from your lower-than-you-would’ve-wished score?

The following three tips are good strategic practices that you should utilize if you find yourself with a low quant score:

  1. First, you MUST improve your quantitative abilities or demonstrate that you have them in some other way. In b-school and in the business world at large, knowing how to crunch numbers is essential. You’ll need to act quickly to show you are equipped for a spot in their next b-school class. Enroll in a calculus, statistics and/or accounting class at your local community college ASAP. (Make sure you have the prerequisite skills; you will need to earn an A! If you have time, also take additional quant-oriented courses, like finance or economics.
  2. Next, in your resume and essays, highlight quantitative aspects of your work to further demonstrate your quant proficiency. Use vivid details, examples, and anecdotes that will prove to the adcoms that your low quant score was a fluke, and that it’s clear to you and those who work with you that there are no quant problems here.
  3. Finally, ask your recommenders to highlight your quantitative achievements as well. Having a respected third party vouch for your skill will help you immensely. ~ Helping You Write Your Best