The GMAC, the GMAT, and the MBA Degree

IV with Rich D'AmatoAdmit it. You just can’t stop thinking about the GMAT.

If you are a b-school student (present or future), then Rich D’Amato, Vice President of Global Communications at GMAC, has some important info to share with you.

Listen to the full recording of our conversation with Rich for the scoop on new GMAT features, the MBA Alumni survey, the relevance of the MBA degree, and more.

00:02:44 – The low-down on GMAC’s Enhanced Score Reports and how they can help you prepare effectively and score higher on the GMAT.

00:08:17 – The new Score Preview feature: how it works and how it can help you.

00:11:22 – Featured Applicant Question: Can I retake the GMAT, and then cancel the score and reinstate the original score?

00:12:08 – The case for the GMAT in the GMAT vs GRE battle.

00:15:24 – The role of “entrepreneurial traits” (and an MBA education) in career success.

00:19:16 – Is the end of the MBA degree in sight?

00:21:54 – The growth of specialized business degrees.

00:26:36 – Rich’s awesome advice for future test-takers.

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• The Official GMAT Website 
GMAT NEWSFLASH: GMAT to Feature Score Preview
• GMAT’s New Enhanced Score Report
GMAT Unofficial Enhanced Score Report FAQs
Control Your GMAT Experience with These Three Features

Related Shows:

• The GMAT, the GRE, and the Guy Who Knows them Well
• The GMAT Score Preview and Application Boxes
• GMAT, GRE, SAT, and All Things Test Prep
• Chris Ryan of Manhattan GMAT on What MBA Applicants Need to Know

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GMAT’s New Enhanced Score Report

Check out our GMAT 101 page for great tips and info!

New tool to help GMAT-takers plan for a retest.

Starting in February 2015, GMAC will be launching its new Enhanced Score Report as a way of helping test takers better understand their GMAT performance and potentially strategize and plan for a retest.  With this new tool, test takers will be able to see how much time they spent on each question, identify their skill strengths and weaknesses, and benchmark their performance against test takers from the last three years. The customized summary report will help test takers prepare for future study and test taking.

The AWA score is not included in the ESR since the report only uses data generated from unofficial scores (and this does not include the AWA). There is also no sub-section feedback given on the IR section since that section is too small to provide an adequate sample.

Test takers may purchase their GMAT Enhanced Score Report here for $24.95 and then have access to their report for five years. You can purchase your ESR for GMAT exams taken as far back as October 2013. ESRs become available up to 48 hours after you’ve completed your GMAT exam. Applicants who purchase the ESR also receive two additional practice exams and nearly 100 additional practice questions.

Starting last year in June 2014, GMAC gave test takers the option of cancelling their scores within a few minutes of completing the exam. The ESR authentication code can be applied to those cancelled exams, but not towards a GMAT exam for which a score was revoked due to a policy violation.

My thoughts:

This information should be valuable to those who aren’t satisfied with their GMAT score and want to know where to focus their studies. For those people the data is worth the fee. And in the context of the cost of the MBA, it is pocket change.

At the same time, this new revenue source for GMAC represents another competitive advantage for the GRE, which is less expensive than the GMAT to begin with.

Furthermore ETS, the entity behind the GRE, already provides the GRE Diagnostic Service at no additional cost to its test takers, and that service is similar to GMAT’s Enhanced Score Report. According to the ETS website:

“The GRE® Diagnostic Service provides insight into your performance on the test questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE® revised General Test. This FREE service includes a description of the types of questions you answered right and wrong as well as the difficulty level and time spent on each question.”

Unlike the GMAC’s ESR, the Diagnostic Service does not provide practice exams or questions.

My sense is that the $25 fee will be resented by affluent test takers, but if they need the information they will (and should) pay for it. It will be yet one more hurdle for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds. And for those unsure of which of the two tests to take, the price of the ESR just adds a little weight to the side of the scale that says “GRE.”

Watch the webinar!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

• That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application
• Should You Retake the GMAT Exam?
• GRE vs. GMAT: Trends

Application Volume Increases at MBA Programs

Looking for MBA admissions advice?

65% of programs reported an increase in foreign applicants.

Here are some highlights from GMAC’s recent Application Trends Survey:

 • For the third year in a row, application volume increased for full-time two-year MBA programs. This year, 61% of programs reported application growth, up from 50% in 2013.

 • Application volume also increased for professional MBA programs (part-time, online, EMBA, and flexible), as well as Master in Marketing and Communications, Master of Accounting, Master in Information technology, and Master in Management programs.

 • Other specialized business master programs saw decreases in application volume. Master of Finance programs saw a decrease in application volume for the third year in a row.

 • 65% of U.S. full-time two-year MBA programs reported an increase in applications from foreign applicants. Master in Finance programs received the largest number of foreign applications at 82%. This is compared to the 52% of foreign applicants who applied to full-time two-year MBA programs.

For more details, see the GMAC press release.

Download your free copy of Navigating the MBA Maze!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• Masters in Finance: What You Need to Know
MBA Admissions 101

GMAT NEWSFLASH: GMAT to Feature Score Preview

Big GMAT News!

Big GMAT News!

There’s big news going on at GMAC this week: they’ve announced a new and exciting GMAT feature – test takers will now be able to view their GMAT scores before either reporting or canceling them. This update will take effect this Friday, June 27, 2014, and will be available to all test takers at all 600 testing centers around the world.

“We are pleased to offer this feature as part of our efforts to make preparing for and taking the GMAT exam easier,” said GMAC VP Product Management, Ashok Sarathy. “The new score reporting feature gives test takers more certainty and control in the testing process and in how their scores are reported to schools.”

Here’s how it will work: After completing the exam, test takers will get to see their unofficial scores, broken down separately for IR, Quantitative, and Verbal, and then as a total. They will then get two minutes to decide either to accept the scores or cancel them. If their decision timeframe times out, then their scores will be canceled. All of this is done before they even get up to leave the testing center. (Analytic Writing Assessment scores are not included in this new feature and may not be canceled.)

If testers decide to cancel, they’ll receive a 60-day grace period during which they may change their minds and reinstate their scores for a $100 fee. After that, there will be no way to retrieve the canceled scores.

Sarathy, who says that this feature is meant to make the testing experience easier, offers test takers two tips: “If there were two things I would recommend to test takers to get the most out of this new feature, they would be:

• Know what score you’re willing to accept so that when asked whether your wish to send your scores or cancel them, you have already considered your answer.

• Understand that you have 60 days to reinstate a score you might have canceled but decide later that you want to send.”

Thoughts about What This Change Means for Applicants

GMAC is reacting to competition from the GRE in a positive way. ETS, the entity behind the GRE, allows test-takers to see their score and cancel. It also gives you 60 days to reinstate a score, but only charges $30 for the reinstatement. GMAC is offering this new feature to slow or arrest GRE’s increasing role in the MBA application process. It will be interesting to see if GMAC ultimately reduces the price of cancellation to match or at least be more competitive with ETS. I completely agree with Ashok Sarathy’s advice that you should have a clear number in your head and know that you will accept any score at or above that number and cancel any score below that number.

Let’s call that Score-It-or-Bust-Number the “Cancel Score.” Realize that the Cancel Score is going to have components. There is an overall score and the quant, verbal, and IR scores. You should have Cancel Scores for each segment as well as the overall score. You should also decide ahead of time if you bomb one section and do well on other sections, if you will cancel or not.

How can you decide? Let’s explore that question, focusing for now on the overall score.

To date GMAT test-takers fall into two broad categories:

1. Those taking the test to see what they get. Once they receive their score, they select programs to apply to based on their goals and their qualifications.

2. Those aiming for a particular score because they want to be competitive at specific MBA programs.

To determine your Cancel Score if you are in group #1, use your practice exam scores. They should give you a reasonable idea of your capabilities on test day. But be realistic. Don’t use your best practice exam score as the Cancel Score. Cut yourself a little slack.

Here’s an example of how to set a Cancel Score for the overall score if you are in the first group: If most of your practice test scores are in the high 600’s and you hit 720 once, don’t expect a 720 on test day (but it sure would be nice, wouldn’t it?). Maybe make 680 or 690 your Cancel Score.

In setting that number also consider how willing you are to prepare again for the GMAT and how you would change or improve your prep. If you feel you could make major improvement to your studying and you don’t find the possibility of taking the GMAT again overwhelming, then you can aim higher. Maybe go for a 690 or 700 as your Cancel Score.

If the idea of preparing again is devastating and you don’t see what you could do better, then lower your cancel number. If nothing in your preparation will change, you have little reason to expect an improvement – and little reason to retake. If this scenario describes you, then your cancel score might be a 660 or 670.

Group #2, in particular, is going to love this new GMAT feature. If you are a card-carrying member of Group 2, how will you determine your Cancel Score?

Let’s say that you know you want to apply to programs with an average GMAT of 680-710. You obviously want as high a GMAT as possible, but considering the other elements in your profile, you will be satisfied with a balanced 690. You believe that 690 is a competitive GMAT score for you, and if you drop below it, you will be hurting your chances at the target programs with higher average GMATs. While GMAT prep is not your favorite way to spend your “free” time, it’s not the worst thing in the world either. A retake would not be soul shattering. You can set your overall Cancel Number at 690.

However if your willingness to retake is barely positive and the likelihood of improvement based on your practice exams is low, then set that Cancel Score lower – perhaps a 680, 670, or even lower depending on how ready you are to consider schools with lower average GMAT scores.

One thing that isn’t changing: Almost all MBA programs take the highest GMAT score. So if you don’t cancel and then decide to retake, you can still do so.

Obviously I just touched the surface in pointing out factors to consider. If you have individual questions about your situation, please post in a comment below. If you prefer private guidance, please consider an MBA Admissions Consultation.

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

2014 B-School Grads Flock to Jobs in Tech, Healthcare, and Manufacturing

A GMAC press release presents the results of the most recent global student exit survey (of 3049 grads from 111 schools who responded in February and March), revealing that those students seeking jobs in traditional fields like consulting, products/services, and finance/accounting were more likely to have a difficult time securing a position early in the hiring cycle that those looking for work in smaller, less traditional fields such as technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Check out the GMAC press release.

Image from the GMAC press release

Here are some highlights from the report:

 • 57% of 2014 business school graduates (MBA and others) received at least one early job offer, down 3% from last year, but up 25% from 2010.

 • 62% of students were involved in the job search; 4% were planning on pursuing entrepreneurship or were already self-employed.

 • There was an 80% median salary increase (over their pre-degree salary) for those who received job offers, up 7% since last year.

 • 61% of job seekers in the tech industry received job offers, accounting for 15% of the total number of grads who received early job offers; this is up since last year’s 9%.

 • Students in the manufacturing and healthcare/pharmaceuticals industries had the greatest success rate landing job at 74% reporting at least one job offer, and accounting for 7% and 5% respectively of all early offers.

 • 27% of career changers who received job offers were in the consulting.

 • 21% of all job seekers who received job offers were in consulting, up slightly since 2010 (20%).

 • 26% of all job seekers who received job offers were in the finance/accounting sector, up since 24% last year, but down from 2010’s 30%.

 • 62% of graduates in the government/non-profit sector received early offers, accounting for 5% of all job seekers who received job offers.

The following stats come from the Financial Times article on the subject, “Technology companies become magnet for MBA students”:

 • At London Business School, more graduates received job offers at tech companies than at financial institutions. Eleven class of 2013 grads landed jobs at Amazon, while Citi hired only eight. Seven grads were recruited by Google, and only five received job offers from HSBC.

 • In 2013, Stanford GSB sent more grads to tech companies than to banks for the second year in a row – 32% in 2013 went into technology, which followed 24% in 2012 and 13% in 2011. Of those who headed to tech companies, 40% went to small and medium-sized companies, 40% went to large companies, and 20% went to startups.

According to the FT article, a number of factors are responsible for this monumental shift. Steve Dalton, Duke Fuqua’s senior associate director of MBA student services, reports that promotions and job security, two previously high scoring advantages for the banking industry, are on the decline, making alternative fields more attractive. But, according to David Morris, LBS career services’ head of corporate sectors, in explaining tech’s growing and banking’s declining popularity, money’s not the main draw – “People are excited about the company and the product – that’s the main driver, not the money,” he says.

You can read more about the results of the GMAC survey in the Poets & Quants article, “Job Offers Up In Tech & Healthcare.”

Navigating the MBA Maze

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