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Why MBA Aspirants Should Take GMAT Irrespective Of The Test’s Optionality

A solid GMAT score provides the applicant with a great way to convince the MBA Admissions Committees of his/her ability to perform well at the program.

2020 threw many surprises, management theory has evolved, and the generally held belief is that adaptability is the 'new' competitive advantage. The MBA programs had their trial by fire when they had to answer these questions: Should we discontinue classes? Should we admit international students this year? Should we continue online? If so, then for how long?

A few MBA programs even decided to waive off the GMAT scores during this time - but under certain circumstances. This was a fair assessment given the times, but there is one question: Why should MBA aspirants take the GMAT irrespective of the test’s optionality?

Here are a few factors for us to consider evaluating the argument better.

The first is the GMAT test itself. Consisting of 68 questions, the GMAT is carefully designed both in terms of what is getting measured and how it is measured. For example, the GMAT verbal section doesn’t test you on the English language (unlike its non-management counterpart, the GRE, the GMAT does not test specifically on vocabulary). Instead, it tests you on verbal reasoning skills that one would be expected to have in any normal English-speaking workplace. With candidates applying from various parts of the world - the GMAT gives the business school peace of mind in knowing that the applicant has the requisite skills to do well in graduate business school and life beyond. 

Secondly, the test itself is about two hours long, and scoring well is about managing your time intelligently.  What this means is - you are also expected to 'guess' if you are not sure. This ability to make executive decisions under time constraints is similar to those we are used to at our workplaces, where we have to act without all the data/time. This makes the GMAT scores a complement to existing academic achievements such as certifications, research papers, and patents.

From the Admissions Committee perspective, a huge reason for using a solid 3-digit GMAT score is to remove any biases that might creep as we can’t compare academic degrees across the world. The other complexity is that of the type of course - liberal arts, science, commerce, engineering, business, the list goes on. So the transcript does a poor job of reflecting this aspect of the education system. The GMAT score provides a more objective measure to compare students from different regions and backgrounds.

Lastly, from a student perspective, the GMAT score gives one additional data point to the admission committee, especially if you feel your undergraduate performance does not accurately reflect the kind of person you are today. Your GMAT score will help you stand out if you are from an over-represented demographic pool such as Technology, Operations, Finance, and Consulting. When everyone else who is applying has a similar pedigree and motivation - the essays or the interview alone cannot do justice. A solid GMAT score provides the applicant with a great way to convince the MBA Admissions Committees of his/her ability to perform well at the program.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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