Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?

Now that most of the top business schools in the United States accept both the GMAT and GRE exam for admission, how do you decide which test you should take? Many elite schools hope to diversify their applicant …

MBA application

Now that most of the top business schools in the United States accept both the GMAT and GRE exam for admission, how do you decide which test you should take? Many elite schools hope to diversify their applicant pool by accepting the GRE as an alternative in the admissions process. Another favorable aspect for business schools: it creates a more competitive enrollment rate; the number of available spots stays the same but the volume of applications goes up.

Prospective grad students of the arts and sciences have typically submitted GRE scores, so applicants deciding between business school and other graduate programs appreciate having one less test to study and pay for. Meanwhile the GMAT, long considered the gold standard for the specific academic skills needed in graduate business school, is more expensive and offered in fewer locations worldwide.

One essential difference between the tests is that the GRE requires you to do the arguing, whereas in the GMAT you analyze what has been argued. The style expected from GRE test readers is more abstract and draws from various sources and disciplines for examples or references, whereas it is more concrete and analytical for the GMAT. This supports the suitability of the GRE for the more academically-minded student.

A recent US News and World Report article weighs in with the following five factors MBA applicants should consider when choosing between the GMAT and GRE:

  1. Does the school have a strong preference for the GMAT?
  2. Are your math skills especially strong? The GMAT is generally more difficult in the quant section
  3. Are you a wordsmith at heart? The GRE is more challenging in verbal, particularly for non-native English speakers.
  4. Consider your post-MBA career goals. Some firms require applicants to submit GMAT scores.
  5. Test anxiety is generally lower with the GRE, which allows you to save and return to questions to check your work.

In general, top business schools will be looking for fairly high percentile scores on the GRE, especially on the quantitative section. I had one client who, while phenomenal in many ways, could not achieve a GMAT score above 600. Her quantitative percentile came in around 40—half of the target score.

Although I’ve seen applicants admitted with very low GMAT scores in the past, we decided to take advantage of this new option and submit her application to Harvard Business School with the GRE instead. Despite a lower overall performance, her GRE results boasted a much higher quant score, and in the end, she was admitted to HBS.

Ultimately though, the GMAT remains the “tried and true” entrance exam for business schools—the admissions team will have no questions about why you chose it. If you are a great test-taker and it’s all the same to you, I would stick with the GMAT.

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Texas MBA Gives Admissions Perspective on GMAT vs GRE

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Guidance for International MBA Applicants

Recent changes to immigration procedures have caused some confusion and concern among international MBA candidates applying to business schools in the United States. To help clarify matters, the Graduate Management Admission Council has created a page …

international MBA applicantsRecent changes to immigration procedures have caused some confusion and concern among international MBA candidates applying to business schools in the United States. To help clarify matters, the Graduate Management Admission Council has created a page on its website mba.com to help alleviate some of these concerns.

Here you’ll find resources and information that apply to international students, including an overview on applying for a visa to study in the U.S., and information from leading GMAT-using schools for students navigating U.S. travel and immigration policies.

If you’re looking for how to convert your grades to the GPA scale, want to hear from others who have chosen to go abroad for their MBA, or simply interested in general tips for successful international study, bookmark this resource today.

You may also be interested in:

3 Common Hurdles for International MBA Applicants
Show International Experience When Applying to Business School
Advice for Business School Applicants from Asia

Image credit: Flickr user Fedecomite (CC BY 2.0) 

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Ace Your Harvard Business School Interview

Harvard Business School interviews just 25% of applicants each season. On the bright side, HBS admits about half of interviewed candidates, so if you can successfully pass this hurdle in the application process, your chances …

HBS interview tips

Harvard Business School interviews just 25% of applicants each season. On the bright side, HBS admits about half of interviewed candidates, so if you can successfully pass this hurdle in the application process, your chances of admission skyrocket.

As I explained in my recent article published in Business Insider, the admissions team seeks applicants who can demonstrate that they share the values central to HBS culture: passion, self-awareness, maturity, integrity, focus on solutions, high-impact leadership, and case-method compatibility.

While you can’t predict which specific questions will come up during your interview, you can expect the types of questions to fall into three broad categories representing your past, present, and future. The interviewer will probe in great depth about your career goals, professional choices, and interest in the MBA program. He or she will be very familiar with your essays — so familiar, in fact, that your interviewer will seem determined to find a “hole” in your story.

The anecdotes you share about your past experiences — both successes and failures — will give the interviewer some insight into your self-awareness and maturity. Your story should reveal how you confront life choices, the values and principles that help you negotiate complex situations, your beliefs, and your worldview.

Expect to receive a number of questions that will help interviewers gauge how life has tested you, and how you responded to that test.

As you prepare for the interview, focus on the experiences, anecdotes, and answers that will showcase your strengths. To learn exactly how to successfully wow your interviewer for a shot of admission at this ultra-elite school, click on over to Business Insider to continue reading my article with the best HBS interview tips.

You may also be interested in:

5 Tips for Harvard Business School Applicants
Advice for the Harvard Business School Admissions Essay

Image credit: Flickr user Florian Pilz (CC BY 2.0)

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US News Announces 2018 Ranking of Best Business Schools

U.S. News & World Report has released the 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment. In this year’s full-time MBA rankings, …

U.S. News & World Report has released the 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment.

Harvard Business School interview

In this year’s full-time MBA rankings, Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have tied for the No. 1 program in the country. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business holds the No. 3 spot, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business drops from last year’s second place to share fourth place with MIT Sloan School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Among part-time MBA programs, the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business once again retains the top spot, followed by Chicago’s Booth School of Business at No. 2. The NYU Stern School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Management tie at third place.

US News’s Best Business Schools

  • Harvard Business School (#1 tie)
  • Wharton School (#1 tie)
  • Chicago Booth School of Business (#3)
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business (#4 tie)
  • MIT Sloan School of Management (#4 tie)
  • Kellogg School of Management (#4 tie)
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (#7)
  • Tuck School of Business (#8)
  • Columbia Business School (#9 tie)
  • Yale School of Management  (#9 tie)

The six graduate disciplines U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors such as employment rates for graduates, starting salary and standardized test scores of newly enrolled students. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Different output measures are available for different fields, U.S. News explains, saying that in business, they use starting salaries and the ability of new MBAs to find jobs upon graduation or three months later.

“A graduate degree can lead to professional advancement and a potential salary increase,” says Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News. “Whether you are interested in pursuing a full-time program or taking classes part-time, the grad school rankings and advice offer guidance on finding programs that help you fulfill your personal goals.”

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