Tag Archives: GRE

HBS Admissions Director Talks GMAT/GRE Scores

Although most of the elite MBA programs now accept either the GMAT or GRE as part of the admissions process, many applicants wonder if business schools really consider the exams equally. In an attempt to …

Although most of the elite MBA programs now accept either the GMAT or GRE as part of the admissions process, many applicants wonder if business schools really consider the exams equally.

In an attempt to clarify the matter, Harvard Business School Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold recently provided a breakdown of just how many applicants submitted each test, and how many were ultimately offered a place in the program, during the 2013-2014 admissions cycle.

“Please don’t over-crunch,” Leopold urges, pointing out that the admissions team isn’t looking so much at the overall score as at the sub-scores in the context of the candidate’s profile. “An engineer with top grades doing highly quantitative work doesn’t need a high GMAT/GRE-Q to convince us he/she is capable of doing the quantitative work at HBS,” says the director.

As logic would dictate, applicants from the humanities with no quantitative coursework or professional experience need to demonstrate preparedness for the rigorous HBS program with a strong GMAT or GRE quant score.

Going forward, Harvard Business School will accept either a GMAT score or GRE score, not both, as were submitted by 140 applicants this past admissions season. “We need to officially verify scores and prefer to do it for only one test per candidate,” Leopold explains.

The Round 1 deadline at Harvard Business School is just a couple of weeks away on September 9th. If you’re still polishing your open-ended essay, take a look at our HBS MBA application essay tips for guidance and inspiration.

You may also be interested in:

MBA Trends at Harvard Business School and Beyond

What My MBA at Harvard Did Not Teach Me

 

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Exam Lifehacks for a Higher Test Score

You can’t avoid it. Every exam prep checklist has it, and every experienced tutor will advise you to do it: STUDY! Yes, we all hate to have to do it, but it really is the …

magoosh GMAT life hack

You can’t avoid it. Every exam prep checklist has it, and every experienced tutor will advise you to do it: STUDY! Yes, we all hate to have to do it, but it really is the key to your success on every exam you’ll have to take.

But, the fact is, even after you’ve studied all you can for whatever test you have coming up, you’re not guaranteed success. You might have heard stories of a classmate who crumbled under the pressure of studying for a test, or who slept right through his alarm on the morning of the test, or who ran out of energy and collapsed right on top of her desk during the exam. It really could happen to anyone.

Before you panic about the chances of this happening to you, we’ve got good news! Our friends at Magoosh put together an Exam lifehack infographic to make sure you safely avoid any test-day nightmares. The infographic includes study tools and tips you probably didn’t consider before but that are crucial to keeping you sane all the way up to your test date. So, take some time to browse their list of exam lifehacks and master the 18 unexpected tips you’ll need for a higher test score.

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MBA Application Trends in 2014-2015

How many schools are applicants applying to? How important are MBA rankings? Should you consider submitting GRE scores rather than the GMAT? These are just a few of the questions we here at Stacy Blackman …

How many schools are applicants applying to? How important are MBA rankings? Should you consider submitting GRE scores rather than the GMAT? These are just a few of the questions we here at Stacy Blackman Consulting attempted to find out with our MBA application trends survey, conducted online in April.

Poets & Quants picked up the story this week, and shared the main data points with their readers. Based on the responses of 675 participants who intend to apply to business school in the 2014-2015 admissions cycle, the survey showed an uptick in the number of applicants planning to apply to five schools this year. More than 25% plan to do so, up from 22.9% who aimed for five schools in 2013.

This increase reflects the growing awareness among applicants of the ultra-competitive nature of b-school admissions, but also, an understanding that there are more than just a handful of terrific schools out there. Just a few years ago, highly competitive applicants wouldn’t go for an MBA unless they could get into Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. Now, applicants are interested in applying to a range of schools.

In fact, the list has become a lot longer and broader, with applicants adopting a more open attitude about where to study and adding schools such as UCLA Anderson, UT McCombs School of Business, and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School into the mix, in addition to the power trio. MBA admissions have become increasingly competitive at the elite level, and applicants now realize that an MBA from a highly selective school offers all of the benefits and a similar return on investment as a degree from a very top brand.

This year’s survey showed that once again, applicants place a lot of weight on the value of rankings, with almost 70% of respondents saying rankings are extremely important, and less than 1% saying they weren’t important. Meanwhile, the influence of school reputation on an applicant’s decision of where to attend dipped slightly, from 52.4% in 2013 to 50.87% this year.

Applicants are starting to place greater attention to the strength of a school’s job placement program—21.87% this year, versus 18.8% in 2013. Career advancement remains the most important reason for attending business school for 43.7% of survey participants, followed by the desire to change careers, which motivates 38.17% of MBA hopefuls.

Finally, our survey polled prospective students on their interest in submitting GRE scores with their b-school application. While the GMAT still reigns supreme as the exam of choice, GRE interest this year grew to 7.65%, up from 3.97% in 2013.

At this point I’m not pushing the GRE, and we typically tell clients that unless they have a hard time with the GMAT, or with testing in general, the GMAT is the better way to go. The schools are just more comfortable with the GMAT in general since it’s such a known entity.

I believe people can always derive great value from going to business school, but many factors affect the kinds of programs that best meet their needs. Applicants need to find the very best fit for their own game plan.

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3 Surprising Application Mistakes Prospective MBAs Make

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com When it comes to making mistakes on a business school application, there are many places where candidates can run afoul and ruin their …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

When it comes to making mistakes on a business school application, there are many places where candidates can run afoul and ruin their chances at admission.

The road to an MBA contains countless potential pitfalls, including writing the wrong school name or otherwise failing to proofread; having generic essays designed to impress rather than reveal; and choosing recommenders based on their titles, not your relationship with them.

However, there are also more process-oriented mistakes students commonly make – and ways to avoid them.

[Follow these tips to recover from a botched MBA interview.]

Reality Check: Unrealistic School Selection

With all of the hype around the top b-school brands, it’s no wonder most applicants dream of earning their MBA at Harvard University or Stanford University. The cold, hard truth, however, is that these schools admit a tiny fraction of applicants each cycle.

Harvard Business School admitted just 12 percent of applicants to the class of 2015, while Stanford offered a seat to a mere 8 percent. Programs like those at University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business or MIT Sloan School of Management are only a tad less competitive, with acceptance rates of about 14 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon all hope of attending one of the world’s best business schools, especially if your stats are strong and your extracurriculars and leadership examples varied. But, should you happen to fall in the camp of the other 85 percent of applicants – that is, the vast majority – then the subject of having appropriate back-up schools comes into play.

Not all programs are the same, so I suggest applicants do a lot of research as well as soul-searching prior to the school selection process. Being realistic about your profile and aligning yourself with programs that mesh with your particular academic and professional background is the surest recipe for success.

[Look beyond a top business school for your MBA.]

Reality Check: Scores Affect Selection

As we’ve talked about in this space before, preparing early and adequately for the entrance exam is critical. You can’t be stressing about studying for the GMAT or GRE when you should be focused on drafting compelling application essays or cultivating additional leadership opportunities.

Truth is, the school selection process will be greatly influenced by your GMAT score. While each year we hear of that miracle case where someone gets into Harvard with a 550, it’s likely that person’s profile was so extraordinary in every other way that it offset the low score.

It would be foolhardy to believe you too have a decent chance simply because a handful of people out of 10,000 applicants made it in with a score nearly 100 points below the median.

Use your GMAT or GRE score as a barometer to determine a comfortable range of schools to target. If you do decide to go for the “reach school” as well despite a middling test score, make sure you incorporate the fact that you have a low score into your overall strategy.

Reality Check: You’re Not Ready for B-School – Yet

A huge mistake, and one that’s more common that you’d think, is applying to business school before you are really ready. It is true MBA programs are skewing younger these days, accepting applicants with five or fewer years of work experience rather than the typical seven of the past, but that just means candidates need to be even more amazing in less time.

Ask yourself if you have had enough life experiences to provide an interesting perspective to a class. Will your potential recommenders act as champions for your cause, or is your relationship with a supervisor still new and untested? Can you devote time to improving your test score in order to expand your portfolio of program options? Would taking another year to strengthen your profile make more sense and yield better results?

Making 100 percent sure that an MBA is the right step at this time is a crucial part of the soul-searching I mentioned above, and once you can answer in the affirmative, you can embark on the challenging but rewarding journey toward an MBA.

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The Basics of Applying to B-School

The Financial Times published an article this week with advice on how to apply for an MBA program, and I contributed a few of my own tips to the piece. For one, I always advise …

The Financial Times published an article this week with advice on how to apply for an MBA program, and I contributed a few of my own tips to the piece. For one, I always advise students to apply to a range of schools, some of which you could consider “sure things”, and one or two “reach” schools.

Much of your list can be determined as you progress through the process. As you become more invested in going to business school, and your story solidifies, you made decide to add additional schools. Once you clarify your goals, you may consider schools that you had never looked at in the past. Similarly, this process may cause you to drop schools.

The FT article has a lot of useful insight regarding the essay component of the MBA application, particularly in light of the dramatic shift that has taken place in this area during the current application cycle.

Several top schools slashed the number of required essays and/or word count, and Harvard Business School made huge headlines when it announced it would only have one essay prompt, and it would be optional. Admissions director David Simpson of London Business School says that applicants have fewer chances to impress, so “What they do write has to be absolutely perfect.”

If you’re just getting started in your MBA application journey and would like to know more about how much time you’ll need to devote to the GMAT or GRE, interview techniques, choosing recommenders or what mistakes to avoid, please check out this great overview article.

You may also be interested in:

The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Business School

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The GMAT and Hard Work

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh President Theodore Roosevelt, a scholar and adventurer, said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth …

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh

President Theodore Roosevelt, a scholar and adventurer, said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”  At least some of the folks pursuing an MBA have something of this vision: a quest to do deeply satisfying hard work in the world.  In one way or another, the MBA is a “prize” for most of the people pursuing it.

For some people at the initial stages, the GMAT stands as a kind of obstacle in the path to this prize.  Perhaps some students even think: “If I could only dispense with this hindrance, then I could move on to the good stuff!”  The GMAT, though, is not an arbitrary barrier.  Instead, the challenges posed by the GMAT are reflections of some of the challenges you will face in the business world.

How hard the GMAT is depends in part on your perspective.  On the GMAT, you have to do math in a relatively tight time frame, if you make a mistake under pressure, you will get the question wrong.  In the business world, there may be moments when you may have to do calculations about budgetary issues, perhaps even under pressure, if you make a mistake there, it could cost the company big money.

On the GMAT, you have to sift through tricky arguments, looking for the words and phrases that make a big difference in the logic.  As an executive, on multiple occasions, you will be presented with potential sales, partnerships, deals, or other opportunities: some will truly be beneficial in a win-win way, but others will be by ruthless people trying to rob you blind, and you will have to discern what is best for your company and its long-term health.

In each of these examples, the ultimate downside for the first is the possibility of bombing this test that, after all, you can take again, whereas the direst negative outcomes in the latter cases can involve tremendous personal, legal, and financial liabilities.   The challenges of the GMAT are small potatoes compared to the potential challenges of the world to which the GMAT gains you access.

Students invest a great deal of importance in GMAT score percentiles, perhaps in part because all grades and assessments carry such existential import for folks.  Think about this chain of connection: elite GMAT scores often lead to one of the best B-schools, which often leads to landing a coveted management position – that is, a position that entails a tremendous amount of both responsibility and risk.

By all means, reach for the most you can achieve, but understand that whatever is challenging about the GMAT typically leads to more significant challenges down the road.

Some folks coming from more academic pursuits have already taken a GRE and understandably might be interested in GRE to GMAT score conversion.  I would caution, though, those students who seek out the GRE because they want something less challenging than the GMAT.

Both tests are hard.  If someone has a particularly large vocabulary, it may be that the GRE would be a slightly more advantageous test for that person, but for most folks, the GMAT is the better test to take for business school, simply because it mirrors more closely what is challenging, what is hard, about business world.

In the movie A League of Their Own, player Dottie Hinson tells her manager that she doesn’t like baseball anymore because it became too hard.  Her manager, Jimmy Dugan, tells her, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”  If that’s your attitude, toward both the GMAT and the business world, then, like Teddy, you can embrace the challenges with relish.

This post was written by Mike McGarry, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

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