With GMAT scores being accepted for a variety of management programmes, the number of students taking the exam is on the rise.
With more students opting to pursue MBA, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has come a long way in helping aspirants get closer to their goal of gaining entry into some of the top B-schools across the world.
Ashish Bhardwaj, vice-president, Asia Pacific, Graduate Management Admission Council says, “The test has been around for almost six decades, and it has been fairly global for a long time now.” “In India, GMAT definitely goes back to more than 30 years. It is heartening to note that out of the 200 member-schools that work with us from around the globe, we have nine member-schools in India, and more schools have evinced keen interest in working with us.”
Reasons for the growth
As a test, the GMAT is fairly unique. Primarily, it is the only test which allows candidates to pursue management or business education in virtually every school across the world. Mr. Bharadwaj says, “Essentially, if you want to take one test and use the scores of the test to study in India, Singapore, New Zealand, Europe or in any other part of the world, GMAT is the ideal option.”
He further opines that the GMAT is candidate-friendly. “If one were to observe tests such as CAT and others, they are either available one day of the year or for one period of 15-20 days over the year. The GMAT however, is a test which is ready whenever the candidate is — it is available twice every day. Candidates can sign up for it at their convenience. Over a period of time, that kind of flexibility is something that candidates really value.”
Another reason why the GMAT is preferred by the student population is that it offers access to a wide-range of programmes. To put it in a nutshell, the test can be used to apply to not only full-time MBA programmes, but also part-time, executive and online MBA programmes.
Today, to be successful in business, the corporate environment stresses the need for managers who are armed with the ability to filter and synthesise information from multiple sources and consequently make effective business decisions. This is what prompted GMAC to introduce a new section on Integrated Reasoning (IR) as part of GMAT on June 5, 2012.
“While the new section was added to the test in 2012, the journey can be traced to 2008. We surveyed around 740 faculty from business schools about whether GMAT helped meet their admission requirements, or if there was a need for us to introduce new additions to tweak and streamline the test.”
“Schools felt that if we could find a way to help them assess a candidate’s ability to integrate data, it would assist them in selecting candidates accordingly,” he says. “Consequently, between 2008 and 2012, we worked very closely with business schools worldwide to develop the new section called Integrated Reasoning. IR provides input questions which require candidates to look at graphical, tabular, and textual inputs and synthesise different bits of information in order to come up with effective business solutions,” he elucidates. Often, B-schools are caught in a catch-22 situation over candidates who have the same score, and it becomes difficult to distinguish which candidate has an edge. “This is where IR proves useful,” explains Mr. Bharadwaj. “If one student has scored more in IR than the other, despite having the same scores, the former has an edge over the latter. It helps B-schools discover more about a candidate’s skills.”
GMAC in 2013
“2013 has been fantastic for GMAC,” says Bharadwaj. “The chief reason for this is that in February last year, we launched a new product called Reflect, which is a self-assessment and development tool.”
Reflect helps assess personal and professional qualities deemed crucial in today’s workplace. What’s more, it provides concrete action plans that ensure that individuals learn more about themselves, address their weaknesses and develop their strengths.
“The year 2013 has been our largest volume year in the history of GMAT,” he observes. “We are particularly excited about this development because, when the dollar went up to around Rs.60, there was a 20 per cent rise in the dollar which automatically made us think that students would rethink their plans of going abroad and might postpone their decision to take the GMAT. In such a period of economic uncertainty, to actually have a year which has been our highest ever volume in India is fantastic for us.”