The business of Business Education

GMAC surveys provide vital insights to keep B-schools up-to-date with the latest trends in the hiring market   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Studies have shown that when there is an economic downturn, there is an increase in applications for Graduate Management Education. This has held true in the time of COVID-19 as well. B-Schools have shifted to online learning and revamped their curriculum. In fact, says Gaurav Srivastava, Regional Director-South Asia, Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which owns and administers the GMAT exam, with vaccines becoming increasingly available, prospective students are more inclined to chase their dream of studying abroad.

Digital move

With this in mind, GMAC moved to holding its exam online. “To make it more competitive and on a par with the Test Centre GMAT exam, we announced enhancements to the GMAT online exam like including the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section and the ability to preview unofficial test scores immediately, additional and extended breaks, and the convenience to select the order in which the sections of the exam are attempted,” explained Srivastava. He also added that the online exam had evolved from an interim to a permanent solution. “In less than a year, we have made enhancements including the use of physical and online whiteboards, disability accommodations, and the option to retake the online exam. The agenda is to provide flexibility and support to address the long-term needs of schools and test-takers.”

Apart from the exam, the organisation also conducts surveys on what corporates look for in their recruits, and on student concerns, aspirations, goals, and what they seek in their dream B-school. These include the Global GME Candidate Segmentation, which differentiates candidates by their motivations and helps them connect with prospective students; Corporate Recruiters Survey, which provides vital insights to keep B-schools up-to-date on the latest trends in the hiring market; the Application Trends Survey (ATS), which sheds light on the current market for graduate B-school applicants, and the Prospective Students Survey (PSS), which provides a peek into the motivations, preferences, programme choices, and opinions of individuals who are contemplating attempting the GMAT exam.

Speaking of the PSS and ATS conducted between July and December last year, Srivastava says, “One major finding from the PSS was that women were more receptive to remote learning than men, and were willing to adapt their plans for higher education. Specifically, women candidates are more likely to seek the flexibility of online learning than men.” What’s more, despite the opportunities that digitisation has opened up, international candidates preferred mobility over online. “Over 40% of international candidates — those who wish to study outside their country of citizenship — preferred working outside their country of citizenship, as the primary career motivation,” he added.

Interestingly, despite a myriad options in many foreign universities, the U.S and the U.K., continue to remain the most favoured destinations. “International candidates deem the U.S. as one of their top three choices to study Business abroad, while prospective Indian students ranked it ahead of their home country,” he said.

The ATS showed that, despite the pandemic and the consequent recession, the demand for MBA courses had increased, as students sought to combat the recession and improve their career prospects by boosting their credentials. In turn, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic compelled B-Schools to adopt a more flexible approach in their recruitment, admission, and programmes.

For students in India, said Srivastava, the GMAC has announced that candidates can now validate their identity using their Aadhaar Card or passport while registering online for the exam. “This will provide easier access to candidates, as those living in remote areas will find it easier to use their Aadhaar ID and appear virtually from anywhere.”

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 10:04:23 PM |

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