Another one of those GMAT FAQ regulars. Each year we get profiles where we see great work experience with not so good GMAT scores. For many guys who’ve completed their graduation several years back, the concept of preparing for a test can be a tough challenge. They’ve spent 3-5 years doing well in their chosen careers, but their GMAT scores end up being the weakest link in the profile.
Then there is the other category of candidates that excels at cracking competitive tests and exams. Fresh out of college, their cranium hosts the perfect GMAT exam cracking machine. ‘I have been working for 1 year and I got a GMAT score of 780’, ‘I don’t have a very impressive profile and I don’t have a GMAT score yet. But I think I can definitely get above 750.’
Check out the average profiles for the top schools where the average work-experience is 4-5 years and then check out other schools where the work-experience is higher (Read Will too much or too little work experience hurt your MBA admission chances?). Do you see a trend for average GMAT scores? It’ll give the perception that the younger candidates are getting in mainly due to their high GMAT scores. So it is natural to generalise this across the table and assume a brilliant strong GMAT score will elevate the rest of the profile as well. We would beg to differ.
Here are some reasons why a GMAT score cannot replace work-experience:
– Skills disconnect
The skills tested by standardised tests like the GMAT are more to do with verbal and quantitative analysis. It’s the only option that allows Adcoms to compare apples-to-apples on a global basis when it comes to these skills, nothing beyond that.
– Managerial potential disconnect
The score provides absolutely no indication to MBA Admission Officers about your professional capabilities. Just because you scored high on the GMAT doesn’t make you a good manager or a business leader.
– Effort and progress disconnect
GMAT scores can be dramatically improved in a few months with the right material and practice. Gaining some impressive work-experience is a slow and time-consuming process. It’s a better way to demonstrate how you’ve grown as a professional.
So if you are one of those candidates hoping to get into a top MBA university but aren’t sure if your work experience is strong enough, focus on what you can do at work to make it stronger rather than putting all your energy into some other easier-to-fix component (within your MBA application) that’s pretty much disconnected with the others. Long sentence, hope it made sense.