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Common questions about the role & importance of GMAT scores

Posted: September 8th, 2014, 10:19 pm
by MBACrystalBall
[This is an article that we wrote for Pagalguy]

International business schools have been increasingly figuring on the radar screens of Indian professionals hoping to take their careers to the next level.

Check out the number of posts that we get in our Free profile evaluation section of the forum to get an idea of the level of interest.

However, there are major differences between these international options and our Indian MBA programs – starting from the rationale for pursuing the degree to the kind of career options one can explore after graduation.

An international program can be very expensive. So it’s only natural to have a ton of questions before candidates are comfortable with the idea of shelling out all that money to essentially get the same three letter acronym on their CV that a whole lot of their former classmates and current colleagues have already got from India.

For the last 10 years that I’ve been active as an admissions consultant, there are some questions that come up more frequently than the others.

This series is an attempt to collate those questions and provide high-level perspectives on each. Use them to grasp the basic principles and then follow it up with further research.

An excellent (and free) starting point is to start participating on the relevant discussion threads on MCB, where some really helpful folks (students, alumni, consultants and fellow aspirants) are helping out.

We start off with a few questions related to the GMAT, an important component in the application process.

Q1. I’m not very good at standardised tests (Or “I’m really short on time” Or “I’d prefer an easier way around this” Or...add your reason here). Are there any schools that accept applicants without a GMAT score?

Yes, there are schools that don’t require a GMAT score or substitute it with an alternative test score.

Some top schools have started accepting GRE as an alternative to the GMAT score for their management courses. This trend of schools accepting both GMAT and GRE scores will possibly increase over time, as it increases the applicant pool for bschools substantially. A few others may have their own aptitude tests.

For certain executive and part-time MBA programs, a few schools have done away with the GMAT and started focussing on other aspects (like undergrad academic performance, work-experience) to judge the candidate’s potential to do well in the program and after graduating.

On the other hand, a large number of bschools will grant you an admission based on an English proficiency test (like TOEFL or IELTS) and maybe a short Statement of Purpose with an interview. Others might even skip that formality. As long as you can pay the fees, the doors will remain open.

It’s incorrect to make general assumptions, but if you are targeting schools that make it extremely easy for every Tom, Diksha and Haridas to get in, carry out a thorough research about the calibre of students in the class, the quality of the degree you’d get from the institution and its market value.

For now the fact is, almost all the top ranked schools offering full-time MBA programs would need a GMAT score. If you don’t have it, then you’d have a tough time creating your shortlist of options worth applying to.

Q2. As a child I’ve always dreamt of getting into XYZ university. What GMAT score should I aim for, that’ll guarantee an admission offer from this bschool? What’s the minimum cut-off for this bschool?

Almost all the good bschools publish some basic statistics about their current class. The average GMAT is one of them. Others could include average age, average work experience, pre-MBA industries/roles/nationalities. Check out the websites of the individual schools to get this data. Along with the average GMAT, many schools also publish an 80 percentile range for the GMAT score (e.g. 650 – 750).

You’d hardly find a school that tells you the ‘minimum’ cutoff or any threshold that’ll guarantee you a seat, or for that matter even get you an interview call. Many of the top schools reject candidates who’ve scored a perfect 800 on the GMAT as the rest of their profile isn’t as impressive. You’ll also find students who’ve got into extremely competitive schools with a very low GMAT score.

As a general approach, aim for the highest GMAT score you can possibly achieve. Then forget about it and focus on the other important parameters that are really critical from the Admission officer’s perspective (more on what these are later).

Q3. I was consistently scoring between 730-750 in my practice GMAT tests, but I don’t know what happened in the real test. I ended up with a low GMAT score of XXX. What should I do now?

First things first. Most of the mock tests that private companies create can never give you an exact idea of how much you can score on the real test. The scoring algorithm, the level of difficulty for the questions and the degree to which these companies can mimic the ‘adaptable’ nature of the GMAT can and does vary substantially. offers a couple of free tests to download and these are considered to provide the best estimates. Then there are a whole lot of non-technical aspects at work – nerves, unfamiliar test center, pressure – that can impact your performance on the test day. Be aware of these differences before you analyse your D-day performance and compare it to what’s happened earlier in the practice tests.

The good (?) thing about the GMAT is that you can take it multiple times. Schools generally take the highest score you submit to them. So you’ve basically got two options – retake it or move to the other parts of the application – depending on the scenarios described below.

Scenario 1: Your actual score is dramatically lower than your practice test score.

If you have the time, the inclination and $250 to spare, go ahead and re-take it.

Scenario 2: There’s only a marginal (10-30 point) difference between your expected and actual score.

Put a lid on it and move on. Relatively speaking, the GMAT is the easiest aspect to fix. But beyond a certain point, the incremental value is negligible.

This is just a general guideline to help you decide. Whether you re-take it or not would also depend on how strong the rest of your application is.

Plss Suggest me..

Posted: October 3rd, 2014, 5:20 am
by ashish@87
Hello Sir,

first of all Thanks for this a wonderful plate form for sharing and discussion for GMAT exam and all related queries.

Sir i m an Engineering background( B.E in E&C )from RGTU,BHOAPL a Private Collegein 2011,
Since i m Working in Packaging Industry as Electronics Maintenance Department as A Senior Engineer with till nw 3.2 Yrs Exp,

Sir i hv big desire to do Executive MBA and eager flying our Carrier in Global World of Challenge and College from a Dominant
like( IIM-A,ISB)in india.
Academic and Professional Details.
1- 10th with 70% M.P Board,Bhoapl
2- 12th with 82% M.P Board Bhopal
3- B.Engg(B.E) 67% RGTU, BHOPAL
Since 2011 to till nw Working in UFLEX LTD,JAMMU(INDIA) as a Senior Engineer here in Electronics Maintenance Deptt.

Pls explain me the Study material for GMAT (good books and all required materials)
Procedure or any guidance as from ur end,Becoz it will be my first attempt.

Hope for a Positive respose from ur end vry Soon.

Warm Regd's
Ashish Singh

Re: Plss Suggest me..

Posted: October 20th, 2014, 6:43 pm
by MBACrystalBall
ashish@87 wrote:Pls explain me the Study material for GMAT (good books and all required materials)
You can start off with this Free Online GMAT Exam Practice to get an idea of the format and difficulty of the test.

Then pick up a few good GMAT prep books.

If you prefer a more self-paced but structured option, try out some of the best online GMAT courses. Many of them offer trial periods to test drive them.

Re: GMAT Preparation - General Queries

Posted: December 30th, 2014, 3:20 pm
by AdMa

I am working as a project manager for a top real estate advisory MNC. I am a post graduate in construction management with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Currently in my second year of work, I'm contemplating a few queries before initiating my GMAT preparation. So here they go :

1. Amount of work experience : Since I intend to give GMAT in mid 2015 (that would also be the time when I would be finishing my second year in my current job. This is my first job) So ideally, does a 2 year work experience work for a good B-school?

2. Losing a year during graduation : Since I lost a year during my bachelor's due to certain personal reasons, should that hamper my chances in the admissions in any way? Have eventually completed my graduation and post graduation in first class.

3. GMAT preparation : Since I'm a full time working professional, how much time in months would you ideally suggest for the GMAT preparation? I understand that its a very subjective question, but I'm sure there might be an 'ideally' suggestion.

Would love to hear from you regarding my initial doubts so that there's ample clarity for me before I take the plunge.


Re: GMAT Preparation - General Queries

Posted: January 1st, 2015, 11:36 am
by MBACrystalBall
AdMa wrote:Does a 2 year work experience work for a good B-school?
We've helped folks with 2 yrs experience get into some good bschools. But it's always challenging as you'd be competing with folks with more than twice your experience. Your profile, GMAT score, accomplishments, industry...they all matter.
AdMa wrote:I lost a year during my bachelor's due to certain personal reasons, should that hamper my chances in the admissions in any way?

Personal issues do pop up and Adcoms realise it. The good thing is you completed your studies and did well academically. Explain that in your applications.

Read this post regarding - FAQ regarding voluntary career breaks
AdMa wrote:how much time in months would you ideally suggest for the GMAT preparation?
Generally 2-3 months of disciplined preparation works for most applicants who are working full-time.

Profile Query

Posted: February 13th, 2015, 1:45 pm
by Nitesh Gupta
Dear sir,
thanks for your support …….

I am Engg. working in Automobile MNC (manufacturer of BMW & RENAULT Global components ) company as Asstt. Manager In Maintenance as well worked in plant projects & Operation .

total work ex – 4.2 yrs.
26 yrs old

my academics are –

10th – 75% CBSE ( Navodaya Vidhyalaya )
12th – 54% CBSE ( K.V. ) due to 6 month Jaundice
B.Tech – 66% ( In last sem scored 80% highest in college )

I want to do MBA from good college , because of Interest as well to earn good money after that I want to start my own business .
started to prepare for CAT but after some days some one told me that my profile is not suitable for IIMs .
I asked to many coaching gurus some says yes & some No . still that I am stuck at this point .

should I prepare for executive mba from iim , prepare for Gmat instead of CAT ??????
if I am lacking some where in my profile please suggest me what should I do to add in my profile so that my chance becomes more positive to get admission in IIM .

My aim is that to become individual identity rather than doing a job somewhere . please help me ….

Re: Profile Query

Posted: February 13th, 2015, 2:28 pm
by MBACrystalBall
Nitesh Gupta wrote:should I prepare for executive mba from iim , prepare for Gmat instead of CAT ?
CAT attracts applicants with very little experience. With over 4 years experience, GMAT MBA programs will be a better fit for you.

Your unconventional background (auto industry) will be helpful in standing out from the crowd.