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GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?

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jucacip
Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 5
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Fri Feb 26, 2010 06:44 PM
I really can't understand the obsession of the top b-schools about GMAT. Is this test really reliable in evaluating candidates?

It is a standardized test, so any geek who spends hours and hours to study it can have an excellent result. But that does not mean he knows anything about leadership, management or teamwork.

I am especially in doubt when I look at the test and find sections like Sentence Correction! We are looking for managers or grammar teachers?

Moreover, I think that applicants are not on equal terms. An English native will always have an advantage no matter how good is the proficiency of non-native. Especially in a test done at a fast pace!

I know that schools preach that GMAT is not the only way to evaluate applicants. And while this is true for some schools, it is certainly demagoguery to others. At least, for some top b-schools GMAT may not be the only factor for evaluation, but will certainly be the primary determinant of selection.

Therefore, and since I see many schools encouraging the applicants to repeat the test, because “we do not look disfavourably to several GMAT attempts”, I am wondering who profits most from this?


What do you think? GMAT reveals leaders or geeks?

[Edited by jucacip on 31 Mar 2010]

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retail_richard

Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 96
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:25 PM
I think you're right, to some degree. It is a standardized test, and thus, is subject to the faults of anything standardized.

How I look at it is like this: Getting an MBA and performing well in the business world is like jumping through a series of hoops. The GMAT is another hoop to jump through. If your CEO tells you to correct a sentence in a brief, are you going to hand the brief back and tell her, "no, we don't do that in the business world!"

That would be funny as hell but I'd really think twice about doing that. Performing well, whatever the circumstances, is the way to success. Someday you might be the CEO, but until then, you have to play the game.

Also, it's a way to weed out the weaker candidates. Basic math, grammar, and analysis - while they may not be directly relevant to your job, are nonetheless significant. If you don't have a grasp on these basic things, you're probably going to be a weak link in whatever business you're in.
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jucacip
Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 5
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Wed Mar 03, 2010 07:33 AM
I agree with you in some way, but I still think that the importance given to the GMAT is excessive in the evaluation of candidates because that assessment could be frequently incorrect, especially in overestimation.

How worth is a 700 obtained on the fifth attempt (with really lower scores in the previous) after knowing the tricks of the test as the palm of your hand? Is it more valuable than a 600 obtained on the first attempt? I do not think so… It can, at most, show that the first student is more persistent and nonconformist. But that is not what the GMAT tries to evaluate. In my feeling, if both retake the test one year later, without preparation, the one who had 600 is likely to have better score.

I understood your analogy with the CEO example but I think that the qualities that really matter in the business world are not evaluated on the GMAT.

You are quite right when you say that “it's a way to weed out the weaker candidates”. Someone who scores a 400/500 should think better if the MBA is a priority, but my doubt is about the overstatement of high scores. For me, would be appropriate to set a minimum score (600) for anyone to be able to apply. More than that, I find doubtful… Moreover, since almost all schools charge a fee in the application it should ensure a more thorough evaluation and not just based on the GMAT.

To conclude I read that a new GMAT is coming in 2013. yourmbagameplan.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-gmat-coming-in-2013…. It seems to me a good beginning.

[Edited by jucacip on 03 Mar 2010]

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retail_richard

Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 96
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Wed Mar 10, 2010 05:19 PM

How worth is a 700 obtained on the fifth attempt (with really lower scores in the previous) after knowing the tricks of the test as the palm of your hand?


Well, schools are notified to as how many attempts you've had. And as far as I know, most good schools frown on more than a couple attempts. And knowing "tricks" is one thing, but the GMAT, because the questions are different each time, gauges adaptive learning. You can know a bit about what's going to be on the test each time, but you have to adapt to new questions. Knowing tricks is not like having a cheat sheet.


I understood your analogy with the CEO example but I think that the qualities that really matter in the business world are not evaluated on the GMAT.


Exactly. That's the reason why the GMAT is only one of several indicators used in judging applicants. Your work experience and undergraduate experience are all equally as important. And just as for GMAT scores, they are benchmarks - ways of determining how well somebody will do in an MBA program.

For me, would be appropriate to set a minimum score (600) for anyone to be able to apply.


And that's what most good programs do: set a minimum score for application.


To conclude I read that a new GMAT is coming in 2013.


And, many programs are starting to accept GRE scores in lieu of the GMAT. The more flexibility the better, I'd say, but as in the case of the GMAT and any other standardized tests, the criticisms will remain.
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sally
Joined: 07 Feb 2009
Posts: 284
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Fri Apr 16, 2010 08:47 PM
I don't know, I think knowing English well enough to score well on grammar section of the GMAT is really important to excel in b-school and in the business world.

The reading comprehension and critical reasoning sections show that you're able to process information and think on your toes.

The math section shows that you're quantitatively apt.

I don't think any business school uses the GMAT as their sole, or even primary, means of evaluation. Rather, it's a bar that needs to be passed. Once you pass that bar, by passing their minimum threshold (usually between 600 and 680 depending on the school), then they evaluate you based on the rest of your application.

The only other time they might look at the GMAT again is if they are on the fence about admitting you. If it's between you and another applicant just like you, they might take the one with the higher GMAT score.
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Lost4Now
Joined: 28 Mar 2010
Posts: 45
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Sat Apr 17, 2010 04:17 AM

I don't really understand why you are treating "leader" and "geek" as mutually exclusive. The most successful people I know were the superstars who got into Harvard. Sportsmen who scored at the top of their class, acing every standardized test before them. Of course most people think of a "leader" as the jock that is extroverted and knows how to read people. But you know what? The best leader I know is both extroverted AND smart (scores well on GMAT i guess). They can analyze situations to a godly level while at the same time interact well with those they work with. I think that is what B-schools look for. They look at your GMAT to best figure out who has the minimal level of reasoning abilities, and then they look at your experiences and interviewing capabilities to figure out your level of ambition and interpersonal skills. Drop the GMAT, and all you have are the interviews and the resume, and that does not necessarily measure your cognitive skills.

Of course the GMAT is not perfect, because the situations tested on it are not exactly similar to real world problems, but the g factor required more often than not translates well. If you had 2 candidates, both with exactly the same work experience and interviewing capabilities, but one with a 770 and the other with a 540 on the GMAT who would you choose? Obviously the guy with the 770, because even though it is not a perfect measurement, in a world where there is little else to base such cognitive measurements on, the GMAT is what the business world goes on.
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Rhino
Joined: 29 Jul 2009
Posts: 156
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Sat Apr 17, 2010 04:58 AM
lost4now, I agree with you that GMAT is very important to select best candidate for business school.
Eventhough people with lack of english skill will be at disadvantage.
GMAT gives a sense of the of the hardwork that has been given be candidate.
If you get a low GMAT (< 600), then the candidate will push themself harder to obtain better score.
GMAT allows pre-MBA training where the workload is extensive and the deadline always tight.

GMAT is not a perfect aptitude test like any other kind of tests like GRE, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS.
However it is the best (so far) test for business school applicants.
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fishball
Joined: 11 Feb 2010
Posts: 163
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Thu Apr 22, 2010 03:11 AM
I think, most people that complain about the GMAT, usually don't do too well at it.... ;)
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Magnet
Joined: 22 Oct 2009
Posts: 57
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Tue Apr 27, 2010 05:13 AM
Bill Gates is a leader and a geek.

Love it or loathe it, your GMAT score remains one of the first things a b-school will know about you.

I think B-schools like that you can't cheat at it, not that you can cheat at your Uni exams, but the GMAT is better policed.

[Edited by Admin on 27 Apr 2010]

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fishball
Joined: 11 Feb 2010
Posts: 163
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Wed Apr 28, 2010 02:39 AM
You can't change which undergrad school you went to, or the companies and the work experience you have. However, you can change and control your GMAT score...

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sally
Joined: 07 Feb 2009
Posts: 284
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Wed Apr 28, 2010 02:57 AM
well you can change those other things; it would just take years vs. a few months of studying for the gmat :P
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dulsban
Joined: 06 Jan 2010
Posts: 110
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Wed Jun 16, 2010 04:32 PM
The GMAt requirement boils down to how good you are with new challenges...do you thrive or do you wither out?
I was personally GMAT averse due to the tremendous change to my current life's routine that it demands. But later on I realized that my apathy is more because I was not looking at the philosophy of the test. I decided to look into the eyes of the GMAT challenge and as time progresses I am amazed at the amount of intelligence and talent that goes into creating each GMAT question - it's now fun to match wits with some brilliant minds in GMAAC.
GMAT requires a lot more than just studying - improvising and innovating on time management day in and day out to find out time for study in an extremely busy and fast paced professional life, sacrificing a lot for the sake of what you are set out to achieve. I am sure these characteristics will help a lot during our management days. Moreover, it brings back the long lost capability of sitting hours at the study table - something you'd definitely need a lot during your days in the B-school.
GMAT is invaluable as a prep to the next step...providing building blocks for mental strength and confidence.

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retail_richard

Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 96
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:42 PM
GMAT is invaluable as a prep to the next step...providing building blocks for mental strength and confidence.


Exactly. And it's really not that hard if you study wisely and prepare for it. I'd say that a lot of the things that you'd encounter in an MBA program and in any future employment are going to be harder than taking a test. If you don't want to or can't be bothered to take a test, then I don't think that you're ready to work in a management position.
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amydecia
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 31
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Tue May 03, 2011 09:43 AM
first when you are in GMAT process till than you are geek but after receiving reward or certificate you are the Leader. :)








[Edited by amydecia on 03 May 2011]

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Aleksey
Joined: 24 Jun 2009
Posts: 12
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Thu Mar 15, 2012 01:11 PM
emmm , Bill Gates seems like the only example of a successful geek, it's 10000 to 1 ratio when we compare college( read GMAT) failures to the students with honours... usually ( at least from my practice) kids with honours stay kids with honours when kids who barely made it through their college manage our "superstars" ... so no - GMAT is not objective in terms of evaluation... and someone posted a question here " if there were two candidates with brilliant profiles but one had 550 GMAT score and the other 700" - personally what I'd do - is interview both of them - that's the only way you can fgure out their capabilities... I have genious people working as a warehouse specialists with special math education who crack those GMAT problems in a second... you should see them... if any business was under their supervision - it'd fail without even opening... starting from their hair full of dandruff and "creative business ideas" that might have been working in 1915.
Some one was also absolutely correct saying that people who never took GMAT ( as myself) or the ones who fail - are the ones who are not satisfied with universities basing their evaluation on GMAT- why should I ? I spend my time delivering exceptional results, working overtimes, leading commercial activites of a transnational corporation and I simply see no sense in violating the processes in real life business and questioning my reputation as a #1 because I have to prepare for a month and a half to some test that will define whether I'm good or not... how wonderful - be dependant on someone's opinion that if you fail GMAT - you loose the race... It must be something wrong with this approach rather then me.

[Edited by Aleksey on 15 Mar 2012]

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Aleksey
Joined: 24 Jun 2009
Posts: 12
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Thu Mar 15, 2012 01:22 PM
P.S. and yes - currently it's a problem for me - I can't apply to good business school because obviously I have no time for application and secondly if the school evaluates capabilities of a candidate based on a raw score - it's not the school that I want to be in... to me it means that school is preparing theoretics with very doubtful leadership skills. I have many ex-classmates and ex- undergraduate friends - perfect matches for such institutions the only thing is that they are "closed" people having no idea what "negotiation", "communication" , "acting in entrepreneural way" mean... but they'll be veeeerrrrrryyyy good at GMAT...
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ralph

Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 1000
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Thu Mar 15, 2012 03:14 PM
I think this points to a general misunderstanding of what the GMAT is and what it is for. It doesn't take a genius to get a great score on the test - it's simply an exercise in critical thinking to test your language and quantitative skills, nothing more. Since having these skills is absolutely central to the learning experience in business school, wouldn't you want to make sure you, and especially your classmates, are up to the task? Keep in mind that it's practically impossible to gauge quantitative skills from only an interview.

Yes, for some (especially non-native speakers) it does take time to prepare for it. But since you'd be committing one or two years of your life to b-school, it should be a small price to pay.

I have genious people working as a warehouse specialists with special math education who crack those GMAT problems in a second... you should see them... if any business was under their supervision - it'd fail without even opening...

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GMATPrepNow

Joined: 06 Mar 2012
Posts: 10
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Sat Mar 17, 2012 02:19 PM
This discussion exemplifies the first 2 stages of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' 5 stages of coping with dying :-)
Stage 1: Denial - the GMAT measures nothing of importance
Stage 2: Anger (or perhaps mild Aggravation)

While this is an interesting discussion thread, I'd like to suggest that, for those who are required to jump through the GMAT "hoop," an anti-GMAT mindset will ultimately hurt your score.

If you can look at this test as an opportunity to challenge yourself and learn how to become a more effective reader, writer and problem solver, this positive attitude will be reflected in your score.

Cheers,
Brent - GMAT Prep Now
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Martin_82
Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Posts: 17
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Fri Jul 13, 2012 08:46 AM
I think, most people that complain about the GMAT, usually don't do too well at it.... ;)

Not correct.
Did well on it.
But I hated and still hate this test.
Maybe it measures the cognitive ability. But, to be honest, at the first time (prep test with a score of 300), I thought I am too stupid.
After a lot of studying and work, I scored 600+.

Does that mean, that I am now more intelligent than 6 months ago??
I guess not. I forgot all the things I have learned at the GMAT. Never need that stuff again.
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mbaqanda
Joined: 17 Aug 2012
Posts: 38
GMAT: Leaders or Geeks?
Sat Aug 18, 2012 06:18 PM
I fully agree with you. Also, there is tons of Asian students who do exactly as the first reviewer did. That being said, it kind of shows if you are willing to do what it takes. Also, you will need to have a good education to score reasonably well on the GMAT.

Niels
MBA Q&A

[Edited by Admin on 18 Aug 2012]

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