Just like “Every coin has two sides”, there are only two ends to the broad spectrum of candidates who apply to B-schools every year. One is the candidate with one year experience, whose cranium remembers all that he studied in school and college and is thus ready to write any competitive test he comes across and the other is the candidate, who has been working for about 5 years now and whose knowledge has become old and rustic and all the data has somehow moved to this virtual cloud inside his head, thereby making data retrieval a little later than in the former case. AdComs of all the top B schools find it really challenging to place both these profiles on one spectrum and this has resulted in the creation of distinct programs that cater to these individual groups. Nevertheless, the grey area still remains.
If we compare and contrast the GMAT requirements for the programs that accept the former set of candidates and the latter, one thing is very clear. Looking at the data trends, it is very clear to come to a generalized conclusion that the candidates with lesser work experience tend to get higher GMAT scores thereby earning them the entry to top B-schools. This is usually attributed to the fresh scholastic skill sets that these candidates possesses. This has thus led to the pervasive presence of the idea that a strong GMAT score is the ONLY criterion that can get you into a top B-school. We would beg to differ and here is why,
1. GMAT is an Icing on the cake; there has to be a cake, the icing alone wouldn’t suffice
When the AdCom reviews an application, it usually gets into viewing a person as holistically as possible. This means all your data is going to make your sellable and it is not the GMAT score that will work wonders. While it is true that a great GMAT score can offset the other deficiencies in the profile, a GMAT score alone cannot make a pauper to a prince. The reverse also holds good. A great profile can offset a not-so-great GMAT score. So don’t fret and give your best.
2. The GMAT’s objective is to equate and not criticize
Remember that GMAT tests basic and general quantitative, verbal and reasoning skills. It enables the AdCom to place everyone on one common platform when it comes to measuring these skills. Most people like to believe that their rustic scholastic skills translate to a poor performance on these components as well. On the contrary, majority of the skills that are tested on the GMAT are skills that would naturally come to someone with three years of work experience as he or she would be able to relate to the scenarios given. Remember that the objective of the GMAT behind assessing the candidates is to be fair but not to find deficiencies.
3. Great managers aren’t born with a high GMAT score
An MBA program makes you a generalist. So, just as it teaches you math and economics, an MBA program will also teach you other human-skills. It teaches you to be compassionate, firm and handle stress well as all of these are potential skills that a manager must possess. Thus it is to be understood that a high GMAT score doesn’t reflect in what kind of a person you are – Infact, many successful leaders in today’s corporate scenario haven’t even thought about writing a GMAT.
4. It takes 6 months for a great GMAT score; it takes 6 years to build a profile
Everybody understand the above fact and that is precisely the reason why AdComs are aware of the fact that the GMAT is no reflection of the hardwork that you have invested in improving your profile. Hence, a great GMAT score complements a great profile but cannot help you reach the destination in isolation.
Hence, even if GMAT is in present in the tiniest corpuscle inside your brain, it would be wiser to start working on your profile that makes you more sellable rather than cramming up formulae and getting a high score on the GMAT, which is anyway disconnected from all the other components in your profile.