Poets and Quants: The Case Against the GMAT

Poets and Quants just posted a write-up of a study from Toronto’s Rotman School of Management concerning the GMAT and whether it’s a good predictor of employability post-MBA.

Questioning the GMAT’s ability to predict success outside of the classroom is nothing new. According to the GMAC, the GMAT predicts academic success in an MBA program, which is ostensibly why it’s so important to b schools. (The fact that it has a 16% weight on the US News and World rankings probably doesn’t hurt either.)

But Rotman got all up in the data and found that the GMAT was not a significant predictor of employability post-MBA — here are the factors that they found to be “the five most significant warning signs that an applicant is most likely to be an employment risk, in order of importance:”

  • Citizenship from a region of the world for which Frey declines to identify.
  • Years of work experience. (Ten or more years, to be precise.)
  • Admissions interview scores for candidates.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) test. (The GMAT essay section.)
  • Undergraduate grade point average. (Regardless of major.)
  • Then, finally, came an applicant’s GMAT score—barely.

So it seems that communication skills are key to success post-MBA, judging by the importance of performance in the admissions interview and the AWA. Rotman is now using employability risk data to build its class, but keep in mind that these factors don’t predict success in MBA admissions and that they are not universally recognized and utilized.

This is more an interesting way to assess yourself against some proven factors of success and a way to remind yourself that you are more than your GMAT score!

Read more at Poets and Quants.

Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

A Reading List for Non-Traditional Applicants

Oh hey, non-traditional MBA applicant! How you doin’? If you’ve been researching MBA applications, you’re probably wondering what advice to follow. Most of the advice out there (do these things to stand out!) is really for typical MBA candidates — consultants, finance folks, bankers, marketers.

There’s a different set of rules for us non-traditional folks. Most of the focus is on non-traditional applicants from engineering, non-profit, and education backgrounds; but there are a ton of even less-traditional candidates like actors, athletes, and writers!

So where should you turn for the advice you need? You could start here! I’ve done some extra research to compile a list of the standard (and best) advice for non-traditional applicants, as well as some favorite articles and blog posts for you to look into.

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MBA Consult Calls: What I Learned

My last post was about scheduling free evaluation calls with admissions consultants to get advice about your candidacy and let you know what parameters you should meet to be a competitive applicant.

Now I want to share the specific feedback from the calls that I made. A lot of this advice applies broadly to non-traditional applicants or folks without a strong quantitative background. I hope this gives you a good foundation going into these calls so you can ask more specific, detailed questions during these calls than I did. (NOTE: Look at my application stats if you want context.)

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In It to Win It: MBA Prep Programs

What can you do to get a leg up for MBA admissions? The same thing these super bendy, super attractive ballet dancers did to up their chances of getting into the American Ballet Company — do a prep program!

I can vouch for how amazing these prep programs are — I’m a proud graduate of the Forté Foundation’s MBALaunch 2014! Through Forté, I went from being clueless about MBA applications to knowing how to select schools, articulate my goals, and craft my story. I met monthly with a small group of fellow applicants and Forté-selected mentors, and Forté created an online platform so we could connect with admissions directors, admissions consultants, and students at our programs of interest. It was an amazing experience and had a huge impact on my admissions success.

Now that you know much I loved Forté MBALaunch, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are several other amazing pre-MBA prep programs out there! (NOTE: They focus on underrepresented applicants, so click through to see the eligibility requirements.) Intrigued? Read on!

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15-Minute Admish Tip: Join All the Lists

This time last year, I was working eighty-hour weeks on a particularly challenging reality show, and March through August were basically an MBA application black hole. Other applicants were using this precious time to polish their resumes, draft essays, and do informational interviews about schools they were interested in…and I was trying really hard to get a full night’s sleep once or twice a week.

I didn’t want to lose too much momentum with my applications, so I tried to find easy, quick, convenient ways to keep my head in the game. And I’m now working on a series of quick, fifteen-minute application tasks to help you do the same!

This first tip is about signing up for newsletters from MBA-centric websites, admissions consultants, and GMAT prep companies. I loved passively getting great MBA content in my inbox every day when I was deep in production — it kept my MBA aspirations front-of-mind and provided me with valuable insights, news, and educational opportunities.

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My Application Stats: Things Are Not Always As They Appear

If I were in your shoes, I’d want to know what kind of stats got a reality TV producer into business school. What does it take for a non-traditional applicant to compete? Do you need crazy scores? To start a non-profit saving orphaned penguins in Antarctica?

So in the interest of transparency and context, this is a post about my stats. But here’s the thing. When I was applying, I didn’t always find stats lists like this helpful. Of course the guy from Stanford with a 760 GMAT got into his dream school, you know?

I was so anxious about my applications and so concerned about my candidacy that I wanted to know what people saw as their big liabilities and how they dealt with them. I wanted the story behind the stats. So keep scrolling after my stats for the story behind mine! And remember, things are not always as they appear.

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