MANHATTAN GMAT: We are in the final stages of one admissions season and the earliest stages of the next. Let’s start with a look back “ can you share some observations on the 2006-2007 admissions cycle?
JEREMY: Well, the MBA was all but written off by BusinessWeek a few years ago. Now, due to the strength of the economy in general and Wall Street in particular, 2006-2007 definitely proves that the MBA is back. Candidates are confident that they will see a significant return on their respective investments and are once again clamoring for places in top-MBA programs.
As you guys know, there has been a sharp rise in GMAT test-takers (approximately 24% year over year) this year and top-schools are reporting significant increases in application volume. A few weeks ago, Soojin Kwon Koh, Director of Admissions at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, wrote in the school paper that applications were up 31% and that 2006-2007 might be Ross’s most competitive year ever. She then noted that a portion of this increase could be attributed to individual candidates applying to a greater number of schools, not just to there being more applicants in general. I have heard similar comments from other admissions officers as well and am pretty certain that, as the perception of greater competition spreads, this trend will as well.
We are VERY proud to announce that the new ManhattanGMAT Test Simulation Booklet is now available! It is virtually identical to the real thing used in the Pearson Vue testing centers, complete with marker. So now, you can practice with the confidence that you won’t be the least bit surprised by the nature of the laminated booklet they give you on test day.
Though it’s a small thing, we’re very glad to be able to remove one more variable or bit of uncertainty for students in their preparation. 🙂
If you’d like to check it out or pick up a copy, click here.
The Boston Business School Admissions Panel took place last week, with 4 top 10 programs in attendance – Harvard, MIT Sloan, Columbia, and Northwestern.
One of the interesting trends was that MIT Sloan joined Harvard in favoring applicants from undergraduates. MIT, like Harvard, will waive your application fee is you are still an undergraduate, and will consider deferment. See MIT Sloan’s website for more details. (Click here for the past blog posting on Harvard’s similar policy).
It should be noted that this is still somewhat unusual among top schools. The admissions officer from Northwestern/Kellogg commented that they did NOT consider undergraduate applicants, as they require some work experience after college for successful applicants.
Another interesting fact from MIT Sloan – the admissions office emphasizes the recent experience of its applicants more heavily (i.e. what you’ve been doing the past 2 years) than what applicants did earlier in time in making its decisions.
More info to come from the business school panel later in the week.
One of our students (a very bright guy from the McKinsey corporate class) last month described a common problem with studying for the GMAT. He wanted to sit down and do timed blocks of practice questions, but it was cumbersome for him to use a stopwatch and time each ‘lap’ or question precisely, particularly when working out of the Official Guide. It was also an issue to record his answer choices for each question for when he wanted to review the set. He suggested that we come up with a practice center interface that would simply let students take timed practice sets of questions.
Not being too proud to immediately run with someone else’s idea, we decided to do just that! In our practice center, starting May 1st, students will find a blank interface that will simply record and time their answers to a series of questions, with the questions determined by the student. This way, students can work out of the Official Guide and still get practice with selecting answer choices on a computer screen (as with the real GMAT test), as well as have each of their questions precisely timed and recorded.
We hope that this ‘stopwatch’ proves helpful to all of our students. We will also have something interesting that one can do with the right and wrong answers from Official Guide questions in the next couple of weeks (hint – it involves an Excel spreadsheet that records one’s progress through the Official GMAT Review Guides . . . )
Last week, I was speaking to a student at the beginning of a course, when she made a surprising comment. She mentioned that she had completed a Kaplan course, but was seeing the Official Guides for the first time with us. Even though many of our students are refugees from Kaplan, I still found myself stunned at this; how could she have completed a full GMAT class without ever seeing the only publicly released questions from GMAC?
It turns out that Kaplan, for some reason, does not use the Official Guides! The only plausible reason I can think of for this is that the Official Guides, as the exclusive property of GMAC, cost a substantial amount of money to provide to students. There is no real ‘licensing’ of the content; you simply have to buy the books and give them to students.
Apparently Kaplan, looking at the vast number of students it would have to buy books for, decided that its own materials were superior to those provided by the writers and administrators of the actual GMAT test. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I still find myself a little bit chagrined at Kaplan’s response to a choice between serving your students and serving the bottom line. It may represent, in some small part, the difference between the priorities of a large public company that has to hit numbers every quarter and those of a smaller, privately owned enterprise that can focus on providing the best offering possible.
Those of you in New England will be excited to know that our next Business School Admissions Panel will take place at the Boston Center, on Wednesday, April 25th.
Admissions Officers from Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, and Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern) are all scheduled to attend. Our last panel discussion in Chicago was a huge success, with many questions answered and much insight gained.
For more information, or to register, just go to the main site or click here. It’s a great opportunity to get some of your questions answered, and get a better sense of the admissions process straight from some of the people who will be evaluating you (including, of course, how they weigh and interpret your GMAT scores).
Your GMAT Scores are good for 5 years . . . but to which date?
At our business school panel in Chicago earlier this month, specific schools clarified their policies:
a. At Chicago GSB and Kellogg, your scores are good if they are within 5 years of your application date.
b. However, at Harvard, the score should be 5 years before your matriculation date, which may be a year after you apply.
As a result, if you took the test 4 or 5 years before you plan on applying, you should check the specific policies at the schools in question. Still, for most people this is a total non-issue, as 4 or 5 years is plenty of time during which to apply to business school after taking the GMAT. Good for you if you’re planning ahead!
The ManhattanGMAT Practice Test Assessment Reports have officially gone live.
If you are a student at ManhattanGMAT, simply go to:
There, you will have the option to Generate Assessment Reports. Simply mark which practice tests you would like to include (the more tests the better, generally).
We have already received tremendous positive feedback regarding this new feature of the practice exams.
Hope that you’re as excited about this latest offering as we are! It should be of immense value to students in helping to define their relative strengths and weaknesses in preparing for the GMAT.
Most students, during our interactions with them, assume that it’s a bad thing, from a business school’s perspective, for an applicant to take the GMAT more than once. However, this is not really the case. In fact, many business schools see taking the test more than once as a sign of persistence and perseverance, and positively regard the applicant that wants to get into the best possible program.
But what if someone embodies the extreme, taking the GMAT 5 or 6 times? Last week, at our panel in Chicago, we asked admissions officers from 3 top schools, Harvard, Kellogg, and Chicago GSB this question, with interesting results:
Harvard – HBS asks you to self-report how many times you have taken the GMAT, and if it’s five or more, they tend to discount the top result a little bit as a result of preparation.
Kellogg – 5 or more times taking the GMAT is also regarded as a slight negative in relation to one’s score, similar to Harvard.
Chicago – The number of times one takes the test is irrelevant.
They all agreed, however, that taking the GMAT 2, 3, or 4 times was not any cause for concern, and that they would only consider the applicant’s highest score.
So the takeaway for applicants is that you should get the best score you can, and feel comfortable that you have up to 4 tries without doing your application any harm. When you’re up to 4 though, you may want to accept your highest GMAT score as given and proceed with your applications at that point, at least for certain schools.
Several interesting points came out of the Admissions Officer Panel held at our Chicago center this week. Possibly the most interesting was that Harvard Business School, represented by Assistant Director of MBA Admissions Nereyda Salinas, is focusing on increasing applicants to its program directly out of college. To back up this commitment, Harvard is offering undergraduate applicants:
1. Waived application fee (ordinarily $235);
2. Deferral and/or Postponement – HBS may either defer your admission to another year if you’d rather work for a year, or also postpone your admission if they feel another year or two would help you develop as an MBA candidate; and
3. Feedback – Harvard will give feedback to any college senior denied admission.
Sure enough, all of the above is indicated at Harvard’s website:
I think this would be very surprising to most young applicants, as most people believe that business schools want you to develop a long work history before applying.
Still, don’t be discouraged if you’re applying to Harvard and you graduated a while ago – many applicants to HBS remain professionals who have been out of school a good long while.
We’ll have a couple of other insights from our panel early next week from Chicago GSB and Kellogg.