## Articles published in June 2008

### GMAC comes down hard on Scoretop

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Businessweek is following up on the recent enforcement action by GMAC against a website, Scoretop, that illicitly gave students access to ‘real’ GMAT questions. It’s very interesting reading.

Perhaps the most fascinating effect is that students who used the now-defunct site may be barred from applying to Business School, or even expelled if they’re already in a program! GMAC is now reportedly going through Scoretop’s hard drives to find the identities of past users of the site, with serious repercussions for confirmed users.

The lesson is that you may want to be careful what resources you use to prepare for the GMAT, as the consequences could be FAR worse than a subpar score. Certainly run the other way if anyone purports to have ‘real’ questions, as the only publicly available questions are available from GMAC itself (the Official Guides, GMAT Prep, GMAT Focus, old paper tests). Note that ManhattanGMAT recommends all of GMAC’s resources as the best and only way to get access to GMAT questions straight from the source. As we’re fond of saying around here at MGMAT, there really are no shortcuts to getting a high score!

### GMAT Focus

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As I talk to students, it’s clear that the vast majority have not yet heard of GMAC’s new GMAT Focus math preparation tests.

As these tests are likely to help many students, and our write-up has been pushed off the front page, here it is again. Check out the write-up, as any students that are studying for the GMAT and concerned about the math portion of the test should consider using this new resource from GMAC.

### MGMAT Expansion

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We get frequent questions about ManhattanGMAT offering classes in areas where we’re not currently available. Questions vary from various major metropolitan areas here in the U.S. all the way to India. This is even taking into account our online course offerings, as some people (understandably) are eager for an in-person class in the vicinity

There is some good news – we’ve been fortunate enough to find some truly remarkable teachers in some areas where we haven’t been available before. Keep an eye out in Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston, for starters. Plus, one of our top Instructors is moving to Charlotte this summer. Another is moving to Montreal in the Fall. So we’re getting there.

Of course, we would like to be everywhere our students want us to be. But for us the issue is, and always has been, Instructors. Can we find an Instructor that knocks students’ socks off? Of course, the candidate in question has to have scored a 99th percentile on the GMAT (currently a 760+), and have teaching experience. If her or she sounds good on the phone, we then fly him or her to New York for a multi-part teaching audition. Of candidates that are flown in, we extend an offer to 1 in 5.

You can see why expansion is painstaking and deliberate. There have been candidates that have been tougher calls than others, but if anything, we’re rougher on candidates in new markets because we know what they’re inheriting – they have to be the Instructor that people have been waiting for.

We’re so eager to find Instructors that meet our standards, and our students’ lofty expectations, that we offer a $1,000 finder’s fee for anyone that refers us to an Instructor (in addition to the$1,000 signing bonus for the Instructor him or herself). So if you’d like MGMAT to come to your area, maybe you can even help by spreading the word! People in your neighborhood will thank you, and you may wind up the richer for it (literally and figuratively).

### Current GMAT Trends

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With all of the terrible headlines out there, conventional wisdom would hold that many more people (e.g. displaced individuals from the financial sector) would be applying to business schools this year.

A quick check of GMAT testing volume data for 2008 shows an 11.19% increase over the same period in 2007 – up to 101,039. So that would seem to agree with the overall picture.

However, the majority of that increase is actually accounted for by non-U.S. test-takers, as the growth rate among this group was 19.34% over the period. U.S. test-takers grew a more modest 7.01% in the first 5 months of the year, pretty consistent with the 6% year-over-year growth in the U.S. between 2006 and 2007.

So what’s the takeaway? Though it certainly seems competitive out there, the numbers don’t show a tidal wave of new U.S. B-school applicants in 2008, at least not yet.

If you’re curious, this data is taken straight from the GMAC website.

### 99th percentile?

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I had a conversation today with an Instructor for another company who was interested in joining ManhattanGMAT (not uncommon). This candidate had received a 99th percentile on the GMAT in the early 90’s with a 720.

Yes, a 720 was a 99th percentile at a certain point in time. But this score was generated before the GMAT became computer-adaptive, in 1998. So the question is, is it fair to represent that this person is a 99th percentile Instructor? It’s literally true, but we don’t think that current students would appreciate the distinction. A student trying to learn how to tackle today’s computer-adaptive test would expect the Instructor to have gotten a 99th percentile on the same test, not yesteryear’s paper version.

Here at ManhattanGMAT, our standard is 99th percentile on the current computer-adaptive version of the GMAT. So this particular candidate was told to re-take the test and get the score in order to be considered.

The candidate’s current company is apparently okay with billing this individual as a 99th percentile Instructor, and perhaps it is open to interpretation. But we’d prefer to err on what we’d see as the students’ side on this one.