Articles published in June 2010

Manhattan GMAT 2010 Grant Program

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A while ago we wrote about the Manhattan GMAT Grant program. We are now pleased to announce that we have awarded 2010 Non-Profit Staff Grants to two incredibly worthy organizations.

The first is The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School in Washington Heights (established by Manhattan GMAT founder Zeke Vanderhoek). A number of MGMAT employees had the pleasure of visiting the school during its first year of operation and seeing the impressive progress already made in its 5th grade classrooms.

The second organization receiving a 2010 grant is Coro, an organization that prepares high school students, young and mid-career professionals, and individuals working with immigrant communities to become active civic leaders in their city. The MGMAT team had the chance to attend the 2010 Coro Civic Leadership Awards in New York this year and learn about the wonderful work being done by the Coro Fellows, Youth Ambassadors, and recent program alums.

Both TEP and Coro will receive $5,000 grants from Manhattan GMAT this year. We are thrilled to be supporting two such worthy institutions, and look forward to seeing more great things from them in the coming year!

Our First Look at Integrated Reasoning

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Details about the new Integrated Reasoning section continue to trickle in.

Business Week turned up this YouTube video, produced by the GMAC, which provides a first look at the new questions:

They’ve also posted an interview with Dave Wilson, CEO of GMAC, as well as one with a student who took the new test as part of a pilot program.

The Wall Street Journal also talked to Mr. Wilson, who explained the reasoning behind integrated reasoning. He said the new section is designed to test another skill set: “If you know your algebra, you’ll do fine in the quantitative, if you know your vocabulary, you’ll do fine in the verbal. But this section is about developing solutions to problems”including analyzing data you may not even have in front of you.”

We’ll keep you updated as more info emerges!

99th percentile

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We received an e-mail earlier this week from a happy student reporting that he’d gotten a 760. This was great news, but not particularly newsworthy, as, happily, we get good news like this very often.

However, he also mentioned that his 760 score was good for a 98th percentile. This was a surprise, as 760 has been the bar for a 99th percentile since 2007 or so (before then it was a 750). Apparently, the threshold has JUST been raised to a 770 for a 99th percentile score!

What does this mean? It means that GMAT scores continue to climb, particularly at the high end. Indeed, average GMAT scores have climbed 14 points in the last 4 years and we suspect that, as more students use Manhattan GMAT, we’ll see this trend continue. 🙂

Study hard!

P.S. Manhattan GMAT requires a 99th percentile score for its Instructors, so it looks like the bar for incoming Instructor candidates has just risen. We are looking in several markets (New York, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco), so if you know any extraordinary teachers who fit the bill, please send them our way!

Addendum:

After reaching out to GMAC to confirm this score breakdown, we have heard that as of the latest test update (for July), a 760 is still a 99th percentile score.

New GMAT Section Announced

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There’s big news from the GMAC.

Perhaps because they are feeling the competition as more schools begin to accept the GRE, the GMAC has announced that it will add a new section to the test called Integrated Reasoning.

According to the GMAC, this new section is designed to measure people’s ability to evaluate information from multiple sources.  It was created with a goal of making the GMAT ever more relevant to business school. The GMAC has been polling faculty at business schools for the past four years, and this new development stems directly from their feedback.

The Integrated Reasoning section, writes BusinessWeek, will involve analyzing charts and data points, and even include audio. It will last 30 minutes and replace one of the current essays (the AWA.) The total exam will remain three and a half hours long, and the AWA and Integrated Reasoning sections will be graded separately from the quantitative and verbal portions of the test.

So what does this mean for GMAT test-takers?

Chris Ryan, our director of product and instructor development, noted that because this new section will not affect the main section of the test, GMAT-takers should not worry about huge differences.  Students should continue to focus most on the verbal and math portions of the test.

While the Integrated Reasoning section may give the GRE’s data interpretation section a run for its money, Chris sees it as a smart move on the GMAC’s part to integrate what could be quite similar to a mini business case.

As for admissions, Chris believes that because members of the business school faculty were instrumental in suggesting and implementing the change, the new Integrated Reasoning section may take a higher place than the AWA, but the unchanged verbal and math sections will still be the most important parts.

Students do not have to feel like it’s going to change the preparation for the test all that much, said Chris Ryan.

For more information, check out these articles:

GMAC press release

BusinessWeek: The GMAT Gets a Makeover

Financial Times: GMAT revamp focuses on reasoning

Inside Higher Ed: Multiple Task Questions

Bloomberg: GMAT Test for Business School Has Biggest Change in Decade

Is It Really All About Location, Location, Location?

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There are lots of factors to consider when choosing an MBA program, from curriculum to size. But with more b-schools opening their doors across the globe, there’s another thing to think about: location.

The Economist reports MBA programs”especially abroad”are placing more and more emphasis on their location. Cass Business School trumpets its location in London’s Financial District. SDA Bocconi points to its home in Milan and talks up its connections to the luxury goods sector. Other programs suggest there’s inherent value for future leaders in experiencing another business culture.

For European students, that foreign business culture might be the United States. According to this bit from MBA Channel, multiple European schools have recently taken the big step of opening American campuses. Spain’s IESE Business School just opened a branch in New York City. France’s SKEMA is currently working on its US location, which will specifically target Europeans who want to study in America. For European students America is a dream, says Alice Guilhon, SKEMA’s dean. And an outpost in the US will boost SKEMA’s prestige, as well: To be well-known in America is leverage for the visibility of the school in the world.

But as the Economist points out, location could soon become completely irrelevant. Young people have grown up interacting and building relationships online, and modern technology threatens to make distance an obsolete obstacle. In 20 or even 10 years, students might not need to cross an ocean to learn international practices.

Even so, Skype can’t replace eating gelato in front of the Duomo or strolling through Hyde Park.

Better Job Market Means Picky MBAs

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The recession has unleashed a wave of articles about the job market for MBAs. First came the bad news that hiring was down, then we saw articles explaining how it’s getting better again. We also saw MBAs expanding their career goals, from casinos to health care.

Now, US News reports that 2010 grads are faring better than the class of 2009. This is good news: with hiring more or less back on track, it looks like b-school graduates are out to get a job in what they want, not what they can find.

The Financial Times reports that because students are finding more jobs than last year, they are holding out for what they specialized in. Rob Weiler, the director of the career services center at UCLA Anderson School of Management, says, “The students have learned to expect the worst after all they’ve gone through, but from what I’ve seen most are ploughing ahead and are optimistic that they will get what they want. There’s not a ton of people settling.”

The takeaway? Go after what you trained for. Things are looking up!

More MBAs Out to Save the World

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MBAs are famously high earners, but a new breed of grads is getting serious about doing well by doing good. According to this article at Business Week, there are more opportunities than ever for b-school students who want to make a difference. While socially conscious MBAs once toiled away at non-profits, making a fraction of their classmates’ salaries, today’s grads are betting they can turn a profit tackling society’s ills. “Today’s problems are massive”and they represent tomorrow’s opportunities,” says John Woolard, Haas MBA and CEO of BrightSource Energy, which builds solar-power plants. Companies cited in the article are taking on big issues like recycling, childhood obesity, and affordable higher education.

But while the new possibilities for a big payday are certainly appealing, money isn’t grads’ number one concern. Many say they just want to contribute to a cause they’re passionate about. “If you believe in something, you go for it because it makes you happy,” says Ron Gonen, who burned through his savings and strained his credit cards to launch his business, RecycleBank.

We’re always quick to point out the multitude of options offered by an MBA. Isn’t it nice to know saving the world is among them?

Why You Still Need an MBA

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We’ve heard a lot of bad news about the job market recently “ articles have been popping up about the difficulties MBAs are having finding jobs (though that may be starting to change) and more MBAs are exploring alternate careers. With all this news, should you still go to business school?

This CNN article gives several major reasons, from employers who expect an MBA, to how an MBA can show your dedication to the field. Elizabeth Freedman, author of “The MBA Student’s Job-Seeking Bible” and “Work 101: Learning the Ropes of the Workplace Without Hanging Yourself,” writes that “Having an MBA — as opposed to just a bachelor’s degree in business “ is sort of like traveling someplace by plane instead of taking the train. With either business degree, you may eventually wind up at your final ‘destination’ “ but the MBA will get you there faster.”

Overall, the article makes a good case for why you should still elect to go to business school.

Career Services is Taking Care of Business School Students

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Job prospects for MBAs are picking up thanks in large part to the diligent efforts of business schools’ career offices, according to this Wall Street Journal article.

Career services officers at MBA programs nationwide have been working extra hard this year. HBS, for example, boosted their recruiting budget 50 percent and engaged employers more actively at conferences in Shanghai and Paris. The school also started a fellowship to cover students’ travel costs for interviews. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business tripled its employer development staff. Stanford started an online forum allowing career services to act as a matchmaker between students and potential employers. “We are almost able to act like an eHarmony between students, alumni and companies,” says the director of the school’s career management center.

The numbers suggest that all that work is paying off: At the end of the year, 85 percent of Harvard grads had offers, along with 80 percent at Booth. Meanwhile, at Stanford, job postings for students were up 70 percent over last year. Heartening statistics, to say the least. They’re also a good argument for picking a school with solid career counseling.

American B-Schools Eye Indian Expansion

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With the national number of GMAT test-takers rising to 267,000 last year, India is clearly a big source of b-school applicants. We wrote about the GMAC’s new office in the country a couple of months ago, but that’s not the only US-based institution looking to India for expansion. According to this article, several American business schools hope to build campuses on the subcontinent.

Why now? Historically, foreign schools haven’t been allowed to operate in India. Instead, they’ve had to partner with native institutions. But the Indian parliament is currently considering a bill that would open the country’s educational system to outsiders. American institutions including Duke’s Fuqua School of Business are marshalling forces to open new Indian outposts as soon ASAP if the legislation goes through. They’re talking to local officials, shopping for land, and drawing up building schematics.

The bill comes in response to ever-increasing demand for spots at the nation’s top universities and business schools. Application rates are simply too high for existing schools to accommodate, and many students don’t want to go abroad. The numbers are staggering. One figure estimates India will need 600 more universities and 35,000 more colleges over the next 12 years. India has 14 million enrolled students; the Parthenon Group, an educational consulting firm, estimates economic growth will boost that number to 22 million by 2014. “The volume of students looking for education is just unbelievable,” says Eileen Peacock, VP for the Asia office of the Association to Advance Collegiate Studies of Business.

Lots of details aren’t clear yet, like the tuition and fees schools could charge and how the admissions process will work. Plus, universities will have to cough up an $11 million fee to enter the country. And there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to attract Indian students in large enough numbers, especially the less well-known institutions. But they’ve certainly got plenty of demand to work with.