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6 truths about the GMAT
Merril Diniz
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January 25, 2005

Students cramming for the Graduate Management Admission Test, pay heed.

You invest a bomb to get a brilliant GMAT score, your ticket to a good management education in the US. But is a good score all it takes to make the cut?

Career counsellor Shivani Manchanda, who specialises in overseas education, says the screening process demands much more of a candidate than just a 650+ figure to gain admission to a really good B-school.

She shares some useful nuggets on how to create the perfect application for Get Ahead readers:

~ A sound academic record is important!

Yes. It is not just the score that is important, your average academic record while at college, known as GPA, is, too.

Every management school sets a standard for the GPA. For instance, one school would require a GPA of 50 percent, while another would require 72 percent. Now if only you had performed as well throughout college as you will in your GMAT.

~ Work experience: a plus

Contrary to popular belief, students with a lower GMAT score and a better 'quality' of work experience often succeed in gaining admission over someone with a higher score!

Leadership, conflict resolution and team building are highly valued management learnings. Also, prominent brand names do add value.

~ Have you participated in community events?

Yet another factor that will stand you in good stead is your active participation in events like college fests like IIT's Mood Indigo or St Xavier's Malhar.

So if you have experience in fund raising, being part of the organising committee or any other, do highlight them.

~ Social service: another facet to your personality

Worked for an NGO or participated in any form of social work? Don't forget to pack these into your applications too.

~ Capture your learnings effectively

There is no point in rattling off these accomplishments if the professor sifting through your essay cannot understand your management learnings.

Your essays must articulate your learnings effectively to make an impression.

If you have a natural flair for writing, good for you. But if your writing skills are not exactly up to the mark, seek assistance!

i. Start by noting down the basic content of the essays yourself because only you know what you have accomplished best.

ii. Then ask a friend or someone with strong communication skills to help you get the flow and the language right.

iii. Also engage a professional consultant to help you write your essays for a fee.

iv. The practice of copying essays from the Internet is a no-no! Professors have a knack for spotting a copy, because they sift through a mammoth number of applications every year. But do use them as a reference and source of inspiration.

v. Other than that, your essay must feature your personal experiences and be as original as possible.

~ When should you apply?

i. If you want to target the August 2005 semester, it is already too late now, as application deadlines end between January and February.

ii. In this scenario, you should have taken the GMAT in October 2004.

iii. Planning to make it in session 2006? Start gearing up now, so you have enough buffer time to do your applications thoroughly.

iv. Remember to use discretion while applying to a school -- each application will cost you approximately $100 (Rs 4,365)! If you have a bad score, you might as well not apply to the top schools and definitely not the Ivy Leagues!

Think of your application packet as an embodiment of your dreams, ambitions, sensibilities and capabilities. What is inside will determine the impressions you make and, in turn, the realisation of your career aspirations.

Give it your best shot. Make your application nothing less than a work of art!


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