Tag Archives | Yale SOM

What MBA Schools Think of Admissions Consultants

aigac conferenceIt’s natural for MBA students to worry, and indeed they do. One thing they shouldn’t worry about is the use of an admissions consultant. Well, at least an ethical and professional admissions consultant, that is.  So here it is in black and white from one top school: Tuck.  They say it’s really OK. In their words,

Reputable consultants have experience in MBA programs and a broad understanding of the variety of schools out there. Consultants can also assist on the path to reflection and discovery.

See? Nothing to worry about.

Not exactly. Tuck, and every other school I know of is very clear: the work has to be yours. If someone you pay can help you make that hard work more focused, and less stressful, GREAT! If they guarantee they or their method will get you in, RUN! And if they offer to write anything for you, “HANG UP!”

Also, not every admissions consultant will be the right fit for you. I (Betsy of Master Admissions) have one style, and my colleague Candy of MBASpain, has another. And the many experienced consultants at the big firms, like MBA Exchange, have a range of different skills and offerings. It depends on what is right for you.

That’s what Tuck is saying here — the right consultant can help. Read what they say in their own words here. We had a terrifically productive day with the admissions committee at Tuck in June. And we stay in touch with them regularly, to understand what’s new with the school and its value proposition.

Tuck is not the only school who has met with admissions consultants and hosted us. The list is robust, in Boston alone we saw MIT Sloan, HBS, HKS, and had conversations with visiting admissions officers from Wharton, Columbia, Yale, Darden, Texas, UCLA, Babson, LBS, INSEAD, Haas, and more I am forgetting. We’ve been hosted by Stanford GSB in Palo Alto and by Chicago Booth virtually. So yes, if you do it right, admission officers “get it” that using a consultant may just make the difference for you.

GRE & GMAT Percentiles, Timing, Details

GMAT test successAnswers technical questions about GMAT and GRE percentiles, the opportunity to retake, cancelling the score,  and other puzzling mysteries.

These days, more and more students are taking the GRE, and that’s great. It is a slightly different style test from the GMAT, it is administered by a different organization, and it is likely to be more useful for those embarking on joint degrees in schools like environmental science, education, and international policy.

It’s been about four years since business schools started taking the GRE in force, and that means that the data set is now large enough to have some predictive ability (to the extent that any standardized test has predictive ability). We’re still seeing some confusion about what is known as the GRE-to-GMAT conversion tool.

Subscores more important than overall score

I’ve linked to it, but schools have their own ways of looking at scores.  The first thing to remember, GMAT or GRE, is that it is about the subscore. That is, the quant and verbal breakdown.  Don’t believe me? Here’s Dee Leopold in her HBS Blog “From the Admissions Director

We care less about the overall score than we do about the components.

There’s an old rule, but one that seems to be changing, that the top schools hoped you would get at least an 80% on each of the components.  If you look at the GMAT (as of the the Sept. 17, 2015 webpage on the MBA.com website), you’d have to get a raw score of 49 for the quant (78%) and 36 for the verbal (80%). That would work out to a 690 or 700. More on that below.

For the GRE, the 80th percentile is a 161 for quant, and a 159 for verbal.  The GRE folks also offer a conversion-to-GMAT tool, but my sense is that it is flawed and that admissions committees are getting familiar enough with the data to just look at the GRE numbers. A very interesting article in Poets & Quants, which is about one year old, lists some of the top schools’ average GRE scores. The article claims that by using the comparative tool, the GRE scores are lower.  Maybe. But it all goes back to the subscore.  Look at Yale SOM, possibly the highest-ranked school on the list. That school’s average quant GRE was 160 Verbal/162 Quant, which works out to be about 85% verbal and 83% quant.

In that same Poets & Quants article, one of my colleagues in the admissions business, Linda Abraham, wrote something in the comments that made a lot of sense, and I often pass her comment along to students.  Linda is very experienced, and has a lot of friends in the industry.  She wrote,

Many admissions offices pay more attention to the percentile score than the raw GRE score. In fact several years ago, but after they were already accepting the GRE, I attended a panel with admissions officers from top programs and they hadn’t even heard of the comparative tool mentioned in this article. They were relying on percentiles to evaluate applicants and compare GRE vs GMAT.

My suggestion for test takers is to go with which ever one makes you feel more comfortable. You will not be penalized for taking the GRE. My guess is that the 80% guideline applies for the GRE, so make that your target if you are aiming for the top schools.

For the GMAT, things are a little skewed these days. The 80% guideline doesn’t really work, because a 49 is just really high. I advise students to aim for a 48 (76%) or above. I’ve seen plenty of great students get in with 47 (70%) scores as well. As for verbal, I actually think that native speakers of English should aim for an 85% or above. Most people I speak with actually do much better than that.

Retaking the test, and how often

As for timing, the GMAT folks now allow you to take the test once every 16 calendar days. That means that you could theoretically take the test up to the maximum five times before 2016!  You probably don’t want to take it that often, but as we get closer to deadlines, you will be thankful that you can take within roughly two weeks of your last test. The GRE offers a 21-day retake cycle.

Most admissions officers expect to see you retake the test if you don’t meet your target score. That’s natural.  You might even need to retake it more than once.  That’s fine too. Five times in three months might look a little desperate, so I don’t recommend going that route.

I’ve also had questions about switching over from GMAT to GRE.  That’s fine. Schools will take the highest score you self-report. Except Columbia — which may have changed their policy of using your GMAT score even if you self-reported the GRE.

Note:  Much of what I’ve written above is my opinion. Except where I have quoted an admissions officer, or linked to a GMAT/GRE website, the rest is hearsay.  So please, caveat emptor.

 

GMAT or GRE?

GMAT test successFor those who are applying to business school,  the question arises: should I take the GMAT or GRE?

Or if you’ve already taken one or the other,  you may be wondering if you should have taken a different test.

In all honesty, I think the answer is either, but it’s not entirely black and white.  These days, just about every top US business school accepts the GRE.  But read the fine print. Not all schools value it equally (UCLA for example) and some even have quirks (Columbia).

You’ll see a list at the end of this article that indicates, at least of this writing, which do and which do not. I’ve also put links to the school websites for further explanation. Things change all the time. The most recent data shows about 10% of students are using the GRE, and the numbers are growing.

Why do schools even take the GRE? Because they are casting a wider net to get more interesting students, and because they realize that lots of students think about joint degree programs.

Harvard Business School was one of the first schools to accept the GRE, because, as Dee Leopold said in 2009

HBS: Since many HBS applicants are also considering graduate programs besides the MBA, there is now no need for them to take the GMAT if they have already taken the GRE. We believe that the GMAT and the GRE meet our expectations of what a standardized test can tell us about a candidate’s ability to thrive in our MBA Program.

The Rumor Mill
Face it, both tests are standardized, and both are computer adaptive.  They are both annoying and require more studying than you want. Most, but not all schools are perfectly happy to take either. For example, this line is from Michigan Ross’s application instructions:

ROSS:Your performance on either exam will be used as part of our assessment of your academic ability, and you are at no advantage or disadvantage by taking one exam instead of the other.

But other schools, such as UCLA Anderson, strongly prefer the GMAT

ANDERSON: We prefer GMAT scores as the common denominator by which we have historically compared candidates, but we accept the GRE now as well.

That means you have to check carefully and rely on what you read and hear from admissions officers, beyond what is on chat boards, and even blogs like mine.

I thought the next few lines were hearsay, but they were just confirmed, May 30, 2014, in person, by senior members of the admissions office at Columbia.

COLUMBIA BUSINESS SCHOOL: If we have a GMAT score, we are going to use that. We will disregard the GRE.

I had a student who took the GRE for Columbia, did well, but felt he wanted to take the GMAT to prove his quant mettle. He didn’t do well because he had an off day, but because he HAD taken the test, Columbia took his GMAT instead of the GRE. What would have happened if he didn’t report the GMAT? Who ever knows? (He went to Yale SOM anyway, his first choice).

Other schools are much more relaxed.  At a May 2014 conference, Isser Gallogly, Assistant Dean of Admissions at NYU Stern, suggested that students try the GRE if they are sub-par in the GMAT.

NYU STERN: If someone is struggling with one test, try the other, the GRE

Your Quant Score
Most admissions officers admit that they want to see a balanced score on both verbal and quant. The general buzz is that around 80% on both is about right, but there’s definitely some give on both sides. So don’t fear if you get a 47 on the quant, which is turning out to be a 78% these days. As for the GRE, the population on the quant side is a bit less numbers oriented, so if you get an 80% in that pool, it’s pretty well known that you are being measured against a different population, usually not as quant-oriented as GMAT test takers. So shoot for a higher percentage, say about 85% on quant.

If you are worried about how you look by taking one test vs. another, I say, don’t worry unless they really make a point of it (like UCLA). All you need to do is get it over the net, and they pretty much tell you what a normal distribution looks like. Get within one standard deviation of the average, and you are fine.

Having said all that, if test taking is not your forte, you really should take a GRE or GMAT course. You don’t know what you don’t know about your own study habits. It’s worth the investment.

Future Employer Preference on GMAT vs GRE

One more thing–and perhaps this deserves a blog post all to itself, employers will take any statistics you throw that them.  At least that’s what representatives of the Career Development Office at Yale SOM stated on May 27, 2014, “Employers love points of data wherever they can find it. So gre or gmat doesn’t matter. They do like the numbers!”

MBA Programs: GRE in addition to GMAT

School GRE? Link
Cambridge YES Cambridge Judge
Chicago YES Chicago Booth
Columbia YES Columbia Business School
Cornell YES Cornell Johnson
Darden YES UVA Darden
Duke YES Duke Fuqua
HBS YES Harvard Business School
INSEAD YES INSEAD
Kellogg YES Kellogg MBA
Mich Ross YES University of Michigan Ross
MIT Sloan YES MIT Sloan
NYU Stern YES NYU Stern
Stanford YES Stanford GSB
Tepper YES Carnegie Mellon Tepper
Texas YES Texas McCombs
Tuck YES Dartmouth Tuck
UCLA YES UCLA Anderson (GMAT Preferred)
Wharton YES Wharton MBA
Yale YES Yale School of Management
Haas YES UC Berkeley Haas (Part-time YES)
LBS NO London Business School
Oxford NO Oxford Said

If you are looking for more schools the ETS link has a full list of MBA programs which accept the GRE.  Further, to confuse, or perhaps clarify you, ETS also has a GRE-to-GMAT converter.

UPDATED: June 5, 2014.

Interested in admissions consulting? Email me at betsy@masteradmissions.com

Just have a question? post it at my Wall Street Oasis forum

Go Global with an MBA Exchange Program

The World is Your Oyster

Many MBA programs allow for, if not encourage or require,  study abroad, and students who leave, as well as those who host, are amazed at how much they learn.

International exchange programs were brought home to me at a Forté Foundation event last week in San Francisco when I met Katie Cannon,  a London Business School student currently on exchange at UCLA Anderson. Katie’s infectious enthusiasm for LBS and international study—and her passion for the arts and her interest in media management— make a semester in LA perfect for her.  There’s no question that the Anderson students will be learning from Katie as much as she will be learning from them.

Katie is hardly the only one studying abroad during business school.   More than half of the top MBA programs offer full-term international exchange programs. London Business School is a good example. It’s a particularly international school; about 35% of its students spend a semester in a foreign country, and a typical class may have people from over 60 different countries.  To facilitate exchange, LBS partners with over 30 schools worldwide, and students at those schools can also study in London.

UCLA Anderson, located in southern California, is an ideal exchange choice for students like Katie who want to pursue careers in film, television, or talent management—or even financial services and venture capital.  It’s also a great home-base business school for students who want to study abroad— 20% participate in an international exchange.   UCLA—along with Cornell Johnson, Duke Fuqua, NYU Stern, Chicago Booth, and Michigan Ross—is a member of the Partnership in International Management network , an international consortium of business schools, and it also has exchange agreements with schools outside that network.

UC Berkeley Haas offers exchange programs established with several leading b-schools, “if,” says the website, “you can bear to be away from Berkeley.” (Click on the Haas link for useful descriptions of each of the exchange schools.)  In addition to international offerings, Haas also has an exchange with Columbia Business School, giving students the chance to spend a semester in New York City.

Most other top schools require some form of international experience during their MBA years. For example, Yale School of Management mandates that students take a short-term trip abroad in the second semester of the first year.  Professors lead the trips in countries they specialize in, from Brazil to Estonia to Israel to Japan.  Yale also offers a more traditional fall term international exchange for second year students.  Stanford GSB  also mandates a “Global Experience Requirement” which can be fulfilled by study trips or a summer immersion program.

Another resource for current or prospective b-school students interested in international study are the Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs), created by Congress in 1988.  To date, there are 33 CIBERs, located at universities around the country, including UNC Kenan-Flager, University of Texas McCombs, and George Washington University.

It’s all there for the asking – so make sure your passport is up-to-date and push yourself out of your comfort zone.


More MBA Schools Accept the GRE & GMAT

Hot off the press,  Kellogg’s full-time MBA program now accepts the GRE.  As does Cornell’s Johnson School.  Here’s the updated list as of September 7, 2011. It’s always great to check; it wasn’t on the Kellogg website until I emailed and — voila! There’s no harm in asking!

School GRE? Link
Columbia YES Columbia Business School
Cornell YES Cornell Johnson
Darden YES UVA Darden
HBS YES Harvard Business School
INSEAD YES INSEAD
Kellogg YES Kellogg MBA
Mich Ross YES University of Michigan Ross
MIT Sloan YES MIT Sloan
NYU Stern YES NYU Stern
Stanford YES Stanford GSB 
Tepper YES Carnegie Mellon Tepper
Texas YES Texas McCombs 
Tuck YES Dartmouth Tuck 
Wharton YES Wharton MBA
Yale YES Yale School of Management 
Duke MAYBE Duke Fuqua 
Cambridge NO Cambridge Judge
Chicago NO Chicago Booth 
Haas NO UC Berkeley Haas
LBS NO London Business School
Oxford NO Oxford Said
UCLA NO UCLA Anderson 

If you are looking for more schools the ETS link has a full list of MBA programs which accept the GRE.