How Meaningful Is The GMAT?
The GMAT is important for b-school admissions. But does it predict success beyond that? GMAC never claimed that it does, and according to research from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, the answer is no: their data suggests that the GMAT is not predictive of employability.
Their study is based on a review of Rotman MBA grads’ admission files and employment outcomes over several years. They analyzed numerous factors, including students’ performance on admission interviews, their undergrad GPAs, their TOEFL scores, their Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) scores, their years of pre-MBA work experience, etc. Each of these elements was found to be more meaningful for candidates’ future employability than their GMAT scores. For example, a strong AWA or admissions interview was found to be predictive of future employment success, while 10+ years of work experience proved to be a warning sign, with these candidates more likely to be unemployed 3 months after graduation.
Because of the significance of rankings that use GMAT scores, such as US News, the GMAT can take on an outsized importance, with schools often reserving scholarship funds for high scorers in a bid to boost their averages.
With this research in hand, Rotman plans to consider a range of factors as it builds its class—particularly achievements and qualities, such as communication skills, that indicate that a candidate has strong potential for success both in b-school and in his/her future career. While Rotman will continue to use the GMAT in admissions, and the admissions office will make sure that Rotman’s average GMAT does not dip below 660, the admissions staff will place increased emphasis on factors such as the AWA and the interview, especially when awarding scholarship funds.
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