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Five Myths about the MBA and the GMAT exam
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12th May, 2009 | Source : Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

: An MBA is best suited for those who want to work for a big company.

Reality: An MBA can help you to be successful in almost any organization.

Many MBAs are successful executives in large corporations, but there are just as many working in nonprofits, healthcare organizations, higher education, arts management, the military, and government. Some people get MBAs so they can start their own businesses or manage a small family business. Surveyed just before graduation, 38 percent of the MBA class of 2009 say they plan to work in organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees.

With an MBA, you can pursue a career in a wide range of industries and in different types of organizations, from a big business or a business of one.

Myth: The business school culture tends not to be supportive of women.

Reality: There are big differences among schools, and some are better than others at attracting and supporting women on campus.

All businesses are not the same, and neither are all business schools. Talk to school representatives, current students, and alumni to see if the school you’re interested in offers the culture and kind of experiences you want.

Ultimately, differences in satisfaction with school culture don’t vary much by gender. Male members of the MBA class of 2009 were a little more likely than female members to say they were extremely satisfied by their school’s culture, 27.3 percent to 24.4 percent. But in general, 95 percent of graduating MBAs of both genders said they were somewhat to extremely satisfied with their school culture.

Myth: I need a GMAT score in the high 700s to get into a good business school.

Reality: Very, very few people get super-high GMAT scores. Out of a maximum score of 800, only 1 percent of those taking the test each year score 760 or above.

Remember that the GMAT exam is just one piece of your application packet. Admissions officers use GMAT scores in conjunction with undergraduate record, applications essays, interviews, letters of recommendation, and other information when deciding whom to accept into their programs.

Myth: It is more important to answer each question correctly than it is to finish the test.

Reality: There is a severe penalty for not completing the GMAT exam. If you are stumped by a question, give it your best guess and move on. If you guess incorrectly, the computer program will likely give you an easier question, which you are likely to answer correctly, and the computer will return to giving you questions matched to your ability. But if you don’t finish the test, your score will be reduced greatly. If you fail to answer five verbal questions, for example, your score could drop from the 91st percentile to the 77th percentile. Pacing is very important.

Myth: If an easier question follows a hard question, it means I got the harder question wrong.

Reality: Not necessarily. The GMAT exam is computer adaptive, and the test must give you a specific number of questions of each type. The test may call for your next question to be a relatively hard problem solving question involving arithmetic operations. But, if there is not a more relatively difficult problem solving question.

Most people are not skilled at estimating a “hard” vs. an “easy” question. Don’t worry when taking the test or waste valuable time trying to determine the difficulty of the questions you are answering.

For more information about the GMAT exam, the MBA, and others aspect of graduate management education, go to mba.com.



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