Archive for June, 2010

Dave Wilson, President of GMAC, on the new Integrated Reasoning section

Dave Wilson, President of GMAC, who run the GMAT, responds to the question as to why they have introduced a new section to the GMAT: “We surveyed faculty. They told us [about MBA candidates with the current GMAT] ‘we know they’ve got the skills in quant and the skills in verbal, but what we don’t know is whether they are able to analyse, to assimilate, to convert data, to assess whether or not it’s valid, to interpret it, to draw inferences. If you could ever come up with questions that were really microcosms of what goes on in the MBA classroom, that would help us in determining whether the candidate will thrive in our classroom.’ So we took that and have created an Integrative Reasoning section to the GMAT that will require candidates to look at data in multiple formats.” See video here.


GMAC announce major changes to GMAT

Sorry I haven’t posted for a few days. I’ve been at a conference in London where I learned a considerable amount about what business schools and other media (TV, print, web) are interested in. No short answers there.

Anyway, I turn my back for five minutes and GMAC, the organisation that created and manages the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) have announced a big change. They are including an Integrated Reasoning section from June 2012.

Says GMAC: “The GMAT exam will add a new section designed to measure people’s ability to evaluate information from multiple sources. The new integrated reasoning section will provide business schools with a window into how prospective students respond to the kinds of complex challenges they will encounter as managers in today’s information-rich business environment.”

Importantly, “the overall length of the GMAT exam (three and a half hours) will not change. The new integrated reasoning section will be 30 minutes long and replace one of two essays that are part of the GMAT’s analytical writing section. Admissions officers have stated and GMAC research has shown that performance on the essays is closely aligned, making a single essay acceptable for predicting performance.”

I’m going to look into this. If you have any questions for me to ask the President of GMAC, get back to me in Comments and I’ll make sure I ask. Here are a couple I came up with off the bat:
1) Why did GMAC see the need to include this new section?
2) Isn’t this going to make an already tough GMAT even tougher?
3) What are the expectations for MBA candidates in terms of how to get a good mark?

Why do an MBA?

Interesting results for the survey about the motivations MBAs have for doing an MBA. Improving career prospects and learning new skills are far and away the most popular reasons for going to business school, according to my own highly (un)scientific survey. What is slightly surprising is that boosting salary only interests 11.5% of respondents. Are you being entirely honest?

Also I am surprised that only 3.3% of respondents are interested in starting their own businesses. I was under the impression that entrepreneurship was the next big thing. The QS Applicant Survey suggests that almost one-third of MBAs take the course in order to learn how to start their own businesses. Perhaps entrepreneurs are too busy to visit blogs, or to fill in polls? Or perhaps, in the last 12 months, the MBA applicant scene has become more cautious. Watch this space.

MBAScene poll results: Why are you considering an MBA program?
To improve career prospects 24.6%
To learn new skills 23%
To enable a career change 18%
To build a professional network 16.4%
To boost salary 11.5%
To start own business 3.3%
Primarily for education 3.3%

Interviewing techniques – recognise this?

>Back to the Future Here’s an interesting and amusing little look at interviewing techniques. A lot of the don’ts and some of the do’s of interviewing. Amazing to think that MBAs, or anyone else for that matter, don’t know this but, I suppose, everyone gets something small wrong in interviews; it’s minimising the importance of what you get wrong and focussing on what you get right that’s essential.

Only recently I interviewed a guy who turned up with a torn jacket, filthy fingernails, a collarless shirt (no tie) that was open to expose a nasty looking zit. The guy was a genius, a bit like a young Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd – above) out of Back to the Future, but could I put him in front of some of the world's leading business school deans? No.

One-year and two-year MBA programmes equally popular

OK it’s not statistically the most viable study ever undertaken but my own poll “What type of MBA Programme are you Considering” has revealed that one- and two-year MBA programs are almost equally popular. The shorter model, preferred by most but not all European MBA models, just shades it with 37% of the vote while the two-year model, preferred by most US schools and notables such as London Business School, gets 32%. To take the poll, if you haven’t yet, click here, I am interested in your opinion:

If you want more detailed information about what MBA Applicants think, by the way, look here. This QS Survey of thousands of MBA applicants shows a noticeable decrease in interest in two-year programs between 2008-2009 (from 48% to 43%) and increase in interest in one-year programs (40% – 44%). This is reflected by the significant decrease in candidates interested in studying in the US, which predominately runs two-year programs. In light of the recession such courses are much more costly in comparison to Australia and Europe, factoring in the two-year break from earnings.

So what does all this mean? Well, not all that long ago the two-year model was dominant. There is every reason to believe that it will be again. After all it allows MBA students an extra period of time for self-reflection and for direction change, which is one of the great benefits of a longer study period.

However, the one-year program is a shorter, sharper shock to the system. At a time of economic uncertainty – even if you believe things are looking up – the one-year option seems more attractive than before. Even American students are coming round to the idea of one-year programs in increasing numbers with more studying in Europe than ever before.

Do I think this is a long-term trend? No. I expect longer programs to reassert their dominance in years to come, but not by much.

People, Planet, Profit Conference at ESMT Berlin

Though held in the historic environment of ESMT Business School in Berlin – the buildings formed part of where the former East German leader Erich Honnecker had his headquarters and is emblazoned with the brilliant art and understated architectural opulence of the former Communist bloc – the conference is taking on big and very modern issues. The CEOs of Siemens, Russian gas giant Gazprom, Infosys and many more top international companies are here. And they are taking the issues very seriously.

How do we move from a concept of a single bottom line (profit) to a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit? Can ethical business change the world? How can European business take a lead in synchronising its ideas with the developing world, some of whom do not yet share Europe’s opinions on green energy, sustainability and climate change? And, importantly, how can the new generation of business leaders from MBA programs around the world enforce this change?

Why are you /did you consider(ing) doing an MBA?