What Does GMAT Test and Teach Future Businessmen?
The first thing that pops to one’s mind when he or she considers becoming a true businessman or woman trained in an established and internationally recognized business school is the GMAT test, the holy grail of all knowledge, skills and abilities one has to make proof of if sometime in the future wishes to occupy an exec chair. And since almost all business schools need their candidates to present high GMAT scores, there is no wonder that the future leaders of our world take the matters seriously and start preparing for the test with trained tutors and reliable prep courses where they can learn and develop all the competences needed to improve their scores.
There are experts out there who don’t question the validity of the GMAT test for business schools, despite the economical, financial and social changes that this world is going through, as the test does focus on perennial knowledge and skills that are useful today and will be useful in ten years from now on, no matter the changes. Just as GMAT prep expert Mike McGarry says, “Think about it: when you have your MBA and are sitting in some corporate meeting, there will not be a separate “math” or “verbal” section – instead, numbers, verbal arguments, charts and graphs will all be thrown at you at once, and you will have to make sense of them and “integrate” them. That’s the idea of the GMAT IR section.”
From this point of view, there shouldn’t be any doubts about the utility of the GMAT testing. However, today, more than ever, these doubts seem to be more and more openly expressed by the business schools and financial experts. Around the world, some business schools don’t even ask for GMAT scores at all. Their motivation? Business nowadays seem to need a more holistic approach that extends beyond verbal skills and integration capacity. Deans and teachers are talking about it in terms of wanting more from their candidates: “we don’t just want student s to learn the theory of leadership; we want them to be leading teams and organizations as they learn. The GMAT™ can be a good indicator of a student’s ability to learn at a master’s level, but it’s not a solid indicator for these other experiences.” (Deborah Hurst, Athabasca University).
Other opinions converge to the same conclusion apparently: candidates need solid work experience, leadership traits, solid business ethics, team work availability, originality, flexibility, business talent, personal ambition and organizational responsibility, items which they consider to be not reflected by GMAT scores.
This year, the big boom came from B-school professor Raj Aggarwal, who reported in a study published in Journal of Business Ethics, that GMAT scores are the best predictors for the worst traits in business. He is talking about the fact that high GMAT scores indicate the future business men of the world don’t encourage entrepreneurialism, as they are less inclined to accept uncertainty, individualism, less ethical business inclinations and a huge emphasis on the males as being true business men in spite of women.
These shocking results stirred the waters everywhere, as they seem to be valid in the statistics standards and also give a lot of room for interpretation in the sense that the ever changing business world needs a little bit more than pure business power the GMAT scores prove. In the words of Vivek Wadhwa (Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University), the GMAT needs to take account of qualities such as empathy, holistic thinking, and the ability to fall into a mudstorm of problems and emerge clutching visions that are good not just for shareholders but for the planet; visions workable not just for today but for the foreseeable future.
But the GMAT is still one of the best tools to make sure only the best candidates will become the leaders of tomorrow the experts mentioned above wish for the entire world. In a discussion with the specialists from Top MBA, Jane Delbene, Director of Marketing for the Graduate Management Admission Council clearly states that “admissions teams meet an astounding number of impressive and accomplished professionals every day, but not all will have what it takes to succeed in the classroom. That’s where the GMAT comes into play.”