MBA Application: High GMAT Scores VS Work Experience, Which Is More Effective?

Photo credit: Leeds.ac.uk

This is a regular question which must have been burning in the minds of many MBA applicants; those with years of professional working experience and the others with very high GMAT scores but with little or no work experience. Truth is, both work experience and a high GMAT score are very vital if you want to get into an MBA program especially if you’ve set your sights on some of the prestigious schools. To be accepted into an elite business school, you have to crack both parameters and crack them well.

Now here is the issue, over the years it has been noticed that after their first degrees, Business students who have gone on to work for a couple of years before returning to take the GMAT test have always performed lower than those who stepped out of school in recent years  and took their GMAT almost immediately. This has been a trend for a long while now and not surprisingly it has gotten a lot of students worried. Hence the question; does a high GMAT score compensate for less work experience?

For those who have excelled working professionally for a number of years; let’s say between three and five years. Then they take their GMAT and it ends up being the “dark circle” in their otherwise brilliant profile. Does it place them in a better place or does it spell doom for their MBA pursuit?

For the others who only have a single year of working experience but have cracked the GMAT and gotten very high scores, does it mean they have an advantage or their efforts were in vain?

Well we will break it down for you in three statements:

  1. The Graduate Admission Management Test (GMAT) only allows companies compare apples-to-apples on a global basis when it comes to skills. It does not do much more than that. Standardized tests like GMAT, GRE and others like it have more to do with verbal and quantitative analysis.
  2. The test also does not provide the business school’s admission officers with proof that you have the necessary skills, no matter how high you score. The difference between acing a verbal and quantitative tests and actually doing well in the real world is so large, both scenarios cannot be compared. Scoring high marks does not endow you with the skills to become a good manager or business leader.
  3. While cracking the GMAT can be done in a few months of learning and focus, becoming a good manager or business leader and gaining the necessary skills required takes a lot time and involves a lot more.

There you have it!

So, no! Scoring high at the GMAT cannot take the place of work experience. You need to gain some professional work experience to be able to compete more favorably with others. In other words, your GMAT scores is very important but not as important as a gained valuable work experience. That is the only way, to truly prove, you have grown as a professional.

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