The GMAT has to be one of the most feared admissions exams out there. Get a bad score on the GMAT and all your MBA hopes could evaporate. Get a good score and, all of a sudden, your low GPA or thin CV doesn’t matter as much.
For MBA applicants battled the GMAT beast in Dubai, we’ve outline 5 things you need to know about the GMAT in 2019.
If you've decided to stay in Dubai for your MBA, you've probably already heard about London Business School's Executive MBA program. Although the program is based here, students regularly spend time in London, China, South America, and other parts of the world, all while keeping their full-time jobs.
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If you want to get a PhD in a business related subject or in a program offered through a business school, you'll probably have to take the GMAT (not the GRE). Here are a few programs and their GMAT average GMAT score:
University of California, Los Angeles: 712
University of Michigan: 732
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: 732
Purdue University: 674
Keep in mind that most PhD programs require at least a 650 on the GMAT.
Related: Less than 700 on the GMAT. Now what?
While some of the usual GMAT advice we give to MBA students applies to you, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind:
1. There are no rounds. While MBA program admissions usually take place over several months and three to four rounds, most PhD programs have one admission deadline in the fall (Oct. - Dec.). So basically, if you miss the deadline, you have to wait a year, not a few months. This fact makes proper planning and scheduling for the GMAT even more important. Plan to start your preparation for the GMAT in the early summer so you'll have at least 2 opportunities to take the GMAT before the deadline.
Related: Your GMAT Study Schedule
2. Start your application BEFORE you take the GMAT. Although there are usually fewer essays required for a PhD program than for an MBA, the application can be much more intense. Your personal statement will be highly scrutinized, your academic/professional CV must be perfect, and a department visit is a must. You can skip some steps if you're applying to 5 or more MBA programs (or submit very similar versions of your documentation), but not if you're applying to a PhD program.
3. Request recommendations early. Since least 1 recommendation must be from a former professor, you should ask for these early (preferably early August). Unlike a typical corporate recommender who is available year round, academic recommenders usually follow the academic calendar: they may be unavailable during the summer or extremely busy around the end of August or beginning of September when the new school year starts. If you ask for a recommendation then, your request will end up in a flooded email inbox. Make the process easy for them and yourself by contacting them in May to discuss the recommendation and their schedules for providing it. If you wait until the October, you're unlikely to get it within a month. Academic recommender's are also unlikely to allow you to write your own recommendation for them to submit (the typical corporate boss "trick" for quick recommendations).
4. The department should know you before the application. Most applicants don't realize that while MBA applications are reviewed by admissions personnel that only review applicants, it is a panel of professors and administrative staff within the business school that review and admit PhD applicants. Moreover, since PhD applicants have research and/or teaching responsibilities, your application will be evaluated through the lens of 1) what research contracts/grants/funding are available for incoming PhD students and 2) which professors need research/teaching assistants. Thus, your research interests and academic profile must match up with what professors are interested in AND what research they have funds to sponsor. It is essential that you research the department and each professor carefully to clearly show that you match an area of interest of a professor. You can start this process with online research but you MUST do a department (not just campus) visit and start a dialogue with different professors. Meet with professors, discuss their interests, do more listening than speaking, sell yourself a little, and make a great (professional) first impression. Once you've started this dialogue with 2 or 3 professors, be sure to email them every other month about something so you can keep the conversation going. Professors and administrative staff reviewing your application should be familiar with your profile before they see your application and GMAT score.
5. The GMAT is a minor part of your application. If you've followed our advice from the Point #4, you're well on your way to getting admitted to the PhD program of your choice. Professors should get to know you and your profile BEFORE they see your application (this process has nothing to do with your GMAT score). If you have made a good impression and the department considers you a good fit for its program, the GMAT really becomes a minor part of your application.
So what are the more important parts? Undergraduate and Masters grade point average (GPA) and proven research. Your GPA should be 3.5 or greater. Every PhD program has GPA requirements and if you couldn't meet them at an undergraduate or Masters level, from the department's perspective, you won't be able to meet them at the PhD level. Besides, you're supposed to be a scholar so your academic work and GPA should reflect that. In addition, you should have some proven research. A published thesis, second investigator credit, a few media articles, anything that demonstrates your ability to write and convince others to read your work. Don't underestimate this important part of being a PhD.
Have an impressive GPA, strong recommendations, and proven research and PhD programs will "work with you" (read: ignore a GMAT score below their average).
We can help you navigate the business school PhD process and improve your GMAT score. Email APPLY ME at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 04 449 7318. We offer private tutoring with American tutors that will boost your score!