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.
Interested in applying but want to take a sneak peek at the essays first? Well, here they are...no email sign-up necessary. Just to help you out, we have provided our comments based on years of experience helping students get into London Business School Dubai.
We've already offered 6 Free IELTS Practice Resources and 6 Free TOEFL Practice Resources, so it's about time we offer you 6 Free GMAT Practice Resources.
This post features at least 7 computer based GMAT practice tests and links to tons of questions...and they won't cost you anything!
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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 email@example.com or call us at 04 449 7318. We offer private tutoring with American tutors that will boost your score!
Bloomberg Businessweek has been killing it recently with great articles aimed at exactly what MBA hopefuls want to know. Here are a few articles we think you need to read with our comments on how this can apply to business school wannabes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Who Came Up With That? How MBA Essay Questions Get Written
This article includes lots of general (and somewhat obvious) information on how questions are chosen as well as specific information from top schools professionals from the MENA region commonly apply to (UC Berkeley, Duke, MIT, Northwestern, and Chicago. The gist of the article is that admissions officers get rid of essays that solicit manufactured and uninteresting responses from many applicants. Officers also talk to each other to see which ones are working and which fall flat. Sometimes the least popular essay questions gets eliminated since one trend this year is to reduce the number of essay questions. Applicants should also expect new formats such as writing your own recommendation, 25 short answer list, video essays, and powerpoint presentations.
Mold Yourself Into a Great MBA Candidate in Three Years
This article list 6 key things you should do to mold yourself into the ideal B-school applicant. We won't provide spoilers, but we do agree with most of the advice. Hopefully you can also make these changes within 2 years so you can start applying as soon as possible. The only recommendation we don't agree with is to compensate for a low GPA by taking a course to show that your academic skills have improved. We have found that a low GPA may not matter depending on:
1. What your former major was. Engineers with low GPAs aren't likely to be frowned upon whereas liberal arts majors with low GPAs have got some explaining to do.
2. How long ago you graduated. If it's been nearly or more than 10 years since you graduated, you probably don't have to worry about this.
3. How high your GMAT score is. The GMAT is often used as a predictor, especially the quantitative section, for how well you'll do in the MBA program. A 680 or above usually trumps a low GPA.
4. The uniqueness of your profile. If you've got other great, standout aspects in your profile, specific undergraduate achievements (or failures) will probably be the last thing B-schools care about. If don't have any standouts, it's time to start cultivating some. Get involved with a volunteer organization, start a business or nonprofit, travel the world and do something interesting...anything that gives you richer life experience and, ideally, showcases your leadership potential.
Summer Reading: 10 Fun & Free Business Classics You Should Have on Your Kindle
Okay, this one is from Forbes and the link goes to the alternatively titled article but it's still a great source for summer reading ideas to get you in the B-school application mindset. Our favorites are Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (definitely for those who consider themselves "counter-culture") and The Gentle Grafter (an easy and entertaining read).
Summer is the perfect time to start preparing for the GMAT! If you haven't started yet, you may miss Round 1! Email APPLY ME at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 04 449 7318 to begin your GMAT preparation. We offer private tutoring with American tutors that will boost your score!