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Business School Entrance Exam Doubles as Job Candidate Evaluation Tool for Some Employers

Especially in today’s tight job market, some employers are using Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores as part of the process of evaluating job candidates’ potential, according to reports last week in BusinessWeek and Inside Higher Education. And some business schools, according to both reports, have begun to advise some students to retake the exam in hopes of higher scores that might improve their prospects of being hired.

You thought once you got into business school you’d never have to think about the GMAT again, right? And with good reason. According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, which owns and administers the exam, the test is intended to help predict a candidate’s first-year grades in an MBA program, not as a valid tool for employers. In fact, requesting GMAT scores as a requirement for employment appears on a list of “inappropriate uses” maintained by GMAC, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Nevertheless, according to both sources, the practice is taking place without vigorous objection by the council. According to BW, officials at both the University of Texas at Austin and of Virginia have gone on the record saying that they have advised students with lower scores to retake the exam. And according to the Inside Higher Ed report, GMAT test prep firm Veritas Prep has been approached by three business schools about group rates for students retaking the exam. 

Scott Schrum, director of admission consulting research at Veritas Prep, told Inside Higher Ed that he thinks the issue may be of greater consequence to students at lower-ranked schools than at top programs, where companies will assume that everyone is strong and not care as much about their scores. But “where Goldman may only hand out a few job offers, they’ll look more carefully at everything in a student’s profile (including the GMAT) to determine who the lucky few will be,” Shrum speculated to Inside Higher Ed.

Judy Phair, vice president for communications of GMAC, told Inside Higher Ed that the council has reiterated multiple times that the GMAT is designed as an assessment tool in the admissions process and not for other purposes. But, she added, if business schools help companies use the test in other ways, GMAC can’t prevent them from doing so.

To read the BusinessWeek story on this trend, click here. For Inside Higher Education report, click here.

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Posted in: General, GMAT News, MBA News

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