GMAT


What is GMAT?

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test.
The GMAT is a multiple-choice, computer-based and computer-adaptive standardized exam that is often required for admission to graduate business programs (MBA) globally. This also implies that it is responsible to assess one’s Critical Thinking, Analytical Writing abilities, English Language skills, and Problem-Solving abilities through its Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment sections. The GMAT Score is used as a key prerequisite for seeking admission in graduate management and business programs like MBA or equivalent.

GMAT is the registered trademark of Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The council is responsible to conduct the test for admission towards more than 6000 programs offered by more than 2,100 colleges and institutions. The GMAT exam is managed in 112 nations around the world in standardized test facilities.
The examination is scored on a maximum of 800. Though the GMAT Score alone cannot guarantee admission into a B-school, it is one of the major factors taken into consideration. Other factors like SOPs, work experience, recommendations, and under graduate percentage also play important roles.

GMAT Advantage

The GMAT exam is the most trusted and proven exam for admission to graduate business and management programs. The GMAT test measures the skills appropriately for graduate management education.

The exam demonstrates that your commitment and readiness for the rigors of a management program.

Common Facts About GMAT

  • Surprisingly, GMAT does not have a set exam date. Applicants have the flexibility to choose the date from a list of available GMAT exam dates to appear for the exam. GMAT Registration can be done throughout the year. You can register online, or by mail or by phone. The detailed information is available at site: www.mba.com.
  • In a calendar year, students can take the GMAT test five times with a 16-day gap from the previous attempt. But not more than 5 times in a 12-month period.
  • Candidates can attempt the GMAT exam up to 8 times in total.
  • GMAT score is valid for 5 years.
  • GMAT exam is computer-adaptive test. The Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are computer-adaptive – meaning the difficulty of the test tailors itself in real-time to your ability level. This feature allows the exam to assess your potential with a higher degree of precision and deliver scores that business schools trust.
  • Candidates need to pay a fee of USD 250 while submitting the application. One should posses a valid passport at the time of applying for GMAT.
  • Prior to starting the test, candidate needs to select 5 B-schools/programs to receive your official score. This service is covered in your registration fee of USD 250. A further fee needs to be paid to send additional score reports to B-schools after the test day. Hence candidate should decide well in advance before taking test which schools/programs they wish to apply.
  • The Select Selection Order screen will be presented before starting the test. Candidate need to select the order options for the sections to be presented for test. You will have 2 minutes for the selection. If selection is not made then first order is selected by default:
    • Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal
    • Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
    • Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment.
  • Within 20 calendar days from the test date official score report will be sent.

About GMAT Sections

The content on the GMAT is broken down into below four sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment:
    • This section measures candidate’s ability to think critically and communicate their ideas through an essay in English. Candidate need to analyze reasoning behind a given argument and write a critique of that idea.
  • Integrated Reasoning:
    • This section measures how well a candidate integrate data to solve complex problems.
  • Quantitative:
    • This section measures candidate’s ability to reason mathematically, solve quantitative problems and interpret graphical data.
  • Verbal:
    • This section measures candidate’s ability to read and comprehend written material, reason and evaluate arguments, and correct material to express ideas effectively in standard written English.
Test SectionTime Limit /
Number of Questions
Question Types
Analytical Writing Assessment 30 minutes
1 question
Analysis of an Argument
Integrated Reasoning30 minutes
12 question
Graphics Interpretation, Table Analysis,
Multi-source Reasoning, Two-part Analysis
Quantitative Reasoning62 minutes
31 questions
Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving
Verbal Reasoning65 minutes
36 questions
Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction

MBA SPECIALIZATIONS

The primary function of an MBA is to educate students in management functions as a whole so that they can holistically understand the world of business. So, in a sense, this is a general management degree. However, equally important is the knowledge that there is more than just one type of MBA available.

In addition to a general Business Administration program, there are MBA specializations available in a number of business sectors that graduates can pursue. A specialized MBA is often an indication of a faculty or institutional strength; however, many business schools offering general MBA programs may be just as strong or stronger in a particular field, despite not offering a formal MBA concentration.

While these specializations might vary from B-School to B-School, within virtually all MBA programs there are what are called the ‘core specializations’ and most business schools will feature these heavily in their syllabus.

MBA Specialization Types

Typically, an MBA is meant to be a 2-year program that is designed to make a student proficient in various subjects of management, while specializing in one. The first year of the program enables students to confront and develop an aptitude for the various areas of management, while the second year focuses on more specialized areas.

The choosing of a specialization can be a tricky part of the course, since this invariably ends up shaping a student’s long-term career prospects.

Students have the opportunity to either pursue a general management program or complete a specialization as part of the MBA program. Specializations are a matter of choice, not a prerequisite, and all students receive the same MBA education regardless of whether or not they complete a specialization. Students should consider their career goals and professional development in settling on a specialization.

 Finance

Finance is probably the oldest form of an MBA and is comfortably the most sought after in most top universities in the West. Even in the high-profile world of Wall Street recruiting, it is Finance that calls the shots. A student who specializes in Finance, studies and masters various subjects such as costing, management accounting and control, budgeting, international finance, banking, privatization, capital management, etc. The course is both theoretical and practical and this is what enables a graduate to be a leader in the world of Finance. This specialization has gained even more prominence since the American Banking Crisis of 2008 and the European Crisis of early 2010. The aftermath and the analysis of both these banking disasters taught us that without sound Financial planning, even the most robust of markets were prone to collapse. This has created an even greater awareness that one needs top quality personnel in this most vital of sectors.

Apart from core banking, one can also get involved in consumer and investment banking, institutional finance, merchant banking, corporate finance and international finance.

Marketing

Marketing is perhaps the most widely applicable domain under an MBA. With the rise of social media and newer more online trends including Digital Marketing becoming a part of the mix, an MBA in marketing has become very dynamic and competitive. This will help enhance one’s skills & knowledge in the field of marketing, advertising, public relations, etc. One needs to have excellent communication skills and resource mobilization skills, and an undying zeal to excel in marketing. This specialization can help accelerate entry and progress in some of the most competitive fields: marketing, advertising and public relations.

Entrepreneurship

For all those who claim that entrepreneurship cannot be taught but is a skill that one is born with or without, this is the specialization that raises most controversy. The main criticisms against this specialization hover around the fact that entrepreneurship requires innovations and innovations on account of their very nature cannot be taught. However, the critics miss out one very key point and that is that MBA in Entrepreneurship stimulates the kind of disciplined thinking and strategizing that makes innovations possible and predictable. In a world that is increasingly moving towards digitalization and automation, the importance of self-employment cannot be more underscored. As a young India seeks to redefine her dependence on businesses outsourced from the West, an MBA in Entrepreneurship is fast becoming a much sought after discipline.

General Management

The General Management program is one of the more popular programs that an MBA can offer. For all those who want to gain an overall perspective towards business, without specifically looking at narrowing down career choices, this is the course to opt for. This program is designed for individuals wanting a broad, yet in-depth overview of business topics, enabling them to enter into any number of management roles. Usually, companies prefer candidates with solid job experience in general management before offering jobs pertaining to this field. Individuals looking to have a variety of career opportunities available to them upon graduation should consider pursuing a general management MBA. This path may also be suitable for business majors unsure of what specialization to pursue or for students freshly out of their undergraduate programs.

International Business

With the world becoming increasingly globalized, organisations now more than ever before need professionals who can conduct business around the world. This would mean keeping up to date and ahead of all the latest trends not only in one’s own country but also those outside. As is seen with organizations such as Amazon.com, and other like concerns, even a physical location is no longer a consideration for a business set up. The MBA in International Business provides an in-depth understanding of the organizational capabilities required for international operations, including specialized functions such as international marketing, finance etc. The degree may be thought of as an MBA with a particular focus on multinational corporations.

Operations

Operations management is the corporate area in charge of designing, managing and tracking different processes. These processes are made up of interrelated, sequential activities through which the components and actors required (raw materials, labour, capital, information, the client, etc.) are transformed into products. The key is the value added through the process as perceived by the customer, i.e. the end product has a greater value than the elements pre-process. Companies now need a new kind of supply chain/logistics/operations manager and this need has led to the creation of an MBA in supply chain management or logistics & operations. An MBA in operations teaches the student how to deal with production management or shop floor management. One learns how to maintain process flows and to develop vendor and inter-departmental relationships. Most candidates with engineering backgrounds go for an MBA in operations, as it gives them an edge over their peers in product development and designing and in process optimization.

Information Technology

In this technologically advanced world, no business can run without solid IT support. An MBA in IT is designed to educate & develop managers who can effectively manage the planning, design, selection, implementation, usage and administration of emerging and converging information and communications technologies. IT graduates play essential roles on the business team, typically designing and implementing hardware and software solutions to business problems. They hold professional positions in areas such as client/server or web applications development, systems analysis and network administration.

Health Care Management

The pharmaceuticals industry is a key player in the worldwide economy as more and more MBA graduates are opting for this trendy field. An MBA in healthcare covers core business skills and practices. However, it focuses on specific issues managers may encounter in roles such as hospital administrators, medical practice managers, insurance-company executives and a wide variety of other roles. This is a specialization that can prepare graduates for management positions in health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, insurance agencies, facilities for elderly care, and public health agencies. It’s a growing industry, and thus is becoming an increasingly popular MBA.

As is the case in many key industries, MBA graduates tend to be recruited by the pharmaceutical sector as much for their potential as for any specific previous experience, although academic training in the sciences or a background in such areas as sales or marketing can sometimes prove to be an advantage. There are huge opportunities for MBA graduates in the health care field, and most of them pay very well. With an MBA in healthcare, one can find a good, well-paying position in a biomedical start-up, e-health, consulting or pharmaceutical and medical device R&D.

Accounting

Getting into an MBA program in this field of specialization offers in-depth knowledge that can help one find a senior level or management positions in different sectors.

An accounting MBA readies students for the CPA exam and jobs in business accounting administration. Students gain skills to become accountants, financial managers, auditors, and more.

Human Resources

An MBA in HR management is for those wanting to develop a management career in HR and strategy. This includes labour markets, international leadership, recruiting, training, team building, performance updates, employee policy, salary, benefits and increments, employee health and safety as well as staff amenities. If one has good communication skills and a charismatic personality, and is dependable and confident, an MBA in HR can be just the thing. This MBA can lead to a key role managing a company’s most important asset – its people.

Supply Chain Management

An MBA in supply chain management is a unique and exciting opportunity in the field of business management. It includes inventory management, warehousing and transportation of various materials as required by a client or a company. Supply chain management can be done by graduates of any stream.

Media/Communication

This one-of–a kind MBA is geared to professionals already working in media or to students looking at jobs in media, advertising, journalism, and public relations. It was specifically designed to provide graduates with the foundation, skills, and competencies required to both understand and function within the complex legal, ethical, economic, and social dimensions of media management. Admission to this program usually requires entering students to have prior media, art or media related business expertise. MBA degrees in these fields are not as widespread as they are in finance, and they can give a real competitive edge in advancing to mid- to upper-level management positions.

Telecommunications

An MBA in this particular field equips students with a global vision of the business convergence process currently taking place and poised to form one of the major industries of the 21st century. It is oriented to innovative professionals of any background who want to plan a career path in the digital economy, either as a key player in a leading multinational or as an entrepreneur.

Telecommunications have made huge leaps forward in the past two decades. It is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The emphasis is on the value-added services, such as e-mail, cellular phones, WAP etc in developed countries and in improving basic telephone availability in developing countries. This sector plays a key role in encouraging growth in the industrial and services sector.

How to Choose an MBA Specialization?

MBA programs come in all shapes and sizes, but most prospective students play it safe and go for finance, marketing, or management. One of the main reasons for this is that they do not fully investigate the diversity of specializations out there. This is a great shame, because only once a student knows the full range of MBA options available, can they select the one that best fits their career goals.

As more and more universities offer MBA programs, it is becoming ever more difficult for candidates to decide which business school may offer the most suitable MBA program to meet their requirements. Many business schools are deviating from the ‘generalist’ system, which has been the typical MBA model for the last thirty years. Today one can choose from a wide range of MBA specializations, ranging from an MBA in financial studies, as well as insurance and risk management accountancy and finance, to an MBA in sports management, or even an MBA in technology.

The standard specializations are marketing, finance, human resources, IT/IS, operations and entrepreneurship; but these are rapidly being joined by more specific subjects, such as corporate social responsibility, wine management, football industries, luxury brand management, hotel management, etc.

How should students go about deciding which specialization is best for them? There are a number of ways that individuals can easily make that decision and get on the road to earning a specialized MBA that pays off in the long run. Here are some things to consider:

School ranking – Make sure that the school is well ranked for that specialization. Different specializations will have different rankings, so do the research – prospective employers will certainly do theirs.

Program length – Both one-year and two-year programs are available. A two-year course allows you to be a generalist in year one, and move to specialist in year two. On the other hand, a one-year specialist MBA is really a branding exercise as there is not enough time to cover both standard MBA topics and the specialization within the limited time available.

Personal strengths – If you prefer working alone or consider yourself a leader, a specialization in entrepreneurship might help you in your quest to start your own business. Do you find health care intriguing? A specialization in health care management might be your best option. Take an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses.

Personal interests – Which classes interested you most in your undergraduate studies? If you shied away from math but loved international relations, you might want to consider an international program over finance. It may also be wise to look at your grades from those courses, to determine which fields stimulate you intellectually. The biggest tip any individual can get is more of a general education tip, but it still applies to MBA hopefuls looking into specializations: If you are considering going back to school for an MBA, then do it first for your own benefit, and select a specialization that interests you in addition to being useful towards achieving your goals.

Career goals – Do you want to create your own business, or run part of an established franchise? Would you like to travel, or will you be happy settling down with a long-established corporation in a big city? Knowing where you want to be in five years will help you determine where you should begin looking now. Do you want to stay in your current industry or are you interested in a career change? Those working in the field of finance and looking to advance in their field would be well advised to choose a finance specialization to help open doors to upper level management. However, if you have reached a glass ceiling and see no potential for growth in that field, you should consider a career change. A new specialization might be necessary. The most important thing is to match up career experience and future potential in that field when considering a specialization.

After considering the above factors, start researching MBA programs and specializations. While new fields are arising, most schools have several standard specializations. Look at notable programs with lists of specializations that interest you. Most universities will include a list of their MBA specializations, or concentrations, on their websites. Ask for information from schools that interest you. In some cases, you may ask to meet with the professors who teach the specialization that interests you, which may help you in your decision to choose a certain field or university. Schedule an appointment with your university department or program advisor, if you are currently enrolled. Your advisor may be able to offer some insight on your options based on your strengths and weaknesses.

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