Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Does the new GMAT reflect B.School curriculum?

The totality of experiences that a student of business study is exposed to, can neither be completely reflected in nor be tested through a management admission test. However, GMAC has to be lauded for its earnest efforts to try in that direction. The result is the new ‘integrated reasoning’ section expected to appear in the new GMAT version to be launched in mid 2012.

Not to deny the fact that the previous attempt at modifying the GMAT was hugely successful. It brought to the admission director’s desk, a new set of skills of the aspirants through the analytical writing. Besides the test makers introduced the brilliant concept of adaptive testing, almost flawlessly administered worldwide( at least I haven’t heard of any leak or scam).

If a Bschool prepares the candidate for the increasingly complex world of business, and if the curriculum fairly successfully presents those complexities through academic work- assignments, projects, case analyses, the admission test is bound to follow as ‘microcosm’ of the entire world of business. This means that critical thinking and decision making at their various levels of complexities and relevance should be reflected in the test. The GMAT, by doing so, doesn’t degenerate into a test of ‘elimination’ of thousand of applicants, instead comes up trumps in adding appropriate features that reflect the changing world of business.
{Some trivia: Most Sunday mornings of the last decade of my life was spent in a GMAT class. Interesting isn’t it? The last Sunday too was no different. I was in a critical reasoning class imparting ‘logic lessons’ to GMAT aspirants. In my introductory lesson in CR I take the students though ‘critical thinking’- attributes of a critical thinker, what skills o CR test, how formal logic help build strategies for CR questions and so on. It was during the coffee break of this session that the ‘breaking news’ came that integrated ‘reasoning’ is going to be introduce in to the GMAT. }

As a trainer I always advised my students to see GMAT not only as a test to gain entry into reputed colleges but also as a means to build the type of critical thinking skills that are a prerequisite to assimilate and appreciate the B school curriculum. The GMAT, I thought, was designed for just that. Instead of doing a lot of tests and trying one’s ‘luck’ in many attempts, how rewarding it would for a B school aspirant to do thorough study of all that add value- quantitative problem solving, reading a lot of abstract texts, brainstorming on those contemporary essay prompts, building language competence and many such skill.

Feedback to this is welcome
Mail me vijaya@semanticslearning.com

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