If you are planning to go for a degree in management this year, you are most likely to appear for the GMAT soon. Now, the first challenge faced by an MBA aspirant preparing for GMAT is to identify what their target score should be! Hmm..sounds easy, doesn’t it? Read the detailed post and find out how you can do it in 5 simple steps.
Why Does A Good GMAT Score Matter?
You already know that the GMAT tests your aptitude and readiness to go for a degree in management. But there is more to the test than just being a part of your admission process:
- A good GMAT score enhances your chances of getting an MBA Scholarship.
At least 70% of the scholarships offered by B-schools is merit based, which means chances are that your targeted school will demand a high GMAT score to offer you a fee waiver.
- GMAT and your future job prospects go hand-in-hand.
Especially, if you are planning a career in Finance or Consulting, most of the top employers will give value to your GMAT score while evaluating your profile.
5 Tips to Identify Right Target GMAT Score
Now that you know the importance of a good GMAT score, here are the steps you can follow to identify the right GMAT score for you:
I. Make A List of Your Target Business Schools
You can list down your target business schools based on your career goals. Certain B-schools are known for their specialization in a field. So, if you are looking for a career in consulting, you can go for INSEAD, Harvard or Booth, whereas for a career in finance, Wharton and NYU can be your ideal choices.
II. Research Your Target Schools in Detail
Two areas that should be part of your research are-
- The average GMAT score from the previous year
To find this information, you can simply go to the about page on the school’s website or scroll through the MBA program details.
- The school’s key focus area
Most schools focus on certain key areas/skills, knowing which can help you to list out the schools that match your career goals. For instance, some schools prefer students with entrepreneurial instincts, some prefer students with leadership or international experience. You should research their websites to identify commonalities with your profile.
III. Evaluate your profile
Business schools consider your overall profile along with GMAT score. A strong profile can help you get in with a lower score. I am listing down some of the key attributes that are evaluated:
- Leadership Initiatives
It doesn’t necessarily have to be your life’s greatest achievement. Any event where you took the initiative to fix things, to educate, inspire, motivate your peers, or led a team carries a weight.
- Social Initiatives
Any volunteer work you did at your workplace or in your neighbourhood, or your association with a local NGO that made a difference for the people around you can make your application more impressive.
- Rich Work Experience
Your total work experience, the employers you have worked with, and your international pursuits will improve your chances of getting in, especially if you have worked with a top consulting firm, a renowned international bank, a tech giant, or if you are pursuing a career abroad.
- Extra-curricular activities
You do not just have to excel in studies and have a rich work experience to stand out. Extra curriculars help a lot in enhancing the quality of your profile. So, owning a personal blog, playing a sport especially one that involves team spirit, or knowing one or more foreign languages can work in your favour too.
- Educational background
The relevancy of your graduate degree with your MBA program and the popularity of your Alma Mater can be good too. For instance, while an engineering degree may intensify competition for you, in some cases a degree in Arts also counts.
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IV. Arrive at A Target GMAT Score
Now comes the most interesting part! You have already researched about the schools, identified their preferences and you’ve also evaluated your profile. Now let’s understand how you can arrive at the right target score –
If you excel in 3 or more areas above, you can manage to get into your dream B-school even with 10-20 points lower than their average score.
Otherwise, you will need to score at least 20 points higher than the average score to enhance your chances of getting an admit.
Consider the Demographics – Additionally, you need to consider your demographics as well. Certain demographic pools are highly competitive. For instance, if you are an Asian IT Engineer, you should consider adding another 10-20 points to the requirement, because you belong to a high competition candidate pool.
V. See If it is Achievable
Several GMAT aspirants, especially the working professionals often face a time crunch. So, you have to be really realistic with your target score. Let us suppose you scored a 520 on your diagnostic test and to get into your target school, you need a 710. So, you need an improvement of 190 points.
For an average student it takes 10 hours of preparation to improve by 10 points. So, for 190 points, you need 190 hours of preparation.
So, if you can devote 190 hours to preparation in your available timeframe, that’s great! But, if not, you might have to adjust your list of schools with a lower target GMAT score.
The best GMAT score for you would be one that helps you stand out in competition and gets you admission in the school of your choice. Follow the steps I have discussed above and let me know if you were able to calculate your target GMAT score.