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Posted at: Jul 4, 2018, 1:07 AM; last updated: Jul 4, 2018, 12:15 PM (IST)IN CONVERSATION WITH GAURAV SRIVASTAVA, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, SOUTH ASIA, GMAC

Scoring a point with students

Geetu Vaid

An MBA degree is the ticket to plum jobs in the industry and MBA graduates also command high salaries across the sectors. This has given a major push to the number of candidates taking  qualifying exams like CAT, GMAT, XAT, etc. 

For students aiming to get into top B-schools abroad, GMAT is an obvious choice. It is also one of the six ratified exams in India for admission to MBA and PGDM courses in major management institutes across the country. IIMs, too, are using GMAT scores for admission. In fact, 95-96 per cent intake is through GMAT. Also, there is an increase in demand for GMAT-qualified students. This international-standard  exam conducted under the aegis of the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has seen a change in format recently with more student-friendly features being added to it.

Gaurav Srivastava, Regional Director, South Asia, GMAC, elaborates on the new features of this test. Excerpts from an interview:    

The duration of GMAT test was shortened recently. What triggered this move and what is in it for students?

This move is another step in making the test user-friendly. By reducing Quant and Verbal sections, we have cut down the test time by 30 minutes and this has made the test less strenuous for candidates. But there is no change in the difficulty level of the test or in its marking method. 

How is this test different from other such tests?

CAT, which is written by a huge majority of MBA aspirants in India, is basically a test of elimination, where as GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that progresses as per the performance of an individual candidate. The percentage of non-engineers as well as female candidates getting top scores in this test is more and for a number of B-schools this is a good parameter to increase diversity in the classrooms. 

What are the other user-friendly features of this test? 

GMAT gives a lot of room to candidates to manoeuvre and plan to achieve their career and academic goals. Firstly, this test can be taken multiple times all over the year. As a result, a student has a better chance to improve his/her score in comparison with other MBA admission exams. GMAT score is valid for five years. This makes it very convenient for students as they can take the test,  while in their final year of graduation or immediately after college and work for a couple of years and then apply for a top-notch B-school in India and abroad by using the same score. 

Another feature that adds to candidates' comfort level is the select-section option. A candidate can select a particular section in which he is comfortable and attempt it before moving to difficult ones. 

Earlier if you cancelled your score then we would share it with the B-school where one has applied. But now a candidate’s cancelled score will not be sent to the school. 

There is also the score reinstate option. Thus, if a student cancels a score, but later decides to retain it then he can reinstate the cancelled score easily. Anyone who has written the test after 2014 can reinstate the cancelled score. This measure was not there earlier. 

Is GMAC coordinating with institutions/colleges to help MBA aspirants?

Yes. For the benefit of MBA aspirants we have the ‘On Campus Presence’ or OCP programme. This is basically to ensure that students do not have to travel to far off places to take the test. They can actually, take it on their own college campus or in a college closer to their place of residence. For this, there are 15 such centres all across the country.  In north, Thapar College in Patiala has  an OCP.

Right candidates in classrooms are key to better quality of graduates and GMAC is contributing to this through its two-day case study- based workshop for B-school admissions and marketing teams.


Tips for candidates

  • For UG and pre-final students, it is better to taske the test while in college and then go for work experience as the test score is valid for five years. 
  • Practice enough, take online mock tests get SWOT analysis
  • Give yourself enough time before taking the test — at least 2-3 months — to plan and your scores should be with you at least a couple of months before the admission process starts.

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