I have reached a point in my career where getting an MBA - in my case, I want a reputable US MBA - will bring me on my next career wave. Getting into top 10-20 business schools is my immediate aim. Most business schools require GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) as part of their admission criteria. For those top 10-20 schools, we are talking about a score of least 700 out of 800.
It takes a strong will and discipline to prepare for GMAT. I have been revising for the past 2 months and I must say this test is like no other tests I have taken before. Having not done maths for 16 years (I thought that that was the last time I would ever touch Pythagorean theorem and wonder what the heck is "parallelogram"), it is back to school again. I have devoted at least 2 hours most nights (since I am pretty exhausted from work). Being in the telecommunications industry is no help either as this industry, to me, is the most dynamic industry to be in. You grow white hairs faster by being in the industry than anywhere else (ask Dato' Jamaluddin Ibrahim). Spending time revising for GMAT gives me an opportunity to get back to books and be ready for first year MBA.
In the process of preparing for GMAT, I learnt many new things from the quantitative and verbal sections. No calculator is allowed for quantitative section. When was the last time you did not use a calculator? This little gadget is part of your working life that the gadget is never far away from us. Even our handphone has calculator function. Without a calculator, the quantitative test "forces" you to work with pen/pencil and paper, and solve the problem quickly. Our brain needs this kind of sharpening sometimes. Also, it "forces" you to see the problem from a different angle and deduce an answer quickly. I have applied this at work and I am pleased that I can now solve problems in a much quicker and "out-of-the-box" approach.
The verbal section covers reading comprehension, critical reasons and sentence correction. I like all three. When I read and prepare proposals, I am more selective in my choice of words and express myself with greater clarity. As a manager in the COO's Office, I attend many presentations and as l listen, I begining to question the assumptions and each statement made. What's the presenter trying to say? What is he implying? As I start thinking what was said and the hidden message, I sharpen my listening skill and thought process. This puts you at a different level. Sentence correction is about correctness, concision and clarity. Whenever I write, I am mindful of 3c's.
While the GMAT journey may be tough, and not many choose this path, I am glad I took that first step. It prepares you for a different experience. I would recommend managers to take them even though they may not pursue an MBA immediately. After all, the GMAT result is valid for 5 years. You won't regret doing it.
For me, it is the ultimate test - the GrandMother of All Tests.