Friday, January 27, 2012
Best Time to Take GMAT is .....
ESMT MBA director Nick Barniville believed that the best time to take GMAT is when you are still in the undergraduate. The GMAC statistics showed that Candidates (Men and Women) under 20 represented on average, 0.34% of total candidates of all ages. Of those 0.34%, 66% are Women, thus, Women under 20 effectively represented only 0.22% of all candidates. The largest GMAT candidates in any given year comes from age group 22-25 (38.3%), followed by age group 26-30 (30.3%) and age group above 30 (16.3%). Those who were in their final year of undergraduate studies, typically around age 20-21 represented only 14.5% (Source: GMAC Profile of GMAT Candidates 2006-2011). So is there a right age to take GMAT? Should you start as early as possible, bearing in mind minimum age for candidacy is 18?
I have received many questions in the last 4 years, seeking advice on GMAT. One of the questions I pose back is how many years of work experience does the person have. In this post, I share my view when you should start.
If you research the class profiles of various MBA programs, you will find that on average the candidates are around 29-33 for the European MBAs and 24-25 for the American MBAs. On paper, a general requirement is at least 2-3 years working experience, although some would have at least 4 years experience before doing MBA. In Asia, undergraduates complete their study around age 22-23. Most, if not all, would be eager to earn their first income and own their first car, house, etc. Building work experience, in my opinion, would be the first step. After all, you want to put into practice what you learned in undergraduate. MBAs are typically for those who have years of technical experience and would like to get into management or those with business background, would like to enhance their management knowledge and skills. So, doing MBA too soon defeats the purpose of leveraging on your MBA; it ends up a paper-chase, if that is the intention.
GMAT score is valid for 5 years from date of examination. While this is the case, typical GMAT candidates will apply within 12-24 months from their test and be admitted within 24 months. As the taking of GMAT is usually closely timed with their intention to do MBA, this gap between GMAT test and MBA admission could be close (perhaps GMAC or MBA admissions committees could validate this hypothesis). However, I do not discount the fact that there are "early birds" and have planned long-term what they want in life.
So, when is THE best time to take GMAT? My answer would be ... WHEN YOU ARE READY FOR MBA!