Navigating the GMAT Essays

Are you worried about setting yourself apart during the business school admissions process? One of your key opportunities is to deliver well-written GMAT essays. This guide will teach you the tricks to overshadowing your competitors with great essays.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT lasts for one hour and is divided into two essays: issue and argument. Consider the following top-tier advice:

  • Stay on topic. With only thirty minutes for each essay, you will not have time to go off onto tangents. Plan to make your points within 300 words or less.
  • Use supportive statements and cite facts whenever possible. Include your personal experience when appropriate but also rely on the evidence given by third parties.
  • Both a computer program and a human reader will review your essays. Make sure that your word choice, sentence construction, and overall flow appeal to both entities.

For the Analysis of an Issue essay, your job is not to prove that the issue is right or wrong; your job is to convince the reader to believe your position. The simplest format for the Analysis of an Issue section is the following:

  • Introduction with a background on the issue and reasons why you agree or disagree
  • Reason One with an explanation of the reason and an example
  • Reason Two with an explanation of the reason and an example
  • Acknowledgment of the opposing side’s arguments and ways to refute them
  • Conclusion re-emphasizing the issue and the arguments you have already presented

The easiest format for the Analysis of an Argument essay is below. For this section you must point out the flaws of the argument and convince the reader your conclusions are correct.

  • Introduction with a background on the argument and your stance on its validity
  • Point One with an emphasis on the argument’s positive aspects, using examples whenever possible
  • Point Two with an emphasis on the argument’s negative aspects (flaws), using examples whenever possible
  • Point Three listing ways in which the argument could be improved or strengthened
  • Conclusion reiterating the argument and its major advantages and disadvantages

Before your writing time is complete, review your essays. Make sure they are free of spelling errors, meet conventional grammar and formatting guidelines, respond well to the essay topic, and capture the reader’s attention.
Practice essay writing several times before you reach the testing center, so you will understand the pacing necessary to meet the time limits. GMAT test prep is available both online and in-person for essay assistance.
With advanced planning and GMAT test prep, you are on your way to furthering your education and propelling your job prospects well into the future.

The Average Cost of MBA Programs in the United States

Earning a Masters in Business Administration can be an important step in your career. For professionals in business, finance or other related fields, it can be a step towards significant career advancement. Earning an advanced degree can also be a serious investment that often requires significant planning and budgeting to make it a reality.

An MBA program has its straightforward costs, such as tuition, but it has other costs as well. You will not typically be able to work full-time during an MBA program and must consider the loss of income during the time period as part of the cost.

The average cost of an MBA program in the United States is between $40,000 and $60,000 per year and the standard program is two years. Many schools help students to budget actual costs by laying out not only the cost of tuition, but the cost of supplementary materials as well. For example, Harvard Business School costs $48,600 in tuition each year along with an addition $4,650 program support fee that covers textbooks and web-based program materials.

The majority of people entering business school have some work experience. This will be helpful in guiding them towards the right program and giving them support as they make decisions to advance their career within a company or look for a new job. Some employers will be able to provide financial assistance to employees whose careers warrant the investment in an advanced degree.

Working professionals may want to consider programs that cater to people with full-time jobs that cannot afford to take the time off to complete a degree full time. Another alternative is to look into accelerated programs that focus on a heavy course load in a shorter period of time to help shorten the period of time when students must go without a full salary.

Making the decision to go to business school is an important decision and an investment in your future career and potential earnings. Depending on your projected career path, earning the degree is an investment that stands to quickly pay for itself.

Top 10 Tips for Time Management in Business School

Time management is essential for success in business school. By applying these tips, you can establish organizational and time management techniques that will work for you.

1. Keep calendars that make sense for you. By now, you should have a good sense of your work habits, potential trouble areas, and how you best manage information. For more visual people, this may mean having a large wall calendar where you can keep track of classes, assignments, work, and blocks of study time.

2. Write everything down. While students today have many options for electronic calendars and organizers, there is value in keeping traditional to-do lists. Get in the habit of writing down a daily schedule and goals for the day that you can check off as they get done. The act of writing down priorities will help focus your mind on the present.

3. Remember what works. Think about your high school and undergraduate years, particularly if you have been out of school for a few years. Remembering the study habits that worked for you then can help you translate them into time management skills that will work now.

4. Learn to prioritize from the moment you are given an assignment. As you do this, it will become second nature to order your work. This mental exercise will help you throughout business school and in your career.

5. Break everything down. Courses in business school are often built around one or more large assignments that can seem overwhelming at first. Focus on breaking each assignment into manageable pieces and set your own deadlines to stay on track.

6. Tune into your natural clock. While much of the real world operates from nine to five, in business school, it’s important to know when you are at your best. Schedule blocks of study time and classes for the time of day when your brain is engaged. For some people this will mean studying in the morning, for others, night classes and studying at night will make more sense.

7. Fight procrastination. Procrastination is the enemy of any student. In business school, it is even more important to banish it from your study habits. Make “do it now” your mantra and whenever you are tempted for put off an assignment until later, remember that in the time you spend procrastinating, you could already be halfway done.

8. Have a work space. Set aside an area, a private office or just a corner of your room, to use only for schoolwork. You will get in the habit of focusing when you are at your desk and relaxing when you are not.

9. Make time for breaks. Taking time to relax and participate in activities you enjoy can help you to perform better academically too. Breaks will keep you from getting over-stressed.

10. Ask for advice. Don’t forget to use your professors as a resource. They can be a great source of time management and study tips. They will often be happy to offer their advice.

2010 Business School Rankings

Choosing a good business school is an important decision for your education and career. It is important to take time to learn about various programs and review all of the information and rankings available. US News & World Report and Business Week are two reliable sources that rank the top business schools each year.

In 2010, Harvard Business School at Harvard University and Stanford University’s tied for first on the US News and World Report list. Third place went to the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and fourth to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. The University of Chicago’s Booth School and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School tied for fifth place on the list of top business schools.

Business Week also provides rankings of the best business schools in the United States, as well as the top international programs and part-time options. Business week ranked University of Chicago’s Booth School first, Harvard Business School second and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School third. Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania came in fourth on Business Week’s list and the University of Michigan’s Ross School placed fifth.

The Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ontario ranked first in Business Week’s list of top international business schools. Business Week also ranked the best part-time MBA programs with Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts coming out on top. Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School placed first on this list in 2009. There are many excellent part-time programs that are designed to fit into each student’s unique situation and schedule. Through these programs, it is possible for students to continue to work or have a family while they are earning their MBA.

Admissions for the top business schools are extremely competitive. It is important to prepare an application that sets you apart from the pool of applicants. For business school applications it is important to highlight your unique experiences in work, education, and even travel. These are things that will shape how you perceive business and how your MBA will fit into your career plan.

Performing well on the GMAT is key for people who want to attend a top business school. The GMAT, in combination with the undergraduate transcript and work experience, will help to determine where you will be accepted. A solid GMAT test prep program will prepare you to excel on the GMAT. When preparing for the test, online test prep programs are a great option for people with full time jobs and hectic schedules. GMAT practice exams will help test takers to prepare for the unique format of the GMAT.

Designing a GMAT Test Prep Schedule

Designing a solid GMAT test prep schedule is essential to success on the exam. Most test takers plan to spend three to six months studying for the GMAT, but this is dependent on your personal study habits. All test prep schedules should consist of individual study time, GMAT courses, and taking online practice exams. The GMAT tests verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills, similar skill sets to the ones you studied when you were preparing for the SAT in high school. Yet this time around, the material will likely be more challenging and the test format will be significantly different.
One critical factor in deciding how long to study for the GMAT is how long you can devote to studying each day. For people who have full time jobs or are in school full time, it is best to set aside specific hours each day to fit study time into a busy schedule. In these cases, a six month GMAT test prep schedule is likely to be best. For people who can devote larger amounts of time to study, three to four months may be enough. Enrolling in a GMAT course is often a good way to stay motivated and be sure that you stay on track during your test prep.

The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT are given in a computer adaptive format. This means that you will be provided one question at a time on a computer. After answering the first question, the computer will generate another. The difficultly level will depend on how well you score on previous questions. This format is likely different from anything test takers have faced before. For this reason, starting practice tests early in your test prep, or at least two months before the exam, will help you become familiar with the format. There are 37 quantitative questions and 41 verbal questions on the GMAT. Practice exams will also help you learn to pace yourself as you work through each section of the exam.

The analytical writing section of the GMAT contains two parts: an analysis of an issue essay and an analysis of an argument essay. Test takers are permitted 30 minutes to complete each essay. Reading sample essay prompts and practicing writing a solid essay within the time constraint will help you prepare for test day. There is no single correct answer to either writing sections. Piecing together a coherent analysis is more important than having prior knowledge of the topic.

By sticking to a test prep schedule, GMAT test takers can ensure that they are prepared for the test and familiar with the format. By this point in their academic career, they will benefit from a strong knowledge base and a high degree of self-awareness about their skills and study habits.

GMAT To Include Integrated Reasoning Section Starting June 2012

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently announced changes to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) that are set to take effect June 4, 2012. The test, called Next Generation GMAT, will include an integrated reasoning section. The goal of this new section is to provide insight into how the test taker will perform in today’s information-filled business environment.

The integrated reasoning section will evaluate the test taker’s ability to evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources. These sources may include graphs, charts, and spreadsheets. Test takers will also be asked to evaluate trade-offs, interpret visual data representations, and determine probability and statistics. While question types are still in testing, the GMAC predicts that some questions will have multiple parts and more than one correct answer. They have not yet decided whether partial credit will be an option on these questions.

For the past four years, the GMAC has conducted surveys of business school faculties in order to evaluate the current test and pinpoint improvements that could be made to the test for the future. The integrated reasoning section is the primary result of these surveys. Faculties expressed the need for incoming students to be able to integrate data, work through complex problems, and make statistical inferences. Next Generation GMAT seeks to make the test more applicable to business schools by asking test takers to complete problems that are similar to the work they will face once in graduate school.

The GMAT will still take three and a half hours to complete. The 30 minutes integrated reasoning section will replace one of the two essays in the analytical writing section.

Currently, the GMAT analytical writing section contains one Analysis of an Issue essay and one Analysis of an Argument essay. The Next Generation GMAT will only include one essay, but students could be assigned either an Analysis of an Issue prompt or an Analysis of an Argument prompt. Therefore, test takers will still need to prepare for both types of essay during their GMAT test preparation. Business school admissions officers have stated that the two current essay test scores are highly correlated. For this reason, they anticipate that one essay will continue to provide a fair and accurate measure of test takers’ abilities.

Scoring on the Next Generation GMAT will change only slightly. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT will remain the same and will continue to be scored on a scale of 200-800. There will be a separate score for the single essay in the analytical writing section and a second separate score for the integrated reasoning section.

The GMAC assures future test takers that more information about specific question types and sample tests for Next Generation GMAT will be available closer to the time of the test’s release. A GMAT course will help people planning to take the GMAT after June 2012 to prepare for the test, including the new section. Developing a comprehensive study plan is the best way to ensure success on the GMAT. Making time for GMAT test preparation and taking Next Generation GMAT practice tests are generally the best way to enter the exam confident and prepared.

Top Ten Must Haves for the Business School Newbie

If you have recently been accepted into a business program or are still trying for a spot at a school of business, you may have realized the extent to which electronics are needed. Not only do most business programs officially require laptop computers and advanced calculators, many make life without a smart phone or other devices nearly impossible. These ten gadgets will certainly improve your day to day affairs as a student of business.

1. EPOS Digital Pen

This is the new, more convenient type of USB flash drive. The handy tool combines digital pen with USB flash drive to create a writing tool that records trace movements into the USB flash drive, freeing you from the hassle of keeping track of paper notes.

2.Apple  iPod

Okay, so most current students and prospective students already possess an iPod or some other type of mp3 player. If you don’t, you really ought to consider investing in one. Not only can the music you download to it provide you a relaxing reprieve from your studies, classical music can actually improve your study sessions! This is only a good edition if you are committed to a mobile platform other than Apple or a provider other than AT&T. If not, then just spend a little more for the new iPhone 4.

3. HP OfficeJet all-in-one printer, fax, scanner, copier

As a business student, chances are you’ll be writing a number of papers. There is also a good chance you’ll need a scanner and copier in many situations, perhaps even a fax machine. The HP OfficeJet all-in-one printer, fax, scanner, copier is convenient, reliable and easy to store in even the tiniest of dorm rooms. Models are updated frequently, but look for one with Wi-Fi to make things even easier to connect to your network.

4. Kindle 2

Amazon’s newest version of the Kindle is great for those who love to read, or simply have a huge load of readings for college. It is easy to use and offers super fast internet access. Users can choose from a collection of over 400,000 books, newspapers and magazines and the online Kindle store. Best of all, the device’s ability to hold 1,500 books at once is definitely appealing for the business student, given how difficult it is to find storage space in dorms and college apartments. MBA students can use the available library to help them with test preparation on the go, without the hassle of carrying their hardback books along.

5. RIM Blackberry Presenter

If you own a Blackberry Smartphone, you should consider investing in the new RIM Blackberry Presenter. This gadget connects to the Blackberry Smartphone through Bluetooth and hooks up to monitors and projectors. It can be used to present PowerPoint presentations straight from the Smartphone.

6. Apple iPad

This revolutionary device bridges the gap between laptop and smart phone. The mix of both allows students to consume massive amounts of media and information in interactive new ways. Companies are continually coming out with new ways for students to interact with this device and their software. Things like games, movies, books, music, test prep materials, courses and communication are now not only portable, but easily viewable.

7. PowerSquid

Dorm rooms and college apartments often lack the number of outlets required to charge various types of gadgets. The PowerSquid solves this dilemma by providing several extra places to plug in a variety of devices. The power strip is also environmentally friendly-students tend to forget to unplug gadgets when heading out for the day, but the PowerSquid allows you to turn off everything at once and therefore save a great deal of energy.

8. Light Touch Projector

Like the Blackberry Presenter, the Light Touch Projector connects via Bluetooth and is useful for presentations. The Light Touch Projector is unique in that it projects a touch screen to any surface, which means that you can use it to connect to social networks and other applications. Additionally, the Light Touch Projector can connect to the internet using Wi-Fi, an ability that proves handy for those who lack access to Bluetooth.

9. Magnadyne Multi-use Car Charger

Many college students do not have access to car while on campus, but for those who do, a multi-use car charger can be a life saver. Magnadyne’s version lets you hook up four devices at once. This gadget is very useful for college commuters, especially those who balance their class load with a full time job.

10. Apple iPhone 4

The yearly reboot of the ever prominent and market dominating iPhone. Updated hardware includes dual front and rear facing cameras, 960×640 display resolution, better antenna integration for less dropped calls and significantly increased battery time over previous models. Load this phone up with all of the educational apps that you need to make test prep and studying much easier.

The Average Salary Increase with an MBA

College graduates may see themselves as being a cut above the rest, but many don’t take the time to look at the difference between themselves and business school graduates. Taking into account the differences between the normal college track and the MBA track, business school becomes a logical choice for personal, professional and monetary gain. In order to achieve this gain, one must first conquer the GMAT.

By taking the GMAT, otherwise known as the Graduate Management Admission Test, you’ll be able to enter a MBA program at a number of schools. The GMAT test is used worldwide to measure the ability of students to demonstrate successful traits that will statistically allow them to succeed in an MBA program. The school that you are able to addend is dependent on the score that you are able to achieve on the GMAT. The score that you achieve on the GMAT, typically correlates to the prestige level of the business school that you are able to get into. Simply put, the higher you score, the better the school you can attend.
Over the past few years, it has become apparent that degrees tied to business, management, and the financial sectors tend to have higher job placement rates than regular degrees. Therefore, building upon your bachelor’s degree with an MBA will greatly increase your marketability.

In comparison to the general salaries of those graduates that earn bachelor’s degrees, graduates that attain an MBA tend to make at least $12,000 more per year than their counterparts. This amount often increases in many fields, usually greatly exceeding the route of completing a double major at the university undergraduate level.

Besides this increase in average salary per year, business school graduates tend to have a higher rate of consistent work in comparison with conventional degree holders. This is because the business, management, and financial fields tend to remain more constant in terms of employment when compared to other fields.

Therefore, college graduates can literally change their lives by adjusting their financial opportunities through earning a degree from a business school. In order to do this, scoring high on the GMAT test is a necessary component. The majority of business schools will only accept GMAT scores as a benchmark for potential applicants, so preparing for the GMAT is the essential step towards acceptance into a strong MBA program.

What to Expect Your First Year in Business School

Acceptance into business school is a time for celebration, and while new doors are opened adjusting to university life can often be daunting. Any incoming student has to adjust to university life, which can often be far away from home and a brand new environment, but new business school students must face their own unique set of challenges and experiences their very first year.

Business school students should expect to learn their school’s academic expectations quickly. The curriculum for business programs obviously varies from program to program, but business schools are often much more regulated as to what a student’s courses should be each semester. In many cases, there will be very few, if any, elective courses. Therefore, students who have a strong desire to take classes outside the regular business school curriculum should work closely with academic advisers in order to create a diverse but manageable schedule.

Newly inducted business school students must also keep in mind that their time at university is limited, and that their choices are very important. Deciding right away to aim for a duel degree, multiple concentrations, certificate programs, or accelerated business tracks is incredibly beneficial and saves a lot of hassle later on, for students, parents, and administrative employees alike.

Of course, business students will have to adapt to campus life in their first year. This includes adjusting to living in a new place in many cases, or getting used to commuting to school every day. New people and new experiences are part of everyday life, during classes and downtime alike. Many business school students take advantage of extracurricular activities, from sports to special interest clubs, in order to connect with other students and create lasting memories during their first year at business school.

Nevertheless, the business school experience is unique from that of a regular college freshmen, as the business track involves constantly relating to the applicability of knowledge to the real world. No matter the program, business schools tend to focus on the entrepreneurial spirit and quality experiences. First year business school students should already think ahead about companies or organizations they might like to intern for, paid or unpaid, in order to gain experience. At many schools, these internships can take place during breaks or concurrent to the school year and often count for academic credit.

This real world centric outlook should be very important during a student’s first year in business school, as keeping career minded is one of the wisest outlooks a student can adopt. Many business schools have specialized career centers for internships, part time jobs, and longer employment opportunities both during the first academic year and later on. This allows for lasting ties to form between a student and the career center, making it easier later on when the student requires assistance, guidance, or references.

First year business school students should also expect to get involved in the community around their school. In many business programs, community service is heavily encouraged and sometimes required for graduation. Service opportunities not only form bonds between students, but allow students to understand the community and make a positive impact.

Every business school is different, but a first year business school student should expect to find challenging academic work, innovative classroom experiences, new bonds with peers, and a pathway to savvy business sense and skills that last a lifetime.

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