How Many MBA Programs Should I Apply To?

Applying to MBA programs can be a hectic time. Many factors are involved in the application process, but doing a little research in advance can maximize the chance of getting accepted.

The best tool an applicant can utilize is an updated book or web site on MBA programs. These tools profile various programs and contain information about the number of applications received during the previous year, the number of applicants accepted, typical GMAT scores, and GPAs. This information is usually published annually, and applicants may want to follow trends over a couple of years before applying.

Once the applicant has decided on a number of programs, the list should categorized based on how similar the applicant is to others that have been accepted. Sending applications blindly to many schools is equally as detrimental as focusing on one program. Most people suggest applying to at least five programs and applying to as many as possible. This can be difficult for applicants with limited funds. Application fees can be expensive, especially combined with the price of score reports, transcripts, and mailing. Applying to schools that require interviews during the selection process should also be thoroughly considered. If money is an obstacle, it may be wise to reconsider applying to a school where attending the interview would be impossible and a telephone interview is not an option.

Most of the applications should target programs where the applicant is similar in scores and GPA to previously accepted students. Applicants may also consider applying to a couple of schools they are overqualified for, and a school where they fall below the typical accepted applicant. Investing too many resources on programs that are beyond the reach of the applicant is inevitably a waste of time and money.

GMAT scores can have a strong influence on admission decisions and applicants will want to maximize their score. The most popular and convenient option is an online prep course. They are beneficial in their ability to cover information as well as giving sample tests and test-taking tactics. If the applicant is not satisfied with their score, they will want to give themselves ample opportunity to study and retake the test.

GMAT Study Tips

There are many different ways to study for the GMAT. As with any important test, you will want to think about the methods that have worked for you in the past and come up with a combination of the different approaches to create a plan that will work for you. Combining a few of the many strategies is a good way to ensure that you are well prepared for GMAT test day.

Online GMAT Test Prep
Online test prep is a great way to study for the GMAT on your schedule. Online test prep can fit into anyone’s hectic life and allow you to work at a pace that’s right for you. The GMAT is taken on the computer, so studying online is another way to get used to the format and comfortable with the test’s look. There are great options for online test prep available today and students are walking away feeling well-prepared for the exam.

Practice Tests
One of the most important ways to prepare for the GMAT is by taking practice tests. Practice tests allow you to get a feel for the way the test works and how you will work best on test day. Feeling comfortable with the format of the test, a new thing for many test takers, and allow test-takers to feel more confident on test day. Practice test scores can also help you to identify areas that need more work and narrow your focus when you go back to your other methods of studying for the GMAT.

Flashcards
For many people, flashcards are a useful study tool. There’s a reason flashcards have been a mainstay of studying since grade school, they work. Flashcards are good to help you learn new terminology and master new information in a quick and easy way. Flashcards are also great for people who are studying on the go because they can go with you to work, to school, or even on public transportation for your commute.

Test Strategies
Learning some basic test taking strategies can be extremely helpful for the GMAT. Learning how to work through questions, read questions quickly and accurately, and work through process of elimination the answers can help you on test day. Time management is another important skill for the GMAT and practicing skills can make a big difference in your final GMAT scores.

Combining several study methods as you prepare for the GMAT is a sure way to learn information and be sure that you go into the test prepared and confident.

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.

The Benefits of Online Test Prep for the GMAT

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the standardized test necessary for people planning to attend business school. The GMAT is made up of three sections: the analytical writing assessment, the quantitative section, and the verbal section. A solid plan for GMAT test prep is essential to preparing for test day. Due to the format of the GMAT, many people find that online prep is a good option.

It is important to know going in to the GMAT that the quantitative and verbal sections are computer adaptive tests. This means that the test taker is presented with one question at a time on the computer. Depending on whether or not they answer the question correctly, they will be presented with a new question. An incorrect answer will result in easier questions whereas a correct answer will generate more difficult questions. This process will continue until the end of each section.

Due to this computer adaptive test format, online GMAT prep is one of the best ways to prepare for the GMAT. It is critical for test takers to become comfortable with this format in order to be successful on test day. GMAT test prep can help people become acclimated to working with this format and be sure that they will not face unexpected challenges on test day.

In a computer adaptive environment, it is not possible to return to previous questions, skip questions, or change answers after the fact. Success is frequently determined not only by test takers knowledge of the material, but by their ability to perform within the test’s format. Online GMAT prep is a good way to give test takers time to learn the format. This will allow them to become comfortable not only with the material, but with the mode of delivery. It will also help test takers become familiar with the length of the test and work to pace themselves on test day as they move through the computer-adaptive sections.

GMAT test preparation can be a challenge for working professionals. Many people taking the GMAT have full work schedules and busy lives. Online GMAT prep is a good way to fit GMAT test preparation into a hectic schedule. It allows people to choose when and where they can prepare for the test and design a schedule that meets their needs.

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.

Which MBA program is right for you?

The decision to get an Masters of Business Administration requires research and preparation. It can be an important step in furthering a career and the right program will open many doors. There are various types of MBA programs available and it is possible to find an option that is suited to every type of student.

Requirements
Most MBA programs require a standardized test, most commonly the GMAT. GMAT test prep can help you to gain a better idea of what you will need to study in order to do well. Online test prep is a great option for people who want assistance that fits into a hectic schedule. It is also important to find out about any GPA or course requirements from your undergraduate degree. Some MBA programs will want you to have taken a certain level of math courses, but many make it easy to complete these requirements at the start of the MBA program if need be.

Location
Many prospective MBA students will want to stay in a certain region while others are willing to relocate for the right program. It is often worthwhile to consider schools in your area or schools in close proximity to an area where you would like to live and work after completing the program. There are also many online MBA courses that can provide a flexible option to students who would like to complete their MBA primarily from home.

Schedule
Most full time MBA programs will require two years to complete. While a part-time MBA program will take longer to complete, these programs are typically designed for working professionals who would like to continue to work throughout the program. These programs will offer a full range of evening and weekend classes to accommodate this schedule. Some schools also offer an accelerated MBA course that can offer students the opportunity to complete an MBA in as little as one year. These programs will generally require a high level of dedication and an increased time commitment for the shorter period of time.

Courses
MBA programs often offer concentrations such as finance, marketing, human resources management, or non-profit management. If you have a specific interest area, these can be a great opportunity to take additional specialized courses. Each MBA program will offer different types of courses that can be used to complete the requirements. Reading over the course descriptions from prospective universities can offer a better idea of which program offers classes that are best suited to your career goals and interests.

I’m ready to go to business school, now what?

Applying to business school can be both exhilarating and challenging. The best approach is a well planned one. There are a several important requirements to fulfill when applying to business school. For example, applicants must possess an undergraduate degree. Business school applicants must also take the GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test. Online GMAT prep courses can prepare you for this important exam, helping improve your chances of admission to the business school of your choice.

One of the most important assets to possess when applying to business school is time. You’ll need plenty of time to research different business schools, visit campuses and speak with current students and faculty, ready yourself for the GMAT with GMAT practice tests, prepare your application, and ask for references. While studying for and taking the GMAT may initially cause you concern, there are several excellent online GMAT prep options that make studying more convenient than ever.

Another important asset is patience. Take the time to thoroughly research a number of business school programs. Consider whether you are willing to move far away, or whether it is important to you to stay close to home or your current job when attending business school. In addition to considering the ranking and reputation of different business schools, you’ll also want to get a first hand take on the program by speaking with current students. How satisfied are they with the program? What are some of the most common career paths for alumni? How well do they fit with your own professional goals? Take the time to meet with faculty as well. You’ll be working closely with them while attending business school, so you’ll want to get an idea of which business schools have faculty members whose interests best fit your own career goals.

The application and recommendation process also takes time and patience. Get started early and work little by little on your applications. This will give you time to ask for recommendation letters ahead of time. If you’re asking previous undergraduate professors for recommendations, make sure to avoid doing so near the end of the semester when they are busy with writing other recommendations and grading exams. The same goes for your application. Start outlining your response to the questions well in advance. Also be sure to thoroughly edit your application. You might even ask a friend to read your application over before your submit it to catch any orthographic or grammatical errors.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for GMAT prep. The best resources are online GMAT courses that offer you a wide range of studying options from GMAT practice tests to interactive training sessions. GMAT courses help you identify the best strategy for studying for and taking the GMAT test. GMAT courses are a great investment, particularly online options that allow you to study at your own pace and effectively prepare you for the computerized test. Applying for business school is certainly challenging, but the process is well worth it in order to reach your career goals.


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