As a first-year MBA student that got into KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research with a GMAT score, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of my peers here got in through the GMAT, as students who plan to pursue their MBA in India, usually opt for CAT, XAT or other such examinations. I was surprised at how astonishingly small the number was, considering how competitive and challenging the exam is.
The GMAT, conducted by GMAC, is the most widely used graduate business school assessment in the world, with more than 7,000 programs across the globe that accept the GMAT score and 200,000 candidates taking the test each year. The GMAT was built purposely for global business school admissions and was designed specifically to assess the analytical and verbal problem-solving abilities and integrated reasoning skills that are vital to real-world business and management success.
The GMAT is different from the Indian entrance exams like CAT and XAT in many ways. The first is the frequency of the examination. While the national level entrance examinations are held once a year in the months of November to January, allowing only a very tight preparation schedule for aspirants, The GMAT can be taken at any time the aspirant feels he is ready to take it, provided he books a time slot for his examination. While the CAT score is only valid for the immediately following admission season, The GMAT score is valid for a period of 3 years, allowing a lot more flexibility to the student’s choice of B-schools, whether in India or abroad.
The next, and the most valuable one from the students’ point of view, is that the GMAT does not have a negative marking scheme for any of its sections. That being said, each section is challenging enough to put your intelligence to test. There is also no minimum cut off in the bachelor's degree required to take the GMAT, which is not the case with CAT.
In addition to the more obvious points in favour of taking the GMAT, the more important advantage is that it widens your pool of potential B-schools, that you wish to apply to. Almost all the top institutes in India have begun to accept GMAT scores for their PGDM/MBA programs and also the executive programs. In addition to this, there is a whole world of opportunities in the form of B-schools abroad. It is accepted by over 2000 institutes across the world.
The GMAT structure is similar to that of the national level exams', with 4 sections, namely – Verbal reasoning, Quantitative reasoning, Analytical writing assignment, and Integrated reasoning. Each has a fixed time limit and scoring pattern and has its own weight in the final score, which is out of 800. The GMAC has a multitude of practice materials available online to aid with preparations, as well as plenty of mock tests.
Now that I have gone through the grind of the entire process beginning from which exams to take, to the admission process, and have landed in SIMSR, Mumbai, one of the top B-schools in India, I have realised that my decision to take the GMAT was definitely a beneficial one, as it gives me an edge over my peers in more ways than one.