If you are in your final year of college, you could be among the majority who believe that the GMAT is not for you. Not entirely incorrect – a good majority of the top-ranking B schools in the world admit to their MBA programs only students with at least a couple of years of experience. So, why bother about the GMAT now?
If you are serious about a Masters degree in Management from a very good B School, you should definitely take the GMAT – and that too while in college. Here are 4 compelling reasons to take the GMAT while in college – ideally by the time you enter your final year of college.
1. The Masters in Management (MIM) Programs that require little or no work experience
The Masters in Management programs usually admit college students with little or no work experience and give them a general management degree leading to a Management job. The who’s who among the B schools in Europe including the London Business School, IE Spain, HEC Paris, and Rotterdam School of Management offer MIM programs. In the US, leading business schools such as Stern School of Business, Kellogg School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management and the likes offer an equivalent – MS in Management.
Most of these programs do not require any previous work experience; in fact, programs offered by schools such as London Business School will not find you eligible if you have more than 12 months of experience. So, this program is primarily for freshers – with no experience.
The ideal time to apply is when you are in your final year of college so that you could start your MIM program immediately after your undergraduate study. Some of these programs have two academic calendars – September and January – while many others admit students in only one of these. The typical duration of these programs is anywhere from 12 months to 18 months.
So, if you are wondering when and how to prepare for GMAT – the answer to the first part is to start preparing for the GMAT when you are in the final year of college.
Here are two useful links to get an insight into the MIM program.
1. 2020 Financial Times Ranking of the MIM program.
2. MIM Compass – a very useful source of information on the MIM programs.
2. Young leader program (YLP) of ISB, 2 + 2 programs at Harvard
Schools such as ISB make deferred admission offers to students who are still in college (final year of college), provided they have an outstanding academic and extracurricular record. The application process for the YLP program at ISB starts in the month of March and students who are in the final year have to apply at this juncture.
If you are selected for this program, ISB makes an admission offer to join their coveted flagship PGP program once you have gained 21 months of experience. You are also mentored for 4 weeks (1 week each, 4 times during the 21 months period) at ISB while you are gaining professional experience.
Having your GMAT score by the time you complete your pre-final semester is essential to apply to this program. ISB’s YLP program details are available here.
Harvard Business School’s 2 + 2 program is a deferred admission program for students who are in college pursuing either their undergraduate or graduate program. If you are pursuing your Master’s degree, to be eligible to apply to this program, you should not have held a full-time job. You can get details about the 2 + 2 Program of HBS at this link.
Obvious questions: When should you be ready with your GMAT score? How should you prepare for GMAT?
So, whether you apply to the 2 + 2 program of HBS or the YLP program of ISB or the equivalent offered by many top US business schools, you should have your GMAT scores by the time you enter your final semester of college. And you should have started your GMAT preparation when you are in the pre-final semester in college.
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3. Top B schools in India such as XIM Bhubaneswar, SP Jain accept GMAT scores
More and more top Management Institutes in India such as XIM Bhubaneswar, SP Jain Mumbai (for PGDM and PGPM), T A Pai Manipal, use GMAT as one of the eligible tests through which Indian nationals could apply to their flagship 2-year postgraduate programs in Management (PGP or PGDM – equivalent to MBA).
How to prepare for GMAT leveraging your CAT Preparation?
So, if you are preparing for the CAT or XAT – it might be to your advantage to leverage that preparation with some additional effort and investment and have your GMAT score in place. Who knows, you might get a higher percentile in the GMAT than in the other tests. The schools usually allow you to select the score that you would want them to consider while shortlisting candidates for the second round of selection. Having an additional score gives you more choice. And the effort required to prepare for GMAT will be marginal considering the fact that you have already prepared for other business schools tests.
4. It is a lot easier to prepare for GMAT while at college
Ask any of your older friends who work and they will rue about how they hardly ever get time to prepare for the GMAT. The curriculum in most of our colleges leaves more than enough time in your hands to do justice to your GMAT prep. Do not fall into the trap of believing that the final year curriculum in your program takes all your time. Even if you are occupied otherwise – including sports, extracurricular, part-time job, etc., you will still be less worked while you are at college than while working full time after graduation.
So, roll up your sleeves and get started with the prep and bank that score. GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. You could apply anytime during this period. At the end of the day, all of what you study for the GMAT is useful for your campus placements, makes you sharper and develops a reading habit that helps in the long run.
Best wishes for your GMAT Preparation!
Alternatively, you could watch this video on how to prepare for GMAT while still in college