To test or not to test: this is the question that many prospective students ask themselves when they consider whether to apply and how best to prepare for masters in management.
Overwhelmed by the stresses and distractions of undergraduate study, many may feel unenthusiastic about even more exams. But the extra effort can pay off with a significant number of trade schools.
Admissions officers say it’s one of the first in a series of decisions that can ease the path to a successful application, from reviewing different courses and thinking about resumes and motivations , careful planning of interviews.
Some tests are country-specific, such as the Common Admission Test in India or the Tage Mage in France. Others are international in scope, including the US Graduate Record Examinations. One of the most popular is the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), which assesses skills rather than knowledge by probing quantitative skills and verbal, critical, and integrated reasoning.
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The GMAT is often not required for pre-experience master’s courses and requires additional preparation time and costs – ranging from registration fees to, in some cases, tutoring. Still, the results help provide schools with a standardized benchmark, especially for international students from systems that admissions staff may be less familiar with. Michelle Sisto, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Edhec Business School in France, says: “We see the GMAT as a sign of commitment.
Sangeet Chowfla, outgoing director of GMAC, which administers the GMAT, says one of the benefits of the exam is that students probe their own abilities. “It’s a proven predictor of classroom performance, so it’s useful for them to measure their own readiness. It’s a big investment to go to business school, so your score can tell you something about your experience and how comfortable you’ll be.
Deciding whether or not to take a test is one of many steps for test takers. Sisto emphasizes the importance of research, to explore the characteristics of different business schools and degrees by reading and talking to alumni. She warns that some institutions, or individual courses, are not accredited by national education authorities, which limits the ability of foreign applicants to obtain a work visa and stay in the host country after graduation, for example example.
Like her peers at other schools, she says that in application letters and interviews, candidates should be clear about their motivations for studying and career plans, and be prepared to back up their statements with ideas and examples. . “A very common mistake is trying to say things you think the interviewer wants to hear rather than what you really mean,” she warns.
Ciara Sutton, program director for the Master of International Business at the Stockholm School of Economics, warns that an application that is too perfect or too generic can “result in the applicant not revealing enough of their own personality. We have to see how a candidate differs from their peers and what they will bring to the cohort”.
“Willingness to join our specific program must be demonstrated by disclosing that the candidate has read what we offer, spoken to current students or graduates, and actively chosen our program,” she adds.
Filipa Luz, Head of Marketing at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, says: “We are looking for candidates who have different ideas and mindsets for their future life: we are looking for students who want to change the world, make a difference , to be future leaders.
While Covid-19 has accelerated a trend of reducing in-person interviews, especially for applicants from remote areas, some schools are still using them. Many more have moved to online variants.
While Zoom has reduced the risk of the weak handshake leaving a bad impression, online chats bring other pitfalls. Sisto advises candidates to conduct practice interviews. “You need to be able to convey your excitement online so you can connect: really look at the camera rather than the screen, sit up straight, and make sure the foreground is more eye-catching than the background where you you find,” she said.
Andrew Keating is an Associate Professor overseeing the MSc in International Management at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Dublin. “We are looking for critical reflection,” he says. “Give an example of how and why you achieved something; and what you learned when something failed and how you would approach it again. If you said you wanted to work in technology, explain what you will be doing specifically; or quote a company and explain why it succeeded, to show that you are capable of analysis. »
Appearance matters too, even online. “Don’t show up in a t-shirt and shorts,” advises Keating. “You don’t have to be dressed and booted, but at least smart. You need to make eye contact with the person asking the question, while being aware of others in the room.
Eye contact doesn’t just demonstrate confidence. It can also help focus on what investigators are looking for. “A lot of times candidates don’t listen to the question, get nervous and start spouting something off the top of their heads,” he says. “Listen to what is asked. »
The secrets of successful job applications
Do your research: identify the specificities of each school and sector
Talk to the elders to gather more information.
Internships and work experience demonstrate commitment
Volunteer work, sports, or activities in other student activities show commitment
The GMAT is not always required but demonstrates commitment and tests aptitude. The test costs £225; practical test £41; official guide £40
Be authentic and not generic in your application
Reflect on your accomplishments and challenges overcome
Be professional in interviews: be smart, maintain eye contact, answer the question