Most MBA programs require GMAT or GRE tests scores, and if English is not your native language, TOEFL and IELTS scores as well. It may seem a lot, but here is a word of encouragement: the benefits of taking these tests go far beyond business school admission.
Here is what language proficiency and critical thinking assessments have to offer to applicants.
English Proficiency Tests
Let’s start with the language tests TOEFL and IELTS, two of the most widely-accepted tests to certify your English proficiency. You think the sole benefit of these exams is to show admissions officers that you have what it takes to meet the rigorous academic requirements of your MBA program? Think again.
Chinese languages like Mandarin may be the most spoken in the world and Spanish still has more native speakers, but English is surely the most used language internationally. This means that if you want to have a successful international career, you simply can’t get around English, which is, incidentally, also the official language of business and the most widely used on the internet. So, enhance your communication skills in English and take advantage of the best career opportunities.
Speaking of communication… Yes, taking the TOEFL and IELTS will help you gain admission to your dream MBA program, but it will also enable you to interact with people and forge meaningful relationships, including bonds that will last a lifetime.
Also, note that the TOEFL and IELTS test all four communication skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing. But, as you probably know, people often have strengths or weaknesses in particular skills. Some are better at talking, others have the gift of expressing themselves well in writing. By preparing for a language-proficiency test, you become a more complete communicator, honing your strengths and eliminating your weaknesses.
Critical Thinking Tests
Moving over to the GMAT and the GRE. The GRE, offered by the Educational Testing Service, is designed for people applying to graduate school: Master’s degrees or business schools. The GMAT, offered by the Graduate Management Admission Council, is the de-facto entrance exam for MBA programs.
A strong GMAT or GRE score alone is not enough to secure you a spot in a quality MBA program, but it may prove to be a key factor when it comes to scholarships. Some business schools offer scholarships to applicants with exceptionally strong GMAT and GRE scores. These merit-based scholarships can occasionally cover a good portion of the tuition fees for your MBA program.
You have probably asked yourself, well, why are the authors of the GRE and GMAT making me go over things like basic math problems and verbal reasoning? I want to go business school, after all, not grammar school. Many people consider the GMAT your first MBA course, effectively warming up your brain for the many challenging MBA courses to come.
Believe it or not, the GMAT and GRE are designed to measure certain skills that will help you in the world of business, even though the latter is not specifically designed for business schools. What the exams are really testing is problem solving, strategy, organization, dedication, creativity, flexibility, and visualization. This is probably why many of the most prestigious companies targeted by MBA grads, such as The Big Three, also known as MBB (McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company) filter out applicants by those with the most competitive GMAT scores. That said, you should seriously consider the long-term ramifications, should you be presented with a GMAT waiver.
Take the GMAT data sufficiency questions, for example. These are questions you have to answer based on two pieces of information. The GMAT is posing this type of problem because as a business leader your job will be to first understand the problem. So, data sufficiency questions test your ability to find what the problem really is about and what information you need to solve it.
As you see, all these exams – TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, and GMAT – are actually useful in a very practical way. Hopefully, equipped with this realization, you will be more motivated to pass them with flying colors.
If you need to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, you may want to take a look at UnimyPrep. Take advantage of its vast array of free preparation resources, online events and tools as you march confidently toward your dream MBA program.
Article by: Valentin Vassilev
Edited by: Eric Lucrezia