Cheating MBA Rankings

Just how important are all those MBA rankings? 1025_JONES_RANKING-b-310x222-2


Business school applicants are constantly bombarded with the latest MBA rankings from Business Week, USA News & World Report, Financial Times, Forbes, and more.

Our “Rankings Rule” for business school applicants has always been this: rankings are a great place to start your research, but a terrible place to base your final decision.

After all, how do we know that business school’s aren’t lying about their programs to boost the value of the degrees? Turns out, some business school’s have tried to cheat the rankings. Bloomberg Business Week recently reported:

How could a small business school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City beat Harvard, Stanford, and MIT in a ranking of entrepreneurship? By cheating, suggests a report in the Kansas City Star newspaper, which accused the university of meddling with an independent study that ranked its Henry W. Bloch School of Management first in innovation management. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called for an inquiry into the university’s rankings on Thursday.

In a letter to the University of Missouri Board of Curators, Governor Nixon said the article “raises serious questions about the integrity of the scholarship and strategies that have been employed to raise the profile of the institution.”

Read more about the importance of MBA Rankings here:

Canceling your GMAT Score

cancelThe GMAC recently announced that right after completing the GMAT, test-takers now have the option to cancel their score once they have previewed them. These are unofficial scores, that include your Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal, and Total, and you will be given 2 minutes to decide whether you would like to cancel or accept your scores. Sounds daunting, but if you are prepared ahead of time, this should not be a difficult decision:

1. Avoid making a tough call by thoroughly preparing for the exam: if you study hard and do well, accepting your scores will be easy

2. First-time GMAT takers can afford a lower score: if it’s your first time taking the exam, don’t automatically consider a lower score as one you need to cancel– admissions committees love improvement from the 1st to the 2nd score!

3. Set a base-line score: make your life easy by making the call before you even take the test, and be prepared to hit “accept” if you score is anything above what you set as a personal base-line score (even if you’re not thrilled with it)

Some more facts from GMAC:

  • if you decide to cancel your scores at the test center, you will be able to reinstate them within 60 days of the test date for a $100 fee. After that, scores will not be retrievable.
  • Analytical Writing Assessment scores are unaffected by the change

Watch one of our most popular videos, Conquering the GMAT to learn more about how you can be fully prepared for the test!

Companies Seek MBA Grads Who Can Code

Steve Jobs was once quoted for saying “everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.”1897030

Step aside software engineers, MBA grads are learning to code now too! “We’ve got a lot of MBAs graduating and going off to be high-tech product managers. If you look at that world, there are a bunch of big tech companies that insist that anyone in that role be technical—understand code well enough to read it and write it,” says Thomas Eisenmann, an HBS professor who teaches a course on product management.

Even if coding won’t be the nature of your everyday job, tech companies are seeking managers who know code well enough to work with their technical staff.

Surprisingly, few elite business schools have worked coding classes into the MBA curriculum. Check out Businessweek’s post, “B-Schools Finally Acknowledge: Companies Want MBAs Who Can Code,” to find out how Harvard, Stanford, NYU and other top MBA program view the matter

Upcoming Business School Webinars and Online Q&A Sessions

Mark your calendars! A few business schools are hosting online info sessions about their MBA programs:


JULY 30: Harvard Business School Q&A



AUGUST 7: UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business MBA & EMBA Info Session


AUGUST 14: Berkelery Haas School of Business Prospective Student Chat


SEPTEMBER 8: Wharton School of Business Application Tips


If at First You Don’t Succeed on the GMAT…

The classic comic W. C. Fields said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.” Relatedly, the modern humorist Stephen Wright said, “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.” Obviously, both of these are playful takes on the timeworn platitude: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” As positive and optimistic as that banality tries to be, it’s hard not to read it with at least an edge of cynicism.

There’s every reason to be discouraged after gearing up for a challenge such as the GMAT and then being slapped down by it. In part, this is a common experience because so many users hold high standards for a good GMAT score. By definition, 90% of the folks who take the GMAT will not get a score in the top 10% percent, and yet a considerably higher slice than 10% of the test-taking population wants to get into that top 10% of the scores. It’s a scenario in which, with mathematic certainty, not everyone will achieve their goal.

Then again, the GMAT is not all that different from the world into which it grants access: the world of the modern business executive. There are always lots of companies that fail and only a few that win big. Of course, your chances of winning big are enhanced if you have the drive to succeed, including what it takes to get back into the game after each failure — even as the platitude above suggests.

What does it take to have the drive to succeed on the GMAT? First of all, you should be realistic about achieving something far beyond average GMAT scores. We folks who write test questions know that some questions, both math and verbal, have the most predictable mistakes: if we set up a question containing such-and-such trap, folks will simply run in swarms into the big butterfly net. The first part of success on the GMAT involves identifying all the common traps: that alone will set you apart from the masses. Relatedly, pouring over problem explanations when you make a mistake is an often-under appreciated aspect of learning. If you get a practice question wrong, it’s not enough to get the gist of the explanation. The mark of a truly exceptional student is: never making the same mistake twice. That’s a lofty standard, but with sufficient and sustained review after each question you get wrong, you can approach this standard.

If you are planning to retake the GMAT after a less-than-stellar performance, your very first question should be: “What am I going to do differently this time to guarantee that I don’t repeat the same result?” A review of the common traps would be helpful for many re-takers. For folks who are secure in their knowledge of the content, moving beyond the content to the logic typical of question design would be helpful. Ideally, you would find some GMAT preparation service with a score guarantee, so that you won’t waste your money duplicating the same low score.

Even if you get many questions wrong in your practice, even if you have already done poorly on a real GMAT, take heart! With determination and practice, using the best GMAT prep materials, you can strengthen your performance and move up in the percentiles. If you can cultivate the skill of getting the most out of your mistakes and setbacks, that will accelerate you toward greater GMAT success. Even if you are pro at learning from failures, though, you still might want to approach skydiving with caution!

This post was written by Mike McGarry, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

Big Data and MBAs

“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…” – Dan Ariely

Big data is Big now. A few schools in the USA have started programs in Business Analytics. IBM and HEC Paris are collaborating for the 1st European MBA in Analytics.

Read More about Big Data:

Mining a Seam

Practical Advice to Obtain a Big Data MBA



Cornell’s Tech MBA

For the first MBA class at Cornell’s New York tech campus the slots are halfway filled up. Unlike other MBA programs this program is a 1 year intensive. Instead of a traditional internship this program requires that its students work in a start-up environment. You can read the complete article in Businessweek “How Much Space is Left in Cornell’s First MBA Class at its NYC Tech Campus?

Is the wave of the future the intensive MBA?

The Economist Launches GMAT Tutor for iPhone, a Comprehensive and Mobile GMAT Prep Course

The Economist recently announced the launch of an iPhone app called GMAT Tutor (, which allows students to prepare for the GMAT by focusing on their individual learning needs.

The app offers 100 hours of content and over 5,000 practice questions. GMAT Tutor employs patent-pending artificial intelligence so the more time students spend learning with the program, the more customized it becomes.

“Future MBAs are on the go, so we wanted to provide an intuitive prep tool that fitted with their lives,” said Isaac Showman, vice-president at The Economist and general manager of Economist Education. “GMAT Tutor combines cutting-edge adaptive learning technology with the portability of an iPhone. The app has a conversational, almost human tone, and for students around the world, the best GMAT instructor they can find is probably in their pocket.”

Access to GMAT Tutor is free for 7 days after which students can pick between two learning plans priced between $475 and $695. Support is offered via a global team of GMAT instructors who are available to answer questions via in-app messaging or live video chats.

The iPhone app is supported by an online version which provides extra features such as full-length Computer Adaptive Testing GMAT practice tests, essay support, and customized progress reports.

The Economist is backing GMAT Tutor’s courses with a comprehensive improvement guarantee. If students’ GMAT scores don’t improve by at least 50 points (or 70 for the advanced program) they will receive a full refund for the course. The Economist plans to release an Android version of GMAT Tutor within the next few weeks.

iPad App

2013 FORTÉ Forum

This fall, Forté is coming to cities across North America, making a stop in London with our Forum event series.  The Forté Forums are an intimate and interactive event specifically for women who are pursuing their MBA.

Top women business leaders share candid advice drawn from their own career experiences. They’ll be joined by admissions officers from leading business schools, who will answer questions and give advice about the admissions process.

The event includes plenty of time to mingle with school representatives and alumnae for one-on-one networking opportunities.

Women can expect to:

  • Connect with admissions staff from leading business schools in Europe and North America
  • Learn ways to finance their MBA
  • Hear advice and stories from MBA women across multiple industries and career stages
  • Learn how an MBA can help them succeed in virtually any career or industry – even the non-profit sector

The 2013 Forté Forum schedule of events is as follows:

August 19, Chicago

August 20, Boston

August 21, Washington, DC

August 22, Atlanta

August 26, Houston

August 28, San Francisco

August 29, Los Angeles

September 3, New York I
September 4, New York II

September 5, Toronto

October 2, London

*The cost to attend a Forté Forum is FREE for pre-registrants. Onsite registration is $5 in North America and £5 in London.  To register and see a full list of participating schools by city, visit

Interact virtually and experience our online resources for women considering pursuing an MBA—Visit to learn more about our Podcast series, upcoming Forum webinars and Pre-MBA blog.

Forté Foundation is dedicated to encouraging women to pursue careers in business leadership by providing access to information, scholarships and networking opportunities. Forté is backed by 29 leading corporations, 41 top business schools in the U.S. and abroad, and The Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).

For more information, contact Forté at

Press Release originally posted by


Will Facebook Destroy Your Admissions Chances?

When Kaplan Test Prep released the results of its survey of business school admissions officers, revealing that 32% of business school admissions officers performed internet searches on applicants, 27% visited an applicant’s social media (Facebook, Myspace, etc.) page, and 10% had found something online that negatively impacted an applicant’s admission chances, applicants around the world collectively shuddered. Not only do we have to consider every comma and turn of phrase in the applications themselves, now we have to worry about what we may have posted online in the past as well?! YES! Here are a few tips to consider when using Facebook given these stark statistics.

1. Make sure that your Facebook profile is for Friends only (and not open to Friends of Friends or Everyone), and also remember to check that you’ve selected this option for every picture that you post.

2. As a general rule, never post any comments or pictures that you wouldn’t want everyone in the world to see. That way no one of your closest 1300 friends who is offended by your post can simply take a screenshot of it for global dissemination. Think very hard before using Facebook as a forum to comment on a political matter, your satisfaction with your job, your affinity for a particular teacher or supervisor, etc. Go through now and delete any questionable posts.

3. Even if your Facebook profile is private and viewable only to Friends, you need to keep in mind that some things are viewable by anyone on Facebook: all of the data you’ve entered in Basic Information, the names of Groups you’re a member of, the pages you’ve Liked, all of the pictures you’ve saved as Profile or Cover Photos, and any pictures or comments you’ve posted to an open group. Be conservative in your Group memberships and contributions to open groups, and delete any cover or profile photos that you don’t want in your application file.

This guest blog post was written by Jennifer Bloom of, and was originally featured hereJennifer Bloom has been successfully helping applicants demonstrate their readiness for the top MBA programs around the world for 14 years.  

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