Business Schools Still Not Sold on the Importance of the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning Section

guest blog post by Russell Schaffer of Kaplan Test Prep 

New York, NY (October 9, 2014) — According to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of admissions officers at over 200 business schools across the United States*,  60% say that an applicant’s score on the GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning section (launched in June 2012) is not currently an important part of their evaluation of a prospective student’s overall GMAT score.  This represents a slight uptick from Kaplan’s 2013 survey, when 57% said an applicant’s Integrated Reasoning score was not important.  Despite that finding, Kaplan’s survey also finds that 50% of business schools pinpoint a low GMAT score as “the biggest application killer,” confirming that applicants still need to submit a strong score overall. And because GMAT takers receive a separate score for the Integrated Reasoning section, poor performance on this section cannot be masked by stronger performance on the Quantitative, Verbal or Analytical Writing Assessment sections of the exam.


“The fact that a majority of MBA programs are still not currently placing great importance on the Integrated Reasoning section of GMAT is somewhat understandable since they may want to gather additional performance data before fully incorporating it into their evaluation process.  It’s important to remember that because GMAT scores are good for five years, many applicants in 2012, 2013 and 2014 probably submitted scores from the old GMAT, which did not include the Integrated Reasoning section.” said Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep.  “As more and more applicants submit scores from the current GMAT over the next couple of years, business schools may decide that Integrated Reasoning performance should play a more critical role.  Until that time though, Kaplan strongly advises MBA applicants not to discount the importance of preparing for and doing well on the Integrated Reasoning section. Similar to how not scoring well on Integrated Reasoning cannot be masked  by good performance on other sections because it receives its own separate score, doing well on Integrated Reasoning can set you apart from other applicants in a positive way. Use it to your advantage.”

For more information about Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of business school admissions officers, please contact Russell Schaffer at or 212.453.7538.

*For the 2014 Kaplan survey, admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States – including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2014.

originally reported here:

This Week’s Business School Events

images-3MONDAY OCT. 6

  •  MBA Information Session: Harvard Business School Aldrich 109, 4:00 pm no registration required


  • Introduction to Health Enterprise Management (HEMA): Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, 5:15pm RSVP
  • Info Session with President of CEIBS: Barcelona/Madrid, 6:00pm learn more


  •  MBA Information Session: UCLA Anderson School of Business 5:15pm Register


  • Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management Info Sessions: USC Marshall, 6:30pm Register


  • Speaker Series with Citigroup on Business of Investment Banking, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, 3:00 learn more
  • MBA Info Session: Stanford Graduate School of Business, 10:45am Register


  • Spotlight on EMBA Academics: Columbia Business School 10:30am Register

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

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