I have attempted to address here some questions of prospective Masters students with regard to the GMAT and GRE examinations, and the respective Masters courses that they subsequently wish to pursue.
Past experience has proven that the vast majority of students that wish to do a Masters programme, or a MBA, have little idea about the complexities of the process of application to a university for a Masters programme. Thus the reason for these answers.
What I have endeavored to do is to save you, the student, valuable time looking around for the most appropriate Masters program available.
Question 1: Do I need to take the GMAT or GRE examination?
Practically any decent Masters course at practically any decent university will definitely require the GMAT or GRE examination score. Yes, many great universities, such as Stanford advertise their Masters by saying that the GMAT score is not absolutely necessary, or that a score of around 650/800 is acceptable, but the reality is that they will not even look at you unless you have a GMAT and the score is around 720/800! Universities use this ploy to attract more applicants. So beware of such tactics.
Question 2: How important is my Grade Point Average (GPA) in comparison/combination with my GMAT/GRE score?
Naturally your GPA is a very important determining factor in securing a place on a Masters programme.
Note, however, to avoid disappointment, that if a university asks for a GPA of more than 7.0 out of 10 or 3.5 out of 4.0 (from an American-based university) then generally that is exactly what they mean.
Many think that 6.8 is near enough 7, or 3.3 is near enough 3.5, only to discover, too late in most cases, that it is not, and a letter of rejection waiting in their mail boxes. Do not assume anything. Make the effort to write e-mails/letters to the appropriate person to clarify the exact entry requirements.
Likewise for the GMAT-GRE scores. If a university stipulates that it wants a score in excess of 580, for example, that is exactly what they want. 570 will not do.I have personally witnessed applicants making the above assumptions only to find that they have been rejected.If you are applying to any half-decent university you will definitely need good a GPA and a strong GMAT-GRE score.
Below I have posted a number of links to useful sites to exemplify the point.Therefore, the answer to the question is that both your strong GPA and your strong GMAT/GRE score are extremely important factors in determining whether you will accepted for a Masters course. It almost goes without saying that the better the university the higher the requirements. As a general guideline I would be very suspicious of Masters programs that do not demand GMAT/GRE scores since the most obvious conclusion that one can make is that the courses are not very competitive and you should not expect to have great career prospects having graduated from such a Masters.
Question 3. When should I select the Program and the universities I wish to apply.
I am of the opinion that this should be done prior to your sitting for GMAT/GRE exam.
One it will clear to you what scores you require to go to your dream university. Thus you will have a clear target and you need not take the exam repeatedly.
Second you will save money on score reporting.
Question 4: On what basis should I choose a Masters/MBA programme?
Well obviously you want to choose the best possible programme since this ought to give you the greatest employment prospects. There are rankings for Masters and MBAs that are published by various different publications .
These rankings give a good general guideline and you will be sure to see familiar names at the top such as Stanford, Berkeley, MIT,Harvard, Wharton,LBS, LSE, Insead and so on. Their positions may vary slightly from year to year but they are always at the top and everyone in the business world knows them, and identifies them with quality.
So just how do you choose the best possible course?
Well, firstly you have to be realistic. It is not easy getting into one of the big name universities unless you have a GPA of more than, let’s say 7.8/10 or 3.7/4 and a GMAT score of at least 680. Do not delude yourselves. If you do not have such scores then you will just have to lower your aim. There are a surprising number of quality Masters programs at universities that many undergraduate students have not heard of yet provide excellent quality and almost guarantee jobs before completing the Masters programme. Business leaders, and employers generally, will undoubtedly know about such universities and the particular Masters on offer. So just because you have not heard of a university do not be put off. After all the reason you are doing a Masters is to increase your job prospects. Having said that, there is also the type of Masters you should pursue. Do not just pick anything that takes your fancy. You have to be constantly thinking whether you are going to be more attractive to a prospective employer with that particular Masters in the future. Thus you have to seriously think about what sort of
job you see yourself doing. Some Masters are particularly “hot” such as Finance (with an emphasis on Financial mathematics) or an MBA with an emphasis on e-commerce.
There are many others but there are also those that have saturated the markets such as a Masters in marketing, unless, of course you happened to have picked it up from a university like Stanford. So think objectively and realistically about which Masters you really want to do and spend enough time surfing the Internet to investigate all possibilities -you may be surprised by what you find. In conclusion, if I had to give one piece of advice with regard to choosing a university it would be: NAME, NAME, NAME.
Question 5: When should I take the GMAT/GRE examination?
The simple answer is as soon as possible. Unfortunately most students leave the GMAT or GRE until the last minute and do it in a rush which certainly does not make for great results. To be sure that you get the highest possible score allow yourself at least three months to prepare yourself, and be prepared to work and practice extremely hard over that three-month period. Ideally you should take the GMAT-GRE at least a year before you think about exactly which Masters you intend to pursue. Remember the examinations are valid for a five-year period. Students who come thinking that the GMAT-GRE can be conquered in a very limited time period are going to be sorely disappointed and severely punished in the real examination. It is simply something that you cannot rush. So take action and think about doing a GMAT-GRE course at the earliest opportunity to avoid disappointment.