How to Make Your Business School Application Stand Out

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Selecting the right MBA or business master’s program(s) for your career goals, pulling together the information you need for your business school application, preparing for the GMAT exam, and taking the exam itself can invoke both excitement and a little apprehension.

You’re probably excited about how a graduate management program will qualify you for greater success in your chosen career path. You may also be wondering how you stack up against other candidates who are applying to the same types of programs as you are, and how you can make yourself stand out to an admissions committee. 

Fortunately, simply taking the GMAT exam—and preparing for it—exercises skills that are essential for success in business school, and also signals that you are serious about business school. As you study, take practice tests and hone your test-taking strategies, you are strengthening valuable skillsets that will translate to success in the classroom and beyond. 

Achieving your best possible score is a great first step in the admissions process. As part of your preparation to take the GMAT exam, you should familiarize yourself with how the test is structured, and why the different sections matter in terms of making your application stand out. 

The GMAT exam consists of four sections developed with input from leading business schools and corporate recruiters: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.  

1. Analytical Writing Assessment

The Analytical Writing Assessment portion of the GMAT exam assesses your ability to analyze an argument and craft a well-written response. Critical thinking and written-communication skills are critical in both classroom and real-world settings, where the ability to articulate a point clearly and concisely can make a big difference in garnering agreement or respect from peers and supervisors.

2. Integrated Reasoning

The Integrated Reasoning section of the exam measures your ability to analyze data and evaluate information presented in multiple formats through Integrated Reasoning. Today’s business professionals must be able to absorb large amounts of information from diverse sources, discern connections, and make sound decisions and inferences based upon the available data. Students who showcase their integrated-reasoning skills through the GMAT exam are attractive to graduate management programs designed to meet the needs of global corporations. 

3. Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures how you use analytical and reasoning skills to draw conclusions. In this section, students solve mathematical or quantitative problems and use supporting graphic data to determine solutions. Students who display skills in this area will demonstrate their ability to do well in business-related fields that require an ability to comprehend figures and numerical data.

4. Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section assesses your ability to read and understand written materials and evaluate arguments. A basic comprehension of the written language is crucial in most fields, but in business it is important to be able to interpret connections, draw inferences and follow developments from text without these ideas specifically written out. 

Possession of these skills not only gives you an advantage on the GMAT exam itself but adds to your value as a student and professional in your chosen field. The GMAT exam and the preparation involved will help you identify both existing strengths and areas that can be improved over the course of your MBA program. As you develop the strategies you will use to earn your best possible score on each section, be sure to explore mba.com to find the resources you need.

Ready to take the GMAT? Get started today!

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