In order to encourage undergraduates to begin thinking about b-school and the GMAT (when they are better positioned to effectively prepare for it), the good folks at GMAC launched a marketing campaign called “Direct Your Destiny.” The campaign includes a web-based video campaign and other approaches aimed at increasing the number of GMAT test-takers from the undergraduate or recent graduate pool. I checked out the videos the other day, and in all honesty a couple of them are pretty funny.
While the videos are entertaining, the rationale underpinning GMAC’s pitch to undergrads has some significance. Based on the logic, many business majors or business-minded undergraduates should consider taking the GMAT, particularly if they’re pretty sure an MBA is in their future.
Here are a couple things to consider:
- Between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the number of GMAT test-takers younger than 24 years old increased more than 130%, for a year-over-year average growth of nearly 24% (Profile of GMAC Candidates Five Year Summary 04/05 – 08/09)
- Undergraduate test-takers have some of the best mean score outcomes out of all age groups.
There are also some very good reasons for undergraduates to consider taking the test earlier, rather than, as conventional (and questionable) wisdom dictates, waiting until you “have to” or are “ready to” go to business school:
- Undergrads are more attuned and acclimated to the rigors of intense study that the GMAT often requires. Just think about all those Orgo, Econ, and Psych finals you’ve been laboring over.
- Undergrads have more recently been using or tested on many of the concepts/skills the GMAT tests (think Quantitative and English requirements of most liberal arts programs, and, of course, all the high school math and English that essentially comprises much of the content knowledge needed for the test). If you let another five years pass, how much less fit and prepared will you be to recall all the little rules and formulas you need, and more importantly, how to apply them?
- GMAT scores are valid for five years. Depending on who you ask (and about which sub-demographic) the average age of matriculation for MBA students is somewhere between 25 and 30. This means that with appropriate attention to your graduate school and occupational plans/time line, your test score just after graduation would be just fine for application later.
- An increasing number of business schools have either already begun to or are considering developing programs that groom some (or all) of their undergraduate business majors for graduate business school, with a high percentage of them intended to enter the MBA program at the same institution.
With all these reasons in favor of getting the GMAT out of the way, it’s no wonder GMAC is pushing it, and why undergraduates must consider taking the test.
Good luck, and if you have any questions about the GMAT or would like to have us come to your campus to talk about the test, just send us an email at gmatsupport at bellcurves.com. If you are a student at Syracuse University or Morehouse College, be sure to come to our GMAT Information Sessions on your campus next month.
Update: GMAC has also launched fee waivers for the GMAT testing fee.