I have been flirting with the idea of attending an MBA. The benefits for someone to attend such course at a top business school far outweigh the cost (i.e. it is a great investment). It would not only boost your career but provide an opportunity to focus on a different area in line with your life plans.

The admission process for a decent business school has different criteria depending to where you are applying. As a rule of thumb, most schools require some sort of reference letter and demonstration of academic and professional excellence (e.g. transcripts and your CV with real achievements). All this evidence is required to measure your aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. The most reputable business schools in the world require you to do specific tests to assist that evaluation. One of the most relevant ones is the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

The GMAT is computer based exam which takes advantage of adaptive techniques to evaluate student performance. By adaptative I mean that the test “learns” from your answers so the next questions will become harder or easier depending on how well you are performing. The exam mainly focuses on logic, mathematics and English and it is delivered in test centres pretty much anywhere around the world. You can find a list of authorised test centres here, including Brazil, Singapore and Australia.

The exam is divided in three areas: Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Section and Verbal Section and the examinee has four hours to complete all three. Scores are valid for five years from the date the test taker sits for the exam to the date of matriculation (i.e. acceptance, not until the date of application).

The maximum GMAT score is 800. Over the 3 years concluding in October 2009, the mean score has been 538.5. However, if you want to attend one of the top Business Schools, you would probably need something between 600 to 700. There are no minimum requirement for schools such as INSEAD and Harvard, however mean INSEAD score was 703 in 2007. In the Harvard Business School 2009 class the lowest GMAT score was 700 and highest was 740.

Happy studying!

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