THE GRADUATE Management Admission Council (GMAC) announced sometime back that it will add an innovative new section to its Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the entry ticket for business schools worldwide, in June 2012. The new integrated reasoning section, according to GMAC, will include information from multiple sources, such as charts, graphs, and spreadsheets. Examinees will be asked to analyze information, draw conclusions and discern relationships between data points, just as they must do in a business school, a press release of the US- based council has stated.
The section will be 30 minutes long and will replace one of the two essays that are now part of the GMAT’s analytical writing section.
Just another section??
So, will the proposed changes impact the student community and even the B- Schools’ faculty? According to R. Shiva Kumar, director, R & D and Academics, Career Launcher, this would mean just another section. “This may mean that more time will be needed for preparation in comparison to the present timelines. However, the objective seems to be to enhance the quality and there is no reason why this would impact the quality of the students in a negative sense. Students with better ability to churn out and meaningfully interpret data will find it a big advantage. This is probably what a B- school needs,” he adds.
This will definitely require students to prepare ‘extra’ than what they do currently, says Anil Anand Pathak, assistant professor and officiating chairperson (admissions), Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. “One more section, which will be new and different, will be added to the portfolio of a student’s preparation,” says Pathak. Although it would slightly raise the difficulty level, it will be in the best interest of the students and the B- schools, he adds.
“If one essay is sufficient to assess, then removing another essay surely makes a lot of sense from the examiners’ perspective. The evaluation of the candidate will be enriched due to the added diversity coming from the assessment of a more relevant dimension from the management school’s perspective,” Pathak elaborates.
A Second chance!
Welcoming the new move, Sanjay Modi, senior dean, Faculty of Business and Arts, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, says that the new section will be helpful in giving those students a second chance who have the right information but because of a flaw in the interview, cannot make it to a university of their choice.
“It is very important for a manager to know about human behavior and understand the issues he would face as a future professional. Also, many universities do not have the proper resources and correct criterion to conduct interviews while selecting students. We are totally in favor of this move as this shall save a lot time for both the university and the students. This shall be kept as a benchmark to select the students for management courses in an easier way,” he reasons.
Dr Gururaj Kidiyoor, associate professor, T. A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal, too welcomed the changes, saying apart from verbal, analytical and quantitative skills, it is also important to assess aspects such as tolerance to diversity, and comfort with ambiguity, especially among budding managers. “Sense- making’ through data integration is the hallmark of a good manager and I believe the new initiative by GMAT would do just that. I do not feel this would make it tough for Indian students to get into B- schools abroad because young India can compete with the best in the world,” says Kidiyoor.
Items being considered in the new section may require test takers to integrate data from multiple sources, interpret data from tables that can be sorted like spreadsheets, and make inferences based on statistics, generate solutions rather than choose the correct answer, says Dr Sanjay Srivastava, head, Amity Business School, Noida.
“This is the type of reasoning business students have to do every day,” he adds. This approach is truly for the next generation, says Prashant Bhalla, senior vice president, Manav Rachna International University, Faridabad.
“We hope to see such ideas getting implemented in other exams like CAT and IIT- JEE as well. As it is, IIT- JEE might also be undergoing other changes and will now have an extra aptitude test with the format similar to Bank PO exams,” says Bhalla. GMAT’s proposed new format seems to have many takers.
Article Credits: Mail Today