The Graduate Management Admission Test has for years been the dominant standardized test when it comes to getting into M.B.A. programs.
This week, Business Week reported on an interesting trend: Some employers are starting to ask M.B.A. grads for their GMAT scores, using them as one measure of a job candidate’s potential. In this tight market, business schools are worried about their graduates’ job prospects, so a number of them are now advising — informally or formally — some of their students to retake the GMAT in hopes of a higher score. The article, as one would expect for a business publication, focuses on why some businesses are using the GMAT in this way and other employers are not.
What the article doesn’t address is an educational issue: The employers who are using the GMAT in this way are doing so in direct violation of the guidelines issued by the test’s sponsors. And those sponsors include business schools that are apparently going along with the use of the test scores in this way.
The Graduate Management Admission Council, the association of business schools that runs the GMAT, has never claimed that it is a valid tool for employers. The council says that its research shows the test to have predictive value of first-year grades in an M.B.A. program. The council maintains a list of “inappropriate uses” of the GMAT, including as a requirement for employment.
Based on the Business Week article (and additional reporting by Inside Higher Ed), it appears that there is plenty of inappropriate use going around — and that the council (which benefits financially when people take the GMAT) isn’t objecting.