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is a moderated Bulletin Board--only selected questions and replies are
- LBS wait listed me
and sent me a letter, could you explain what it means and my chances
for getting in this year?
- What is TOEFL code
0550, and GMAT code 0340?
- If I study for the
grammar section of the GMAT, do I have to study grammar for the TOEFL
- Is it possible
to take notes during the Listening section of the TOEFL?
- How much time is
allowed for the essay section of the TOEFL exam?
- How to translate
the number of answered questions to approximate score. Say, I
respond 80% of verbal and 70% of math - what is the approximate score
- Say, I got score report
on GMAT. Does my final score (on the scale 200-800) include the
points gained by the writing of Essays? If yes, would you please
tell me how many points the Essays, marked 3 each, for example, contribute
to final score?
- I know that INSEAD demands
proof of knowledge in a second language (besides English). My
mother tongue is Hebrew but I have some knowledge in Spanish. Should
I try and get a proof of knowledge in Spanish, could that help in
getting into the program? If yes, how do I technically get proof
of knowledge in Spanish?
- The differences between
the three biggest online application companies: MultiApp; Embark;
- Are there any quick tips
that you can give that will help me on the critical reasoning and
essay section of the GMAT?
- Any ideas of a JD program(s)
with a specialization in International Human Rights/Human Rights. I
have been successful in finding Columbia? If you can provide
any advice in that area, I'd be very grateful.
- Having a Diploma in
Law from a UK school, is it possible to qualify in the US or Canada?
- Do all good b-schools
require the age under 30 for admission?
- I have a GMAT score of 700. But due to personal and professional reasons I can only opt for part-time MBA. I live in VA. The schools that are possible for me are GMU, Keller school of management and Marymount university. As I understand all the 3 schools do not figure in the rankings. I would like to know how good Keller and Marymount are in terms of quality of education and job prospects after graduation.
GMAT, TOEFL & MBA QUESTIONS
From: Ivan S.
LBS wait listed me and sent me a letter, could you explain to what
it means and my chances for getting in this year?
From: Marian Dent, Dean
Letter from LBS: Dear Future London Business School MBA!
I am pleased to inform you that the MBA Admissions Committee has
decided to make you an offer of a place on the Waiting List for
the MBA Programme beginning in September 2001 (MBA2003).
Application numbers so far this year have been exceptionally high
and we have had to make some difficult decisions given the size
and desired balance of our class. The fact that the MBA Admissions
Committee has decided to offer you a Waiting List place reflects
the high quality of your application.
The Waiting List will be reviewed continuously and then finally
on Friday 27 July 2001. If you are removed from the Waiting
List, you will be notified by the Admissions Committee.
If you are removed from the waiting list and offered a place in
the MBA2003 class, you will need to: Read, sign and return the
terms and conditions that will be sent with your Welcome Pack. Pay
a non-refundable reservation fee of stlg1000 or US$1500 and pay
a non-refundable First Term Fee of stlg5667/US$8500 by Friday
22 June 2001 (or within 10 working days of being notified).
If you are not removed from the Waiting List this year you are
guaranteed a place in the class beginning in September 2002 (MBA2004).
When you receive your Offer pack over the next 3 weeks, this will
include the application form and documents required for the new
HSBC / London Business School loan scheme.
Loan applications will only be forwarded to HSBC once a candidate
has paid the London Business School commitment fee after being
removed from the Waiting List.
MBA Marketing & Admissions Team
What does this mean for you?
B-schools are a little bit different in their wait list procedures,
and the smartest thing to do is to call the school and ask.
Some have a large wait list, and at others the list is quite small. Frankly,
though, I am encouraged by the fact that LBS said that if you
are not accepted for this year you are guaranteed a place in the
next year's class. I don't think they would make that offer
to a large number of people. Thus, I imagine that their wait
list is fairly small and your chances are fairly good. Also,
the letter has the tone of a warning--ie be aware that you will
have to have money ready soon and a loan application ready soon,
and at the latest by July 22. It would be strange for them
to send out a letter in that tone if they suspected that many
people on the waiting list would not be accepted. So in short,
although I would check with LBS, it looks as though your chances
are pretty good.
Now, the tough part comes if other B-schools have accepted you
outright and want an answer and a deposit before July 22. Frankly,
if you really think that you want LBS over another place to which
you have already been accepted and need to pay a fee earlier,
I would call or write to the other school, explain the situation,
and ask for an extension of time. If you explain to the other
school that you have narrowed down your choice to them and LBS,
and that you promise to notify them promptly if you hear from
LBS, chances are that they will be understanding. In anycase,
the worst that can happen is that they will reply "NO" to the
extension. There is nothing to be lost, and potentially
a large sum of money to be saved.
Finally, is it such a bad thing if you are forced to wait until
2002 to start B-school? This letter clearly says that you
are guaranteed a place in the next class, and it even is addressed
to "Dear Future LBS MBA." That's pretty encouraging. So
if you really want LBS, and if you haven't yet given up your
job here and are reasonably paid, maybe it makes sense to wait. It
will give you a chance to read up on your first year subjects, and
save some more money to pay for your program. And surely,
after a hectic year of taking exams and preparing applications,
it might be nice to continue here for a year, knowing that your
place in the next year's class is assured.
From: N. N.
What is TOEFL code 0550, and GMAT code 0340?
From: Marian Dent, Dean
The codes you are looking at are GMAT and TOEFL institution codes. The
Educational Testing Service assigns a four digit code to each
university that uses its exam results. When you take the
GMAT or TOEFL you will be asked to specify to which universities
you want to send your scores. Giving the code for that university
is how your specify. Specifically GMAT code 0340 is University
of Wales and TOEFL code 0550 is Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
Just a bit of extra information: A flaw of the exam is that you
must specify the school to which you want your scores sent before
you find out how well you did. We frequently hear GMAT and
TOEFL students say that they do not want to specify any business
schools to which to send their scores in case their scores are
lower than they expect. Thus they do not fill in any university
codes. This is NOT a smart strategy. While you are
taking the GMAT you can send your scores to 5 universities without
extra charge, and taking the TOEFL you can send to 4 without charge;
but after the exams you are charged for every school to which
you want your scores sent. And even if you send your scores
later, the universities will receive every GMAT exam score you
have received for the last five years, and every TOEFL within
the last two years. So avoiding specifying a university DOES
NOT help you hide a poor score from that university. You
should specify universities and have ETS send your scores automatically,
and as a result save money. If later you find out that your
score is higher or lower than you planned, you can pay to have
your scores sent to those extra universities whose score range
is closest to your own score.
If I study the for the grammar section of the GMAT, do I have to
study grammar for the TOEFL too?
From: Pericles Staff
Yes. The TOEFL test can test any of 200 or more
grammatical points. This is because the TOEFL test was designed
for all non-English speaking people and different people make
different mistakes. On the other hand the GMAT tests the grammatical
points that native speakers tend to make, this comes to around
37-40 grammatical points. This means that a person must study
more grammatical points for the TOEFL than for the GMAT. One must
remember that the TOEFL and the GMAT were created for different
reasons and therefore the tests, though in some respects are similar,
have some drastic differences and one must study for both. Studying
for the GMAT and not for the TOEFL may do more harm than good
when it comes time to take the TOEFL.
Is it possible to take notes during the Listening
section of the TOEFL?
From: Pericles Staff
No. The only section of the exam on which you will
be allowed to use pen and paper for notes is the Essay Writing
section. For the time being you still have the option of typing
the essay on a computer or writing it by hand, but whichever way
you choose you will be allowed to write and take notes on paper.
How much time is allowed for the essay section
of the TOEFL exam?
From: Pericles Staff
You are given 30 minutes to write the TOEFL essay.
When the computer-based TOEFL exam was introduced in the Spring
of 1999 a separate writing test that had previously been known
as the Test of Written English (TWE) was made part of the TOEFL.
Now the TWE does not exist as a separate exam, and all students
who take the TOEFL must write an essay.
How to translate the number of answered questions
to approximate score. Say, I respond 80% of verbal and 70% of
math - what is approximate score then?
From: Marian Dent
I am afraid that the estimate you are asking for
is impossible to give. The new GMAT is a CAT or Computer Adaptive
Test, which means that it is not the number of questions you get
right that determines your score, but the difficulty of the questions
you get right. The test starts with a medium difficulty question
and then, if you get that right, gives you a slightly harder question,
and so on and so on, until it determines at what approximate difficulty
level you start missing questions. Thus, if you get 70-80 percent
correct, but miss the first few questions and don't start getting
consistent right answers until they get much easier, your score
will be considerably lower than if you get the first ones right
and only start missing questions when they get very hard. Also,
there is a penalty for not moving fast enough to finish the exam.
If you got 70% because you failed to complete several questions
at the end of the section, your score will be lower than if you
had answered all the questions on the exam but still only gotten
Say, I got score report on GMAT. Does my final
score (on the scale 200-800) include the points gained by writing
of Essays? If yes, would you please tell me how many points the
Essays, marked 3 each, for example, contribute to final score?
From: Daniel Repko
No, the GMAT 200-800 score does not include your
essays. Your essay score is sent to the schools separately, and
the B-schools see the same 1-6 score that you see. Some schools
take it very seriously--especially when they are looking at applications
from foreign students--and others don't seem to care much about
it. Generally, a score of 4 or above is considered a passing score
for the essay portion of the exam.
I know that INSEAD demands proof of knowledge in
a second language (besides English). My mother tongue is Hebrew
but I have some knowledge in Spanish. Should I try and get a proof
of knowledge in Spanish, could that help in getting into the program?
If yes, how do I technically get proof of knowledge in Spanish?
From: Sergei Shabalin
The 3rd language requirement is very stretchable
- basically, even if you don't speak anything but your mother
tongue and English, they'll have you take courses and pass what
is called "INSEAD level 3" some 6 months into the program.
As for your Spanish, the most painless way of proving your knowledge
(in my experience) is to take the exam at INSEAD which is administered
one or two days before the program's start. You have to demonstrate
level 3 (with level 5 being max), which means scoring 60 per cent.
The exam itself is some simplified TOEFL-like multiple choice
stuff plus an essay, relatively straightforward and with plenty
of time to do it.
From: Mike L.
What are the positives and negatives of the various
software applications used in filling our b-school applications?
Do you recommend one over another? multi-app, embark, gradadvantage.
From: Marian Dent
First, Multi-app is fundamentally different than
Embark and GradAdvantage, so let's compare Multi-App to the other
two. Multi-app is a CD based or downloadable program that allows
you to fill out an application form once, and then paste the information
into applications of many different business schools, print it
out, and mail it to the schools just like you would if you were
mailing the school's paper based form. Embark and GradAdvantage
are actual on-line application systems where you apply to the
schools via the internet.
There are some advantages to the lower-tech Multi-App
for our students who are applying from Russia. The first of these
is that not all of our students have absolutely reliable internet
connections. If your email isn't absolutely reliable, it might
not be a good idea to rely on an online application system, and
thus might be better to use Multi-App.
In addition, you have to think about encoding problems.
Sometimes computer systems in US universities do not clearly read
the emails from computers that use Russian fonts as their defaults.
This summer, when we sent emails to Chicago Institute of Technology,
for example, the recipients in Chicago were unable to decipher
them. Although we were familiar with how to change the encoding
for their computers to read Russian, the academic secretaries
at their end did not know how to do it. Thus, some important emails
were discarded as junk mail. Again, Multi-App would have been
preferable in that case.
Multi-App's final, potential advantage, for Russian
students, and indeed for all non-native speakers of English, is
the ability to print out your application and have a native-speaking
friend check it for spelling errors etc. The online systems allow
you to save and print as well, but somehow it seems more comforting
to have your Multi-App work saved privately on your own computer,
than to have your on-line work saved on a server somewhere far
Multi-App's main disadvantage is that the program
is not free. You can get various demo versions that let you fill
out your application on computer, but until you register with
Multi-App and pay them, you will not be able to print and mail
your application. Be careful though--although Embark and GradAdvantage
do not charge, they may not work out as free as they seem. Many
B-schools charge an extra fee for using the on-line application.
Although this fee may only be $10, if you are planning to apply
to several schools this can quickly become more expensive than
the Multi-App fee.
Another disadvantage of Multi-App is that the program,
on rare occasions, has an outdated application. This is especially
true if you are using an old Multi-App CD. You need to update
it with information found on Multi-App's web site. In any case,
however, you should pull up the school's on-line application and
compare it with the Multi-App version to make sure that the questions
are the same. A year ago the Multi-App version of Stanford's application
essays was completely different than Stanford's own version.
Now for a comparison of the two main on-line systems,
Embark and GradAdvantage:
You should first check the web sites of the particular
schools to which you want to apply, or at least check the web
sites of the two services. Although many schools are now accepting
applications from both services, some only want you to use one
particular one. Embark seems to have many more schools that use
its service than does GradAdvantage. Particularly, Embark has
several European MBA programs among its customers, while GradAdvantage
does not yet seem to work with European schools. Students also
report that they find Embark easier to use, and, in Russia, their
website seems easier to access. Students report frequent socket-error
messages when trying to apply through GradAdvantage. This can
be a serious problem as the sites get busier with deadlines nearing.
On the other hand GradAdvantage has one very strong
benefit over Embark: GradAdvantage was invented in partnership
with ETS, the same people who administer the GMAT and TOEFL exam.
GradAdvantage thus may have quicker access to your GMAT and TOEFL
scores, and will send them to the schools along with your application.
If you are in a hurry to beat a deadline, therefore, GradAdvantage
may indeed have advantage.
Whichever system you use--Multi-App, fully on-line
systems, or good old fashioned paper and typewriter--don't put
yourself up against a tight deadline. Students in the US average
2 days to complete a B-school application, and that is with English
as a native language. Be sure you leave yourself plenty of time
for correcting and review, and plan to send your application considerably
before the deadline--just in case
Last minute tips
I will be sitting for my GMAT on last week of January
2002. I have bought many books and can follow most of the lessons.
The only lesson that I am very very weak is critical reasoning
and writing argument essays. Even though I have books from Kaplan,
Princeton and Barrons, I am still not convinced of my critical
reasoning ability. Do you have any formulas or easy ways of tackling
these solutions eg. finding assumptions, fallacies, weakiening
and strengthening arguments etc. and tips for effective argument
essays. Please refer me to some of your high scorter if they can
help me. I will not forget this help. I need to have a GMAT of
more than 700 as one company is willing to sponser if I get this
From: Marian Dent
1) The most importan and first thing I tell students
in my classes to do is focus on the conclusion of the argument.
Once you find that, you can determine the structure of the argument
and understand much better what the author is trying to say. This
will help you to avoid being distracted by answers that do not
follow the logic of the author's argument. When seeking the conclusion
remember that it will bever be found between dashes or after words
indicating that the information to follow is an example. It will
never be found after clue words that indicate a premise, and finally,
the only time it will be found in the middle of the argument is
when the argument has a form like "People often say C. But
in fact they are wrong because Y is true." Then the conclusion
will be Y or the opposite of X.
2.) When reading your answer choices, pay attention
to modifiers. A common critical reasoning error is to choose an
answer choice where a modifier--especially a superlative adjective
like "first" or "only" or "best"--is
not completely supported by the argument. Be suspicious of such
3.) When asked to find the assumption, remember
that it can never be something that is stated in the paragraph.
By definition, an assumption is something unmentioned that must
be true in order for hte conclusion to be true. So if you are
stuck for an answer you can think, "if the opposite of X
answer choice is true, could the author's conclusion possibly
be true." If it could , then that isn't the assumption.
4.) When answering questions that ask you to spot
fallacies--such as those that want you to stregthen or weaken
a question, look at the mthod of logic the argument uses, and
pick answer choices that experts in logic consider the best ways
to strengthen or weaken that type of argument. You will find this
information in the prep books or in logic books. (While the GMAT
says that you don't have to be formally trained in logic to pass
the critical reasoning section, remember that the peoplewho wrote
the questions were formally trained in logic, and thus will probably
write an answer that their formal training tells them is correct.)
5.) Finally, and most importantly, don't over analyze
questions. Whereas many Americans taking the GMAT critical reasoning
make mistakes because they get careless, most Russians make mistakes
by overanalyzing the answer choices. If an answer looks as though
itis obviously correct, don't think that it can't be right because
it is too easy. It usually is right.
About your question for answering the analysis of
an argument essay, the key is good organizations. First, always
disagree with the argument presented. The argument is always too
short to include ever detail. Next, spend a few minutes brainstorming
for ways to criticize the argument. Here people tend to get bogged
down in their own training. Those who majored in economics tend
to get stuck only thinking of economic arguments, for example.
So if you can't think of different ideas, try to think of different
professions--what would a mathmetician think about this argument?
What would a doctor think? A military professional? An artist?
Next pick the htree best criticisms you come up
with and decide in which order you want to write about them. Then
write an intro paragraph that briefly mentions your three criticisms
in order. Then write one paragraph about each of your criticisms.
Then write a brief paragraph to conclude. Be sure to use topic
sentences at the beginning of each paragraph, and to use standard
Keep your sentences and your arguments simple. Don't
mention good points of the argument you are criticizing, as you
simply won't have time to do that in half an hour whil still writing
your side of the argument well.
Using a template will help you speed up your writing.
You can find sample templates in the prep books you are using.
Change them slightly before ysing them, so that it isn't 100%
obvious that you were using a template.
The final hint I can give you Shan, is not to get
too stressed out. Sponsorship for a 700 is a heady stress inducer.
Any ideas of a JD program(s) with a specialization
in International Human Rights/Human Rights. I have been successful
in finding Columbia? If you can provide any advice in that area,
I'd be very grateful.
From: Marian Dent
JD programs don't really specialize in specific
areas of law. To specialize, American lawyers generally take a
one year LL.M. program after finishing their JDs. So the best
course is just to pick a law school that has courses, professors,
location and atmosphere that you like generally, not to worry
about specialization at this stage. You can find a fairly extensive
listing of law schools in the law school rankings section of this
web site, as well as some articles on LL.M. programs in the articles
Having a Diploma in Law from a UK school, is it
possible to qualify in the US or Canada?
From: Marian Dent
With a federal system, the laws for bar admission
in the United States vary from state to state. However, there
are a few states that will accept a qualification from a common
law country where the educational system is substantially equivalent
to that obtained in the United States. They all have additional
requirements, though, such as practicing for some time in the
common law country, or taking one year of study at an American
law school. And of course you will have to pass the bar exam (qualification
exam) in the U.S.
Do all good b-schools require
the age under 30 for admission ?
From: Marian Dent
Don't worry, all good business schools certainly
DO NOT require applicants to be under 30! It's true that the average
age of applicants is generally about 28, but there are plenty
of older applicants who get in and do just fine. Think about it--if
the average age is 26-30, yet everyone knows there are lots of
25 year olds and even some 24 year olds in B-schools, then it
stands to reason that there must also be quite a few over 30's.
There are, however, some things that you should
think about if you are a 30-something applicant to a B-school:
1) Look for a school whose admissions criteria
give advantages to older students. By this we mean that you should
look less at the "numbers" schools, and look more at
those that stress the work and life experience of their applicants.
Euopean schools are good prospects for this. Schools like London
Business School and IMD, for example, stress a candidate's experience
over his or her college grades. Two years ago, an LBS admissions
officer told our students "don't even apply with less than
four years of full time work experience, and preferably wait until
you have at least five or six." With the average college
grad entering the full time job market at age 23, that kind of
criterion just cries out for older applicants. Contrarily, schools
that are associated with top undergraduate institutions tend to
stress the academics and thus subconsiously favor younger applicants--for
example Harvard and Yale tend to have younger than average entering
2) Look for a school that makes older students
feel comfortable. For example, are the social activities centered
around clubbing, or does the school have activities for married
students and families? Even if you aren't a family man yourself,
a B-school that stresses child-care facilities usually means there
are older students in attendance. Another tip off is the location:
the big "glamour" cities tend to attract the younger
students, whereas older students tend to be less concerned with
spending a couple of years in a fun city and more concerned with
things like access to nature, small classes and advanced course
3) In addition, many older B-school students
apply to Executive MBA programs, which are generally part time
programs specially designed for older, more experienced students.
This people average 35-37 and generally have a background in top
management. Even if you aren't planning to enter an Executive
MBA program yourself, remember that the presence of an Executive
MBA program in your school will mean lots of older students for
you to make friends with and study with. This is especially true
if your school allows the regular MBAs and the Executive group
to take upper level classes together.
4) Finally, schools keep statistics on the average
age of students. For example, in 2000 (the last time I looked
at the age numbers) Cornell University, INSEAD, U.T Austin, and
Ivey (Western Ontario) published an average age of 29, while IMD
even published an average age of 30. You shouldn't be shy to ask
the admissions officers about the average age of students, and
the activities for and attitude towards the over 30's on campus.
So, in short, 30+ is not too old to apply to
B-school. You just need to select the schools that are the best
fit for you.
|Subject: Job prospects after graduation
Hi, I have a GMAT score of 700. But due to personal and professional reasons I can only opt for part-time MBA. I live in VA. The schools that are possible for me are GMU, Keller school of management and Marymount university. As I understand all the 3 schools do not figure in the rankings. I would like to know how good Keller and Marymount are in terms of quality of education and job prospects after graduation.
Subject: Creating Your Own B-School Rankings
From: Marian Dent
That's an interesting question for our "Ask the Experts" column actually, because coming from Russia most of our students are looking for only top schools and rely heavily on rankings. So what can you do if you are looking at schools that don't make the rankings?
First of all, you really can't compare so called "commuter-computer campuses" like DeVry/Keller School of Management with university based programs like George Mason University (GMU) and Marymount. Think about it. Below the ranked schools, the quality of the education is largely in the quality of the professors and in the quality of the facilities. Keller has some 32 "campuses" around the U.S. When you are spreading yourself so thin, how good can access to facilities and top professors be at any one location? For example, you might really want a particular course or specialization, but in your location it is only offered via video conference and you don't really get a chance to chat with the professor after class. Or you might want to do some quick research in a particular area of management, only to find that the books for that are at another campus and have to be specially ordered for you. In addition, at a "commuter-computer campus" you do not have a solid university name and alumni network to back up the degree. Both George Mason and Marymount have been around a long time, and their networks are strong in the D.C. area. Can Keller offer that? Perhaps I'm a bit of an academic snob, but I would choose a university based school over another any time.
Comparing GMU and Marymount is much easier, as they are both traditional, university-backed MBAs. When you don't have the rankings to rely on, you should establish your own ranking system, looking at the same type of factors that Business Week or Financial Times examines when looking at the better known programs.
For example, what is a B-school's student/teacher ratio and percentage of full time versus part time faculty members? Frankly, it's been a couple of years since I have examined either of these particular institutions, but if I recall correctly, Marymount has about half-and-half full and part time faculty, and their student/teacher ratio is somewhere around 20/1. GMU fairs a lot better with about 3/4 of its faculty full time, and a ratio of about 10/1.
Another factor to examine is the average GMAT score. GMU was 620 the last time I looked. Contrarily, Marymount was in the mid-500s and a TOEFL of only 237. GMU is clearly a lot more competitive. Average work experience, average age, and average salary before entry are also factors you might want to look at to determine who your fellow students will be.
Look at what specializations and the range of courses the schools offer. Afterall, even if you know precisely what you want to do when you finish, you still might change your might or might want to spread your wings a bit and explore some courses in areas outside your speciality. It's nice to know what options are available. GMU has specializations in Financial Management, Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Business Info Systems. The course range is actually pretty extensive given the size of the school, but they seem pretty regimented in the courses you can take within your speciality. Marymount offers only a general management degree. Unfortunately I don't know very much about their course ranges.
Of course, you also want to compare other criteria, such as post graduation employment statistics, services offered by the placement department, cost and availability of financial aid, quality of the B-school library, physical plant and study facilities, teaching methods, and size of the classes. The trick to comparing the less well known B-schools is to look at the professional ranking services, and read all that often ignored information on the criteria that go into their decision making. Working from that as a background, create your own ranking system, prioritizing your needs and preferences. Then don't be afraid to challenge the admissions office with tough questions to get at the comparative information you want.