Frequently Asked Questions. Not sure about something? Start here:
The GMAT was just shortened by 30 mins. What are the changes?
The GMAT has historically contained many experimental questions, about 25%. Now the test has fewer experimental questions from about 25% to ca. 15% so it takes a little less time to complete (23 mins).
The “new” test has 31 quantitative questions and this section lasts 62 mins. It has 36 verbal questions and lasts 65 minutes. In the old test, each section lasted 75 mins. There were 37 Quant questions and 41 Verbal. The time savings is 23 mins. The other 7 mins come from a more streamlined tutorial section but we always skipped this section anyway.
How long does it take to prepare for GMAT?
When people ask me this, and I don’t know the person, I estimate 100 hours of preparation time to be fully prepared. Obviously there are cases when it goes much faster, but also cases where it takes longer. The determining factors of preparation speed are:
- Math background (do you remember the basics)
- Ability to think and read in English
- Speed reading in English
- Sense of logic
- ability to intensely concentrate
- amount of spare time available
- intellectual interest applied to GMAT
- accuracy under time pressure
Can I get into a good school without GMAT or with a bad score?
Yes. There are not top-ranked US schools that waive GMAT, but there are some very good European ones that have non-GMAT options (MBA: IE, St Gallen). The general pattern is the more renown the school, the higher the GMAT average.
The alternative to GMAT is GRE. For native speakers who are a weaker in math, this is a good option. I wrote a blog about this topic. The math is a bit easier, but the verbal will challenge anyone, especially the non-native.
For Master’s applicants, I have a list of non-GMAT options available on request with some very attractive options.
What is the weight of GMAT on an application?
About 20-30%. The other factors are: your CV and accomplishments at work, your academic background, your personal story, your recommendations, leadership experience. The main criterion is the essay. Here you state your case and explain the role of the MBA and cast your professional vision.
Is it true that women have an advantage in admissions?
Women have a huge advantage. Business schools are at about a 70/30 male female ration right now and they are desperately trying to close the gap. We have successfully won scholarships for many of our female applicants, some of whom thought they would never be accepted. See “success stories” for some examples.
What is the formula for GMAT success- in the minimum time?
Get the Official Guide to GMAT and solve practice problems to get familiar with the material. Take a simulation test (for free on MBA.com, GMAT prep software download). Take the 10 hour crash course that we offer to fill in knowledge gaps (Unless the results of the mock test are very good, then go straight to exam). Then take another simulation, then take the GMAT.
I am unable/ unwilling to pay for a tutor or a course, is there anything I can do?
There are many good free resources. We recommend the official guide to GMAT, which is not free but reasonably priced. This is a collection of retired test questions that accurately represent GMAT logic. Do the questions in this book, and look up the solution if you are wrong. Then do timed sets, then take a free simulation on MBA.com. GMAT can be (most of the time) effectively self-studied, just expect the process to take (much) longer.
Why are GMAT courses from big brand providers so expensive?
“When people are scared, be greedy, when people are greedy, be scared” — Warren Buffet.
People are scared of GMAT, so there you go.
Do you offer a guarantee for your courses?
The guarantee that I can offer everyone is that you will maximise your chances to crack the GMAT, and you will enter the test full prepared and fit.
For applications, in some cases I do the applications a a reduced rate/ free and take a success fee. For example for some of the success cases, the person was reluctant to apply to a school, and I predicted an acceptance. In such a case a win-win relationship makes sense.
I can’t tell my boss or company that I am thinking about quitting to go back to school, how can I get a recommendation?
This is a very common dilemma. The schools are aware of this situation. We have creatively and successfully solved this problem in the past by: having a client write the letter, or an associate, or a colleague, or an ex-boss, or a professor, or a mentor, or a respected social acquaintance.
I want to go back to school but the MBA is too expensive, what are my options?
While price tags are high, the return on investment is also very high. Most schools keep detailed statistics on the MBA and its value in the job market. Master’s degrees tend to be cheaper. The current trend is younger applicants and consecutive masters. Scholarships are available as well. With a very good GMAT your chances are greatly increased.
Business school keep statistics on ROI and should be questioned directly.
Why should I use the services of GMAT Zurich instead of the New York based companies or international offerings that advertise very aggressively?
If you are deciding between us and a competitor, call us both. I will personally explain how I can accelerate your learning and show success cases of applicants with similar profiles. If the competition can also do this, then take the cheaper offer.
My courses were created from a personal need. While studying for GMAT myself, I wished for a live-person resource for guidance and short cuts. Then, after the MBA, the University of St Gallen asked me to create their GMAT prep program.
For more than 10-years I ran a weekend seminar about every 2 months. I worked with people from all walks of life, from a Catholic nun to former professional athletes. People from the Red Cross, ballet dancers, lawyers, architects, entrepreneurs, soldiers, dyslexics, pilots, soul-searchers, MBA office staff, assistants to professors, medical doctors, nuclear physicists, concert violinists, stay-at-home moms, CEOs, surfers, veterinarians, brewers, linguists, sinologists, oil-rig workers, teachers, and obviously all the traditional business professions (banker, engineer, consultant, finance/ accounting).
And people were from every possible educational background and nationality. I have lost track of nationalities, but it must be at least 50. People from the courses said the most amazing things, and their MBA journey enabled them to pursue their dreams. They sent their friends and relatives to study with me. I have personally hosted visiting students from Russia, Saudi Arabia, from all over Europe, Canada and Brazil.
And in that 10 years, I optimised my course every time. We improved whatever we could. I rewrote the material dozens of times. I collaborated with true experts, and I learned exactly what the success criteria was and how to very quickly transmit it to my students/ clients. Some of the success cases are on the “success cases” page.
Finally, of the extremely diverse people I have met, everyone had one thing in common.
Everyone believed that they could achieve more.
Every single person had a belief that they could raise their career to a higher level, and that personally they could improve their skill sets by increasing their international exposure, acquiring fundamental knowledge, and working with ambitious like-minded individuals. Very seldom is money a significant motivator. The motivator is personal growth, increased knowledge, broadened horizons, and career satisfaction.
My courses set these powerful processes into motion.
I get many e-mails for Online test-prep courses, can you recommend a few?
No. Many of my students sign up for these courses and then come to me exasperated.
Most of them work all day on the computer, then they get home in the evening and turn on the computer again. The learning effect is very poor. I am not not an expert on every online solution. But understand that they are all mass- solutions that benefit the creators more than the participants.
What is the role of rankings and how should these affect my school choice?
Rankings are important because they reflect (sometimes inaccurately) public perception and brand awareness of the school, and these are important to access the job market.
Top consultancies and investment banks tend to recruit from an elite group of schools at the very top of the rankings. If these professions are where you are going, then rankings mean everything (and this implies GMAT 700+).
For everyone else, the fit of the school, the class size, geography, length of program, content, electives, boyfriend/ girlfriend’s opinion, living arrangements at school, and scholarships are criteria that are under-represented by the rankings. Take these into account. Contact us and we can help with the school short list.
Can I see some examples of some successful MBA or Master’s essays?
Sure, we don’t post them like some other sites do for confidentiality reasons. In general we are happy to provide some successful essays so you can start to develop your story.
Do you offer distance sessions (SKYPE, FaceTime, etc.)?
We have successfully prepared people virtually. Although we prefer face-to-face, this is not always possible. In those cases a virtual session can be arranged.
I need/ want a scholarship to attend graduate school, what can I do?
We have won scholarship awards totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of our clients. Here is what we learned:
- Apply to multiple schools. You can bargain and negotiate much easier with multiple offers.
- Get a high GMAT. It makes your case much stronger.
- Consider schools that are not in the top position in the rankings. Schools that are on the way up may be prepared to pay to attract talent.
- Ask the school what scholarships are available. This is not a shameful discussion at all and should be discussed bilaterally. There are situations where the school is obliged to give awards and has trouble finding a recipiant.