GMAT Hopes

Okay, I have decided to study for, and take the GMAT.  For those unaware, the Graduate Management Aptitute Test is Business Schools’ primary method of evaluating potential students for MBA program admissions.

For many years, people have been telling me to “go back to school”.  I was never sure what that meant to me, and even now I’m not quite positive.  But my recent experience with the job hunt is leading me to think that going back for a degree might be the wisest course of action.

I’ve always tested well.  If nothing else, I could always ace any standardized test put in front of me.  I don’t know if a good GMAT score would (will?) be enough to get me into a b-school program.  But could it help me get a job – maybe provide employers with some objective metric to show that I can do any job put in front of me?

Well, to repeat my favorite mantra, time will tell.  I took two practice tests and scored 550 and 580.  From everything I’ve read so far, though, 600 is the cutoff point between a decent score and an average score.  (Apparently, 2/3 of GMAT takers score between 200 and 600.  So following the bell curve would suggest only 1/6, or 16.7%, would score above a 600.)  A score of 700 on the GMAT seems to be excellent – top 10% or better, around the average score for the top programs in the country.

So I am aiming to take the test within a month or so – if I can have scores by the end of the year then maybe I could talk to some admissions folks at various business schools and see whether it is even feasible, whether it’s worth my time to apply or not. 

I think this is a lot of the trick with being unemployed, or trying to effect any positive change in one’s life.  Negatives will happen, and according to the new stories out there they seem to be happening quite a bit more these days.   And those negatives not only happen, but they build on each other.  The frustrating application process, the stressful job interviews, and the humiliating series of “sorry, no” responses only snowball.  With each passing day, week and month, the snowball gets larger, rolling down the hill under its own gravitational potential energy.  People get frozen in front of that snowball looming above them.  Afraid to face interviewers, unsure how to justify every decision, every action taken in their former jobs, job applicants grow increasingly desperate, willing to say just anything that might give them the chance to secure that position.

But there’s the rub.  It is just at those times, when you’re feeling your lowest, that you need to do something to keep up the confidence, keep things moving forward.  Even if forward is on a slightly different tangent than originally intended, you have to keep your feet moving, keep your momentum.  Whether that is going back to school, or just taking a test, or even just cleaning the house, it is vital to keep moving forward. 

The job hunt (or life in general?) is a marathon, not a sprint.  Save your energy, keep moving through any rough spots and get your second wind.  That finish line WILL come.  But only if you don’t give up.

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