Five Myths about the MBA and the GMAT exam

Myth: An MBA is best suited for those who want to work for a big company.

Reality: An MBA can help you to be successful in almost any organization.

Many MBAs are successful executives in large corporations, but there are just as many working in nonprofits, healthcare organizations, higher education, arts management, the military, and government. Some people get MBAs so they can start their own businesses or manage a small family business.

With an MBA, you can pursue a career in a wide range of industries and in different types of organizations, from a big business or a business of one.

Get Inspired: Peruse some of the alumni success stories on or read about various career options.



Myth: The business school culture tends not to be supportive of women.

Reality: There are big differences among schools, and some are better than others at attracting and supporting women on campus.

All businesses are not the same, and neither are all business schools. Talk to school representatives, current students, and alumni to see if the school you’re interested in offers the culture and kind of experiences you want.

Ultimately, 89 percent of graduating MBAs in 2012, both men and women, said they were somewhat to very satisfied with their school culture.

Get Inspired: Get started finding the right school for you at the school finder.


Myth: I need a GMAT score in the high 700s to get into a good business school.

Reality: Very, very few people get super-high GMAT scores. Out of a maximum score of 800, only 1 percent of those taking the test each year score 760 or above.

Remember that the GMAT exam is just one piece of your application packet. Admissions officers use GMAT scores in conjunction with undergraduate record, applications essays, interviews, letters of recommendation, and other information when deciding whom to accept into their programs.

Get Inspired: School admission professionals share tips and recommendations on how to stand out when applying to school.


Myth: It is more important to answer each question correctly than it is to finish the test.

Reality: There is a penalty for not completing the GMAT exam. Get familiar with the question formats and practice your pacing before you take the test. If you are stumped by a question, don’t spend too much time on it. Eliminate any choices you can and use your intuition to make the best choice from those that are left. If you guess incorrectly, the computer program will likely give you an easier question, which you are likely to answer correctly, and the computer will return to giving you questions matched to your ability. But if you don’t finish the test, your score will be reduced greatly. If you fail to answer five verbal questions, for example, your score could drop from the 91st percentile to the 77th percentile.

Get Inspired: Download free GMATPrep software to get sample questions and two full-length practice tests.


Myth: If an easier question follows a hard question, it means I got the harder question wrong.

Reality: Not necessarily. The GMAT exam is computer adaptive, and the test must give you a specific number of questions of each type. The test may call for your next question to be a relatively hard problem solving question involving arithmetic operations. But, if there is not a more relatively difficult problem solving question involving arithmetic, you might be given an easier question.

Most people are not skilled at estimating a “hard” vs. an “easy” question. Don’t worry when taking the test or waste valuable time trying to determine the difficulty of the questions you are answering.

Get Inspired: Test preparation materials for specific needs and in a variety of formats, using questions that have been retired from the GMAT exam, are available from the makers of the GMAT exam.


For more information about the GMAT exam, the MBA, and others aspect of graduate management education, go to