MBA Grads Earning More, Hiring Up; Expert Advice to Get In to a Top MBA Program

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A recent study shows that 95% of 2013 MBA grads were hired within a year of graduating. Getting in to a top MBA program largely depends on success on an exam known as the GMAT - EMPOWERgmat sheds some light on the importance of a high GMAT score, and offers some guidance on how to earn a competitive score.

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Your application is like a complex puzzle, and all the pieces have to come together.

Is an MBA worth it? That’s a growing question in the minds of many potential MBA candidates. Perhaps the answer lies in a compelling statistic: 80% of MBA applicants cite an increase in pay as the top reason to get an MBA, and recent grads are getting just that.

Salaries are up: graduating MBAs are seeing strong hiring and increasing salaries. The average MBA grad earns approximately $90,000 per year, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), and hiring is on the rise, particularly among top MBA programs such as Harvard Business School, Chicago Booth, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. What’s more, over 90% of graduates from top MBA programs have secured a position within 6 months after graduation.

Hiring is up across the board: hiring rates vary amongst different types of degrees, and a recent study conducted by the GMAC showed that nine out of every ten MBA students who graduated in 2013 had found employment by September 2013.

In sum, an MBA is still valuable: even in what many consider a shaky economy, the MBA is a degree that pays.

How to get into a top MBA program: a big GMAT score. MBA programs cite the GMAT as one of the most critical factors in their admissions process. EMPOWERgmat, a leading online GMAT prep course, encourages its clients to score in the 90th percentile or higher if targeting a top 10 MBA program. That translates to a GMAT score of at least 700+. EMPOWERgmat suggests that if its clients intend to score in the 700+ range, they should plan to spend 3 months in tactical training.

"Your GMAT score is a huge indicator of how successful you'll be as a student in an MBA program, and it's one of the big things that Admissions Officers look at," says Rich Cohen of EMPOWERgmat. "So, despite what applicants might want to believe, it's really important to plan accordingly, with the right amount of time, a proper study plan, and an expectation to immerse in a demanding GMAT training program.

Many consider EMPOWERgmat’s recently introduced pay-per-access pricing model on its GMAT prep course to be an innovative force in the industry. The model helps save motivated students money and serves as a way to combat study procrastination.

Its students can feel the difference: Cohen shared an email he recently received from a user who scored a 770 (a 99th percentile score):

“You have to "cut the fluff" in your GMAT prep if you want to be efficient. You guys did just that. Thank you so much! Empower is the best and I feel sorry for anyone going through any other online prep program.”

Cohen also stresses the importance of persuasive application essays: "Writing an application essay without professional guidance is an inadvisable risk to take," he says. Students can work with professional consultants, who specialize in helping applicants create a 'personal brand' that will resonate with the admissions committees to help them better distinguish that candidate from the myriad of other applicants.

Although EMPOWERgmat doesn’t offer admissions consulting, Cohen mentioned firms including Stacy Blackman and MBA Applicant as two firms he’s been impressed by.

"It's not about excelling in just one aspect of the application," he adds. "Your application is like a complex puzzle, and all the pieces have to come together." Considering that an MBA is undoubtedly one of the most promising degrees a student can pursue in this job climate, it's worth the time, cost, and effort to create a solid application, since the process essentially pays for itself.

EMPOWERgmat is an independently-owned company that avoids mass-marketing and investment capital to maintain a cut-to-the-chase business model so it can invest in the quality of the program, and be free from the sway of investors who might merely seek a bigger bottom line. It is EMPOWERgmat’s mission to provide the most reasonably priced, comprehensive GMAT preparation program in the world. Gauging by its growth in 2013, it would appear the strategy is working.

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Rich Cohen
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