When talking about what the GMAT actually teaches us, many people tend to focus on the formulas, algebra, grammar and syntax that the GMAT tests us on. It’s easy to find yourself explaining the GMAT like this because of the hours of study, focus and discipline you need to put into getting a successful score and starting your MBA journey. You get sucked into the detail because of the emotional investment you have been making, or you know you need to make in yourself.
That is fine, we understand this point of view. In fact we have some great news about this process that seems to be something overlooked by most GMAT coaching companies.
Whilst the GMAT tests your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal and reading skills, unwittingly whilst studying for the GMAT you are building a solid base of business skills that you will use thousands of times in your life, both in the business, and life contexts. Let’s explore them.
In the business world we experience deadlines where we have lots of time to complete a task or project and others where the expectation vs the reality is impossible. In both these situations we experience time pressure. Depending on how we react to this pressure will not only determine the quality of our work but also define if we have a positive or negative emotional experience.
The great thing about studying for the GMAT is that it is a systematic training ground for dealing with situations like this. As an MBA graduate you are propelled into workplace scenarios where you are under great time pressure.
From the GMAT preparation you do before the test, to the test experience itself you are desensitising yourself to high pressure time sensitive situations. It’s like you are a boxer who has trains to be ready to fight, when the bell rings for round one, you are ready.
There are lots of ways in which we can prioritise our time both in life and in the workplace. In our experience here at Merchant most people studying for the GMAT have lots going on in their life, their job, their family, their friends and romantic relationships.
Adding the GMAT to an already busy life teaches you where it is most effective to allocate your intellectual resources whilst also teaching you that you need to take time to recharge.
Again the GMAT is your training ground, where you are building strength and muscle memory that will serve you well in your career afterwards.
In the business world it’s important to understand the world and make decisions, based on logic. Of course emotion will always play a part in being human and in business, however when you are dissecting a sales presentation you see from a supplier or pitching your boss to invest the companies money into a new project, using logic is a key part of this process.
Honing your critical reasoning skills as part of your GMAT study give you great preparation for scenarios like the above. Studying for the GMAT you will have practiced understanding an argument’s structure, identifying a conclusion, determining what evidence exists to support a conclusion and what assumptions are made to jump from evidence to conclusion. With every study session you are preparing yourself for the big wide post MBA world.
“Choose your battles” is a piece of advice often heard in the business world. It could be referring to any number of scenarios from the relationship between a manager and an employee, or to a company that has chosen to enter a new market against a very big and dominant competitor.
Sometimes choosing not to engage somebody or a market is the smartest decision.
Again, studying for the GMAT teaches us this. Sat in the testing centre for three hours, do you allow yourself to get lost down a rabbit hole and lose 15 minutes of time because one of the questions doesn’t make sense? No, at least that is what we teach here at Merchant.
Here at Merchant we believe that failure is one of the best things that can happen to a person, not because we love failure, but it is an opportunity to learn and get better.
Equally we believe the world is abundant so even if we do fail then if we take the time to learn and work hard new opportunities for future success come and we will be successful. It’s a mindset and a process that is absolutely relevant in all walks of life, not just business.
Whilst it is easy to get sucked into the emotion of failure, it’s important to see the bigger picture. If a question in the GMAT gives us a problem, that’s ok there are lots more opportunities to get it right.
Studying for the GMAT teaches us to expect failure, learn from it, move on quickly and focus on our mission.