Leigh Gauthier, Rotman School of Management
Prospective MBA students are often looking for the magic answer to “what will get me in to the school of my choice”, but unfortunately the answer is not black and white.
A high GMAT signals that the student will not only be able to handle the academic rigor of top school, but will also contribute to the classroom. It’s not just about what you can get, but also what can you give such that the entire cohort benefits. MBAs typically are looking for an intellectual challenge and working alongside intelligent people is very important to them at graduate school. Additionally, companies who have traditionally hired MBAs campuses such as consulting firms or investment banks have the GMAT score embedded in their interview process. Students who reach a certain bar are often looked at first for interview shortlists.
Personality is an important aspect of recruitment
All brains without any personality in the classroom though can make for a long year and in some cases some pretty unproductive teams. In addition to being intellectually strong, we are looking for candidates who will contribute positively to both group and class interactions. Personality by definition comes in many different types and variations, so it’s not that we are looking for one type only – in fact the opposite. But we are looking for students who are comfortable in their own skin, who can express their ideas, and who are generally enjoyable to work with. Pick up any publication and invariably you will find commentary around the importance of soft skills in the workplace and how this seems to be in short supply. At the end of the day, fit, culture, call it want you want, your personality and the personality of your future organization is an important aspect of recruitment, and ergo an important part of the admissions process.
To the original question, GMAT or personality? It’s both. The sum is greater than its parts. We have cases where a high GMAT is not an automatic entrance into the program. On the flip side, per the argument above all personality with no substance will not a good admit make. I think the important lesson here for any prospective student is to spend the time to put forth the best application possible. Spend time diligently studying for the GMAT and achieving the highest score possible for you. And, when the interview comes, let your personality shine through by showing up authentically. If there is a magic answer, that would be it.
About Leigh Gauthier, Acting Director, Recruitment & Admissions, Full-Time MBA at Rotman School of Management
Leigh Gauthier is a Certified Coach (CPCC), and professionally trained facilitator certified in administering and interpreting the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Reach 360 Personal Branding assessment. She puts her passion to work at the Rotman School of Management leading the 18-person Career Centre team for the Full-Time MBA program while continuing to work one on one with individuals outside of the program looking to grow in their careers; although at present she is on a one-year secondment to lead the Recruitment & Admissions team. She has conducted over 1000 individual coaching sessions and has designed and/or delivered hundreds of workshops/facilitated events during her career. Leigh is an active member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF).