Statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau prove that one greatly increases one’s earning potential with continued education, yet people who earn advanced degrees (master’s and beyond) only account for about 8.8 percent of the total U.S. population.
There is a wide choice in master’s degree programs, although the Master of Business Administration (MBA) surpasses the earning power of the average master’s degree. For instance, in 2005, graduates with an MBA expected to earn a base salary of $88,626, with an average signing bonus of $17,428. Further, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) estimated that total annual compensation in 2006 for MBA graduates in the high-tech industry was $98,621.
U.S. News and World Report publishes annual rankings of the “Best Business Schools.” It would help to study the rankings from this report to determine what kind of GMAT score you’ll need to get into the business school you’re eyeing.
Once you’ve narrowed it down, you’ll need to get down to studying. The MBA Podcaster is a great resource for learning about the MBA and preparing for the GMAT.
The companies that have the biggest toe hold on the GMAT training market are Manhattan GMAT, Kaplan, Princeton Review and Veritas Prep. These training vendors offer a cornucopia of options to prepare for the GMAT, including:
- Self-directed CBTs.
- Self-directed online training.
- Online private tutoring.
- Online courses.
- In-person cram sessions.
- In-person preparation classes.
The most well-known method to study for the GMAT is the in-person classroom preparation. These classes are led by teachers who have passed the GMAT with flying colors, often with scores of 760 or higher.
Classroom training, however, is the most expensive form of GMAT preparation. For instance, a class at Kaplan costs $4,649 for 35 hours of in-person training. A Manhattan GMAT class in Chicago costs $1,490. The Manhattan GMAT also offers some of the best GMAT preparation books around.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can simply buy some GMAT preparation books from your bookstore or check them out from the library. This is by far the least expensive option. If you decide to splurge, you could run up to $200 for books and another $250 for the test.
Once you’ve taken the GMAT and learned your score, you’ll need to select a school. Take a look at the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings of “Best Business Schools” and contrast it with your own qualifications to determine the best school for you.
Keep in mind that whatever method you choose for GMAT preparation and whichever school you attend, the aim is to earn an impressive degree that would aid you in achieving a high-paying salary.
Shawn Conaway, VCP, MCSE, CCA, is a director of NaSPA and editor of Virtualize! and Tech Toys magazines. He can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.