B-School Life

The Leadership Test Comes to B-School


The Leadership Test Comes to B-School

Photograph by Echo/Getty Images

The Graduate Management Admission Council, which markets the GMAT business school entrance exam, today launched a new online assessment tool designed to improve leadership and other “soft” skills.

“Reflect” is based on a test developed by Hogan Assessments, an Oklahoma company that markets pre-employment personality tests, and will be offered by the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) to business students, business schools, and companies. It comes with access to advice from executive coaches and an online library of content that allows users to develop skills at their own pace. It costs $99 for three years.

“What’s different about this test is that it’s been developed with the MBA student in mind,” says Joe Fox, associate dean and director of the MBA program at Washington University in St. Louis’s Olin Business School. “Also, it has a huge library of videos, articles, links, and other stuff that allows you to control your self development.”

The online multiple-choice assessment takes 45-60 minutes. Moments later, test takers will receive a report that includes their skill level in each of 10 competencies, such as innovation, operational thinking, and collaboration. The results will allow them to benchmark their scores across functions and see the average profile for people interested in similar careers. Most importantly, the service provides test takers with a set of actionable steps to improve their skills and access to 200 resources to help them, says Peg Jobst, executive vice president of the GMAT division at GMAC in Reston, Va. About 50 to 100 people have taken the test and provided feedback, she says.

While the use of Reflect by students is relatively straightforward, it’s unclear how, or if, schools will use it. Fox was among the people asking for this kind of product as far back as 15 years ago, and even he is still planning to take it slow.

The first step, he says, will be talking to faculty who teach organizational behavior and leadership about how to use this assessment to supplement what they already do with students. He envisions the test as being part of the transition between first and second year or the start of the second year of business school, because that is when students can think about their long-term career goals, Fox says.

“It’s the perfect place,” he adds, “for a test like this to come into play.”

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Francesca_dimeglio
Di Meglio is a reporter for Businessweek.com in Fort Lee, N.J.

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