Posted by: Louis Lavelle on May 17, 2011
Wisdom is supposed to come with age, but calculus, trigonometry, the ability to balance a checkbook…these things don’t. In fact, the fall-off in math skills after college is about as steep and as scary as the drop in the value of a new car once you drive it off the lot. Let’s face it: youth has its privileges, and this is one of them.
This all came to mind recently when someone pointed out a little statistical anomaly published in a recent GMAC publication. At the age of 20 or 21, the average GMAT score is 575. At 22 or 23, it’s 536, a drop of 39 points. Things improve a few years later, when most people are actually taking the GMAT, but 575? In your dreams.
Which brings me to my point. If, after graduation, you suspect that you might be applying to b-school somewhere down the road, the wise choice would probably be to take the GMAT immediately—before you forget everything you learned in college. You just have to be sure to apply to an MBA program within five years, after which most b-schools will not accept those scores.
This little tidbit was brought to my attention by someone representing the GMAT test-prep outfit, Knewton, who of course had an ulterior motive—promoting the company’s services as a way to overcome the testing “deficiencies” that 25-year-old geezers are prone to.
Of course this strategy requires a great deal of foresight—most people haven’t a clue if they’re going to get an MBA right after college. But if you do, or if you don’t mind sitting through the GMAT on the off chance that an MBA is in your future, you’ve got a distinct advantage—a 39 point advantage—over folks who wait until the inevitable decline sets in.