Professor Peter Zemsky, Deputy Dean of Degree Programmes at INSEAD, says unlike the GMAT, the new test better addresses the time constraints of older MBA candidates. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

The Institut Europeen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) recently announced modified standards for college aptitude tests that are more in line with the practical requirements of its executive students.

INSEAD's in-house developed testing procedure is intended to supplement the most globally standardised testing process — the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT).

The GMAT is a tool used to assess the capability of candidates pursuing graduate business degrees — Executive Masters in Business Administration programmes (EMBA).

INSEAD believes that the GMAT puts too much emphasis on certain academic areas of studies that are of little or no value for business executives.

"The GMAT tests knowledge, such as trigonometry, that is not particularly relevant for global business leaders," Peter Zemsky, chaired professor of strategy and innovation and deputy dean degree programmes and curriculum, told Gulf News.

INSEAD reported that the new test also puts less emphasis on engineering, English grammar and reading, indicating that these are not the top requirements of global executives.

"One of the drawbacks of GMAT, for example, is in the reading section, which has a lot of emphasis on English grammar. This is not particularly relevant for global business leaders," he added.

Work schedules

Unlike traditional students who are mainly dedicated to schoolwork, most EMBA students are working individuals who see value in obtaining a graduate business degree. As such, course work and classes are mainly offered on weekends to fit their work schedules.

"GMAT requires a lot of preparation, which is not particularly conducive to senior managers. The new test better addresses the needs and time constraints of typical EMBA participants," Professor Zemsky added.

This new test will be offered to students applying for a place on INSEAD's Global Executive MBA on campuses in Abu Dhabi, France or Singapore.

"Other INSEAD institutions may have their own standardised testing. For example, INSEAD has a joint programme with Tsinghua University — and Tsinghua offers students the choice of either the GMAT or the specialised Tsinghua test," said Professor Zemsky.

The new test is not expected to qualify candidates who may be unprepared to successfully complete the programme.

"INSEAD will not accept students that lack fundamental knowledge. The INSEAD test will still cover analytical abilities and reading comprehension similar to the GMAT.

"In addition, INSEAD will test certain aspects unavailable on the GMAT. For example, there will be a case study analysis which needs to be presented in front of an interview panel," he said.

The Financial Times recently ranked INSEAD's EMBA programme among the top five educational programmes for business executives globally.