One of the basic ideas behind financial investment is that investing early allows for a greater payout over time. An early stake, even if relatively small, can yield a substantial overall return on investment (ROI). While there are innumerable resources that can explain that overall idea, that’s not really the point of this article. When it comes to the GMAT and the investment you make in preparing for it, the proper ‘little bit’ of extra time, money or effort can yield a big ROI.
The expenses associated with every part of the application process, and in attending business school, can be significant. But, the long-term value of an MBA (especially from one of the world’s top business schools) is worth that type of ‘trade-off’, as most MBAs will see a massive ROI play out in their careers after graduation. In the same way that sound financial investment will provide sufficient money for retirement, a similar philosophy with your GMAT studies can be followed.
There are plenty of test takers who try to save money while studying – they tend to use lots of GMAT books (often free materials picked up from friends) with the goal of spending as little as possible. While some applicants can assemble a variety of free/cheap tools, score well on the GMAT and receive an invitation to interview with top business schools, that high-end result is FAR from being the norm.
The costs associated with attending one of the top business schools can rise well above US$100,000 over the length of the schooling. Barring receipt of an MBA scholarship, that is a significant price to pay even if it IS worth it, in terms of ROI, over time. By saving what amounts to a few hundred dollars while studying for the GMAT (money that could have been spent on better study materials); the overall costs to earn that degree could be significantly higher down the line.
As an alternative though, think about an applicant who understands that the GMAT is a vital piece of the overall ‘task list’ and is therefore something that SHOULD be invested in. With that attitude, combined with the necessary study time and purchases, that GMAT student ought to have a much better chance at scoring highly on the GMAT and increasing their chance of earning some type of MBA scholarship in the process (if not a full one, then a partial one). This would, in turn, help their ROI and could even be worth upwards of US$200,000, depending on the school and timeframe in question.
Since the GMAT is essentially just a big critical-thinking test, consider this critical-thinking question: would spending a bit more time, money and effort NOW be worth a greater chance at landing some form of MBA scholarship later? What would you be willing to invest? Is the goal to save a little money on your studies or to save LOTS of money on the ENTIRE journey?
Each individual has to decide where to spend his/her resources, including how much to put into studying for the GMAT. Right now, you’re probably spending your valuable free time juggling your studies, thinking about applications to top business schools, all while living your regular day-to-day work-life, family-life, etc. This is normal for someone preparing for the GMAT. The basic truth is that the whole process of preparing and then applying to business school has to be viewed as an investment in your career and financial future. To improve your chances at securing MBA scholarships and that sought-after future, the best advice is to invest more now.