Interview: Gaurav Srivastava, Regional Director, Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)

Interview: Gaurav Srivastava, regional director, GMAC

May 24, 2022

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) (estb. 1953) is a mission-driven association of 229 global graduate business schools that include prestigious institutes like Harvard University (US), The Imperial College Business School (UK), INSEAD Business Programs (France) besides 12 India-based members institutes. GMAC’s Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) remains one of the most widely used graduate business school assessments recognized by more than 7000-plus programmes worldwide. Having set up its Gurugram-based India office in 2009, India is the second-largest market for GMAC’s Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and NMAT (formerly NMIMS Management Aptitude Test) test volumes. Gaurav Srivastava, regional director – South Asia, Middle East, and  Africa, Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) speaks to EducationWorld’s Dipta Joshi about GMAC’s latest India-based expansion plans.

What services does GMAC offer the graduate management education industry? 

GMAC offers a suite of research products, professional development opportunities, and world-class assessments built on decades of experience that help management institutes identify the right talent for their programs. Our assessment offerings include the GMAT, NMAT by GMAC, and Executive Assessment exams that help business schools around the world to evaluate business school readiness in the context of executive management programmes.

The GMAT, a trusted predictor of academic success in graduate business education, has been developed and designed specifically to assess the analytical and verbal problem-solving abilities and integrated reasoning skills that are vital for real-world business and management success. The NMAT by GMAC enables schools to access the most diverse test-taking populations in India, South Africa, and the Philippines with some of the highest proportions of women and non-engineers taking the exam.

Our non-assessment offerings include the GMAC Market Intelligence, the GMAC Media Solutions, and the Graduate Management Admission Search Service (GMASS) database. These research-based databases and solutions allow institutions to make fact-based decisions that influence their strategy, recruitment, and marketing efforts. Our Graduate Management Admission Search Service (GMASS) database has over 2,000 unique combinations of search parameters for more than 30 categories helping schools recruit the right mix of candidates for their programs.

We also offer opportunities through our GMAC industry conferences and MBA student tours to connect with prospective students and other school professionals in person. Our MBA Tour delivers 66 events across six continents with over 150 participating schools helping candidates understand why the school or programme is the right fit for them.

What kind of guidance do management aspirants receive from GMAC’s India office?  

The GMAC India, market development team is based out of Gurgaon, and works closely with candidates, by providing regular guidance on the various assessments, how to prepare for them, any changes in the format of the exams, new product updates on online and test centre versions of the exam, etc.  

How did COVID impact the demand for registrations for the GMAT exam and how has the process changed to meet students’ convenience? 

The COVID pandemic did disrupt candidates’ plans to pursue management education. Uncertainties on account of travel restrictions, preference for in-person versus online learning, and differing COVID regulations across countries led to delays in decision making. This delay also led to the deferment of GMAT test-taking which slowed down in 2020. However, the interest in GMAC exams bounced back in 2021, once the situation improved, and is presently on a firm growth path in 2022 as the aspiration for management education remains strong.

GMAC introduced an online version of the GMAT exam in 2020 to support candidates during these disruptive times and provide them with a convenient and safe solution by enabling them to take the exam from home. GMAC quickly introduced and evolved the GMAT online exam at the outset of COVID from an interim to a permanent solution thus supporting the ability to consistently evaluate talent in a virtual and ever-changing environment. As the uncertainty around COVID remains, GMAC will continue to provide candidates with the option to take the test from their homes or at test centres as per their comfort.

Tell us about GMAC’s interest in expanding its portfolio in India.

India is the world’s largest market for English-speaking management education and in terms of GMAT and NMAT test volumes, the second-largest market globally for GMAC. Hence, it’s an important market for future growth and expansion for GMAC.

In March 2015, GMAC assumed ownership and management of the NMAT exam in India from the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS). Assuming ownership of the NMAT exam has provided GMAC with new opportunities to partake in efforts to improve the accessibility of admissions to graduate management programmes by a more diverse candidate pool in India. Today, the NMAT exam by GMAC is accepted at 68 institutions in India, South Africa, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Morocco.

As part of our commitment, we continue to introduce enhancements to our exams to make them more accessible pan-India. The availability of the online exam allows candidates to take their exams from anywhere even if they don’t have a test centre in their respective locations. In 2021, we introduced the usage of Aadhaar ID as valid ID proof for the online GMAT. With the Aadhaar as an alternative to the passport for the GMAT online exam registration process, candidates from rural as well as India’s tier II and tier III cities who don’t have passports need not travel to larger cities to get their passports made for the purpose of registration alone. 

Also Read: Graduate Management Admission Council welcomes three new members

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