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MBA Pathfinder™ Audits Yield Positive Results

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), with the help of an audit team from KPMG, conducted 26 audits of MBA Pathfinder school search database participating schools in 2003, and the news is good: Schools generally fared well, and the process proved that the free mock audits GMAC has offered since 2001 are a good practice for the real ones.

In a continuing effort to provide future business school students with accurate, objective data about individual programs, GMAC conducts random audits of schools that display program data in the MBA Pathfinder school search database, a tool prospective applicants use to find the right schools for them. (Prospective students can find MBA Pathfinder on mba.com, in the Find Your Program section. Schools can learn about MBA Pathfinder and enter and maintain their program data on gmac.com in the School Services section.

The audits ensure that the data schools publish in MBA Pathfinder meet the MBA Reporting Criteria standards for reporting program data. Schools that enter data in MBA Pathfinder agree to follow these standards and to be subject to random audit. (To read the MBA Reporting Criteria, go to MBA Pathfinder on gmac.com and click the link in the Downloads field.)

The majority of schools did very well on their random audits in 2003, but there were a few areas of weakness that can be instructive to other schools:

Some audited schools had not “frozen” their data as recommended in the MBA Pathfinder instructions, to show that the data were accurate at the time they were entered in MBA Pathfinder. Because data in a school’s system are constantly changing, schools are encouraged to output and save, in hard copy and in an electronic format, a report from their database to show how they derived the statistics they enter in MBA Pathfinder.

Some schools did not document all the necessary elements of a completed application. (See the MBA Reporting Criteria for full definitions, also quoted in the data-entry screens in MBA Pathfinder.)
To address these issues, GMAC recently added detailed Help screens to the data-entry interface of MBA Pathfinder. Schools are also encouraged to contact Glenda Lucas, manager, MBA Reporting Criteria, with any questions they might have: pathfinder@gmac.com or 1-703-749-0131.

While random audits take place, GMAC will continue to offer voluntary mock audits through 2004, to help schools prepare for a possible real audit. The free mock audits, conducted by GMAC, have been well received by schools and have proven educational. Schools that participated in mock audits did very well in real audits. (To request a free mock audit, contact Glenda Lucas at pathfinder@gmac.com or 1-703-749-0131.)

Random audits of 30 more schools will take place in 2004, beginning in April. There is still time to post your school’s data in MBA Pathfinder and to schedule a mock audit.

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