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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.

Graduate Management Admission Council®, GMAC®, Graduate Management Admission Test®, GMAT®, and MBA Pathfinder® are registered trademarks of the Graduate Management Admission Council®. All rights reserved.
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