Graduate Management News

January 2017

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Integrated Reasoning Skills Are What Matter Most to Today’s Employers

As MBA programs move away from the case studies, students are expected to resolve real corporate challenges that rely on integrated reasoning skills.

Research Recap

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, business schools are moving away from the case-study method—a standard of business education—and toward curricula that emphasizes students solving complex, real-world “experiential” problems. These real-life business challenges reflect the skills that are tested on the Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT® exam, which measures a candidate’s ability to evaluate information presented in multiple formats from multiple sources – skills needed to succeed in a data-driven world.

The article cites Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial of the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, among other admissions professionals, who has spent the last few years urging faculty to drop the traditional method of case studies in favor of cases involving business challenges presented by corporate partners, nonprofits and alumni. Gardial pushed for the change after employers told her they wanted MBAs capable of handling real-life problem – the kinds of problems that Integrated Reasoning prepares students to tackle.

The Integrated Reasoning Section tests a set of skills identified by schools and employers around the ability to interpret and use data to solve real-world problems. "Students must be able to take in data from multiple sources in multiple formats to identify what is the relevant data to solve business challenges,” Stephanie Fuji, former assistant dean of the Full-Time MBA Program & Admissions at the University of California, Berkeley, and now with the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates said.

Find out what Integrated Reasoning means for your prospective students.