The Quick Guide to MBA Glossary, Part II

Decrypting the MBA

So we heard you're interested in an MBA, but are you ready for the GMAT, and which b-school are you aiming for?
Easy enough, right? Everyone knows the basics.
But what if we told you that getting ready for a CAT does not mean you'll be adopting a fluffy feline companion as part of your admission to a business school?
Unless a cat-centric start-up is something that has brought you to the forefront of entrepreneurship, and you think you'll be able to convince your admission officer that it has, CAT actually stands for "computerised adaptive testing". In fact, that's what the GMAT is – a test, utilising a mathematical algorithm in order to ask questions according to the current real-time performance of the test-taker.
The Quick Guide to MBA Glossary is a series of blog posts, which introduces you to some of the most outlandish and seemingly out-of-context MBA terms out there – for fun and for education!

GPA – Grade point average

The Grade point average is an essential index for MBA candidates wishing to study in the US. The GPA is a simple grade figure derived from the conversion of non-US grades to the US education system. The conversion may take into account various factors, but it is primarily a non-US-to-US adaptation of academic performance. Simply put, if you've been an excellent student with excellent grades in your country, then it's safe to assume that you would be a "Straight A" student according to US standards. The organisation behind the GPA is World Education Services. WES is an NGO that promotes international education and the facilitation of education and work in the US for citizens of other countries. The organisation's official website offers a free service whereby users can input their grades and calculate their GPA in three easy steps.

READ: Europa & Americana: A Tale of Two Sisters

EQUIS – EFMD Quality Improvement System

The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Quality Improvement System (what a tongue-twister!) is an internationally-acclaimed, accreditation classification. It is part of the Big Three, along with AMBA and AACSB. EQUIS is an institutional accreditation for business schools around the world. It claims to "assess institutions as a whole", evaluating the quality of the programme (curriculum, teaching methods, etc.), as well as the quality of research, e-learning, education provision and community outreach. Schools are required to be focused on management education in order to be eligible for an EQUIS accreditation. EFMD itself is based in Belgium and brings more than 800 organisations into its fold. In addition to EQUIS, the Brussels-based organisation also issues the EPAS (programme accreditation) and CLIP (corporate accreditation) certificates.

READ: Why Care about Master's and MBA Accreditation

EMBA Employer Endorsement

Endorsement for pursuing an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from your employer is a key part of the EMBA admission process. Participating in EMBA programmes is a time-consuming activity, which takes an inevitable toll on work and family obligations. Since EMBAs are aimed at senior managers, the assumption is that they have many important responsibilities at work that need to be taken care of no matter what. The Employer Endorsement serves as a guarantee that the EMBA participant has the employer's full consent, or simply put that they won't lose their job due to the time spent studying. This works both ways, as schools do not want to be the cause for someone going under, and employers want to make sure that their senior management members stay on point. Employer Endorsement is required by the business schools themselves and can be anything from an official signed-and-stamped document indicating agreement between the employer and the employee, to a statement of intent to sponsor the degree by covering part of the fees. In most cases, consent is the only requirement, while the sponsorship bit falls under the much-loved "strongly encouraged" category.

We "strongly encourage you" to make the necessary arrangements to receive Employer Endorsement if you're planning on doing an EMBA.

READ: 4 Things You Absolutely Need to Accomplish in Your Career Before the EMBA

Graduate Assistantship

Graduate assistantships are a form of financial aid in exchange for lending help to the university's faculty members. Graduate assistants are postgraduate (graduate in US education terminology) students who participate in research, support professors during and outside lectures, and sometimes even give lectures by themselves. They can be seen teaching introductory courses to 1st and 2nd year students, but are often mistaken for just another student due to their principally young age. Yet, technically that's exactly who they are – just another student, albeit a more privileged one. Nearly all universities around the world employ graduate assistants, although it's true that they are of a certain aptitude. Most are interested in academia and an academic career, but fret not, it's always a good idea to try and secure a graduate assistantship with the university if only just to ease your already strained budget. You won't be getting a salary per se, but your life will be assuredly easier on the money front.

And if this is not motivating enough for you, consider that a year or two spent teaching to younger students will help you develop soft and leadership skills, which will one day come very handy at your job as general manager.

So if you're into that kind of thing, you know, studying and management, tune in next time for another episode of The Quick Guide to MBA Glossary on

Thirsty for more MBA-related facts? Read the first part of our Quick Guide here: The Quick Guide to MBA Glossary, Part I

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