Our 2013 Predictions: How Did We Do?

And just like that, a whole year has flown by again! Last January, we posted four predictions for the world of test prep and admissions. As fun as it is to make predictions, and it’s even more rewarding to look back at some point and see how we did. (“Oh my… We predicted THAT would happen?”) If you predict enough things, some of them will eventually happen, right?

In all seriousness, we enjoy this exercise because it helps to keep us sharp and on top of the trends in our world. So let’s get to it and see how we fared with our 2013 predictions:

At least one Top 20 MBA program will introduce an all-online MBA program.
Nailed it! Last fall, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business launched its FlexMBA program, enrolling 29 MBA students in its first cohort. So far, by all accounts the program has been a success, and Tepper has already announced that it plans to double the size of the program in 2014. Robert T. Monroe, director of Tepper’s online program, told Poets & Quants, “We believe steady state is between 60 and 100 incoming students a year and we expect to get to the lower end of that.” If you’re wondering if we met the “top 20” requirement, U.S. News currently ranks Tepper 19th among U.S. MBA programs (and Tepper is a terrific business school).

Repeated “irregularities” in how some schools have reported data will bring about some changes in college and grad school rankings.
Unfortunately, not much movement happened on this front. Although we continued to see some heads rolling from previous “irregularities,” no significant changes were made to college or grad school rankings to directly combat these types of issues. It is worth noting that U.S. News announced some of the biggest changes to its college rankings in years, these were not the type of changes that are likely to completely remove schools’ temptation to fudge the numbers.

The idea that “test takers should not worry much about Integrated Reasoning” will die out.
This is happening slowly but surely, but it’s hard for ourselves to give us a hit on this one. While Veritas Prep students understand the importance of Integrated Reasoning (not only for the GMAT, but also for success in business school and beyond), we still see many applicants who downplay the importance of the newest section of the GMAT. MBA admissions officers are still at least partly to blame — remember that GMAT scores are good for five years, and application readers are still seeing many official scores that don’t include IR scores — but they’re steadily coming around. Give it another year or two.

Testing year 2013 will show a drop in GMAT volume.
We nailed this one, for certain. Not long ago the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) shared its data for testing year 2013 (the one-year period ending June 30, 2013), and sure enough, that was a double-digit percentage drop in test-taking volume vs. the previous year. Testing year 2013 saw 48,000 fewer GMATs taken, a drop of 17% compared to 2012. That’s a huge drop! However, go back and read our post from last year, and you will immediately understand why: Because of the uncertainly around the new Integrated Reasoning section, thousands of potential GMAT takers hurried up and took the exam earlier than they otherwise would have. If it weren’t for that, we expect that GMAT volume would have been mostly flat compared to the previous year.

So there you have it: Two right and two wrong. If this were Major League Baseball, we’d be sporting a gaudy .500 batting average, and Jay-Z would probably want to be our agent. Not too shabby.

Tune in next week to hear our predictions for 2014!

By Scott Shrum