The questions, or rather statements, are relentless–all 574 of them.
But they’re succinct and to the point, requiring nothing more than a “true” or “false” answer from me. And yet many of them seem rather silly or frivolous.
“I don’t care for large noisy crowds.”
“I tend to be critical of others.”
“I like to talk to people.”
“I am often the last to leave parties.”
“People tell me that I worry too much.”
“I sometimes wanted to run away from home.”
Within 45 minutes, I complete the assessment and Reflect, the new soft skills tool launched today (Feb. 20) by the Graduate Management Admission Council. It takes only a few seconds for the product to produce a report card, the first I’ve received since graduating with my master’s back in 1976, assigning me grades to ten different competencies.
THE MBA ANSWER TO THE MYERS-BRIGGS TEST–WITH AN ACTION PLAN TO BOOT
The new assessment tool is pretty much the MBA answer to the Myers-Briggs test, that HR-favorite psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people work and make decisions. In partnership with Oklahoma-based Hogan Assessments, GMAC’s so-called “soft skills solution” is made for students, professionals, business schools looking to develop leadership skills in the classroom, or corporations working to identify and develop talent in the workplace.
GMAC is also positioning the product to MBA applicants, claiming that it can help graduate degree candidates to showcase their leadership qualities in a grad school application, and to MBA graduates by saying that the assessment provides users with “a heightened personal awareness, making them more attractive to corporate recruiters.”
What makes Reflect, the first non-admissions product marketed by GMAC, different from Myers-Briggs or Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, is that it can be effectively used without a facilitator or coach. You just sit down in front of a computer, answer the 574 questions, and out pops your scores on skills that are important for job performance and career success.
Your score ranges presumably indicate your potential to demonstrate each competency according to your personality characteristics; ultimately, higher scores indicate greater potential. But then, you’re also given suggestions for follow-up readings and videos to improve your leadership abilities. Built into the product are more than 300 tips and 200 learning resources that you can add to a work plan. And you can also benchmark yourself against others in 15 different job functions, from financial analysts and operations managers to sales executives and CEOs. So the product essentially creates a customized action plan and provides you with a virtual executive coach to help improve your performance.
THE NEW PRODUCT WAS REQUESTED BY SEVERAL BUSINESS SCHOOLS TO HELP THEIR MBA STUDENTS
The new assessment is the product of a multi-year effort by GMAC that was kicked off by several business schools which asked the organization to look into creating it. “Schools have been talking about soft skills for a long time,” says Peg Jobst, an executive vice president at GMAC. “They’ve asked us if we could put five or six questions on the GMAT to tell us if a candidate has leadership potential.”