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TOEFL Tip #118: How The TOEFL Helps You At Business School And Beyond!

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on September 9, 2011

Today’s post was written by our guest, Harriet Murdoch, a journalist at, a business school news, networking and jobs site. Helping business applicants choose a b-school and business students find a job.

Business schools place great emphasis on oral and written communication. This makes the TOEFL especially important, not only do you need to pass but having a good score will make life easier for you once you are studying for the MBA.

Bennet & Olney’s survey of Fortune 500 Vice Presidents showed that 97.7 percent of them “believed that communication skills had affected their advancement to a top executive position.” Whilst you are preparing hard for your TOEFL it may seem a pain, but bear in mind this is an investment that will continue to pay off throughout your career.

At most top business schools the MBA is taught in English. At the McDonough school of business at Georgetown University they offer a pre-term course, Communication Tools for Success, offering the “edge you need to be ready for your MBA program.”

English language coach Bruce Cooper, said that while doing his MBA at France’s EMLYON he was constantly presenting and was surprised at the start of the year that many people in the class were ill at ease speaking in front of the group. However, they did improve over the year: “Because you give presentations on a weekly basis, you can see the changes over the course of the year!”, he says.

For those for whom English is not their first language it is obviously a larger task, and Cooper believes these people are very courageous as they can be “out of their comfort zone as it is such an intensive course with so much reading, writing and many assignments”. Throughout the course you are taught the quality of eloquence and rhetoric, “they teach you how to approach your audience”. You can read more in Bruce Copper’s recent interview about his business school experience on

Carmine Gallo, communication coach for business leaders of some of the world’s largest companies, said that “as a business student, manager, leader or aspiring leader, you need to know what very few people will ever tell you—you are being judged by how well you speak in public and how persuasively you deliver a presentation”. He says “your Harvard degree might get you in the door but starting on day one you’ll be judged by how effectively you communicate your ideas.”

An MBA student blogging about starting at IFL, Stockholm School of Economics, said “the first week has been truly intense and it is quite clear that you need a high level of English on an MBA Program. At the beginning of the week I was worrying about where my English had gone, but the longer the week went on – the better it became”.

If your grasp of the English language is good to begin with, you’ll do well. However, if you go to business school with underdeveloped linguistic ability you may find yourself struggling to stay afloat.

Also worth noting is that for entrance to an MBA program the TOEFL is not like the GMAT: a higher score will not boost your chances for being admitted. Most schools ask for a score over 100 (out of 120), a few ask for scores over 110 e.g. Harvard, but most schools are happy with anything that meets their cutoff scores.

Categories: Guest Post

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