The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is the organization that owns and administers the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The GMAT is the only standardized test that is intended for graduate business and management programs, and is taken by approximately 200,000 students every year.
There are two main aspects to GMAC:
Beth Wickline, Director of Conferences and Events is responsible for issuing digital credentials for recipients attending the Admissions Institute for New Professionals. This program is aimed at candidates who are just getting started in graduate management and education admissions and have less than 18 months experience.
Prior to the use of digital badges, candidates that attended the four day Admissions Institute for New Professionals program were awarded a physical certificate to recognize participation. The certificate acted as a record of having attended, but didn’t translate the knowledge or skills that had been achieved. It also couldn’t be tracked, meaning GMAC were unable to see how recipients were using their certificates.“People just generally filed them with their other professional development information. I don’t know that anybody used them to demonstrate anything publically.” There was no central database of attendees and attendance dates, and at the time, no formal assessment - certificates were handed out in person at the end of the program.
The program is significant to candidates but the paper certificate didn’t convey the value effectively and provided little motivation to share, resulting in no additional visibility.
GMAC are very considerate of data privacy and in their search, they needed an easy solution that met their requirements for security. GMAC chose the Accredible platform to issue digital badges for the bank-level encryption and low-barrier to entry. “Another reason we were very happy with [the Accredible platform], as we didn’t need to worry about it.”
GMAC use their digital credentials in three ways:
Accredible provided GMAC with a selection of digital badge designs on request to support the implementation process. “Accredible designed our badges for us, based on our style guide and brand colors and this was very helpful.”
The first digital badges were issued to speakers who presented at GMAC’s high profile industry conferences. They immediately noticed speakers were keen to share their badges as supporting evidence of their subject expertise.
Further digital badges were awarded to candidates with a passing mark on the final assessment of the Admissions Institute for New Professionals. Individuals that attend the four day program are given an online assessment requiring a 70% mark to pass. Although this was almost a complete overhaul of the previous completion process, GMAC found the implementation and launch of digital badges very easy. In particular, the resources provided alongside implementation that provide actionable advice for recipients on what to do with their digital badge. “We found the resources available for explaining the recipient experience and the onboarding process very good and useful.”
To deliver the digital badge, an administrator simply downloads the assessment results and uploads a list of the successful candidates to the Accredible platform. The uploaded individuals are automatically issued their digital badge, representing not only their attendance but the knowledge gained during training. The process is easy, saves time, and helps GMAC be environmentally friendly - no paper certificates means no printing or reprinting required for corrections.
This simple process was key in supporting the adaption of the program to online only in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic. Huge resource was required to adjust the program from a four day in-person training event to a collection of online podcasts, pre-recorded sessions, and live meetings held over two weeks. In comparison, no changes were required to adapt the process of issuing digital badges, which helped to prevent further interruption after the transformation.
The ability to track the visibility of digital badges was an improvement on the previous process, now GMAC can see how the issued awards are performing. Using the built-in analytics, GMAC sees exactly how the digital badges are used, whether they are shared to social media, uploaded to LinkedIn, or embedded online. This has helped increase targeted exposure to the GMAC organization, their programs, events, and conferences.
For the recipient, rather than manage a physical piece of paper, their credential is hosted online and always accessible for viewing or verification. Instead of a line on a CV, they have a professionally issued digital badge that officially recognizes their acquired knowledge. GMAC have also noticed that some candidates who don’t meet the criteria for the final assessment have been motivated to return and fulfil the requirements to be eligible to try for a digital badge.
Accredible enabled GMAC to:
All while meeting the high levels of data privacy and security considerations required by GMAC.
The use of digital badges continues to be a success for GMAC and as a result, GMAC are considering other areas in which digital credentials can benefit their stakeholders.