To be considered for admission, the majority of business schools around the world require applicants to submit the results of a standardized test. The Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT®, is the standard admissions exam for business schools. Other tests, particularly the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE®, may be accepted some schools. Other schools do not require any kind of admissions testing at all. It may be possible to get an MBA without a GMAT® score, depending on where you plan to apply.
When the GMAT® was first created, it was required for admission to all of the country’s top business schools. Soon after, lower-tiered U.S. business schools, as well as some international schools, began requiring it. The GMAT® was quickly established as the gold standard for business school admissions. Every Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) candidate took the exam without hesitation, and it was nearly impossible to even be considered for an MBA without a GMAT® file.
Although there has been some change, it has not been without controversy. It is becoming increasingly possible to gain admission to MBA programs without a GMAT® score if another exam score is substituted. In the early 2000s, a small number of business schools in the United States began accepting GRE® scores instead of GMAT® scores. The GRE® is a test that is similar to the GMAT® but is designed for a larger group of people.
GMAT® scores are only accepted business schools that offer MBA programs. As a result, the test is nuanced, and the questions it asks are tailored to assess the skill set of students seeking graduate business admissions. Schools are aware that students only take the GMAT® if they intend to pursue an MBA or other related degree.
The GRE®, on the other hand, is required for admission to a wide variety of graduate programs. It’s required for everything from PhD programs in molecular biology to master’s programs in English literature. Many graduate schools will also require applicants to take specialized “subject matter” GRE® tests, but the general GRE® is frequently regarded as a starting point.
In many ways, the GRE® is similar to the GMAT® in terms of format, length, and question style. Although not all sections are the same and the exams place different emphasis on different areas, they are all comparable. Both exams are taken a large number of aspiring graduate students all over the world. As a result, it’s not surprising that many business schools have decided to accept either exam’s results. It is possible to pursue an MBA without a GMAT® score as long as a GRE® score is available.
Not every school has made the transition, and not every school will make it. Allowing general GRE® scores to supplement an application, according to some institutions and critics, dilutes the pool, putting students interested in any graduate program — not just business graduate programs — on an equal footing for admission. Many of the more adamant admissions committees believe that applicants should be solely focused on earning an MBA degree, and as a result, applicants with GMAT® scores near the top of the range should not be admitted to study for the MBA.
Many others, however, believe that allowing students to sit for an exam with more flexibility and a wider range of potential applications promotes efficiency, citing the steep admission curve at many business schools. If a student with a GRE® score is not accepted into an MBA program, he or she can look into other graduate programs. A student with a GMAT® score, on the other hand, is restricted to business school.
When deciding whether to take the GRE® or the GMAT®, there are numerous factors to consider. A school that claims to accept both should not make any distinctions or question why you chose one over the other. However, before you begin your studies, make sure you understand the policies of the schools on your list regarding earning an MBA without a GMAT® score.