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MBA admission test: Farewell to the GMAT and GRE?

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Because the test centers are closed due to the corona pandemic and there are often problems with the online versions, more and more US schools are foregoing an MBA admission test.

For 65 of the 100 top MBA programs in the US, the GMAT and GRE admission tests are no longer compulsory. This is what the MBA portal reports Poets & Quants.

However, this has nothing to do with lower admission standards, emphasized the employees of the US schools responsible for admission. Just look at other parts of the applications to be sure the candidate is coping with the academic and quantitative requirements of the program. For example, some schools require a minimum GPA value in the Bachelor's degree, a certain length of professional experience, another degree or a professional certificate such as the CFA (Certified Financial Analyst). Other schools only waive the test if the applicant does not have a test center nearby or if the technological requirements for the online variant (e.g. poor internet connection) fail.

In addition, more and more employees are of the opinion that the tests are not absolutely necessary. The Dean of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, Scott Beardsley, is even concerned that the tests are implicitly unfair because applicants from low-income families cannot afford the expensive prep courses. Minorities also scored significantly lower on average, and the connection between standardized tests and racism is now well documented.

And those who take the test online from home are often exposed to additional stress such as interruptions from family members.

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The analysis of Poets & Quants shows that the higher-ranking schools are less willing to forego the tests. Only nine of the top 25 do this. These include MIT Sloan, Darden, Michigan Ross, Carnegie Mellon, and the Kelley School at Indiana University. In schools in the 50 to 100 rankings, three quarters forego the GMAT or GRE. The basis is always the top 100 from Poets & Quants. An overview of the requirements of the US schools can be found here.

Criticism of the GMAT

Apart from the obstacles posed by the pandemic, the GMAT has long been criticized. As early as 2015, an extensive analysis of admission documents and jobs from more than a thousand MBA graduates at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto showed that the test is useless for predicting the employability of MBA graduates.

The test only measures the applicants' ability to cope with their studies well, but says nothing about their future job opportunities, criticized Kevin Frey, managing director for the full-time MBA at the Rotman School. This would mean that schools were measuring the wrong criterion. After all, they have a moral obligation to be able to guarantee their students who invest a lot of money in the MBA study opportunities for good career development. But the GMAT is unsuitable for this.

GMAT and GRE

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is an admission requirement for around 7,000 courses and 2,300 business schools worldwide. For a long time it was the only accepted admission test for MBA programs. For some years now, it has been facing increasing competition from the GRE test (Graduate Record Examinations), which was previously generally used for master’s courses and, unlike the GMAT, was not developed specifically for business schools.

The GMAT measures verbal and mathematical / logical skills and is only conducted in English and with computer assistance. The results can be between 200 and 800 points; results between 400 and 600 points are common. It is used in more than 6,000 schools worldwide. The GMAT value plays an important role, especially in the USA.

The GRE General Test comprises the categories Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning (rated with 130 to 170 points each, average at 150 to 152 points) and Analytical Writing (rated between 0 and 6 points, average at 3.5 points).

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About Bärbel Schwertfeger

Bärbel Schwertfeger is a qualified psychologist and has been working as a freelance journalist in the field of management, further training and personnel development since 1985.