What You Need to Know About Applying for an MBA Without the GMAT

What You Need to Know About Applying for an MBA Without the GMAT

Think you need to sit through the GMAT to get an MBA? Think again. Sure the GMAT has been a stable fixture in the advanced degree process for decades with some 1300 schools either requiring or accepting GMAT scores. However, trends are changing. More schools than ever either make the GMAT optional or waive the requirement altogether. You just have to know where to look.

Admissions departments are trying to encourage diversity in the type of applicants pursuing an MBA. As such, they are actively considering other factors when reviewing graduate school applications. For those with healthy GPAs in other degree programs or extensive work experience, the GMAT can be waived or accepted on an optional basis.

Additionally the GRE is also being accepted in place of standard GMAT test scores. The U.S. News & World Report released a list of schools, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard, which accept the GRE from business school applicants. The GRE provides insight on an applicant’s analytical abilities and critical thinking skills. Like the GMAT, the exam taken by students to more traditional graduate programs also evaluates a student’s writing, verbal, and quantitative reasoning skills.

The waiver of GMAT test scores is becoming most common in executive MBA programs. These accelerated degree programs are geared toward working professionals who often have a degree or more of work experience.

According to Bloomberg News, 13 of the top executive MBA schools have abandoned the GMAT requirement for entrance purposes. Judging an applicant’s worthiness based on arcane test questions when they may have a wealth of real world experience and just less familiar with some of the math requirements heavily relied upon on the entrance exam is being relied upon less. What this means for you is there’s no need to spend time and money taking test prep courses to improve your score. Instead, many schools requires students to take refresher courses to help them transition back into college student mode.

Geographic barriers may prevent you from taking advantage of a school in your area that waives the GMAT requirement for B-school admissions. In that case, an online MBA program may present a suitable alternative. provides a solid list of 50 online MBA programs that do not require the GMAT. You are sure to find a suitable option if skipping that standard college test is your preference.

There are plenty of reasons while a student might want to forgo taking the GMAT. Some, especially those who have been in the workforce for some time, aren’t ready to have a test score represent their academic abilities. The math problems can catch students off guard and a slower paced, refresher course might be more to your liking. Don’t let the fear of submitting to a standardized test score stop you from pursuing your goals to complete an MBA. Explore options available from a growing list of schools and executive MBA programs that are designed to help students of varying abilities matriculate through their programs and succeed.

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