The Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized exam designed to measure the verbal and mathematical skills for business studies. It is the the test is often required as part of the admissions process by most MBA programs.
Although there are some exceptions, most top MBA programs will look for an applicant’s GMAT score as an admission criteria. Many students who have spent years working to earn their undergraduate degrees assume that an MBA is also out of the question without GMAT. But that is far from true. There are many colleges that actually admit their students without a GMAT degree.
GMAT – What are the 4 sections all about?
The GMAT consists of four sections. An analytical writing section, a verbal section, a quantitative section and an integrated reasoning section. You need to more that each of these tests deals with skills that are important to success in business school and graduate-level work.
The analytical part assesses your ability to analyze and communicate your ideas in writing. Aside from standard written English, it will test your ability to structure an argument and make a coherent business case.
The verbal section which covers many of the skills needed for academic success in business school. This section measures your comprehension of various reading materials. You can prepare for this section by reading from books, periodicals, newspapers and other sources. In this section, test-takers will be required to work with long reading passages as well as shorter “on the fly” materials.
The next section is the quantitative portion of the test where they will test you on your basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data interpretation skills. This section tests your understanding of basic math concepts covered in many high school and college courses. Most questions found in this section will need that you have a strong grasp of mathematical fundamentals.
The integrated reasoning section tests your ability to analyze information presented in multiple formats. It includes text, tables and charts – and discern how this information interrelates. The GMAT exam will also determine how well you can put the pieces together to create an appropriate response.
Reasons why MBA without GMAT is a possibility
GMAT is an expensive exam
The test fee for the entire exam is $250. Since most MBA aspirants take the exam approximately 3-4 times to crack it successfully, they end up spending a lot of money. It takes about 4 months to prepare for GMAT and since admissions follow certain cycles, even 2-3 attempts are not enough to crack the exam.
GMAT is a difficult exam to crack
GMAT is difficult to crack for students with no management background. It is quite challenging to study quant and verbal sections of the question paper simultaneously in a short duration of time. Many MBA aspirants who have worked in non-finance backgrounds feel handicapped when they appear for this exam.
GMAT is insufficient for MBA screening
Due to its expensive nature and difficulty level, GMAT cannot be a yardstick for MBA admissions. Schools screen candidates through other means like work-experience, recommendations , essays. When compared with these parameters, GMAT scores might not hold much value.GMAT is a psychological barrier.
Psychological impact on GMAT
The biggest downside of GMAT is its psychological impact on students. Many students who crack this exam get so used to it that they start taking decision related to their life relying on their GMAT scores. Ironically, their aim of cracking this test to get a seat in a good school is actually not the end goal.
The exam does not suit all types of candidates
GMAT is a standardized exam. This means that all the test-takers get the same question paper and marking scheme. It can prove to be a bit tricky for some candidates who are not scoring well in standardization exams. It is a computer adaptive test, which means you cannot go back and change your answers.
GMAT is not an indicator of managerial expertise
The scores are purely based on the knowledge acquired in academics. There is no test of managerial skills or personality traits like leadership qualities. For MBA admissions, schools look for candidates who demonstrate their capabilities through real-life experience. This should combine with showcasing their analytical skills with projects and presentations. It is difficult for managers (even American ones) to crack this test with no background in business studies.
GMAT has a negative impact on Indian candidates
The Indian education system is quite exhausting with lots of parameters to excel in. When most MBA aspirants attempt GMAT here, they do not get the required scores. This leads to poor self-esteem and increases the feeling of ‘IIT syndrome’, which does more harm than good. Not everyone can get this score and it is no reason to be less confident about oneself.
GMAT was originally designed for American MBA aspirants
Experts designed the exam in such a way that the academic curriculum in the US falls in line with it. This means that there are certain patterns that one needs to follow throughout all schools in America. MBA aspirants who are unaware of the differences in education system might find it difficult to grapple with this exam. It is not necessary that all international candidates need to follow this curriculum.
This test is for people who have spent substantial time in America . The American culture, English language and writing patterns are quite different from the rest. This leads to language barriers among students who do not have a stronghold on English or lack fluency in this language.
Applicants get demotivated with only GMAT scores
When applicants get rejected due to low GMAT scores, they start questioning their ability . This is extremely demotivating. You can improve your scores through lots of practice and it is unfair to judge someone’s intelligence and capability with a single test. This score has nothing to do with the capabilities of an individual.
With so many other options available, GMAT doesn’t seem to be a necessity anymore!
Which schools offer MBA without GMAT?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
Applicants may apply for a test waiver through the Admissions Office. If granted, there is no GMAT or GRE requirement. But its better to take the GMAT as it is necessary for the overall evaluation process. And incoming students in 2020 had an average GMAT score of 720.
University of Washington (Foster)
The Foster School of Business does not require standardized test scores for applicants to its full-time MBA programs. They hire candidates that can show strong quantitative abilities in their prior academic work. If you showed stellar academic performance, then you can get it too.
Given the international applicant pool, students are still urged to submit a valid standardized test score. The typical incoming student had a GMAT score of 692 last year.
Michigan State University (Broad)
If you have multiple talents, viewpoints and experiences, then the Michigan State University MBA program is ideal for you. You can get a GMAT exemption if you possess an extraordinary profile. The average GMAT score for the 2022 graduating class was 674.
Fordham University (Gabelli)
The COVID-19 pandemic made submitting standardized test scores necessary for the 2021–2022 admissions cycle at Fordham University (Gabelli). Because of the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, students are no longer required to submit their test results. The average GMAT score of new students in 2020 was 618.
George Washington University
The University of Washington does not require test scores if you have a stellar profile. However,it accepts GMAT scores from applicants. In 2020, incoming students had an average GMAT score of 612.
Babson College (Olin)
For applicants for the 2022 start of the Babson College MBA program, the test is optional. Students here have an average GMAT score of 608 in 2020.
University of Denver (Daniels)
The University of Denver’s (Daniels) MBA program is test-optional. In 2020, the average incoming full-time MBA student had a GMAT score of 612.
American University (Kogod)
Although American University (Kogod) does not require the GRE, it encourages applicants to submit a score if they have one. Students who submitted a GMAT score had an average GMAT of 550 in 2020.
Syracuse University (Whitman)
Syracuse University is providing GMAT and GRE waivers to qualifying full-time MBA applicants. The average GMAT score for the 2021 entering class was 667.
Case Western Reserve University (Weatherhead)
The MBA program at Case Western Reserve University is GMAT-optional for incoming fall 2022 students. Admitted students with a GMAT score of 636 or higher had an average GMAT score of 662 in 2020.
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