Top MBA Programs Waiving GMAT & GRE Tests

Top MBA Programs Waiving GMAT & GRE Tests

MBA is a primarily pursued course among graduates from all streams and backgrounds. An MBA degree from a recognised university and college further holds excellent value in a student’s career. Hence, we shall see some top MBA Programs Waiving GMAT and GRE Tests.

Getting admission into the right MBA college also requires many efforts, appearing for competitive exams, facing many rounds of personal interviews and group discussions, and many more formalities from the students end.

  • How to score the best GMAT score

Due to this Covid19 pandemic, the education system and procedure for applying to many courses, programs and universities have changed.

This pandemic has brought a silver lining to all MBA applicants. The majority of the top full-time MBA programs in the United States are waiving off GMAT and GRE test scores due to closure of test centres, optional appearance in these exams and concerns of appearing in these exams from home.

MBA in Australia without GMAT

What does the university judge?

In most cases, business schools are setting specific hurdles for applicants to gain waivers: A minimum GPA during their undergraduate studies, several years of professional work experience, another graduate degree already earned, or a professional credential, such as a CPA or CFA, to give admissions assurances that one can complete the quant work in the MBA program.

MBA Programs Waiving GMAT and GRE Tests want to ensure that the applicant can complete the program with a good record.

Therefore, they give more importance to other aspects like coursework of previously earned graduate degree, full-time work experience, certifications in related fields and overall, the candidate’s efficiency.

Some universities are waiving off these exams’ requirement only for those directly affected by the pandemic. In this case, the applicant must meet these two criteria. They have to be unable to take an exam in person at a test centre due to lack of availability or because they or someone in their household is immunocompromised. They have to be unable to take an exam due to lack of availability in their region, technology, or other test-taking requirements (e.g. device availability or compatibility, slow internet connection, testing environment).

Views of admission officials on waiving off the tests

Firstly, many admission officials believe that MBA Programs Waiving GMAT and GRE Tests remove the hurdle to diversity by understanding the importance and need of these exams to test applicants’ suitability.

They further think these tests are unnecessary and do not determine whether the candidate can handle the rigours of any such MBA program offered by universities.

At the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Dean Scott Beardsley is deeply concerned that the tests can also be inherently unfair. He further points out that prospective students from low-income families cannot pay for prep classes or tutors who can cost up to $500 an hour or can take time off from work to study for the exam. Students who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, born to uneducated parents, tend to score lower regardless of whether they are tutored or not.

Many professors and admission officials believe that tests like GMAT, GRE, SAT and ACT cannot wholly help them decide whether to choose the particular candidate or not, and they think other aspects can help them better. Past work experience, community service, interests, academic performance can determine the candidate’s suitability more than just a GMAT or a GRE score.

Waiving GMAT and GRE

More business schools, though, are granting waivers because they believe it is merely the right thing to do during a health crisis that has now led to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. alone.

However, test centers have reopened. Getting to one and feeling safe in one is another story. Although students can take the online test, taking a standardised test at home is challenging because some students are being disrupted by friends or family or have had internet connections to slow down. So, it is hard to perform best in these conditions.

One example was a girl who appeared for the GMAT from home and scored only 620, but when she took the same test from a test centre where there was no disturbance, she scored 730. Many more examples like these worldwide have also put them into grave thought about deciding to take on waiving off these exams.

Although only nine universities have waived off GMAT scores, 25 business schools have opened their gates without these standardised tests.

MBA programs now granting test waivers

Firstly, the vast majority of the top 100 ranked MBA programs in the U.S. are now giving applicants waivers on the GMAT and the GRE. Several of the schools have openly adopted test-optional admissions. Here are some MBA Programs Waiving GMAT and GRE Tests.

Below is a table showing the status of each university and what they accept.

Top 300 (QS Ranking)
SchoolDetails On GMAT/GRE Waivers
MIT (Sloan)For this year only, it will review submitted material as is and without wrong inferences.
Michigan (Ross)Will also admit or waitlist all Round 1 MBA applicants.
UC-San Diego (Rady)Waiving tests for FlexEvening and FlexWeekend MBA programs
WisconsinFurther requires five years of work experience and a 3.3 undergrad GPA
Georgia Tech (Scheller)An essay of up to 2,000 characters also required to support academic preparedness without a test
Maryland (Smith)Industry certification, including Six Sigma, CFA, CPA and 3.0 GPA minimum, or MCAT or LSAT
Michigan State (Broad)Need 4+ years of work experience, strong rec from supervisor and online pre-requisites
Case Western (Weatherhead)Test optional for 2021 due to COVID
Rochester (Simon)Requires undergrad GPA of 3.2 or higher
Rochester Institute of Technology (Saunders)Waivers for RIT undergrads with a 3.25 or greater, plus applicants with a terminal degree
Minnesota (Carlson)Requires undergrad GPA of 3.2+ and 5+ years of work experience, a CFA or CPA, or graduate degree
Virginia (Darden)Will also look at previous SAT and ACT scores as criteria for a waiver
Rutgers Business SchoolFurther priority is given to Rutgers undergrads, excellent undergrad record and leadership qualities and diversity
Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)Waivers for applicants with GPA of 3.2 or higher with five or more years of work experience, a master’s degree plus two years of experience
300 – 500 (QS Ranking)
SchoolDetails On GMAT/GRE Waivers
Indiana (Kelley)Also requires a brief statement under 500 words summarising why you believe you qualify for a waiver
Buffalo-SUNYWill now accept expired GMAT, GRE, SAT or ACT scores for a waiver
Northeastern (D’Amore-McKim)Test waived applicants ‘will not be penalised or disadvantaged’
University of KansasWaivers automatic for applicants with terminal degrees
Iowa State (Ivy)Requires a minimum of 3.0 GPA, master’s degree, or B grades in two graduate courses and 3 or more years of work experience
Florida StateFurther waivers for 3.4 GPA or better, eight years of managerial experience, a master’s with a 3.0 or better
Oregon (Lundquist)Also requires strong academic record plus internship, work experience, military service, volunteer service, leadership, or other relevant experiences
500 – 1000 (QS Ranking)
SchoolDetails On GMAT/GRE Waivers
Tampa (Sykes)Will also waive for those with master’s degrees or applicants unable to take a test due to COVID
Kentucky (Gatton)Waivers for those with managerial or further technical work experience, prior academic achievement, CPA or CFA
Syracuse (Whitman)Waivers also available for the 2021 admissions season
Denver (Daniels)Now test optional through fall of 2021
Houston (Bauer)Waivers for those with “several years” of work experience or proof of quant and analytical knowledge
Clarkson (Reh)Now waiving the GMAT and GRE for all applicants
Oklahoma State (Spears)Limited waivers available due to COVID
Clemson UniversityLimited waivers available
Texas Tech (Rawl)Waivers for all applicants due to COVID
Auburn (Harbert)Further waivers for 3.5 GPA and two-plus years of experience or 3.0 GPA with six years of experience
UC-Irvine (Merage)Need 4+ years of work experience and a strong record of academic performance
Babson (Olin)Evaluates past academics, written and verbal communication and further career potential or progress through a resume and references
University of LouisvilleNo GMAT or GRE required
Chapman (Argyros)Also requires undergrad degree in a quant subject with a 3.2 GPA, or a master’s degree, or a CPA or CFA
Baruch (Zicklin)Automatic waivers for applicants with GPA of 3.3 or higher in undergrad or graduate program
Rollins (Crummer)Further waivers for applicants with graduate degrees
  • How to score the best GMAT score


Thus, this was a blog on top business schools waiving GMAT and GRE tests due to the pandemic. We further hope we were able to resolve any queries you might have had.

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Good luck!