Yes! GMAT is necessary to pursue MBA aboard as almost all top-notch B-schools and universities take highly into consideration the score achieved by the candidates in the GMAT test while reviewing their application for the admission. It is considered a mandatory qualification since it helps to evaluate a student's competence on different parameters such as analytical writing and problem-solving abilities with logic & critical reasoning skills. 9 out of 10 new MBA enrollment are made using a GMAT score. GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. It has been designed to project how a student will fare well academically in MBA and also it brings all students on equal footing to be judged fairly on common grounds.
How GMAT score influence the MBA admission process:
Compelling essays, recommendations, and interviews play an important role in business school admission process but GMAT score influences it greatly. There are different levels of GMAT scores predetermined by different business schools like:
- High GMAT scores (700+): top business schools like Harvard Business school requires GMAT score of 725, the Standford Graduate School of Business prefers GMAT score of 733 on the average, New York Stern GMAT score 720, Chicago booth GMAT score 726, Yale GMAT score 721 etc.
- Medium GMAT score (650+): middle-tier universities don't place much emphasis on high GMAT score.
- Online MBA programs don't require GMAT.
Apart from top business schools, it varies from university to university how much importance is given to GMAT score, like some universities give precedence to past relevant work experience and academic achievements over GMAT score. Certain MBA executive programs waive off GMAT high score norm if your SOP (statement of purpose), LOR (letter of recommendation), internships, certifications are equally conclusive.
Other option to get into MBA programs except for GMAT
So, what are the other alternatives available if one scores low in GMAT or doesn't take that test at all? In this scenario the following options could help:
- GRE: It stands Graduate Record Exam, equally popular and accredited exam as GMAT and apart from top business school this test is accepted by different MA and Ph.D. programs. It requires an equal amount of preparation as GMAT. GRE Test structure may be a bit different from GMAT but it squarely assesses the students' quant, verbal, analytical writing and integrated reasoning.
- MBA executive program: If you have impressive track record of past relevant work experience and currently working on managerial level in that case certain business schools run special MBA programs like NYU Stern executive MBA, Oxford executive MBA, MIT Sloan school management's EMBA program, Northwestern University Kellogg executive, University of Michigan Ross School of Business EMBA etc. GMAT is usually not required for these programs.
Online MBA courses mostly do not require a GMAT score. University of Florida-Warrington college of business, University of Virginia-Darden school of business, University of Minnesota, the USC Marshall school of business, the Saunders school of business at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago Booth school of business, there are few examples where online MBA programs are being run and Adcom of theses universities generally waive the requirement of GMAT score for online students given their work experience.
Disadvantages of skipping GMAT
The biggest disadvantage of not taking GMAT test is the options of business school become limited. As mentioned above, almost all top business schools require a GMAT score. So, if you decide against taking a GMAT test then you end up with a very short list of Universities which offer MBA program without GMAT score especially when you have no prior relevant job experience for Executive program. Generally, these are a middle tier or lower universities which do not give emphasis on GMAT score. This, in turn, affects your chances of getting employed is big companies.
Secondly, Online and part-time MBA programs may have devised a curriculum to impart best quality education but nothing can downplay the campus experience. Online students are more likely to miss out on the networking opportunities, special events, seminars, conference, management assignment etc. As experienced by students in traditional school.
In a nutshell, GMAT score is necessary but not always. There are options available, in case, a student does not take GMAT test but the alternatives have considerable pitfalls. It is advised to prepare and go for GMAT if one wishes to keep one's options broaden to include top business schools.