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Monday, December 28, 2015
Does GMAT Still Reign in Business School Admissions?
For years, the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), has been the gold standard for gaining admission to business school. The test's relative emphasis on integrated reasoning and quantitative analysis makes it a different creature from its cousin, the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). The GRE is a more generalized test with stronger verbal components and is required by most other non-business graduate programs.
In recent admissions cycles, business schools' approach has begun evolving. According to a recent survey by Kaplan Testing Service, the number of business schools accepting GRE scores for admission has jumped from 24% in 2009 to over 90% in 2015.
Anecdotally, the tests are viewed as somewhat equally challenging. Because the GMAT has historically been the entry-ticked to business school only, it offers less flexibility than the GRE. On the other hand, because the GMAT is arguably better tailored to graduate business coursework, it is still favored by business schools.
Kaplan's survey also notes that business school admissions officers acknowledge that GMAT takers have an edge in admission. No one is sure exactly why. Simply taking the GMAT is a big symbolic gesture: it means you are serious about business school. Perhaps that ambitious and singular focus is appealing to business schools looking for driven candidates.
If, however, you are a student that struggles with some of the more math-based subjects like accounting and statistics, the GMAT may be daunting. If you've got your heart set on b-school, you may just want to power through any fear of math.
The real hope here would be that by accepting more GRE-takers, business schools are truly diversifying the knowledge-base and interests of their students. Any good learning environment benefits from discourse amongst divergent minds. Still, like most test-taking trends, the wheels of change creek slowly.
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