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MBA Admissions: Here's Why GMAT Takers May Have An Advantage Over GRE Takers

26% of business schools say GMAT sitters have an edge over GRE takers

Mon Nov 28 2016

GMAT takers may have an edge over GRE takers applying to US business schools.

That's the key finding of Kaplan Test Prep's annual admissions officer survey published on Monday.

Twenty-six percent of admissions officers say those who submit a GMAT score have an admissions advantage over those who submit a GRE score.

Only 2% of GRE takers have the edge; the remaining 73% say neither exam taker has the advantage, essentially unchanged from Kaplan’s 2015 survey.

And that's despite the fact that the vast majority of business schools have started accepting the GRE.

Ninety-two percent of business schools accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT. In 2009, only 24% of business schools said they accepted GRE scores.

The data suggest that attitudes towards business school entrance tests remain entrenched. “Some schools are still reluctant to give both tests equal cachet, even though they accept both exams,” said Brian Carlidge, executive director, Kaplan.

“Our advice is to gather intel and ask admissions officers if their program has a preference for one exam over the other.”

Kaplan's survey is the latest tranche of evidence that suggests GMAT takers may have an edge. A number of admissions directors recently told BusinessBecause that they prefer the GMAT, including Cass Business School, and the Tepper School of Business.

Schools say they like the fact that the GMAT was created specifically for business school candidates; the GRE covers a broad range of subjects.

Some scholarships are also tied to GMAT scores only. “If we get sent a GRE score we have to do a conversion online,” Nikki Harle, admissions manager at EDHEC Business School, said.

Some schools maintain that they are neutral. “We weight them both the same,” said Katelyn Rosa Stephenson, assistant dean of MBA admissions at Georgetown McDonough.

Business schools say that accepting the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT widens the pool of applicants beyond students from “traditional” MBA backgrounds like finance, banking or consulting.

That's because people who take the GRE are sometimes also applying to non-business courses.

Sixty-one percent of schools in Kaplan's survey said offering the GRE has resulted in the enrolment of more students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Pilar Vicente, IE Business School director of admissions, says: “Diversity and academic excellence are very important in the admissions process.

“The GRE is a good option for some candidates who feel more comfortable with this type of exam and are considering not only business schools but a variety of postgraduate options.”

Yet the GRE has not significantly contributed to enrolling more female students (25%), students of colour (24%), or low income students (16%).

Admissions consultants argue that the GMAT is more quant-heavy than the GRE. The GMAT's integrated reasoning section, introduced as an addition to the exam in 2012, can also highlight a candidate’s ability to analyse data — a prized skill-set.

Ultimately, the entrance test is only one piece of the admissions puzzle.

Chad Losee, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School, says applicants tend to focus too much on the GMAT or GRE.

“It provides a score, a batting average if you will. But when all is said and done, it’s just one of the pieces we’re considering.”

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School




On Campus

Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.




On Campus

Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.




On Campus


I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London




On Campus


The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.




On Campus


The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather




On Campus

The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.




On Campus

Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.




On Campus

Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.




On Campus

Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society