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GMAT Online Exam: What Do Stanford, Imperial, ESMT & Other Top B-Schools Really Think?

How do business schools view the GMAT Online Exam versus the test center GMAT? We spoke to MBA admissions directors from Stanford, Imperial, ESMT and other top schools to find out

By  Thomas Nugent

Mon Aug 17 2020


When coronavirus closed GMAT test centers worldwide, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) launched the GMAT Online Exam as a solution to the problem.

Online GMAT appointments have been extended through 2021, and will be the preferred method of taking the test for many business school candidates who can't get to a test center for the exam or don't feel comfortable taking the GMAT in a test center under the current circumstances.

But how do business schools view the GMAT Online Exam versus the test center GMAT?

BusinessBecause caught up with MBA admissions directors from six of the world's leading business schools to find out.

Stanford Graduate School of Business 3908896215493b07c0e8a1dc21a575514a02980d.jpeg

Though Kirsten Moss, the assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid at Stanford, explains that potential MBA candidates are far more than their GPA or standardized test scores, the GMAT still plays a helpful role in evaluating someone’s readiness for Stanford’s MBA.

The school is accepting both the online and in-person GMAT in equal measure, and notes that the school’s three rounds of admission offer flexibility to students who need to book an in-person test because they are without availability of the online exam.

If applicants have any concerns with their testing experience, Stanford recommends that they note this in the additional information section of their application. 

ESMT Berlin

Head of admissions at ESMT Berlin, Stephanie Kluth, says that both the online and test center version of the GMAT are equally treated in the admissions process despite the GMAT Online Exam missing the analytical writing assessment section.

She says that ESMT Berlin don’t prefer the test center GMAT, and that both test scores are viewed equally.  

She does admit that the weaknesses of the online GMAT include the lack of scratch paper; no preview of scores after candidates complete the test; candidates cannot cancel scores; candidates will only know their score seven days after the test day; and if your internet connection is not stable, you will be kicked out, so strong internet connection is key.

Being able to do the test at home, at any time, as well as the added flexibility it gives candidates are strong strengths, Stephanie adds.

ESMT Berlin also accept GMAC Essential Skills Assessment, GRE, GRE at home, and see these all as equal.

New version of the GMAT Online Exam