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Why Do More MBAs Take The GMAT Vs GRE?

While most schools show no preference between GMAT or GRE score, statistics show that more MBAs take the GMAT—find out why

Mon Jul 25 2022

BusinessBecause
What is needed for a business school application may vary depending on the school. It may include official transcripts, recommendation letters, application essays, and standardized test scores.

The top b-schools tend to require a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or GRE test score to standardize and objectively compare all applications. This helps schools to evaluate candidates in a fairer manner across different professional, academic, and geographical backgrounds. 

Most schools show no preference between the GMAT Focus Edition or the GRE. Yet, more than 80% of students rely on the GMAT exam to get into top US MBA programs, and nine in 10 students take the GMAT to apply for top European schools. 

So, why do more MBAs take the GMAT Focus Edition instead of the GRE?


The GMAT is more widely accepted

The GMAT Focus Edition is a standardized entrance exam used specifically for business schools and MBAs. The GRE, on the other hand, is a general graduate exam accepted by a variety of non-business graduate programs. 

Not only has the GMAT been the number one test for b-school admissions, but it also demonstrates your firm commitment to doing an MBA. 

“The fact that it is used by leading business schools around the world emphasizes that it is the premier test for business school applicants,” says Stephanie Kluth (pictured), director of admissions at ESMT Berlin. 

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The GMAT Focus Edition measures the most relevant skills for MBA programs. Each of the three sections—quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and data insights—targets a specific skill you will further hone during your studies and develop for your post-MBA career.

“It gives us a subjective evaluation that complements the candidate’s professional, educational, and personal achievements,” Stephanie adds. 

Furthermore, the GMAT Focus Edition is accepted by 2,300 b-schools in more than 7,500 programs while the GRE is accepted by 1,200. According to the 2020 Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) application trends survey, seven out of 10 applicants used GMAT scores when applying to MBA programs ranked in the top 100 of the Financial Times Global MBA rankings. 

“I felt that it was a safer bet to take this test in case I found myself considering a school that only accepted the GMAT,” says Louise Andersson (pictured below), an MBA student at Copenhagen Business School.


The GMAT Focus Edition offers more choice and flexibility 

With the GMAT Focus Edition, it’s more flexible to book or amend a test booking, whether you’re taking the exam online or at a test center.

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There is minimal difference between taking the GMAT Focus Edition online or at a test center. The key distinction between the two options lies in the material provided. At a test center candidate are given five sheets of laminated paper for their answers, whereas when doing the GMAT Focus Edition online they have access to an online whiteboard. 

During the test, GMAT Focus Edition candidates have flexibility as to the order they answer each section. The GRE requires answers to each section in a fixed order. 

A further reason why MBA students opt for the GMAT over the GRE is that they can send their online score to up to five schools for free, with additional score reports costing $35 per school. GRE test scores can only be sent for free to up to four schools before candidates have to pay $27 per school. 


The GMAT Focus Edition does not involve building a large vocabulary 

International students whose first language is not English tend to also prefer taking the GMAT over the GRE. 

The GRE tests college-level academic English, requiring you to know and know how to use difficult vocabulary. In preparation for the verbal reasoning and analytical writing section, students must memorize between 500 to 1000 words and their definitions. 

The GMAT Focus Edition, however, tests English grammar but not English vocabulary, making it easier for international students to score highly. 


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The GMAT Focus Edition can be useful for employers 

More MBAs take the GMAT over the GRE for its usefulness when applying for post-MBA roles in at Fortune 500 companies. 

Several employers, especially in top-tier consulting firms, consider GMAT scores in job applications. Taking the GMAT Focus Edition can therefore help give candidates a competitive advantage. 

“Since the GMAT was developed by and for business schools, it gives GMAT test-takers the edge over GRE test-takers,” says Stephanie of ESMT Berlin. 

When preparing for the GMAT or the GRE you’re investing time and money but opting for the GMAT Focus Edition could help you to sharpen your skills and knowledge specifically for business schools and your future career. 

Student Reviews

Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

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