Role of Test Scores for MBA and other Master’s Programs


Aspiring students are often told about the importance of test scores for applying to business, law, or any other master’s program along with other elements such as the overall profile, GPA scores, essays, and letters of recommendations during the admission process.

However, there are times when aspiring students have doubts on the necessity of preparing and appearing for admission tests such as GMAT and GRE and with a few colleges waiving off the admission tests temporarily due to the pandemic as part of their admission process, it can get more confusing for them.

In this article we will see why and how test scores matter both during and after the completion of a program:


Right Fit for the Program

Right Fit for the Program

Universities receive thousands of applications each year from aspiring students worldwide. Apart from GPA scores, admission test scores act as first level filter to pick potential eligible students. During the admission process at the entry level, test scores act as logical indicators of an applicant’s aptitude for a program. At the preliminary stage, without having met the candidates in person, test scores make it easy for the evaluators to understand how well will the applicant perform during the course of a program?

Admission exams such as GMAT and GRE are standardized tests designed to gauge skills required for the programs they are based on. During the selection process, by default applicants with higher scores get a preference as their scores are reflective of their fitment for the program they wish to study.

A good score in GMAT or GRE gives the admission committee the confidence that the applicant is a good match for the program and will be able to perform well during her/his course of study.

As admission tests are designed on patterns similar to the content of the program’s students want to study in the future, their scores are interpreted by the evaluators in many different ways. For instance- the GMAT exam is believed to be based on the same pattern as the basics of an MBA program. Thus, applicants’ score in the GMAT test, give evaluators an indication of their preparedness and how they might academically fare or perform during the foundational phase of the MBA program.

Like other admission tests, GMAT too is a timed test. A good score shows the evaluators that the applicant is well equipped to handle a demanding course like MBA where students have to participate in rigorous management and leadership related activities. During the program, there are numerous projects and other academic tasks assigned to students to complete under tight schedules and timelines. Handling an admission test like GMAT or GRE well is an indication that you are well prepared to take on the demands of a challenging course like MBA, especially at high-ranking universities/colleges.


Weightage to Profile

Weightage to Profile

Scoring well in admission tests like GMAT or GRE adds a lot of weight to your university application. As the scores are not only an indication of your academic abilities but also show your fitment for the program. A good score on the application eases the pressure of making efforts to overcome the lack of it. Generally, applicants with low GMAT or GRE scores have to put in a lot of extra work through recommendation letters, essays, and other related activities to make up for the lack of good scores. There is always an added pressure on aspiring students to perform exceptionally well during the interview round.

Though the admission committee takes a holistic approach while evaluating candidates and each section is given equal importance in deciding on the approval of applications, a good GMAT/GRE score counts as an impressive start as is considered as half the battle won.

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Exceptional GPA and More Work Experience

Exceptional GPA and More Work Experience

Universities that waive off the requirement of admission tests for the Master’s program, generally look at an applicant’s GPA scores closely. One’s undergraduate academic performance has to be exceptionally good and consistent to be considered for a post graduate level program. Universities may demand specific courses to be completed or may ask for evidence of prior quantitative coursework by applicants with high grades for a waiver to be considered.

Besides undergraduate studies, colleges may look at advance degree or certified programs to evaluate an applicant’s commitment and fitment for a master level program.

Along with GPA, business schools for MBA programs lay more emphasis on several years of work experience for candidates seeking admission through non-admission test score route. It can range anything from 5-7 years of work experience requirement depending on the type of program one wants to study.

Significant work experience is considered crucial in the absence of a GMAT or GRE score as it gives the admission committee an indication of one’s learnings related to teamwork, critical thinking, decision making, and like. It also tells them about an applicant’s weaknesses and strengthens pertaining to working in a corporate environment and how prepared are they for further management and leadership lessons.




MBA is a demanding course not just academically but financially too, more so, if one wants to study abroad at one of the high ranking universities. There are several financial aid options and programs available for aspiring students, however as MBA is a widely popular program the competition is tough, not just for admission, but for scholarships as well.

With so many applicants’ universities too find it difficult to consider and study each and every case carefully for the purpose of providing financial aid. High GMAT/GRE score of an applicant makes it easier for evaluators to consider deserving candidates and those are the ones who are often given serious considerations. Often students without any GMAT or GRE scores will have very slim chances of being considered for a grant or scholarship of any kind.




A university’s ranking is often the first consideration for any student to decide on her/his future college. The employment rate of any university or college has a direct impact on its ranking among other factors.

Admission scores have a direct co-relation with the employment opportunities made available to students by the universities post completion of a program. B-schools and other colleges and institutes work hard to keep their admission score requirements high to attract top companies from across industries for them to pick their best students for internships and employment.

Top organizations prefer recruiting from universities that have high selection standards for students to their programs and those who maintain a high academic quality check throughout the course of their study programs.

Often during interviews, prospective employers ask for a GMAT/GRE score from an applicant. E.g. – During the interview process, given a choice employer will more often than not pick students with high admission scores over those who got admission without any admission scores. One’s GMAT/GRE score speaks about the commitment to the program one wanted to study, talks about academic prowess and willingness to work hard towards the desired goal. The admission tests score acts as a valid filter post completion of a program, even during the employment interview, as they do at the pre-study stage during the admission process.

As an interview process strategy many organizations especially those in finance, banking, and consulting set their benchmark, basis of the admission tests score for internships and full-time employment for students. They consider GMAT or GRE scores to a reliable standard measurement of one’s academic abilities. Though no company decides on employment basis the GMAT or GRE scores alone, considering the value, it has for recruiters, it will always be beneficial for aspiring students to prepare well and aim to score high in these exams.

Related Blog Post: Role of Test Scores for MBA and other Master’s Programs


Higher Salary

Higher Salary

Considering the importance recruiters give to admission scores, it comes as no surprise that students with high GMAT/GRE scores often bag high paying jobs at prestigious companies. This may not be the case with students who got admission in the master’s program without any admission test.

Though there are several factors that count in students securing high paying jobs post studies, but trends indicate that students with 700 plus GMAT score so exceptionally well in landing themselves high paying jobs. According to e-gmat.com – “A business school graduate with a high GMAT score would be in a position to earn nearly $140,000 more as compared to a graduate with a lower score. Most graduates with a score of 700 and above earn an average salary between 120k and 140k”.

There are several advantages of scoring high in admission tests before filling your application for master level programs abroad. A waiver today may sound like an easy way to get through but there will always be other elements for you to perform well in to compensate for the waiver. Generally, students have to work doubly hard to get the right recommendations, will have to guide recommenders to put in words that accurately highlight the fitment of the candidate for a course. This in itself can become a daunting task as it requires the candidate to have a good relationship with the one making the recommendation, who are often senior work professionals.

Applicants without admission scores may have to work on presenting a well-crafted essay as part of the admission process. A potential student due to the absence of a GMAT or GRE score will have to provide a well summarised essay that explains and focuses on evidence of one’s skills and talents suitable for the applied program. Essays for master’s programs are often considered the most complicated part of the application process.

Looking at the additional work and effort that has to be put in, it is advisable to apply for your master’s program after you have the desired GMAT/GRE score. The benefits are far too many compared to the extra efforts you need to put in to cover up for the lack of these scores. The advantages of applying with GMAT/GRE scores is not limited to the program itself but goes beyond with consideration for grants, scholarships, and also at post-study stage when students apply for jobs.


It is recommended that a candidate must choose a  study abroad consultant that will eventually help him in getting the best guidance and right study abroad counseling. Study abroad counselling teaches a student HOW to study effectively and gain ability to plan ahead, meet their goals. foreign education consultants not only teach students life-skills & study skills but also teach them & their parents to come on-board with a new methods of doing things. Parents would be assured that everything will run smoothly at School and their child will have the best support possible to make sure they are performing in the most favorable way possible. overseas education consultants can help improve the performance of any student. Study abroad counseling empowers students & professionals to succeed in their life by making right decisions on Colleges, Careers, Subjects and Courses. Admissions consultant helps students to realize their true potential, identify their goals and hence make informed career decisions. Abroad education consultants offers personalized recommendations on individual strengths that are provided through an online test based on Personality, Aptitude, Motivation, and Interest.


Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to prepare for the GMAT or GRE?

Preparing for GMAT or GRE or any test depends on one’s aptitude and subject knowledge level. On average, it takes about three months to review, learn, practice, and fully prepare for GMAT/GRE if one is already comfortable with the subjects.

How to Study for the GRE/GMAT?

Find your baseline. Your baseline score is the score you would receive if you took the GRE/GMAT today. Determine your target score, make a plan to close the gap, take online or offline support as required, practice for technique, and review your results.

Does an MBA increase your salary?

Yes, it does depend on the university/college you have studied. Students with MBA degrees from reputed institutes demand a higher salary compared to their counterparts without an MBA degree.

Why is work experience important for MBA?

MBA is a hands-on master’s program that teaches management and leadership skills to students. It also heavily relies on group activities for teaching management lessons. Universities lay emphasis on work experience for MBA as they want to make sure students are able to learn and build upon business and management related skills comfortably during the course and are also able to contribute to group activities. This makes peer-to-peer learning informative and interesting.


Find Your Dream University

If you are planning to study abroad and searching to match your profile with the best suited university, Experts at Manya – The Princeton Review have gathered important information of top Universities from abroad. Surely, this information will help you narrow down your quest for universities. You can access accurate & authentic information related to rankings, application fees, average tuition fees, cost of living, scholarships, latest updates, and much more from more than 1000+ universities. You may also search for universities by name, country, or courses in common specializations, such as Physics, Finance, Business, Language and Culture, Agriculture, Environmental Science, Computer and IT, Media and Communication Marketing.

Manya – The Princeton Review offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment, and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants.

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