As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, business schools to a great extent chose to make admissions procedures more flexible during the 2020–21 admissions cycle. These adjustments included removing the need for testing, eliminating the application price, forgoing the deposit fee, extending the deadlines, and accepting the results of the shorter Executive Assessment (EA) test.
Top MBA programs like MIT Sloan, Michigan Ross, UVA Darden, and Cornell Johnson offered ways to apply without a GMAT score during the 2020–2021 MBA application cycle. This strategy has been maintained by Ross and Darden for the 2021–2022 cycle, and other programs might do the same.
According to a poll conducted in October 2020, 36% of the 101 institutions providing MBA programs deferred the testing requirement for all applicants, while 24% did so for some students. Furthermore, 17% of these schools stated that they have suspended the mandate and may do so indefinitely.
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Test scores provide the most standardized method for admissions officers to compare students. However, because of the way these tests perpetuate social inequities, they do not provide equal opportunity for success for everyone.
However, admissions committees may not see it this way and continue to place a high value on test scores. What that means for you, and whether you should even take the test in the first place, is determined by a number of factors.
For example, if you went to a competitive school where a 3.5 GPA was a challenge, taking the test might make sense. After all, your 3.5 GPA may not be the same as someone who attended a less competitive school. And it may not even be the school, but the major.
This issue is exacerbated for international students who are not graded on a 4.0 scale.
However, failing to submit a test score will not necessarily make it more difficult for you to gain admission to an institution. However, if you believe you excel at tests, this could be one way to stand out—and a compelling reason to take the test.
One of the 17% of institutions that are thinking about making their test-optional policy permanent is Babson College. Colleen Hynes, Babson’s director of graduate admissions, who is in charge of the school’s enrollment strategy for both its full-time and part-time MBA programs, says, if the students continue to perform admirably in the classroom in terms of their GPA, general debates, and writing, that may suggest to us as a school that there are alternative ways to evaluate applications without having GMAT scores.
The removal of the GMAT requirement was welcomed by many students. Students have stated that the GMAT was a barrier for them, but because we were test-optional this year, they felt compelled and at ease to be able to put together a really excellent application, even without a GMAT, says Hynes, who adds that the candidate pool was stronger as a result. That clearly shows that students are still choosing to enroll in graduate programs, and GMAT scores are only one option to display your background. But the application also offers alternative options for doing that.
A test-optional policy can be advantageous since it results in a more successful and diversified MBA program. We’ve received more applications, and the candidate pool’s general diversity has grown significantly, notes Hynes.
Many students, according to Hynes, still opt to submit GMAT scores.
The new policy certainly gave many candidates hope that their GMAT scores would no longer be significant. Since MBA candidates have extremely hectic schedules, it would be irrational for them to pass up the opportunity to use test-optional policies if they could obtain the same outcomes without taking the GMAT.
You may be excused for believing that an excellent GMAT score is no longer necessary for MBA admissions.
The contrary is true, as evidenced by data from Menlo Coaching’s research team and applicants in the Round 1 2020–2021 cycle, strong GMAT scores still contribute to higher acceptance rates and larger scholarship opportunities.
More admissions offers and larger grants are driven by strong GMAT scores. According to our research, a high GMAT can provide you up to a +57% boost, and a low GMAT can be as much as a -62% penalty, depending on your profile and the MBA programs you’re applying to.
The big secret is that every MBA program strives for a high ranking because GMAT scores are a major factor in the U.S. News MBA rankings. More candidates apply to programs with high rankings, which helps the MBA program create a stronger incoming class.
Your overall score on an 800-point scale, which is determined by how well you did on the Quantitative and Verbal portions, is used by U.S. News to determine your ranking. It excludes the results of the integrated reasoning test and the analytical writing exam.
Because a higher ranking attracts more (and better) applications, every MBA program aspires to maintain or improve its ranking. We have all looked at MBA rankings. Haven’t we?
To be exact, 16.25% of the U.S. News ranking system is based on GMAT scores. But that vastly understates the significance of it. The GMAT and GPA are the only variables that an MBA admissions committee can control because other ranking elements, such as the 40% of the ranking that is based on surveys of companies and business school Deans, change very slowly.
Comparing the GMAT to a “swing state” in a presidential election will help you understand it better. Despite carrying less weight, it frequently makes the difference.
MBA admissions representatives are aware that candidates like you consult MBA rankings before choosing where to apply and which offer to accept.
Admissions officials may not enjoy “playing the ranking game,” but it is a fact that higher ranks draw more candidates and applicants of higher quality.
The fact that almost all prestigious MBA programs gave GMAT data to U.S. News in connection with the annual ranking released in March 2021 is conclusive evidence that this trend will persist in the next years.
Given that the 2020 admissions cycle is expected to be the most competitive of the decade, your GMAT score is more important than ever. This is why:
Most students are aware of these dynamics and, as a result, are aiming for higher GMAT scores than ever before.Book your Free Counselling Session now!