Admission consultants often advise MBA applicant clients to take the GMAT exam over the GRE because they believe business schools prefer the Graduate Management Admission Test. But a new survey of business school admission officials shows that 78% say scores from both tests are viewed equally.
Nonetheless, the survey by Kaplan Test Prep
, found that 18% of MBA programs say applicants who submit a GMAT score have an advantage over applicants who submit a GRE score. The holdouts have more experience with the GMAT exam and generally believe the quant side of the test is more predictive of a person’s ability to do quantitative work in an MBA program.
Regardless of how the test is interpreted, more business schools are accepting the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT.
According to the survey, 85% of MBA programs now give students the option to submit a score from the GRE (historically the admissions exam for non-business graduate programs) instead of a GMAT score. This percentage has steadily increased year-over-year since Kaplan first began tracking the issue in 2009, when only 24% of business schools said they accepted the GRE.
ONLY ‘A TRICKLE OF MBA APPLICANTS’ ARE SUBMITTING A GRE SCORE, SAYS SURVEY
And more applicants are submitting GRE scores. Earlier this year, the Educational Testing Service announced that nearly 10% of MBA-bound applicants during the past 2012-2013 testing year took its GRE test. The testing organization, which has been promoting the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT, said that GRE test-taker trends during the current testing year from July 1, 2013, through January 31, 2014, showed even more growth. “In this time period, the number of GRE test takers indicating MBA as their intended degree rose dramatically, by 38 percent, compared to the same time period last year,” ETS said. At Yale University’s School of Management, 21% of the applicant pool now submits a GRE score.
Kaplan, however, says that overall its survey still shows that “only a trickle of MBA applicants are submitting a GRE score instead of a GMAT score.” Over half of the admissions officers surveyed said that just one in ten or fewer applicants took this admissions path last application cycle, representing a slight uptick from Kaplan’s past surveys.
“The trendline for business schools that accept the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT has been unmistakable over the past five years,” said Brian Carlidge, Kaplan’s executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, in a statement. “What was once seen as an almost exotic admissions policy by business schools has become nearly ubiquitous.”
KAPLAN’S ADVICE TO PROSPECTIVE MBAS
“Our advice to prospective MBAs is if all the business schools they plan to apply to accept the GRE in addition to the GMAT, then contact those schools and find out if they have a preference for one exam over the other,” he added. “We also advise students to take the GMAT if some of the schools to which they intend on applying do not accept the GRE. While the GRE is widely accepted, the only exam that is universally accepted is the GMAT.”
For the 2014 Kaplan survey, admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States – including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2014.