Harvard | Mr. PE Strategist
GRE 326, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Private Equity Analyst
GRE 320, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Student Product Manager
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Ms. FANG Tech
GRE 321, GPA 3.7
Columbia | Mr. CPA
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Digital Health Start-Up
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Sports Management
GMAT 690, GPA 3.23
Darden | Mr. International Trade
GRE 323, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Health Clinic Founder
GRE 330, GPA 3
Said Business School | Mr. Strategy Consulting Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.98
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Aspiring Tech Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Mr. Supply Chain Latino
GRE 320, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Operations Manager
GRE 328, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
INSEAD | Mr. Jumbo GMAT
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Basketball To B-School
GRE 334, GPA 3.73
Harvard | Mr. E-Sports Coach
GRE 323, GPA 5.72/10
INSEAD | Ms. Insightful Panda
GMAT 700, GPA 87.5%
NYU Stern | Mr. Bioinformatics
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Impact Investment
GMAT 760, GPA 3.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Nonprofit-ish
GRE 333, GPA 3.81
INSEAD | Ms. Humble Auditor
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
London Business School | Mr. Investment Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 2.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Healthcare Tech
GMAT 680, GPA 3.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Civil Engineer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.9/10

Rising Costs Of An MBA Impacting School Choice For Applicants

A Harvard MBA in the Class of 2016 at graduation this year (YouTube photo)

A Harvard MBA in the Class of 2016 at graduation this year (YouTube photo)

The majority of respondents (61%), meantime, named standardized tests as the most challenging part of an MBA application, followed by written essays (46%), and interviews (20%). Only 19% of applicants said that recorded video responses, first pioneered by the Rotman School and now used by both Kellogg and Yale, and group exercises, a staple of Wharton’s process, were especially challenging. Nearly half of the responding applicants (49%) said the video essay represented them “well” or “extremely well,” although survey comments revealed concerns by some applicants regarding technological difficulties in remote overseas locations (see table below).

AIGAC 2016 MBA applicant survey

AIGAC 2016 MBA applicant survey

Applicants tended to rate the video portion of an MBA application as less challenging than the GMAT or essays. More than half the applicants to the Kellogg School, for example, believed the required essays (52%) and either the GMAT or GRE (51%) were tougher than the video test (35%) (see below table).

“The biggest surprise for all of us was the take by applicants on the video responses,” says Shrum. “For people who have been in this space for a long time, these seem like a big deal. but so far the data is telling us they are going down pretty well. People are still stressed by exams and essays, but not very much by these new components. In an essay, you can do a million drafts. But in a video response you have two or three shots and you are done.”

Source: AIGAC 2016 MBA applicant survey

Source: AIGAC 2016 MBA applicant survey

Regardless, the GMAT remains the the most popular test to apply to business school, with 89% of applicants saying they submitted a GMAT score and only 7% of applicants saying they submitted a GRE score in 2016. The high percentage of international and male respondents (65%) likely had an impact on the survey’s results in favor of the GMAT, however. AIGAC said survey participants indicated that they took the GRE primarily because they were applying to multiple types of graduate programs or because they already took the GRE before applying to business school. Nearly a quarter of respondents, however, said it was because they struggled with the GMAT.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.