MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Kellogg | Mr. Social Impact Initiative
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4

GMAT Or GRE: What’s An MBA Applicant To Do?

GMAT or GRE: What’s an MBA Applicant to do?

When you decide to pursue an MBA degree, you are also deciding to prepare for and take a standardized test (GMAT or GRE). This may be your first test in some time. Combine this with performance pressure and the high expectations from yourself and others and you have a recipe for anxiety.

Years ago, business schools started accepting the GRE in addition to the longtime business school standard test, the GMAT. While this optionality can be positive, having a choice can also lead to additional questions and/or anxiety.

So what is an MBA applicant to do?

Goizueta Business School and the vast majority of business schools accept both the GMAT test and GRE test and have no preference for which test you submit. You may wonder if that is just what schools say while something else goes on behind closed doors. My experience at two, top-20 ranked business schools and conversations with many colleagues at other schools says that is not true. It really does not matter to MBA admissions directors which test you take. Business schools do not have a GMAT or GRE preference and consider your test performance along with other materials such as transcripts to assess if you will be successful in the classroom.

Every school is looking for academically well-rounded students, but success in an MBA program also requires a level of quantitative skill not all undergraduate majors or disciplines require. Standardized tests provide a way for schools to collect information about your academic readiness, especially in the quantitative area. Of course, a significantly low verbal score will also raise a flag to an MBA admissions committee.

Again, well-rounded, academic readiness is what we are looking for.

Since schools do not have a GMAT or GRE preference, it is in your best interest to take the test on which you will perform best. A quick Google search will yield tips on figuring out which test suits you.

If you aren’t sure if an MBA degree or a different type of graduate program is right for you, the GRE might be a better bet. It is accepted at a wider variety of graduate programs. If you know an MBA program is in your future and you have a group of friends or co-workers also planning to apply, you might lean toward the GMAT and leverage group study and/or tutoring each other to stay accountable and improve your performance.

Whether you choose the GMAT or GRE, take some time to get acquainted with the test. Plan to study on your own and consider some kind of test prep or tutoring. Practice tests are helpful to get a feel for the questions and style, but do not be surprised if your score varies from how you do on the practice exams. And don’t let a low score derail you. If you believe you can do better, prepare some more and take it again.

Business schools love perseverance.

If you sit for the GMAT or GRE a few times and don’t see improvement, you may need to accept your score and focus on the other application materials. My advice to someone with a low score is to be so strong in the other aspects of the application that I forget the low score. Remember, it is a holistic process. I’ve denied perfect scores and admitted sub-600 scores. No matter your GMAT or GRE score, the rest of your MBA application is just as important.


Emory Goizeueta Business School

Melissa Rapp is the Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In this role, she leads the team responsible for the recruitment, evaluation, and matriculation of students across Goizueta’s portfolio of MBA programs. Melissa has worked at both small and large institutions helping to form and implement admissions strategies. Most recently, she was Director of Admissions for Full-Time MBA and MSMS programs at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and a masters from Baker University.