As more full-time MBA program go test optional in the age of COVID, a similar pattern is emerging in part-time and evening programs for professionals. While acceptance rates for part-time MBA options have always been considerably higher than they are for full-time programs, most of the top-tier evening or weekend options have long required a standardized test score for admission.
No longer. A Poets&Quants analysis shows that 39 of the top 50 part-time MBA programs in the U.S. are now offering GMAT and GRE waivers. In the full-time residential MBA market, an earlier analysis by Poets&Quants found that some 65 of the top 100 have now gone fully test-optional or are actively promoting test waiver policies.
As the pandemic caused test centers to close and required more applicants to take the exams at home, more schools are showing greater flexibility for candidates. Some have gone completely tests optional. Others are setting explicit requirements for gaining a test waiver, most notably through minimum undergraduate GPAs and years of full-time professional work experience.
EVEN SCHOOLS WITHOUT PUBLIC WAIVER POLICIES ARE GRANTING SOME WAIVERS IN THEIR PART-TIME PROGRAMS
Even some schools that are not actively promoting test waiver policies are allowing at least some applicants without standardized tests into their part-time programs. At UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where the part-time MBA is ranked second best behind Chicago Booth, 75% of the enrolled students submitted GMAT scores and 17% used the GRE to gain admission. Translation: 8% of the 279 part-time MBA students were admitted without a test.
In most cases, business schools are setting specific hurdles for applicants to gain waivers: A minimum GPA during their undergraduate studies, a number of years of professional work experience, another graduate degree already earned, or a professional credential, such as a CPA or CFA, to give admissions assurances that the quant work in the MBA program can be successfully completed.
The requirements for a waiver can vary greatly. At Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, admissions provides would-be applicants with a checklist for waivers. To earn a waiver in the school’s Professional MBA program, candidates must meet one of four criteria: You could get a pass on a test if you have 12 or more years of professional work experience, or eight years of experience with a 3.25 GPA during your undergraduate studies, or two or more years of experience with a 3.5 GPA, or finally an advanced degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA.
Several schools require a boot camp experience for students admitted without a GMAT or GRE. At UC Davis’ Graduate School of Management, students admitted and enrolled with a GMAT/GRE waiver must attend and complete a “Math Camp” offered by the school. At Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, candidates admitted without a standardized test are required to successfully complete the Tepper’s “Calculus Fundamentals” course to complete their admission to the program.
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