Joining 66 of the Top 100 MBA programs in the U.S., the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business is making its one- and two-year full-time MBA experiences test-optional this year. The school’s decision, after going through three application deadlines for admission to the fall 2021 class, follows Cornell University’s recent announcement that it will grant waivers to the GMAT and GRE tests.
Mendoza attributed its change of heart to “the global pandemic and its continuing impact on many of MBA applicants,” though it also expects the change to increase its effort to recruit and enroll a more diverse pool of MBA students. With an MBA program ranked just outside the Top 25 at 27th by Poets&Quants, Mendoza would become the 68th school out of the Top 100 to go test-optional or to actively promote a text waiver policy. Now 32 of the Top 50-ranked MBA programs are waiving GMAT and GRE scores for admission.
Mendoza had an early decision deadline of Sept. 15 as well as round one and round two deadlines of Oct. 13th and Jan. 12th, respectively. The school’s next application deadlines are on Feb. 23 and April 6 and starts classes in fall 2021. The business school’s decision is in line with the university’s test-optional policy for undergraduate admissions through the 2022-2023 application cycle. Mendoza’s test-optional policy is in effect for the 2020-2021 MBA admissions cycle, although the school says it will continue to evaluate the situation to consider long-term changes to its test policies.
TEST WAIVERS ALSO AVAILABLE TO CANDIDATES WHO HAVE ALREADY APPLIED FOR ADMISSION
“We are confident that we can evaluate candidates’ future academic and career success and maintain the high admissions standards that the Notre Dame MBA program has always upheld,” said Tim Bohling, chief marketing and graduate enrollment officer at Mendoza, in a statement. “We have always taken a holistic view of assessing a candidate’s ability to succeed in our MBA programs, which includes a demonstrated track record of academic success, intellectual curiosity, career evolution and leadership potential, and alignment with Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business’ larger mission. Standardized test scores are just one factor in this assessment.”
Candidates may request a test waiver once they open an application by submitting a brief 150-word statement of explanation. Those who have already submitted their application can still request a waiver by submitting a statement to the admissions team via email. International students whose native language is not English still must demonstrate proficiency through a Kira assessment and TOEFL or IELTS test.
Bohling emphasized that requesting a waiver will not reduce an applicant’s potential for admission, nor will it limit eligibility for a program fellowship.
EXPECTS WAIVER POLICY WILL ALLOW SCHOOL TO RECRUIT A MORE DIVERSE SLATE OF STUDENTS
In lieu of test scores, the school said it would place greater weight on a candidate’s academic transcripts, personal interviews, writing samples, letters of recommendation and past experiences with the goal of holistically assessing a candidate’s ability to succeed in the program. Three main areas of consideration include academic readiness, career progression and leadership potential, and alignment with the Mendoza College of Business’ mission to grow the good in business by shaping future leaders who are dedicated to personal growth, social responsibility and a moral purpose that benefits society.
While circumstances related to the pandemic were the primary driver of the decision, the school noted that there may be “additional benefits” for the program. “We do consider this as an opportunity to further extend our recruitment efforts for a more diverse student body, which is a priority across all of Notre Dame,” added Mike Mannor, associate dean of the Notre Dame MBA, in a statement. “As we evaluate candidates holistically, we can recruit students who strongly align with the program and the college’s mission as evidenced in their talents, experience and many other strengths that they bring to the table.”