Online MBA Programs without a GMAT Requirement

Graduate school applicants in all fields face the daunting task of taking and passing a graduate level admission test, and is also true for the many in the business management field who aspire to further their education beyond a bachelor’s. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the usual examination required for entry into an online MBA program. However, schools are increasingly waiving this requirement for reasons that we will discuss below. Let’s first take a look at the GMAT and the challenges it presents.

The GMAT is used as an entrance examination for a large number of graduate business colleges internationally. It measures the test taker’s analytical, problem solving, quantitative, and verbal abilities that are considered integral to potential success in business management programs. The GMAT is a standardized test, which is timed and allows test-takers approximately two minutes to complete each question. Since test-takers are penalized for leaving answers blank and are often presented with more than one similar answer in the choices, the GMAT encourages guesswork, which may not be representative of ability. Furthermore, test takers who are able to spend time and money on preparatory courses tend to do better on the exam than those who cannot adequately prepare. For these reasons, it may be attractive to some potential online MBA students to seek out programs that waive the GMAT requirement.

Why are more business schools waiving the GMAT? Colleges offering the MBA have recognized that there are strong indicators of graduate school success aside from standardized test scores, so this shift has are some of the additional indicators that colleges, especially online programs, have found predict success in MBA programs.

  • Success in undergraduate programs: A graduating GPA of 3.0 or higher is an indicator of probable success in graduate school.
  • Undergraduate grade point average (GPA): The top MBA programs require a 3.50 GPA for a GMAT waiver.
  • Work experience: Many schools waive the GMAT requirement for management professionals with two or more years of documentable work experience.
  • A previous graduate degree: If an applicant already has a graduate degree in another major, the GMAT is often waived.
  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test scores: GRE scores are generally accepted in place of GMAT scores.
  • AACSB graduates: A recent graduate of an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredited program may be accepted without having to take the GMAT.
  • Possession of certain licenses: Those who are credentialed with a CPA, CFA, CMA or have been admitted to the bar may be able to have the GMAT waived.

Non-GMAT online MBA programs may include or rely more heavily on the following elements:

  • The regional accreditation of the institution granting the bachelor’s degree.
  • Documented professional experience of two to 15 years.
  • A resume listing experience and accomplishments.
  • At least three letters of recommendation from professionals or academics familiar with the applicant’s achievements.
  • A statement of professional goals that relates to the MBA program.
  • Essays on solutions to business problems.
  • Records of all undergraduate, certificate and other formal training received.

The good news? More and more online MBA programs are waiving the GMAT requirement, so if you meet one or more of the alternative requirements, you may be able to be accepted into business school without having to take the GMAT.