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When career-focused individuals are looking to earn their online MBA, the GMAT is often a point of fear. If you are considering an MBA and hoping to avoid the GMAT, browse our list of online MBA programs that may meet your needs. Maybe you’re wondering what exactly is the GMAT? Do you really need one to pursue your education of choice? Read on to learn why many universities are updating their admissions requirements and offering GMAT waivers or removing the GMAT altogether from their admissions criteria.

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What Is the GMAT?

Since 1953, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has administered the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) to assess business school applicants’ skills. [1] About 250,000 candidates in 115 countries take the exam every year. The GMAT challenges business school candidates to prove their abilities in math (quantitative skills), verbal skills, reasoning, and writing. Educators use the GMAT to level the playing field between recent graduates and experienced executives. Publishers, such as U.S. News & World Report, also use the scores to benchmark university selectivity.

GMAC issues five grades for the test, one for each section, and an overall score. Exam takers can earn an overall score between 200 and 800. The council scores the multiple-choice quantitative (or mathematical) and verbal questions between 0 and 60, and then adjusts results according to difficulty.

On average, GMAT takers score about 550, with two-thirds scoring between 400 and 600. The council reports test results in percentiles, with a near perfect overall score falling in the 99th percentile.

Why Do Schools Offer Waivers and No GMAT Requirements?

More universities are emphasizing undergraduate GPA, letters of intent and recommendation, and an applicant’s resume in place of GMAT requirements. In this situation, the GMAT is waived on a case-by-case basis. Universities also consider waivers based on previously completed graduate or professional degrees and professional work experience.

MBA programs that are designed for experienced professionals typically offer a GMAT waiver or may not require the GMAT at all. It is important to note that GMAT requirements do not necessarily indicate quality. Programs that don’t require the GMAT typically consider applicants based on their academic and work history first, rather than their test taking skills. [2]

A prospective student researches colleges and universities that offer online MBA degrees.

What Are Some of the Top Online MBA Programs Without a GMAT Requirement?

With prospective students’ extensive family and career responsibilities, online learning offers a solution for upwardly mobile professionals and would-be entrepreneurs to help achieve their personal goals. Many U.S. universities offer online MBAs without a GMAT requirement — or offer a waiver for qualified applicants — that will fit your specific needs. Therefore, you’re likely to have several options to choose from if you want to earn your MBA without taking the GMAT. As a future executive or startup maverick, you may find the right fit among the following top universities that offer highly rated, no GMAT, accredited online MBA programs.

Northeastern University Online MBA

Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business is a top-ranked, AACSB-accredited Online MBA program with a reputation for excellence in research, teaching, experiential learning, and innovation. Northeastern University leverages its focus on professional experience — no GRE/GMAT required. Learn More

Ohio University MBA

With four career-focused concentration options, Ohio University’s AACSB-accredited online MBA will help you become the leader you want to be, with no GMAT required. Learn More

Maryville University MBA

Redefine your career in as little as one year in a nationally ranked and regionally accredited online MBA program with no GMAT requirement. With courses rooted in reality and research, Maryville University’s online MBA program is designed to help you redefine your role in today’s business world. Learn More

Norwich University MBA

With no GMAT requirement and six unique concentrations to choose from, Norwich University’s online MBA program allows you to customize your online MBA degree to advance your career immediately. Learn More

What Are Some of the Top Online MBA Programs That Offer GMAT Waivers?

University of Maryland MBA

University of Maryland’s Online MBA is designed to develop highly skilled business managers focused on the future of business. GMAT waiver available. Learn More

Pepperdine University MBA

The Pepperdine University online MBA program is designed for the working professional by being both flexible and experience-driven. This program is nationally ranked, AACSB accredited, and if you hold a STEM degree, you may qualify for a GMAT waiver. Learn More

Rutgers University MBA

Earn an online MBA degree that is nationally ranked and internationally recognized. Rutgers University offers a GMAT waiver to qualified applicants, small class sizes, and close online interactions with faculty and peers. Learn More

Washington State University MBA

Ranked among the “Best Online MBA Programs” in 2017, WSU’s accredited, 100% online MBA can provide working professionals with the skills to grow their careers. Learn More

New Jersey Institute of Technology MBA

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) online MBA stresses innovation and entrepreneurship. NJIT focuses on student success by using a GMAT waiver along with real-world learning and research to prepare online students for the future of business. Learn More

The George Washington University Online Healthcare MBA

Earn an online MBA from one of the top-ranked universities in the country. The George Washington University’s AACSB-accredited online Healthcare MBA program helps professionals build the business skills and leadership expertise needed in today’s healthcare industry. You can request a GMAT waiver if you have more than five years of experience or are a U.S. board-certified physician. Learn More

University of Alabama at Birmingham MBA

UAB’s AACSB-accredited, online MBA program offers four concentrations and a GMAT waiver for qualified applicants. Complete your degree in as few as 2 years. Learn More

Why Do Some Schools Still Require a GMAT?

A large portion of business schools still require the GMAT because they view the test as an indication of an applicant’s abilities and commitment, and use their students’ average score for university rankings. Additionally, business schools tend to publish their average GMAT scores to give prospective students an idea of the rigor of their courses.[3]

Instead of just looking at whether a university requires the GMAT, prospective students should look at the program’s accreditation. Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process that externally reviews the ability of a school to provide the highest quality of programs. A program that is accredited by a recognized accrediting body has been vetted as educating students on material that is most relevant to their field of study as well as effectively preparing them as leaders upon graduation. [4]

Is the GMAT Right for Me?

A high GMAT score merits praise, but the test doesn’t make sense for everyone. [5] Candidates in their early 20s have historically performed better on the test by sacrificing personal time in favor of intense study. Many working adults can’t invest this amount of time in test preparation.

Additionally, if you prepare for the exam while still in college, you may have a scoring advantage. A college student’s schedule can be more flexible, providing more time to study, and you’ll have a higher chance of keeping the test material fresh in your mind thanks to overlaps in coursework. [5] However, GMAT scores expire after five years. Therefore, taking the GMAT in college can be problematic if you’re not in a position to earn the three to five years of work experience required to enter some MBA programs before the scores expire. To help determine if the GMAT is right for you, you may first want to determine your career goals, the schools you’re interested in, and their admission requirements. How the curriculum of each program aligns to your career goals is going to have a larger impact than if you’re required to take the GMAT.

Does a High GMAT Score Pay Off?

Some business schools still require high GMAT scores for acceptance. However, a high GMAT score does not guarantee success in an MBA program or business career. In various studies conducted by GMAC, the GMAT earned a validity score of 0.48 out of 1.00 for predicting grades in the first year of the MBA program. In other words, this score only predicts about half of the actual success of students in their continued business education. [6]

GMAC cautions business school administrators to view the test as only a part of the admissions process, further supporting the fact that the GMAT does not indicate whether a candidate will excel. The test does help gauge performance levels among candidates with little work experience. However, if you have executive experience or plan to launch your own enterprise, the GMAT may not offer value.

As a viable alternative to traditional on-campus learning, no-GMAT online MBAs and online MBAs that offer GMAT waivers have earned a favorable reputation among busy professionals. [7] These programs challenge you with the same demanding coursework presented in classrooms. Additionally, the 24-hour, seven-day availability of online courses may allow you to study at your convenience, depending on the program you select.

What’s the Difference Between the GMAT and GRE?

Some online programs allow MBA candidates to choose between the GMAT and Graduate Record Examination (GRE). [8] Universities vary in which exams they accept, so this factor warrants careful scrutiny. Compared to the GRE, experts consider the GMAT math section more challenging, while the GRE’s complex verbal queries can confuse some non-native English speakers. Otherwise, the tests both require competency in algebra, basic arithmetic, data analysis, geometry, reasoning, and test taking.

Today, more online programs are giving the GMAT and GRE less overall consideration. [9] Some universities don’t require the GMAT or GRE, or waive the requirement for experienced professionals.

MBA Graduates Are Leading the Industries of the Future.

A managerial group of online MBA holders discuss business in an office setting.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 6% growth in managerial job openings from 2014 to 2024, resulting in more than half a million new executive positions. [10] The bureau suggests that the growth will occur due to new enterprise launches and reorganizations among current firms. In 2015, corporate executives earned almost $100,000 in median salaries.

The executive job market has experienced steady, continued growth since the last recession. However, you must still put forth your best effort, as competition for executive positions is intense.

In the past few years, firms have shown a marked interest in hiring executive talent, and upper management candidates have taken notice. As the economy returns to health, MBA degrees are an increasingly valuable commodity.

According to the “2016 Corporate Survey Report,” corporate recruiters frequently turn to business school career centers when seeking fresh executive talent. [11] In fact, 90% of corporate respondents plan to hire recent MBA graduates, and many plan to offer six-figure salaries.

Pursue Your MBA Without Barriers.

An online MBA with no GMAT requirement or one that offers a GMAT waiver can represent more than a smooth admissions process; it’s an investment that can fit your circumstances, align with your goals, and unlock more career opportunity. So if you are a professional returning to school for the first time in years, you may be able to avoid the barriers and earn a quality degree to prepare you for the career you want.

Sources:
[1] GMAT Basics (2017) by Manhattan Review (Online Periodical)
[2] Sidestepping the GMAT (2005) by Bloomberg Businessweek (Online Periodical)
[3] What the GMAT Doesn’t Predict (2012) by Forbes (Online Periodical)
[4] Understanding the AACSB Accreditation (2016) by AACSB International (Article)
[5] Pros and Cons of Taking the GMAT in College (2011) by U.S. News & World Report (Online Periodical)
[6] Executive Education: Predicting Student Success (2007) by GMAC Research Reports (Report)
[7] What’s an Online MBA Worth? (2009) by CBS News (Article)
[8] Which Test Should You Take? GMAT Vs. GRE (2015) by The Economist (Online Periodical)
[9] Top 20 Colleges for Online MBA Without GMAT (2016) by LEAP (Website)
[10] Management Occupations (2015) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Website)
[11] 2016 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report (2016) by R. Estrada-Worthington (Report)
[13] New Jersey Institute of Technology MBA (2017) by New Jersey Institute of Technology
[14] Ohio University MBA (2017) by Ohio University
[15] Pepperdine University MBA (2017) by Pepperdine University
[16] Norwich University MBA (2017) by Norwich University
[17] The George Washington University Online Healthcare MBA (2017) by the George Washington University
[18] Northeastern University Online MBA (2017) by Northeastern University
[19] Washington State University MBA (2017) by Washington State University
[20] University of Maryland MBA (2017) by University of Maryland
[21] Maryville University MBA (2017) by Maryville University
[22] Rutgers University MBA (2017) by Rutgers University
[23] Babson College MBA (2017) by Babson College
[24] University of Scranton Online MBA (2017) by University of Scranton

Context

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