Applying for a degree, be it undergraduate or graduate is challenging. Thousands of students take the GMAT every year to get closer to their dream. It is essential for business and management majors seeking students. However, there are some doubts and confusion about the exam. Once you know what you want, it is time to see the college requirements. How important is GMAT for admission to the MBA? Is it compulsory? Is it difficult? How do colleges compare my scores with those of other students?
These and other questions are constant and hard to answer as there are no criteria to treat the exam.
How Important Is Your GMAT Score?
The short answer is pretty damn important. The GMAT is kind of like the “first impression” the admissions committee gets of you before reading your essays, resume, etc. And you know what they say about first impressions there can only be one.
Sure, a low GMAT score can be explained with an essay because almost anything can be fixed with a great essay. But, the GMAT is way more important than your undergrad GPA. It really shows the adcom that you’ve got what it takes to handle the workload coming your way in B-school. That you’ve got the chops to take on all that quant work, etc.
So if you are serious about your goals and about business being your future study sphere, GMAT is your exam to take and retake if necessary. The importance of the GMAT is noticeable as it makes you a competitive candidate. Just for you to make an idea a Harvard 2+2 application suggests that you include a GMAT score over 740 to be considered among possible candidates. Here is how important the GMAT is for MBA.
Comparing GMAT Scores
When B-schools are looking to admit new students, they try to compare candidates to one another to determine who’s the best fit for their program. Here it comes to the integrated reasoning of GMAT’s importance. Now, just because two candidates are coming in with undergrad business degrees and three years of business experience doesn’t mean that you can compare them directly to get a good sense of how they match up. Undergraduate degrees are not created equal. Top US MBA programs seek for exceptional critical thinking future specialists (a BA from Harvard and a BA from Hicksville College are not the same things), and even comparing two different people’s “business” experiences can be tricky, depending on what kind of business they were in and what amount and type of leadership experience they gained.
GMAT The Great Equalizer
So, what else can an adcom look at to try and compare candidates “side-by-side?” The simple answer is the GMAT. The GMAT is the equalizer, a single test that every MBA or MD/MBA applicant can prepare for and take, making it the “fairest” way to take Candidate A and compare him to Candidate B. Top MD MBA programs do not always require the GMAT. You should consult each institution while applying. GMAT is generally asked for Business degrees. For dual medical and business degrees, you may be asked for a non-compulsory GMAT score (optional, if you want to add it to your application) or an MCAT, which is more specific for dual MD/MBA graduate degree applications.
Now, is the GMAT a perfect way of showing how much you know about management? Of course not. Some (like the guys over there trying to get you to take the GRE) might even say it doesn’t prove anything about someone’s ability to manage. But it doesn’t matter at the end of the day, if you want to get into business school, be it in the United States or Europe you should take the GMAT. Top MBA programs in Europe have similar requirements among others. European universities ask for 3 years of full-time experience, a Bachelor’s degree, English language proficiency certificate, and one of the following aptitude tests:
- Admissions test
Taking into account that you are making a serious investment applying for an MBA degree, why not make that investment in having a high score on GMAT. Get ready seriously for this exam and retake it if necessary.
What Does That Mean For You?
Well, if you’ve already taken it and are finding that your score doesn’t measure up to the schools you’d like to apply to, do some test prep (study guides, practice tests, formal prep classes) and retake it. Don’t let one bad day of test-taking limit your chances of getting into the best B-school you can. You can retake GMAT 5 times per year, but, what is curious, you cannot exceed the limit of 8 times in your lifetime. We know tons of people who have taken the test 2, 3 even 6 times! So give yourself another shot to do better. Besides all that extra time lost to studying (again), you have nothing to lose.
And if you don’t have time to re-take it? Should you forge ahead anyway and apply to a school if your GMAT is lower than their minimum or average? Of course. The GMAT isn’t the end-all, be-all, friends. If there are other parts of your app that are fantastic (great work experience, compelling essays, amazing recommendations, etc.) that will make the adcom forget about that GMAT score for a minute, well, that can be a very good thing. You may also try to find out about some money-saving objectives like is MBA tuition tax-deductible or have there been any changes in these types of laws recently.
All in all, making decisions about graduate studies is complicated and challenging; among other issues (economic, personal, social), you are under the pressure of required documents and exams. GMAT is the universal graduate test admitted in nearly all MBA offering universities. If you score high in this exam, you are likely to become a possible candidate for top MBA programs. If not, do not give up. You can retake the exam and, if not, focus on a great essay.
Do not hesitate to overcome these threats they will make you stronger and better.