Featured Schools :
Do you need a GMAT for an online MBA?

If you’ve decided to return to school to earn a Master of Business Administration degree, or MBA, then the next logical question might be whether the GMAT is required for admission to the program of your choice.

A Master of Business Administration degree, or MBA, is a postgraduate degree students who have mastered the art of business can achieve. Graduates who have obtained MBAs have studied the theory and application process of business and its management principles. They have gained knowledge which can be applied in a number of real life business scenarios.

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a standardized, computer-based assessment that is used to determine whether a student should be admitted into a post-graduate degree program. More than 1,500 colleges and universities in 83 countries use the GMAT as part of the admissions criteria.

The maximum score that can be earned on the GMAT is 800. It consists of a verbal and quantitative section, and the final score is generated by taking an average score from the two sections. An average score for the GMAT is around 500, with 600 considered a good score and anything over 700 as excellent.

There was a time when the sign of a quality MBA program – whether through a traditional college setting or an online program – was the requirement of passing and submitting GMAT scores as part of the admissions process. Any college or university that did not consider GMAT scores as part of its admissions process was considered inferior. Many “diploma mills” were known for using the “no GMAT necessary” tactic, convincing students that the GMAT test was neither an important criterion nor a necessary step in order to gain admission to their program.

However, times are changing. There are a few top-ranked programs that are leaving the submission of GMAT scores as an optional part of the admissions process, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale and Duquesne. All of those are big-name, quality schools, so students should have no fear in signing up to take an MBA course through them. More and more, colleges and universities are weighing real-world work experience against a GMAT, as professionals who already are in the working world come back to earn their MBAs.

But how do you know if a school that doesn’t require the GMAT is providing a quality program?

The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School no longer requires students to submit only GMAT scores as part of the admissions process. UNC has one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

According to Anna Millar, the Senior Associate Director of Admissions, UNC has begun to accept Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, scores as well as the traditional GMAT. The GRE is a standardized test that evaluates academic abilities, as well as reasoning, analytical and critical-thinking skills.

“It gives us a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison of applicants since not all colleges are equal in their rigor, so it’s just another tool for us when considering admitting applicants into our program,” she said.

Other schools which accept the GRE instead of the GMAT for admission include: Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Dartmouth College and Cornell University, to name a few. A complete listing of schools which will accept the GRE instead of the GMAT can be found on the U.S. News and World Report website.

Programs to avoid are those which require neither GMAT nor GRE scores as part of their admissions process. Those likely are “diploma mill” programs that will not produce the kind of MBA degree that will enhance your resume.