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MBA Programs With No GMAT or GRE: Do Employers Care?

Imagine this scenario ...

You’re sitting in front of the big boss or you’re parked right in front of the desk of a prospective employer.

They lean over and say to you, “So, instead of telling us about yourself, your experience and why you’re the best person for the job to help move our organization forward, we want to know something else. We want you to give us the play-by-play on your GMAT or GRE score. Now, don’t spare any details. Include why you chose the GMAT or why you chose the GRE exam. Then tell us where you rank both nationally and against your peers. Now, go!”

As if! Clearly, this would never, ever happen.


Because employers:

(a) have no clue that you even have a GMAT or GRE score---unless they have MBAs and were required to take the exam themselves;

(b) find it cringe-worthy when you talk about your high/low scores because it’s irrelevant/boring/bragging/fill in the blank;

(c) they’re more interested in your ability to think critically and problem solve within their organizational structure and a global marketplace; or

(d) all of the above.

The answer, of course, is (d) all of the above.

But let’s take a closer look at the who, what and why (or why not) of GMAT and GRE exams.

Test As Measurement

Like all tests, the GRE and GMAT provide a measurement of something. Simply put, they are tools. Nothing more. Nothing less.

These four-hour exams were never meant to gauge your tenacity, innovation or ability to apply in-class learning to the real world of business, however.

Which is why most admissions counselors do not rely solely on the GRE or GMAT score. For them, GRE and GMAT scores are just one small part of a whole sum of a student application.

Perhaps it’s time that GRE and GMAT test scores found their rightful place as mere measurement tools instead versus something to be wielded to keep you from pursuing your MBA dreams.

Best MBA Programs

Top-ranked MBA programs like Franklin University’s are designed to extend your thinking and skills outside of your current level of professional experience and formal education---and far beyond what either the GRE or GMAT can measure.

The best programs may or may not require GRE or GMAT (ours does not under certain conditions). The key is to enroll in a program that helps you grow in leadership influence in an ever-changing, increasingly global marketplace.

The goal of an MBA, after all, is to gain a management perspective of each functional area from finance to marketing, as well as build an important and global network of peers.

What Employers Are Looking For

Okay, so even if your college or university does not require the GRE or GMAT for enrollment in the MBA program, what about employers? How do they really feel about an MBA minus the test score?

Search any job or career opportunity and networking web site, such as Indeed, Monster or LinkedIn using the words “MBA required” and the results speak for themselves: CEO, Financial Analyst, Management Consultant, Marketing VP and more.

Nowhere do most (perhaps all?) of these job openings mention the GRE or GMAT exam.

The truth is, quality employers are looking for quality leaders. The MBA, not the GRE or GMAT exam score, is the measurement used to find them.

And, find them they will.

Good thing, too. Because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in the 10-year period between 2012 and 2022, there will be an estimated 5.5 million jobs available for people with business administration degrees.

That is a solid double-digit, 15% increase in business administration jobs.

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GRE & GMAT Not Required?

Those job numbers are very encouraging.

But let’s step back for a second and pretend that the GRE or GMAT is required, and that it does matter to employers.

Which test should you prepare for and take? Which one will your employer prefer? Will your next employer want different test results?

Honestly, it’s hard to say. While the GMAT has been the gold standard for many years now, the GRE is on track to potentially outpace the GMAT for MBA candidates.

One reason is that the GRE costs less.

But even with increased acceptance of the GRE, many online business schools, colleges and universities either require the GMAT or waive the requirement.

Does that mean the GRE is a waste of time?

It’s best to talk with an enrollment advisor to determine which, if any, of the exams you’ll need to take. Or, if you enroll at a university like Franklin that offers tuition credits, your years of professional work experience combined with your bachelor’s degree and GPA would be sufficient for admission into the MBA program of choice.

Why Employers Don’t Care

So that brings us full circle and back to the original question of whether or not employers care whether or not employers care whether or not your MBA program required the GRE or GMAT.

Honestly? It’s pretty safe to say that the majority do not care.

If an employer is looking at the MBA credential (as many are), their primary concern is not that you have an MBA with or without a GMAT or GRE score, but only that you’ve earned an MBA from a top-ranked program globally recognized for excellence.

For employers, it is far more important that you receive a broadening education while acquiring such in-demand skills as:

  • Ensuring strategic alignment
  • Anticipating changing business needs
  • Establishing a culture of innovation
  • Differentiating market position

Whether or not you took a $200 test? Not really all that important.

Learn more about Franklin’s no GMAT, no GRE admissions policy.

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