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Battle of the G’s: GMAT vs. GRE in Business School Admissions
Back in the days of yore (i.e. a few years ago), business schools loved filling their student bodies with the likes of this guy: lots of work experience, a proven interest in finance (or consulting), and a very specific understanding of how an MBA fit into future career goals. It was a natural choice, and those students tended to thrive in the business school environment. But these days, a class of exclusively "traditional" MBA students is no longer a viable option. Business schools need to diversify to meet the demands of a Recession-laden world in which finance and consulting are no longer king. As Carolyn C. Wise pointed out in her post on how business schools are struggling to create a new image, "Because jobs are scarce in traditional MBA career paths (i.e., finance and consulting), business schools want students who are going to enter other, nontraditional MBA career paths."
One of the ways that they’ve decided to attract these new, nontraditional students is simple: accept GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores. MIT Sloan, Yale SOM, UVA Darden, Wharton, and Stanford are just a sampling of top schools that have made the move, and the list is rapidly expanding, including schools from all regions of the United States and all levels of prestige. The question, given the existence of the option, is obvious: should you take them up on their offer? If you’re planning on applying to business school, should you take the GRE or the GMAT? What about if you’re planning on applying to both business school and a different type of graduate program? What about if you’ve already taken the GRE? Should you take the GMAT in addition? Well, let’s examine:
Level of difficulty
Between the lines
Keep in mind that not all schools will accept a GRE score. Research your choices before deciding which test to take, just in case your dream school only takes the GMAT. And if it does, look on the bright side: your decision has been made for you. In the end, I would advise you to let convenience be your guide. If you want to keep your options open or have already taken the GRE, one of the only reasons to choose the GMAT instead is that you really want to signal yourself as a traditional applicant. And, to be honest, if you are seriously considering taking the GRE, chances are you’re not totally a finance and/or consulting type in the first place. Representing yourself as such will only be counter-productive in the admissions process. On the other hand, if you are positive you want to go to business school, and you do have the extra $90 to spare, then go ahead and take the GMAT, all else being equal. In short, consider your options but don’t worry too much about the repercussions of your decision, because, let’s face it, this is only one part of the super fun application process that awaits you.
--Written by Madison Priest
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