(Today’s MBAnalysis blog post is guest-written by Donna Bauman)
Ahh… the great debate- GMAT vs GRE. Which test do you take if you are applying to MBA programs?
This is a fairly recent dilemma as it has just been in the past five or so years when most MBA programs started to accept GRE scores in addition to the GMAT. The reasoning for the schools is that it is a great way to attract candidates who had taken the GRE for other graduate programs but now had decided to apply to business school instead of or in addition to other MBA programs.
The advantage for the candidate is clear. If you bomb the GMAT, the GRE is always waiting in the wings as the back-up plan. It is not that the GRE is necessarily easier than the GMAT but it is a different test that may be a better fit for you.
But old habits die hard and it is difficult for applicants to really believe that MBA programs will consider both exams equally in the application process.
Susan Cera, Director of MBA Admissions for Stratus Admissions Counseling and a former member of Fuqua’s admissions team, mentions that several of her clients “felt obligated to take the GMAT despite the fact that they struggled with the test format.” She advises clients, “Don’t worry. Admissions committees truly don’t care which test you take. They simply want to ensure that students they admit and enroll are prepared to take on the quantitative rigor of their MBA program.”
So what’s right for you?
Take a test drive.
If you have misgivings about your test taking abilities try practice tests for each first. At that point, the answer may be obvious; whichever test will paint a better picture of your quantitative and verbal prowess that should be your choice.
If you don’t test well.
Another advantage for the GRE is that in the business school ranking process it isn’t scrutinized as much. A core driver of business school rankings is GMAT average, so if your score is really low, the entire class’s average is dragged down. However, this is not true with GRE rankings. While considered in the rankings, it is considered far less. In other words, if you need to hide a bad test score, the GRE will do that for you.
GMAT and Jobs.
What has become more common in the recruiting process is for potential employers to ask applicant’s for their GMAT score. While they will accept GRE scores, it is not what they are used to and it may affect how they think of you.
Better is Best.
After being an admissions officer myself, and knowing many, I would rather see a strong GRE score than a lower GMAT score. It is that simple and maybe that’s the answer to the question GMAT or GRE.