More B-Schools Accepting GRE

Posted by: Alison Damast on December 2, 2010

It’s been well over a year since many top business schools started allowing applicants to submit the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admissions, and the number of schools joining this pool continues to grow, according to a new survey from Kaplan Test Prep released on Dec. 1.

Nearly 40 percent of the 288 business schools admissions officers surveyed by Kaplan said that their program now allows applicants to submit the GRE in place of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), up from 24 percent last year. But the meteoric growth in the number of GRE-friendly business schools could trail off soon. Of the schools that said they currently only allow students to submit the GMAT, 75 percent said they have no plans to consider accepting the GRE.

Currently, there are over 400 full-time MBA programs that accept the GRE, and half of the top 30 programs accept the GRE, including heavyweights like Harvard Business School (Harvard Full-Time MBA Profile), the Wharton School (Wharton Full-Time MBA Profile) and the Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford Full-Time MBA Profile) , according to the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the exam.

The verdict is still out on whether students are better off submitting one test over another, but there does seem to be a preference for the GMAT among some admissions officers, according to the survey. While 65 percent of schools that accept both exams said that students don’t have an advantage in submitting one test over the other, another 32 percent said that applicants who submit a GMAT score are regarded more favorably. Perhaps this is why the vast majority of applicants still tend to submit the GMAT over the GRE when applying to B-school. Of the MBA programs that accept both exams, 69 percent said that fewer than one in ten applicants submitted a GRE score in place of the GMAT in the most recent admission cycle.

“While the GRE is gaining acceptance among business schools, it’s still fairly new to the MBA admissions process and programs are not in a hurry to embrace it due to its lack of history in predicting business school performance,” said Liza Weale, Kaplan’s executive director of pre-business and graduate programs, in a press release. “Additionally, many business schools are satisfied with the GMAT’s predictive ability.”

It will be interesting to follow the battle between the GRE and the GMAT for MBA admissions turf in the coming year or two, especially with the new integrated reasoning section that will be added to the GMAT in 2012 and other major changes that ETS is making to the GRE’s content, design, scoring and format next August.

Readers, do you think you are better off submitting the GRE or the GMAT when applying to business school? Do you believe admissions officers favor one test over the other?

Reader Comments

Raghu Tadepalli

December 2, 2010 5:20 PM

The Babson MBA Program accepts the GRE, but it is optional except in extreme cases where we ask for it. Learn more about Babson's new San Francisco MBA program at:

Lola Sparby

December 9, 2010 9:31 AM

The GRE is very general, the GMAT is very specific. If you want to excel in business, its probably best to take the exam that was specifically designed for that type of study.

Dan Purdy

December 10, 2010 12:44 PM

The Western Washington University MBA Program does not differentiate at all between the GRE and GMAT. We accept them as substitutes for one another and as such we do not favor one over the other in our admissions process. Our philosophy may be very different from other schools in that we look at each person as an individual and don't read too much into a standardized exam. There is much more to us as human beings than can be measured in a 4-hour exam. Learn more at:

Ann Silverthorn, Director

December 13, 2010 3:04 PM

The Penn State iMBA program recently started accepting the GRE in addition to the GMAT. Since the program's marketing literature states that its online MBA curriculum is well suited for people with either business or nonbusiness undergraduate degrees, it didn't make sense to exclude applicants who preferred the GRE. Learn more at

Friedman's Ghost

January 19, 2011 10:54 AM

I would argue that outside the top 20-40 MBA program in the US the GMAT (or GRE for that matter) is completely irrelevant in determining academic success. Indeed at the top programs there is a rigor for which the exams can provide insight. The reality of 80-90% of all the other MBA programs is almost anyone with an undergraduate degree can complete them.

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