Top Full-Time MBA Without GMAT Requirement | Is It Worth Doing MBA without GMAT?

Looking at to do MBA without GMAT? Be it psychological blockade, lack of enthusiasm, or busy life schedule, several candidates look for MBA without GMAT (or GRE) requirement. Though there are many executive MBA (EMBA) and online MBA programs that do not ask for GMAT (or GRE). The number of good and valuable full-time international MBA without GMAT (or can give you GMAT waiver) is quite limited. It is not at all a wise decision to pursue MBA from a mediocre university in abroad just because you do not have a GMAT score. In this post we will look at the top full-time MBA without GMAT requirement, and also few factors that can help you to get GMAT waiver.

Top 15 Full-Time MBA Without GMAT Requirement

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There are several factors you need to consider before applying for MBA in abroad. I personally put more emphasis on course content and value for money (return on investment), rather than just only media rankings. As you can see from the above table, all of these 15 full-time MBA programs perform well in almost all of the vital parameters. More importantly, they are all top quality programs with good return on investment (ROI). Hence we have included them as the best MBA programs without GMAT requirement.

We have ranked (MU Rank) the MBA programs (universities) after taking care of all parameters. We have put more weightage on FT Rank 2016, FT Rank 2015, Post-MBA salary and Value for Money. These programs do ask for mandatory GMAT (or GRE) scores, and are among the best in the world in terms of value for money.  You can get good return on your investment without appearing for GMAT if you broaden your horizon. Of course more US Schools appear in the Top 100 list by FT or Economist. But, European MBA without GMAT requirement can give you a unique experience; whereas an Australian MBA without GMAT requirement can help you to earn higher salaries. Last but not the least, an international MBA program does come with several benefits. Read here top 6 benefits of doing MBA from abroad. Unless and until you do your MBA from few selected Indian institutes (IIMs or ISB), career progression could be a little difficult. As per The Wall Street Journal, Less than 10% of Indian MBA graduates are Employable. So, it’s definitely worth doing an MBA from abroad.

Since the above schools do not require GMAT for MBA, or waive off the GMAT requirement, you need to perform well in other areas. In order to get an admission for a top MBA without GMAT requirement, ideally you will need:

  • Minimum 3 – 6 years of work experience, including 2 years of supervisory or managerial experience
  • Above average GPA in Bachelors: ideally 65 – 75% in Undergraduate studies
  • Well written MBA essays (or Personal Statement) exhibiting strong leadership skills and career goals
  • Good IELTS or TOEFL score
  • Strong recommendations
  • Satisfactory interview performance

However, please be advised that even if you get admission for the MBA program, the chances for scholarship might be affected if you do not appear for GMAT (or GRE).  But again, scholarships also depend on individual cases. If you present a brilliant application, and prove a genuine financial need, you can get substantial scholarship. But, don’t get your hopes too high for full scholarship.

I believe you are now convinced that you can get good return on your investment even if you do an MBA without GMAT requirement. But, you might be wondering if it is really a good idea to skip GMAT. You might feel skeptical about the quality and credibility of the B-School that offers MBA without GMAT requirement. In that case, the rest of the post will be useful for you.

GMAT Score is NOT Everything in your MBA Application

GMAT score is one of the most critical requirements for MBA programs all around the world. GMAT is even more vital if you are looking for highly-ranked campus-based full-time MBA programs. GMAT score indeed carries the maximum weight in your MBA application. But, the GMAT score is not everything while applying to B-Schools. Roughly, your GMAT score carries 22% of the total weight during the MBA application (refer to the table below). Other parameters like career history (work experience), essays, CV, recommendations, Bachelor marks (Undergraduate GPA), interview performance also matter; and they constitute almost 78% of the total weight. So, at the end of the day, it is definitely possible to get MBA admission without GRE score.

No GMAT??? Don’t Worry…… It’s not the end of the world !

In fact, GMAT is not even the Primary Differentiator for majority of Indian applicants !!!

It is true that almost all of the top-ranked B-Schools ask for a GMAT score as one of the mandatory entry requirements. But, there are top-ranked full-time MBA programs (few are mentioned above, and few are mentioned below) that do accept candidates without GMAT scores.

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What is The Rationale Behind Getting Accepted for MBA without GMAT?

GMAT score gives an idea to the B-School admission committee (Adcom) about your sincerity and intellectual capability for pursuing a rigorous MBA program. While evaluating a candidate the Adcom considers the overall profile of a candidate, and not only the GMAT score. International B-Schools look for prospective leaders and managers. So, if you can display your ability and potential through other application components, you do have chances to make it to a good B-School.

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The above table shows the weightage of all the parameters during the MBA application. This data has been taken from a survey carried out by Poets & Quants. The objective of the survey was to assess the weightage of all the important parameters during an MBA application process.

It is like any paper during an examination. There will be few modules (or questions) that are your weak points. You might not even attempt to try that particular question. But, if you answer other sections (or questions) well, you can still pass with flying colors.

Of course it is not possible (or at least way too tough) to get into Top 20 MBA programs without GMAT score. But, if your priority is do a good MBA and get high return on your investment, then you do not necessarily need to attend a Top 20 MBA program. An MBA without GMAT requirement is also good enough to do well in your career.

Why few Top MBA programs accept applicants without GMAT score?

GMAT is Not always a reflection of True Potential

Quite a few people argue that a GMAT score is not always the right indicator of someone’s skills and potential. After all, GMAT is a standardized test. GMAT score cannot always measure someone’s real talent, determination and true potential. If you do not perform well in your Board exam or in any of your semester – that does not mean that you cannot do well in your future career. Similarly, a candidate who hasn’t given GMAT cannot manage a team or run a business.

GMAT Preparation is Time Consuming

MBA without GMAT

It is also possible that a candidate is too busy with his/her current job and can’t afford to take out time for GMAT preparation. Appearing for the GMAT and coming with a decent score can be a tough task for someone working in a senior management position, or working in a startup. There is no point just to give the GMAT for the sake of appearing (and score something like 500). As you can see in the above graph (source: GMAC), it takes serious time and effort to score 700+ in GMAT. As per US News, the top 10 MBA programs require an average GMAT score of 721.

Hence, if you have got the burning desire to move ahead in your corporate journey and take a big leap in your career, do not let the absence of GMAT score to be a significant obstacle. At the same time, do not take admission at any ordinary B-School with no credibility at all. There are ways to get GMAT waiver at top schools, and more importantly there are universities that offer MBA without GMAT requirement.

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Costs & Other Practical Issues

Last but not the least, there are costs involved as well. An MBA program is expensive, and there will be costs involved during the application as well. So, some candidates do face financial constraints while tackling with GMAT. The GMAT exam itself costs around $250. Then the preparatory materials, mock tests and coaching will also add some significant costs (in the range of Rs. 15K – 40K). B-Schools do understand these scenarios, and that is why few top schools do offer MBA without GMAT requirements.

Few other practical issues are – the time off from academics after finishing graduation, and before deciding to do an MBA. Then there will be few candidates who are not too strong in Mathematics. Again these candidates can be potential business leaders. That is why more B-Schools are relaxing the criteria for GMAT waiver and more schools are offering MBA without GMAT score.

Still paranoid if it’s worth doing an MBA without GMAT requirement?

Is it worth attending a B-School in abroad where you can get admission for MBA without GMAT requirement?

First of all, you need to ask yourself why you want to do MBA. Is an MBA worth doing? If your answer is yes. Then you should not worry about doing an MBA without GMAT requirement.

I assume you must be looking for career progression, broaden your knowledge, improve your management skills, sharpen your business acumen, build more diverse and broader network, and develop entrepreneurial skills. You should remember that MBA is not any other academic degree. It is more about practical and real-world issues, rather than just theories.

The real value of an MBA does not depend on media rankings. They depend on your career and personal goals

So, you should look beyond the rankings, especially if you are looking at to get admission for MBA without GMAT score. Rankings do provide a good reflection of the quality of education, credibility of the faculty, placement record, post-MBA salary etc. But, they are after all media rankings. Rankings change every year, and they also vary across different ranking system. Financial Times (FT) and The Economist – two major full-time MBA ranking tables – directly compare the B-Schools across the world. Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek provide separate lists for 1-year and 2-year MBA programs for US and rest of the world. US News & World Report and QS (TopMBA) focus only on the regional rankings. Each and every ranking table has got their own ranking methodology. So, it is very difficult to decide the best business school of the world. But, it is definitely possible to decide the best business school for you. Hence, the real value of MBA does not depend on media rankings, but on your career and personal goals.

Secondly, MBA is expensive. While it might look very tempting to do an MBA from a top ranked US or European B-School. But, it can also cost you a fortune (close to 1 Crore Rupees). If you are not selecting the right school, you might struggle to pay the debt of MBA education from abroad. Hence, it is very important to go attend a good MBA program with value for money.

Other Popular B-Schools Offering MBA Without GMAT Requirement or Offer GMAT Waiver

Here is another list of B-Schools that are not among top 100 in FT or Economist ranking, but they are still very good programs with decent return on investment. Most of the below listed programs do accept candidates for MBA without GMAT requirement. But, few schools have got some particular criteria for waiving off GMAT requirement. For example, Rotman (University of Toronto), ranked 60th in FT Global MBA ranking (2016), can waive off the GMAT requirement if you have cleared CFA III. If you a Masters Degree holder in a Quantitative subject (Engineering or Science), you can get admitted at Rady (University of California at San Diego) for full-time MBA without GMAT score. NC State University and few other schools can waive off the GMAT requirement for MBA admission if you hold MD, PhD, Pharm.D. Few schools can also ask 5 years of mandatory work experience (Waikato) or very high GPA combined with work experience (Suffolk University ask for at least a 3.4 CGPA and 4 or more years of full-time work experience).

  • Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto
  • University of Auckland
  • Australian National University (ANU)
  • Kellstadt Graduate School of Business — DePaul University
  • Commerce College of Business — Texas A&M University
  • Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business – University of Dallas
  • Cameron School of Business – University of St. Thomas
  • Edward S. Ageno School of Business – Golden Gate University
  • Rady School of Management – UC San Diego
  • University of San Diego School of Business Administration
  • Lehigh College of Business and Economics
  • University of Baltimore — Merrick School of Business
  • University of Waikato
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • SolBridge International School of Business
  • University of Otago
  • Auckland University of Technology
  • Lubin Business School – Pace University
  • Sawyer Business School – Suffolk University Boston
  • NC State University Jenkins
  • Middlesex University Dubai
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Few Less Popular US Schools for MBA Without GMAT Requirement

There are some lesser known universities in the USA as well that do not ask for GMAT score for MBA admission. The entry criteria are also less stringent at the following schools. So, if you are looking for MBA without GMAT in USA, and if you don’t have extensive work experience, you can consider the following universities.

  • Concordia University Chicago
  • Hult International Business School (Boston & San Francisco)
  • California Lutheran University
  • City University of Seattle
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • National University, San Diego
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • University of Findlay
  • Fontbonne University
  • Post University
  • Montclair State University
  • INSEEC San Francisco
  • Alliant International University
  • Ashland University
  • Oklahoma City University
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Gannon University
  • University of Mary Hardin Baylor

So, if you are really inspired to pursue MBA from abroad, but haven’t got the bandwidth to prepare and appear for GMAT – don’t loose hope. Of course if you score good in GMAT, that’s well and good. But, there are a good number of top-notch and decent universities that do admit candidates for MBA without GMAT requirement.

If you wish to get your profile evaluated for FREE in order to check your eligibility and chances for getting an MBA without GMAT requirement, get in touch with us today. You can also avail our Premium Services for MBA Admission in order to increase your chances of getting admitted at your dream school. You can reach us at connect@meetuniversity.com / advice@meetuniversity.com, or simply call us on 011 4107 8540.

In case you are a fresher or having less than 2 years of work experience, you will like the following two articles:

References: Financial Times (FT), The Economist, MBA Crystal Ball, Poets & Quants, MetroMBA, BusinessWeek, QS TopMBA, BusinessBecause, Forbes, Eduniversal.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Milind Singh (Grenoble Business School Alumnus) for providing vital inputs, performing the MU ranking of the Top 15 MBA programs, and proof-reading the draft.