The GMAT score is a significant component of an MBA application. While the essays, the letters of recommendations, statement of purpose, interviews, and work experience, create a notion of the quality of the application, the GMAT score offers a far more objective peek at an applicant’s capabilities. It is a score based on a uniform and standardized test, after all.
However, it is also famously known that the weight of the GMAT score, just like any other application parameter, is considered on a case-by-case basis.While many b-schools accept GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores (Read Top Business Schools accepting GRE Scores), there are still others that offer admissions to applicants with a low GMAT score.
Some well-recognized business schools like Warwick, Rotterdam, ESMT, and more, have been known to look beyond the numbers and take in candidates who didn’t give a stellar GMAT performance (Read Colleges accepting low GMAT scores).
What is also inspiring are the number of low GMAT success stories, giving hope to the applicants who don’t seem to be able to share the high-score limelight with the over 750s.
Also read Average GMAT Scores in the Top MBA Programs.
So, if the selection is subjective,are there cases when a GMAT can be ignored altogether? Do all business schools require your sleepless sacrifice? And can you request the b-school to forego the GMAT requirement from your application?
To sum up, is GMAT Waiver a thing and if it is, how does it work?
All about GMAT Waiver for MBA Applications
GMAT Waiver – What is it?
Besides the MBA programs that don’t allow poor GMAT scores to get in the way of a good application, there are still others that allow either of the following get-away-from-GMAT free cards.
- Schools that require a GMAT for admission but can consider a request for a GMAT waiver under special circumstances.
- Schools, or particular MBA Programs, that don’t require a GMAT for admission.
For the present article, we will focus on (A) GMAT Waivers. It presents an opportunity for certain qualifying applicants to request a waiver on a GMAT score, required for admission. Since this exception allows a special privilege not afforded to the others, the request for a GMAT waiver, from an admissions office, needs to be compensated for by other redeeming qualities in the applicant.
If you are requesting a waiver, your letter should emphasize at least one of the following, if not more, by way of making your case (each business school has its own criteria).
- Work Experience: The experience should not just be substantial, preferably more than the suggested eligibility for the application, but also strongly representative of your development along your career path. The admissions office needs to be able to infer your abilities from your growing contributions, at your workplace. Having the same job role, or too many job changes, can reflect badly on your initiative, and motivation to take on responsibilities.
- Leadership:It is one thing to have work experience, and quite an impressive another to have work experience which reflects your qualities as a good leader, taking on challenges, for yourself and your team, over and above the call of duty. It is essential to back up your remarkable efforts with recommendations from senior management as well as your colleagues who have witnessed your professional integrity and leadership skills in the face of problems.
- Problem Solving Skills:GMAT tests are designed to show a level of comfort at comprehending problems and arriving at optimum resolutions. The AWA, IR, and especially the quantitative sections test the takers on performance under constrained situations. If you are opting to do away with GMAT, it would behove you to showcase your problem-solving skills through successful instances at work, or otherwise.
- Academic Record: An applicant credibility shoots up with a good academic record, advanced degrees, or certifications, that represent your learning abilities. A quantitative background is almost always required.
Needless to say, besides the above silver linings, it is essential to have a solid MBA application essay. You should have a clear comprehension of your motivation, for an MBA, and what you would like to do with it in the future. In all, if a GMAT waiver is being requested, the rest of your application should be able to more than sell your position as a desirable candidate, nevertheless.
MBA Programs that allow a GMAT Waiver
We will list some of the popular MBA programs that allow a GMAT concession, in the table below. However, the best route possible, for you, is to research the programs you may be interested in and, if possible, ask the admissions office for an initial clarification on the issue. Remember, all GMAT waivers need to be requested. They are not generally automatic.
|MBA Program||Location||GMAT Waiver (Subject to Approval)|
– MBA for Professionals (Bi-weekly Part-Time)
|Hong Kong||Can be waived with Full Time Work Experience > 7 years
|MIT Sloan Executive MBA (EMBA)||USA||Can be waived if academic records reflect sufficient quantitative background|
|University of Texas Austin – McCombs EMBA||USA||GMAT/GRE can be waived for candidates with work experience > 15 years, or candidates with Advanced Degree (preferably terminal)|
|University of Cambridge Judge EMBA||UK||GMAT can be waived for candidates with sufficient work experience and academic achievements|
|USC Marshall Online MBA||USA||GMAT can be waived. Contact enrolment counsellor|
|University of Oxford – Said EMBA||UK||GMAT can be waived with work experience > 10 years|
|UCLA Anderson EMBA||USA||Can be waived with an advanced degree in a quantitative area and/or extensive experience in a quantitative field|
|UNC Kenan Flagler EMBA||USA||GMAT can be waived for candidates with
-Qualified CPA or CFA
-Technical MS or PhD
-Significant work experience
|University of Toronto – Rotman Full Time & Part Time MBA||Canada||GMAT can be waived for candidates with CFA level 3 standing|
|Emory Goizueta Business School Weekend & Modular MBA for Executives||USA||GMAT can be waived for candidates with a strong quantitative background (academic work, current work responsibilities, etc)|
|University of St.Gallen MBA||Switzerland||GMAT/GRE waivers may be offered to CPA/CFA level 2, or PhD holders with a strong quantitative and English knowledge|
|DePaul University, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business Full Time, Part Time & Weekend MBA||USA||GMAT can be waived for candidates with
-an MD, PhD, or JD, with a strong quantitative background
-work experience > 5 years with management & quantitative skills
-LSAT > 160
-DePaul undergrads with GPA > 3.2 applying to Part Time MBA
|Pace University, Lubin School of Business, Full & Part Time MBA||USA||GMAT can be waived for candidates who
-have a cumulative undergraduate GPA > 3.5 with an US undergraduate degree
|Rutgers Business School, Full Time, Part Time & EMBA||USA||GMAT waivers are available upon request|
|University of Delaware, Lerner College of Business, Full & Part Time MBA||USA||GMAT/GRE can be waived for candidates with work experience> 4 years, or candidates with a Terminal Degree|
|Drexel University, LeBow College of Business Part Time, Online or EMBA||USA||GMAT can be waived for candidates with
-minimum GPA for waiver consideration
-substantial work experience with managerial experience
-substantial career progression
-strong quantitative skills
|Temple University, Fox School of Business Part Time& EMBA||USA||GMAT can be waived for candidates with
-managerial level work experience
-undergrad degree from an AACSB accredited university
-minimum 7 years of work experience with > 3.0 GPA
EMBA GMAT waivers are evaluated on a case-by-case basis
Certain MBA programs,for instance the Columbia Business School EMBA, INSEAD GEMBA, SDA Bocconi GEMBA, Warwick MBA, Chicago Booth MBA, and Manchester Business School MBA,allow their own standardized tests instead of a GMAT or GRE.
Most Full Time MBA programs don’t allow a GMAT concession. Certain part time, or Executive programs, do make it possible to cruise through the admission process without a GMAT. For more MBA programs that fall in the (B) category mentioned above, follow this link on MBA without GMAT requirement in USA, Europe and India.
Sample Letter Format for Requesting a GMAT Waiver
Each school will have their own timelines of when to send in the GMAT waiver request. It is best to follow their lead. Waivers are requested by writing a letter to the admissions committee, unless specified otherwise. It is also advisable to correspond with them well in advance in the event it takes some time for them to approve your special request.
Your GMAT Waiver Request Letter needs to follow the usual formalities associated with any business correspondence, unless otherwise specified by the school. The address line, date, subject, and salutations, should follow similar formats like the other admission related formal letters (Letter of Intent vs Statement of Purpose vs Personal Statement).
For the content itself, you have to ensure that you give a reasonable explanation of why your background has prepared you enough to not have to appear for a GMAT test. Schools generally have a clear criterion to be considered for the extra privilege. So, stick to the essentials and stay away from bragging, or sounding too good to be true.
Here’s a sample, and quite fantastically fictional, GMAT waiver letter from a candidate with an MS in a quantitative field and work experience to lay strength to his claims.
What is the difference between GMAT Waiver and GMAT Fee Waiver?
To draw this epic GMAT waiver saga to a close, let’s touch upon one subtle semantic difference that has the potential to confuse a few – GMAT Waiver vs GMAT Fee Waiver.
They are not the same concession.
While the former relieves the applicant from the pressures of taking the GMAT test, the latter is associated with reducing the costs of a GMAT exam. GMAC doesn’t offer GMAT fee waivers directly to the applicants. Instead, it provides up to 10 fee waivers to each business school which sends in a request. GMAC sends a coupon code to the school, and the school uses its discretion to bestow,said code, upon a requesting applicant in need.
So, if you want to take the $250 cost out of your financial planning for your MBA application, then frame your fee waiver letter well in the initial months of application. Once the school gets the waiver approved from a senior official, you will receive the code enabling you to register for a GMAT exam for free.
And they lived happily ever after…
So, we conclude the saga of GMAT waivers. Clearly, there’s far more to the information we barely glanced upon given the fact that there are thousands, if not more, business schools with a thousand some policies. Gladly though, you are not going to need to know all but just the slim few who fit your MBA objective. Research your share and may your GMAT waiver truly end in a fairy tale…