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GMAT Waiver for MBA Application

GMAT Waiver for MBA ApplicationThe 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 (Does a 760 GMAT score guarantee admission?).

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.

  1. Schools that require a GMAT for admission but can consider a request for a GMAT waiver under special circumstances.
  2. 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

-Terminal Degree

-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

-CPA/PE qualification

-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

-Terminal Degrees

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.

Attn: Admissions Committee

Gotham University
(Insert State) – 123456
1st January 2020

Subject: GMAT Waiver Request for Application to the Full Time MBA Program
Dear Sir or Madam,

(1st Paragraph: Introduce your case without getting into too many details)

I am writing this letter to formally request you to waive the GMAT exam for my application to the Full Time MBA program. My past professional, and academic background, have prepared me with the required skills essential to be considered for a waiver.
(2nd Paragraph: Elaborate your academic and professional achievements pertaining to the criteria the school wants you to satisfy in order to receive a waiver)

I have a Masters in Economics from XYZ (accredited of course) University with a GPA of 3.5/4.0. After graduating in 2010, and having interned at ABC company for two months during my graduate years, I joined EFG Corp. as a Financial Risk Analyst. My responsibilities, in the role, involved (Insert your duties with measured restraint. You don’t want to sound too congratulatory). After 2 years, I qualified the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) certification. I was soon promoted to become my division’s Risk Manager, managing a team of ten.
(3rd Paragraph: Provide proof of your achievements. Share the challenges you faced and how your super quantitative skills saved the day)
(4th Paragraph: Appreciate the Adcom for their time and gently request them to weigh your accomplishments against the requirement of a GMAT exam and consider the worthiness of your background for an exemption).
With Regards,
Lex Luthor




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…

Good Luck!

Also read Top universities that allow GRE waiver and TOEFL IELTS Waiver for the top universities abroad

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5 thoughts on “GMAT Waiver for MBA Application”

  1. Hi Sameer,

    I am 39 years of age and having 14 Years of experience in IT. I am working in SAP functional and playing Associate Manager role in Accenture for last 4 years. I want to do one year MBA because I want more acceptance of my profile after the MBA ( I want to be in Supply chain Management/Product Management /IT operations). Because currently the IT market for mid level managers are not secure , so I want to go for MBA to give more stability and job security for my carrier. Please correct me if I am wrong in my understanding and help me before I decide and start preparing for GMAT.

  2. Hi Sameer Sir,

    B.Tech(EE)-8.8 CGPA, 2012

    Work Experience:- 5 Y 6M in L&T(Operations & Management)

    Due to busy & loaded working schedules, I have been facing serious issues in preparation for GMAT/CAT since last 1 year. As I am keen to enhance my skill sets in operations , I am planning to quit job and prepare for GMAT/CAT/XAT. kindly suggest suitably whether quitting job will be a wise decision.

    • From: Hitesh Kumar Sharma
      To: Joanne Boylan
      Dear Ms. Joanne

      I am writing this letter for requesting a waiver for the GMAT examination requirement for admission to the Ph.D. program in Economics at “”.I realized that the Ph.D. program is a highly competitive program and that scores from the GMAT are used as one facet of an applicant’s application to aid in admissions decisions. Nevertheless, I believe that I did learn GMAT by myself already. I am confident that I have already possessed all the qualities for which GMAT qualifies the candidate. Indeed GMAT measures the applicant based on the following section:
      1. Verbal
      I have around more than 11 years of experience in Technology Sector. Being the Technical Lead in Technology sector, my medium of communication is English only. Moreover, my responsibilities allow me to project the demos to Global clients like Delphi, Goodrich, etc. I visited USA to meet the Global customers and project the product developed at offshore (HCL technology).Answer the queries, listen to the problems & respond item experience has taught me how to interact with clients using strong technical & interpersonal skills. I also engaged in training sessions, presentations, group meetings, performance appraisals, one-on-one discussions, interviews. My language skills, cultural understanding & technical expertise has helped the company to achieve its targets, Apart from my academics my professional experience have cultivated a lot of who I am. Leading the team, I also listen to the issues of the team. If the issues are genuine then put forward to management. Example:
      • I have given several pieces of training to the clients & internal teams. Before giving any training primary step I do self-inquiry, brainstorming and then develop the training material to demonstrate with effective verbal communication words to convey a message eloquently and concisely. To get a message across, I ensure the receiver correctly interprets the words. By successfully delivering a message, the team describes ideas, thoughts, and directives that allow colleagues to work better together. After the end of each session, I seek feedback on how the message was received.

      • Besides this, I also have the acute interest to teach English to young learners, effective business communication for the Business crowd. To achieve this I qualified all the following grades of TESOL :


      2. Analytical
      I need to read the case studies of the project. Thereafter analyzing it & evaluate the mistakes done in the past project and implement the solution that filled the gap so that the past mistakes will never happen again. This requires immense patience & ability to collect, gather, visualize and analyze information in details. I need to see a problem or situation from different points of view. Information is the powerful resource but right information & applying the right solution on the problem is the powerful mantra. Example:
      • Being a Technical Lead I must analyze the system from various angles via which system can fail. In this manner I need to write a lot of test cases which tester does not need to test so first I understand the requirements of the system and breakdown the test cases w.r.t requirements and then test the system. This is the evidence that I uses clear, logical steps and possesses excellent judgment to understand an issue from all angles before executing an action.

      • Before giving any work for review first I evaluate myself w.r.t self-checklist. Having a good attention to detail I am able to notice, retain, and keep track of details. This means that I am able to follow instructions properly, avoid mistakes in work, and carefully evaluate complex. This helps my work will be done with accuracy and precision. After getting comments I take seriously & discuss with the reviewer. If the comments are valid then I jotted down in my checklist and evaluate again myself. This is the evidence that I carried critical thinking ability to evaluate a situation or a problem with an independent mind. I don’t accept arguments or assumptions without question. This requires me to break down an argument or the steps in a process, and make independent evaluations.

      3. Quantitative
      To prove the Math skills, I passed my Engineering with Grade A.
      As stipulated by statue behind the approval of GMAT waiver, a single Bachelor plus 11 years of experience is already a ground for such approval. I hope that the pieces of evidence mentioned in the letter suffice to grant me the GMAT waiver.

      Thanks & Regards


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