In an article on BusinessWeek.com yesterday, BW’s Francesca Di Meglio dug deeper into the “GMAT or GRE?” question. She interviewed several leading experts on the subject, including our own co-founder and CEO, Chad Troutwine.
Di Meglio referred to the battle between the two tests as a “Coke-or-Pepsi debate,” an appropriate comparison given that they are two tests that seem similar (at least on the surface), and that each one has its ardent backers. However, everyone interviewed for the story (including Chad) had a very clear take: If you’re serious about getting into business school, don’t over-think it. Doing well on the GMAT is still the best way to prove that you have the aptitude to excel in business school.
According to Chad (via the article):
In general, Troutwine says, the GRE is not taken as seriously as the GMAT in the B-school world. He tells clients to take the GMAT unless they are applying to other graduate programs that require the GRE. “If you can take on the challenge of what may be a slightly more demanding exam, the score will have more value,” says Troutwine.
If you’re dead set on getting into a top business school, keep in mind the schools’ rationale for starting to accept the GRE — to attract applicants who might not otherwise have considered applying to business school. MBA admissions officers’ image of the typical (or even ideal) GRE-taking applicant is the one who has an impressive background but maybe an unclear career path. Maybe he just took the GRE to prepare to apply for a graduate program in public policy, but now he learns about the HBS 2+2 Program or a similar program designed for younger or somewhat unusual applicants. Since he can apply with his existing GRE score, he says “What the heck,” and applies, helping Harvard sprinkle some more diversity into its MBA class.
Not all GRE-taking applicants must look like this, but contrast this with the more “typical” business school applicant, who goes to a top-20 university, works for a prominent New York bank for two years, and is now ready to apply to business school. He has a great undergraduate transcript, impressive work history at a blue chip firm, essays that convincingly describe why an MBA has been in his plans for the last four years, and… a great GRE score? Why would someone like this not take the GMAT if he’s so serious about getting into a top MBA program? Is he hiding a bad GMAT score? Is he trying to “game the system” and take the GRE since he thins he can do better on it than on the GMAT?
Admissions officers’ minds are not quite swimming with so many conspiracy theories, but remember that your entire application does need to hang together as a whole. If anything jumps out as a big inconsistency vs. the rest of your business school application, that’s a chink in the armor as you try to get accepted ahead of literally thousands of other great applicants. If you’re serious about getting into a top-ten MBA program, stick with the GMAT, at least until the GRE is better proven in the graduate business educations space.
If you’re ready to get started with your own GMAT prep, take a look at the free resources available at Veritas Prep, including our free practice GMAT. Or, give us a call at (800) 925-7737 and speak with a GMAT expert today!