If you missed the GMAT data presented yesterday, you may want to go back and check that out first.
In a EMBA admissions posting recently, the Wharton team mentioned strategies about when to apply in Round 1 versus Round 2, saying that sometimes it’s better to delay in order to have time to retake the GMAT.
We’ll say that again:
They gave advice that some applicants would benefit from applying later in order to retake the GMAT.
OK, in case you’re not picking up what we’re laying down:
As a general rule, EMBA programs are simply not as competitive as the full-time MBA. There aren’t as many applicants, and the adcoms are less choosey. Not completely un-choosey, but less so.
They still need to see some quality elements to a profile – decent grades from college, a passable GMAT score. But the averages for both are not in the same realm as their F/T counterparts. In most cases, the EMBA adcoms are focusing instead on your professional experience. It’s MUCH more important at most of these places that you’re a fit to their program based on career. They want to see that you’re at an appropriate place in your professional development to benefit from what they offer, and to contribute to the class.
Wharton is saying here that sometimes a higher GMAT score is worth delaying your app till later in their cycle – which is the kind of advice you more often hear from the adcoms for the competitive F/T programs. The GMAT score matters at any school but it matters a lot less at an EMBA, simply because they don’t get nearly as many applications and so there aren’t as many top-scoring candidates fighting for prominence. Here, Wharton is signalling that yes, the GMAT matters in their evaluation and selection process, and a higher score can help, and that it may be worth the effort to take the test again. At other schools, the GMAT is not exactly just a check-the-box thing, in terms of making sure you have one and it doesn’t matter what it is. But it’s not like this.
Now, we’re not trying to claim that you can waltz into the Columbia or the Haas EMBA programs with a 500 GMAT. That score is low if we’re talking any program at any top school. But, when a BSer talks to the admissions folks at any EMBA program they very rarely emphasize the GMAT issue quite so much.
In fact, Kellogg’s EMBA does not even require a GMAT for most applicants. Yeah. That.
Chicago Booth will waive the GMAT requirement for some of their most senior applicants who can demonstrate sufficient quant proficiency through their job. That being said, the waiver sounds atypical. You apparently have to actually qualify for it. As proof, here’s what Chicago Booth EMBA folks tell their candidates:
Candidate: “I don’t have time to study for and take the GMAT.”
Booth: “Then you don’t have time to be a Chicago Booth student.”
Judging an EMBA program on its GMAT policies is painting with a broad brush, but it’s a helpful way to crack open some of these issues of selectivity and competitiveness – and it helps you to appreciate what types of students you’ll be in the classroom with. Did they even have to take the GMAT? Or if they did, did they have to bust butt and get a good score? Or did they just have to take it so that they could say that they took it? How much do they really want to be there?
You may curse the barriers to entry that the top bschools present with things like GMAT scores especially, but generally speaking, they do serve as a useful filtering mechanism.
When someone works really hard to get accepted to a program, then we’re betting they’re going to be more engaged and involved all the way through.