This post was written in 2017 -- which is forever-ago when it comes to how quickly MBA admissions is changing! The GRE is becoming more common across the board in MBA admissions, and it might be the right test for you -- but it does have some downsides to it. EssaySnark still sees candidates with a high GMAT score do better overall in getting into the top schools, compared to candidates with a "high" GRE. This is because it's simply harder to nail a top score on the GMAT than it is to do so on the GRE, and the adcoms know this. Can you get in with a GRE? Absolutely -- but the entirety of your profile will be scrutinized. If you want input on your individual situation, with detailed advice on how the schools may receive the score you have in hand, GMAT or GRE, then check out our Comprehensive Profile Review which is the best way for us to help you with your exact scenario.
Received these inquiries almost back-to-back recently:
One big question I have is the perception that schools have regarding GREs as opposed to GMATs. I know most admissions offices advertise there’s no preference, but I understand that may not necessarily be the case. I’ve taken the GREs already, mainly because there are a few joint/dual degree programs I’m considering that require the GREs, but it’s difficult to translate that in to a comparable GMAT score and I’m wondering if I should plan on taking the GMAT as well.[BSer #1]
And then this:
Hi snark. I’m sorry I keep asking questions but you guys are such a great source. I couldn’t find this information anywhere. I want to take the GRE because it better suits my strengths. Since I have already taken the GMAT(and had the scores sent to schools), will I be required to submit these scores in my app next year if I decide to go with my GRE score? Will schools be required to submit my low gmat score to b-school rankings if I don’t want to submit my gmat score? Thank you so much for your time![BSer #2]
What test you take — and why you take it — is an important element of MBA admissions strategy, so it’s great to see these different angles being examined! This blahg discusses these aspects quite extensively so hopefully, if you’re pondering which test to take, you start off by reading up on what we’ve stated here before:
And for you
lazy impatient types:
So, BSer #1, you’re right: The GRE is not the same. For years and years, the GMAT was the gold standard. It took a lot of lobbying by the GRE people to get the bschools to accept the GRE at all, and even after it was initially accepted by some, other adcoms seemed to do so only begrudgingly. (Pro Tip: We call out for you whether a specific school is GRE-unfriendly in their MBA application guide.) Whether or not a GRE is an appropriate substitution for a GMAT score for an application is completely context-sensitive. It depends solely on that applicant and the entirety of the profile.
There are definitely situations where it makes total sense to do the GRE instead of the GMAT, the intention of applying to other non-MBA grad programs being the best of them. Or, hey, you can apply to Harvard Law with a GRE now! The motivation for the MBA adcoms to accept the GRE in the first place was in an effort to increase their base, to have more BSers to market their wares to. If someone is thinking about doing a master’s in international relations, or maybe an MBA instead, then previously they would’ve had to take both tests. Now that the bschools will accept the GRE, it’s expanded their pool of potential candidates. And an expanded pool is always what they want. (It’s not what YOU want, but whwatever. Out of our control, you and me both, BSer.)
When we say that evaluating what a GRE score (vs a GMAT) might do for an MBA candidate is context-specific, well, we’ve got an app for that. 😉 Or more precisely, we’ve got the Comprehensive Profile Review where we will give you a complete rundown of how YOUR test scores and strategies might be received by the schools that you are specifically interested in. And we’ll give you a translation of how a GRE might stack up in GMAT language.
So there’s that.
We will also say that norms are slowly changing. We used to be very pro-GMAT here on the blahg, practically insisting that anyone serious about getting a top-tier MBA should just suck it up and go for the GMAT, with very few exceptions. It definitely used to put an applicant at a disadvantage to be coming in with a GRE at most schools. That is not always the case anymore, and we’ve seen lots and lots of success stories with applicants getting into all the great programs on the backs of a GRE score. We also hear of plenty being turned away – but there’s plenty of EVERYONE being turned away these days.
Does a GRE score hurt you? No, not if it’s high enough. Is a GMAT always better? No, especially not if it’s very low.
And now we realize we’ve done it again: We’re up to almost 750 words of blathering and have yet to get to the second BSer’s question.
We’ll have to come back to that again. Stay tuned.