The ecosystem with MBA admissions has definitely changed since this post was published! The information here may or may not be equally true today as it was in 2017.
This is a follow-on to some previous GRE vs GMAT posts. In case you missed those:
- GMAT vs GRE strategy questions: Which to take for an MBA?
- “I took the GMAT. If I take the GRE now, do I still have to submit the GMAT score in my MBA app?”
This question isn’t about admissions to bschool. It’s about MBA recruiting. Specifically, do you still need to take the GMAT in order to go for certain industries post-MBA?
Here’s the question from a BSer:
I believe some consulting companies ask for GMAT scores. Since I am applying with a GRE I don’t know if this is a valid option. Moreover, since I am applying to the 1-yr program, I am unsure if moving from technology sales to technology consulting is viable.
Yes, this is true. During your recruiting for your summer internship and for your big fancy new post-MBA job, the recruiters will be interested in your whole profile, including test scores. The GMAT is never a requirement to get a job. You’re right that consulting often asks about GMAT score, but any recruiter for any company that cares about that will be equally well versed with GRE scores too (just like the adcoms are). There’s two main reasons for career recruiters asking for GMAT scores:
- Many schools have grade non-disclosure policies, which means that students agree not to talk about grades with recruiters, and this policy is published to the recruiters so that the recruiters are instructed not to ask. This is unfortunate, as it takes away a very important datapoint from a competitive process. These recruiters may then be relying more on college GPA and GMAT score as part of the evaluation, since they don’t have access to GPA data. They can still ask you about your classes in the interview but that’s a qualitative aspect to a conversation rather than a quantitative one that the GPA provides.
- Recruiting for consulting is super competitive, and any additional dimension that the companies can use in selecting their new hires is valuable. The GMAT gives them five pieces of data to evaluate about you. It’s only natural that they would want to use that in assessing their candidates.
- Many post-MBA jobs are highly quantitative in nature and the recruiters need to make sure you’ve got the chops to perform well for them. The GMAT is one very black-and-white view of skill. The GMAT also has the Integrated Reasoning component, which the GRE does not have. Certain consulting firms especially may appreciate getting the IR aspect to a candidate’s abilities.
For many of the more traditional post-MBA jobs like investment banking, the GMAT is the gold standard test, especially since it’s known to be harder on the quant side. (That’s the whole reason you took the GRE instead, right? Is to avoid that?) If you’ve ducked out of the challenge of the GMAT yet now you’re saying you want to go for a hard-to-get job in a competitive environment like Wall Street, well, hopefully you can see how the optics are not so good there. A banking recruiter may want to know why you did the GRE instead. Were you not actually planning to go to Wall Street post-MBA? (That’s why lots of people do the GRE for grad school, because they are originally planning for some other graduate program, and then opt for the MBA instead.) That’s not necessarily a problem, but it may come across as odd that you’re now trying for i-banking without having the expected piece of the pie in your package. If you’re serious about going for bulge bracket banking or Big 3 consulting, then our advice is yes, take the GMAT before trying for bschool, regardless of what you scored on the GRE. If you scored well on the GRE, then you’re going to do great on the GMAT. If you struggled with the GRE, then now is your chance at redemption. Hit those books. Study hard. Get your skills sharpened, and nail the test. It’ll help pave the way to success when you’re gunning for the top of the hill.
Tell us what you think.