Whoa. Two blahg posts on one day? Yeah — because this news needs to get out there.
Seismic shifts in the MBA application landscape are occurring right before your very eyes, people.
The coronavirus is causing changes we never thought would happen in graduate business admissions.
Some quick history:
UVA Darden has been experimenting with the possibility of allowing candidates to apply for their MBA programs and be admitted without a GMAT or GRE score, and in the wake of coronavirus upheavals for last year’s Class of 2022 Round 3 in March and April, Darden was the first to allow applications with no score at all. We consider Darden to currently be the leader in willingness to innovate with their MBA applications.
However, MIT Sloan also was willing to break all the rules during that early phase of coronavirus impacts — or at least, they were a fast follower, after Kellogg did so. Both Kellogg and MIT allowed applicants who had been rejected earlier that season, in their Fall 2019 Round 1s, to request for reconsideration. We know of several incredibly well qualified BSers who made it into Sloan through that process; they had been rejected in Round 1 only because Round 1 last year at Sloan was so competitive and very strong candidates had been turned away. The right messaging in the reconsideration request paid off for them.
Now, MIT Sloan has changed the status quo significantly: They’ve just modified their requirements as published on their site to this:
Standardized tests, such as GMAT, GRE, EA, TOEFL, IELTS, are a component of the application process and play an important role in our holistic evaluation process. However, in view of challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, we will allow candidates for the 2020-21 admission cycle to submit their application without the test and review their submitted material as is and without negative inferences. If admitted, candidates will not be required to take a test. [emphasis added]
Additionally, applicants are welcome to submit other pieces of evidence, such as expired test scores (GMAT, GRE, EA, etc.); MITx MicroMasters, CORe, edX, MBAMath, or any other non-degree coursework completed; or certifications earned such as CPA, ACCA, CFA, etc; all of which may assist the Admissions Committee in its evaluation process.
What does this mean for you, the candidate who’s heart is set on Sloan for your MBA?
Should you skip the test entirely?
What if you never tested — should you bother trying at all?
How about if you have a not-so-great score — should you send it to them?
We will be digging into all of these questions soon here on the blahg! For now we wanted to make this change in policy known to you so you can start considering how it may impact your strategies.
The biggest impact of course is to test prep companies… Not that we expect all schools to ditch GMAT/GRE requirements this season. But perhaps the writing is on the wall?
Overreliance on standardized tests like these maintains the status quo in society, where those with means do better. If you’re wealthy, you have access to tutors and test prep resources, and you can afford the fees to take the tests over and over until you get the score that an elite school requires. Overreliance on standardized tests in admissions reinforces systemic racism in elite colleges and universities. This change is overdue.
Thank you MIT Sloan for being willing to be first.