GRE Trumps GMAT?

by Stacy Blackman Consulting, Jul 5, 2012

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

Our client Terrence looked like a stellar candidate except for one very common concern: after three attempts in six months, he just couldnt nudge his GMAT score above a 620, with a weak quant score. He had never had any trouble with math before and even minored in economics, but something about the test was simply holding him back. Some self-study and an intensive course beforehand didnt help. In every other respect, Terrence looked like a great candidate, with excellent recommendations, a well-rounded set of interests, and stellar community involvement.

Terrence had mentioned to his consultant that two years ago he had been thinking about various graduate programs. He had thought a bit about law school or medical school, but was strongly leaning toward a degree in public policy or urban studies. Terrence remembered that he had taken several tests, including the LSAT and the GRE, and done well, which had only increased his frustration with the GMAT.

Terrences consultant reminded him that nearly every MBA program now accepts GMAT or GRE scores, including the top-ranked institutions. They dug up his scores and found that his quantitative scores were at least somewhat better, and the percentiles looked great - 95%. Thinking about it from an admissions perspective, it certainly couldnt hurt to submit a GRE score instead of his poor GMAT score. While the pool of GRE candidates is more diverse and includes many prospective graduate students who arent pursuing quant-related degrees, it is still an interesting and diverse pool where, most importantly, Terrences scores stood out.

Terrences situation fit well with the reasoning many schools have given for accepting GRE scores for admission- they are looking to attract the type of well-rounded candidate who might be considering other types of degree programs alongside an MBA. Terrence and his consultant felt confident that using his GRE scores instead of the GMAT would show him in the best possible light and and allow the rest of his application to be the focus. Terrence applied to several schools and is now happily attending UVA Darden.

Read more case studies outlining a range of typical MBA applicant situations.

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