Stern Drops GMAT Exam For EMBAs

New York University's Stern School of Business

New York University’s Stern School of Business said today (March 3) it will no longer require Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores from candidates applying to its Executive MBA program. The school joins a growing number of other EMBA programs that no longer require the same tests as part of the application process for their two-year, full-time MBAs.

Of the top ten ranked EMBA programs in North America, Stern now becomes the sixth school to dump the exam requirement. Northwestern’s Kellogg School, Chicago’s Booth, Michigan’s Ross, Cornell’s Johnson, and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School do not require applicants to their EMBA programs to take either the GMAT or the GRE. The top ten schools that still make the test a mandatory part of a candidate’s application are Wharton, Columbia, UCLA, and the University of Texas-Austin.

Stern, whose EMBA is ranked fifth among the best North American programs by Poets&Quants, said it made the decision after  internal studies showed that among enrolled Stern EMBA students, non-test takers slightly outperformed test takers in academic performance and pre-program quantitative proficiency exams. “We are making this move after careful consideration and long-term evaluation,” said Isser Gallogly, assistant dean of MBA Admissions, in a statement.  “We have had a long-standing GMAT/GRE waiver policy, offering waivers to applicants who request them, based on extensive prior academic or professional quantitative work.   This is a natural next step for us.”

By ditching the standardized test requirement, Stern is making it easier for experienced managers and executives to consider its Executive MBA program.  Stern officials, however, maintained that the program’s academic rigor, course requirements and schedule remain unchanged. “For the senior-level applicant who is considering our program, a standardized test can present an unnecessary barrier to applying,” added Gallogly. “We expect their record of outstanding professional accomplishment to outweigh the need for a GMAT.

While the GMAT and GRE are valid predictors of academic performance, they are not the only predictors. NYU Stern says it undertakes a highly personalized, holistic review of each applicant and requires an applicant interview.  Admissions evaluates an applicant’s quality and depth of work experience, leadership skills and record of professional development, in addition to performance in undergraduate and graduate programs, to ensure each individual will make a significant contribution in the classroom and within study groups.

The change is effective immediately. Applicants will still have the option to submit either GMAT or GRE scores with their application, but it will not be a requirement.

The NYU Stern Executive MBA program enrolls no more than 60 highly experienced professionals each term.  The average age of the enrolling classes is 38, with an average of 14 years of work experience, a more senior cohort than other peer EMBA and part-time MBA programs.  Additionally, 40 percent of the typical enrolling class has already earned an advanced degree.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.