Emory University’s Goizueta Business School says it will now make admissions to its evening MBA and Executive MBA programs completely test-optional. The school also announced that it will accept LSAT or MCAT test scores in lieu of a GMAT or GRE for admission to its full-time MBA programs.
Goizueta’s move follows the decision by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business to go test-optional for its full-time MBA program this year (see At UVA Darden, A ‘Crazy’ 364% Jump In Round 3 MBA Applications). Increasingly, more admission officers have been reevaluating the use of standardized tests in MBA programs. Many schools waived test requirements in extended application rounds after the COVID-19 pandemic closed test centers.
Melissa Rapp, associate dean of graduate admissions at Goizueta, says the change is meant to remove a barrier to potential applicants who would be qualified to attend the school’s MBA programs. “I really don’t like there to be unnecessary barriers,” Rapp told Poets&Quants. “Those who have performed well in their area of expertise should be recognized for that.”
‘THE TEST BARRIER REALLY MAKES SOME WORKING PROFESSIONALS POSTPONE APPLICATION OR GIVE UP’
While the school has had a waiver process in place for both its evening MBA and Executive MBA programs, the policy change officially makes both programs test-optional. “Working professionals can demonstrate their potential to contribute in the classroom through their work experience,” explains Rapp. “We have many cases where we can tell a person will be a strong contributor through their performance at work.”
The school believes it has missed out on a number of working professionals who would otherwise apply to attend its programs if not for the need to study for a standardized test. “I think there are a certain number of working professors who don’t apply because the test barrier really makes them postpone application and in the end give up on pursuing an MBA,” reasons Rapp. “Some don’t have the time to invest to study for a standardized test, and many of them haven’t taken a standardized test in a decade or more.”
Rapp believes it may well take more time to evaluate candidates who take advantage of the test-optional change. “We have been working on an additional rubric to help us evaluate students who do not choose to submit a test score,” she adds. “We are going to spend more time looking at their transcripts and digging into what type of work they have been doing and what type of results they’ve gotten from their work.”
ALSO OFFERING FREE EXEC ED COURSES TO ALL MBAS ENROLLED THIS FALL
MBA applicants, of course, can still submit a GMAT or GRE score if they prefer. “Anyone who feels like a test score would help the admissions committee in understanding their academic readiness or abilities, we encourage them to take the test and that becomes another proof point in their favor,” says Rapp. “And the school is still reserving the right to ask them to take the test.”
With incoming full-time MBA students starting their on-boarding process yesterday for a hybrid format, the school has also decided that students enrolled in its fall 2020 evening MBA, one-year MBA and two-year MBA programs will have free access to Emory Executive Education courses, a benefit already accorded to Goizueta’s EMBA students.
“A hybrid format isn’t the ideal learning platform so we wanted to extend this benefit for students to continue their education when we are back into an in-person format,” explains Rapp. “This is our way of providing more added value to the students who are demonstrating courage by enrolling during this uncertain time.”
NEW MBA APPLICATION LAUNCHES ONLINE ON AUG. 5
Goizueta launches its new MBA application on Aug. 5. Candidates who apply up until the round one deadline of Sept. 23, 2020 will be allowed an open interview, without the need for an invitation. Admission interviews will continue to be virtual, mostly by admissions staffers although some are conducted by Goizueta alumni.
Rapp says that more than 100 two-year MBA students showed up on campus this week for its onboarding process, with the remaining part of the class experiencing the orientation exercises remotely. “We were all wearing masks and carefully distanced but they are here and getting started,” adds Rapp. “It was heartening to see everyone embracing it and smiling a lot with their eyes. You could still feel the excitement and the happiness in getting started.”
The school had a slight increase in applications due to an extended final round. “We are really pleased with the class and the class profile,” says Rapp. We’ve had an increase in minority students and women stayed steady at 30% of the class. It was one of the more unique rounds I read in my career in admissions over the past decade. It definitely had some real highs, folks who were very capable and would be very strong applicants in any round. A lot of them had circumstances where their employment wasn’t as secure as before. We also found some folks who were opportunistic and saw that test scores could be waived and tried to take advantage of it but really weren’t ready. It was a mixed bag again.”
Goizueta extended deferrals to a portion of its international admits due to travel restrictions or issues with student visas. “What has been nice is we’ve been hearing from the international students that they are starting to get visa appointments, even as early as this month,” says Rapp. “So they will be able to join soon.”