GMAC Pilots New Test For EMBA Applicants

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Clearly concerned about losing marketshare from business schools that no longer require the GMAT for admission to their Executive MBA programs, the Graduate Management Admission Council has enlisted a half dozen schools to pilot a new entrance exam that targets EMBA applicants.

Developed by GMAC, the so-called Executive Assessment test (EA) would require less prep time for test takers, making it a lower hurdle for EMBA candidates. Several schools have dumped the GMAT requirement in recent years, including Northwestern’s Kellogg School, NYU Stern, Michigan’s Ross, Cornell’s Johnson, and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School. Others, such as Chicago’s Booth School, will waive the requirement based on an applicants work experience.

GMAC is hoping to convince other schools not to join the dump-or-waive bandwagon and to bring back some schools that no longer make a standardized test a requirement. This new $350 test will take only 90 minutes to complete, compared to the three and one-half hours required of the GMAT exam. The assessment includes 40 total questions and divided into three 30-minute sections—Integrated Reasoning, Math and Verbal. GMAC says the sections are intended to measure skills critical both in an EMBA candidate’s career and classroom experience, such as higher order reasoning, critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving.


GMAC developed the test with input from peer schools. “While the GMAT is a strong predictor of success in core courses for our full-time MBA program, we discovered it was not as accurate a predictor of success for EMBA students,” said Michael Robinson, senior associate director of MBA admissions at Columbia Business School, in a statement. “We believe the Executive Assessment will become the new standard for all Executive MBA programs.”

The six schools participating in the EA launch are Columbia, London Business School, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, INSEAD, and the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). GMAC expects it to open to the rest of the industry a year from now.

GMAC said that beyond serving as an evaluation tool for schools, results of the EA test are also intended to help prospective EMBA students identify which areas they might want to spend time focusing on before beginning their business school program.

The exam will be administered at the same 600 GMAC centers worldwide where the GMAT exam is currently offered. Prospective EMBA applicants who have already taken or still want to take the GMAT or GRE have that option—those scores are still valid as part of the EMBA admissions process.

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