Online MBA programs have become increasingly popular. With a survey by US News in 2012, 29 online MBA programs have an 82 percent acceptance rate when compared to the 45 percent acceptance rate at 145 full-time, two-year programs. Online MBA programs offer a lot of benefits for students. They offer students the opportunity to work and commit to their personal lives while giving them the access to a network of classmates. GMAT is one of the first things students think about before applying to an online MBA program.
Importance of the GMAT Campus and Online MBA Admissions
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an administrated test for individuals seeking to apply to MBA programs. For a lot of high-ranking institutions, the GMAT exam is crucial in making an admission decision. However, not all graduate business programs rely on the GMAT scores. 42 percent of online business programs don’t require any standardized test scores. Full-time programs tend to be more selective and require higher GMAT scores for limited students because the applicants are usually younger and fresh out of college, and their GMAT score and undergraduate GPA weigh heavily toward their credentials since they have little experience. For online MBA program where applicants are usually older, practical experience contributes greatly to credentials, hence the decreased need for a GMAT.
Getting into an Online MBA Program with a GMAT
Graduate school is a big decision. The GMAT exam is more than just a score; it showcases your skills to admissions professionals and prepares your for day one in the classroom. A combination of your GMAT scores, transcripts, work experience, essays, and interviews helps determine your chances in getting into a good MBA program. Your GMAT scores are valid for five years; however, your percentile ranking can change with every new pool of applicants.
The test is meant to assess your knowledge on analytical, verbal, writing, and mathematical skills. These are skills that are usually developed over time through education and work experience. The GMAT helps the university admission teams choose from a pool of candidates; it serves as an additional factor to educational background and employment history, especially in competitive schools. However, GMAT scores by themselves do not dictate whether the candidate is accepted into a program.
Nevertheless, GMAT is something future students should strongly consider; the GMAT exam is used required by more than 1,700 institutions and universities around the world. These schools believe that the GMAT exam scores will predict how the students will perform in the classroom; the validity of the GMAT exam scores has shown to be strong predictors of first-year grades in graduate management program. For many institutions, combining GMAT scores and undergraduate GPAs helps predicts academic success. A percentile ranking is used to compare your skill level with other test takers from the past three years. This ranking is your total score and skill level.
Getting into an Online MBA Program without a GMAT
It is not necessary to take the GMAT exam to get into a good MBA program. At many accredited universities, the GMAT is not a requirement, and a growing number of universities are choosing to admit students without the GMAT. Instead, schools will look into recommendations, undergraduate transcripts, and professional experience.
If the business school you are applying to normally requires a GMAT score, make sure you double check if that rules applies to your individual situation. Instead of submitting a GMAT score, many applicants can be eligible for a GRE/GMAT waiver. Through checking the admissions requirements for various programs, you can check and see if the number of years of professional management experience can make you eligible. Also, looking into regional accredited business schools, you can see if they have omitted the GMAT/GRE requirement. Some programs require around eight years of managerial experience instead of the GMAT, or the GMAT/GRE test can be waived if the applicant holds another advanced graduate degree.
Should I Skip Taking the GMAT
Applicants may choose to skip GMAT for different reasons. First of all, sometimes low scores on the GMAT hurt a lot of applicants, especially a lot of older business school applicants. Because online business schools cater to older adults (those who work and are looking to study part time), many are abandoning the GMAT and related standardized admission exams as measures of academic preparedness.
In addition to the time commitment, the GMAT also poses a financial commitment; the GMAT or additional tests can cost anywhere from $150 to $250 (this includes additional fees such as late registration, rescheduling, and score reviews). The money that could be spent on testing can contribute to your education in different areas such as tuition, books, and living expense.
What to do now?
Remember the admissions process for different online MBA programs can vary from program to program. Meeting prerequisites and submitting an application packet are two primary things you should worry about before applying, so make sure you do enough research before moving forward.
Requirements for MBA Program Applicaiton
Prerequisites that are usually required according to MBA Online include:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
- Maintaining a high GPA through undergraduate
- Professional experience related to interpersonal, communication, reasoning, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
Occasionally, MBA programs will have prerequisite course requirements to make sure students have general knowledge that can help them in through future MBA courses. Depending on the program and previous undergraduate major, the course(s) have to be completed before beginning the MBA program. If you are required to complete a prerequisite, but are unable to, there are alternatives for those who want to test out of course requirements. The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a comprehensive examination that covers college-level course materials. If a satisfactory score is received, then college credit for the course can be achieved.
What is the MBA Program Application Process
The second part of applying to online MBA program is the application process. Generally, business schools have an online application form that you need to fill out to determine if you are a good candidate for the school’s MBA program. The form will likely require the following:
- Program-related professional experience
- Academic credentials
- Employment history
In addition to the form, you will probably be asked to present the following documents:
- A resume outlining your work experience
- Letters of recommendations
- Official transcripts verifying that you have completed your degree and including your GPA
- prerequisite course transfer(s)
- Optional essay or/and interview depending on the program and school
- GMAT scores, if required
Whether or not the MBA program you are applying to requires a GMAT test score should not be a deciding factor for you. What matters the most is that that the place you apply to is an accredited university that provides you with quality education. Online graduate programs are built to give students the opportunity to attend class from the comfort of their home and to interact with professors and their peers with online tools such as Skype. Earning a spot in a top American online program is done with a good academic record, a solid resume, reference letters, an excellent essay or interview and high test scores on the GRE or GMAT (if your program requires it); the last item should not stand between you and your business school of choice.
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