In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, many highly regarded universities have made the submitting of GMAT and GRE scores optional. Many MBA programs still allow applications without GMAT or GRE results, despite others opting to return to their standard entrance requirements. There might be some good news for MBA candidates in this pandemic. Most of the top 100 full-time MBA programs in the United States no longer need applicants to take standardized exams as part of the admissions process, primarily due to test center closures brought on by COVID and worries over the GMAT and GRE online. MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and even the University of Virginia have invited applications from international MBA aspirants who do not satisfy these standards but meet other criteria like job experience, degrees, etc. but do not have these scores.


About 67 of the top 100 schools have completely abandoned testing or are actively pushing test waiver policies. Officials in MBA admissions argue that nothing about their standards has changed due to the new rules. To determine whether a candidate can handle the academic requirements of their programs, they instead depend on other aspects of their applications. While many institutions require you to take the GMAT to receive a standardised score that will aid in the admissions process, some have resisted this requirement by waiving it. The universities that admit overseas students for the MBA program with test scores place more emphasis on other factors, such as GPA, extracurricular activities, work experience, volunteer work, etc. Most GMAT exemptions are given on a situation basis. They are competitive; therefore, those interested are urged to apply early because it is anticipated that there won’t be any waivers available. 


Schools prize GMAT scores because they significantly impact views of cohort quality and placement in some important MBA rankings. But currently, some schools only grant waivers to those directly affected by COVID. Applicants to the University of Texas McCombs School of Business must satisfy two requirements to be given a test score exception: they must be unable to take the exam in person at a testing location due to a lack of availability or maybe because they or a household member must be immunosuppressed. Additionally, individuals must be unable to take an exam owing to accessibility issues, technological limitations, or “other test-taking restrictions” in their area.




MIT (Sloan) 6 For this year only, we will review submitted material as is and without negative inferences.
Virginia (Darden) 11 Will even look at previous SAT & ACT scores as criteria for a waiver
Cornell (Johnson) 12 Requires 100-word essay
Michigan (Ross) 13 Will also admit or waitlist all Round 1 MBA applicants
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 17 Seeks evidence of math preparedness via advanced quant classes such as calculus, linear algebra & statistics
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) 19 Requires 3.2 GPA in STEM, business, economics or analytics or advanced or terminal degree, or 5+ years of work experience in a quant or analytical field, a CPA or CFA, or EA, LSAT, PCAT or MCAT
Texas-Austin (McCombs) 20 Waivers only for applicants unable to take a test due to COVID
Indiana (Kelley) 23 Requires a brief statement under 500 words summarizing why you believe you qualify for a waiver
Georgetown (McDonough) 24 Students can request a waiver of the test requirement based on accessibility and eligibility criteria
Georgia (Terry) 36 Current or former military service required
SMU (Cox) 38 Test-optional admissions for fall 2021 applicants
Maryland (Smith) 43 Industry certification, including Six Sigma, CFA, CPA & 3.0 GPA minimum, or MCAT or LSAT
Rutgers Business School 66 Priority given to Rutgers undergrads, excellent undergrad record & leadership qualities & diversity
Iowa State (Ivy) 76 Requires minimum of 3.0 GPA, master’s degree, or B grades in two graduate courses & 3 or more years of work experience
Syracuse (Whitman)           78 Waivers available for the 2021 admissions season


However, applicants should know that getting a waiver is not a ‘free pass’ into the school. Most schools have policies about who is eligible for a waiver and how it’s decided. In addition, some MBA programs are much more selective than others, so you should research the standards at each school before applying. GMAT waivers are typically awarded to applicants who have a proven track record of academic excellence and leadership in their professional lives. They also look at extracurricular activities, community service, and other achievements. For example, schools will notice this dedication if you’ve worked hard to get your MBA while also holding down a full-time job.


GMAT waivers are also granted for applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity. If you’re a member of an underrepresented group in business, such as women or people of color, this can be considered when determining your eligibility for a GMAT waiver. The most important thing to remember is that the decision to award a GMAT waiver is based on each applicant’s unique situation. Factors such as background, work experience, and overall professional goals will all be considered when making this decision.

Also Read


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Strengths for MBA Interviews

GMAT Critical Reasoning Examples

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