Top MBA programs that don’t require a GMAT

BY Meghan MalasJanuary 14, 2022, 10:20 PM
Students at the University of Washington, as seen in March 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Good news for professionals looking to apply for MBA programs sooner rather than later—more and more top MBA programs are loosening their testing requirements.

Professionals who think their experience speaks to their management competency and would like to skip tests altogether and applicants who think they would perform better on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) rather than the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) might be happy to hear that most top MBA programs no longer have GMAT-only test score requirements. 

In fact, some programs do not require any test scores to be submitted at all. The top 10 schools in Fortune’s ranking of the best MBA programs have a “flexible” GMAT requirement—meaning they accept GMAT or GRE test scores.

While it’s more common that online, part-time, and executive MBA programs don’t require applicants to submit GMAT scores, a substantial number of full-time programs have also dropped this requirement. 

The top-ranked schools are an indication of a broader trend in MBA admissions policies, a trend that started before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but was expedited in the past two years, according to Esther Magna, a principal MBA admissions consultant at Stacy Blackman, an MBA admissions consulting company. 

Top schools want to ensure diversity in their incoming cohorts—diversity of both personal and professional backgrounds—and maintaining a GMAT requirement somewhat limits the types of students who apply, Magna adds. But most MBA programs, especially the ones that are top-ranked, require students to be analytical and data-driven, she adds. 

“These programs are looking to attract people that can handle the quantitative gymnastics that’s inherent to the MBA program,” Magna says. “So through the admissions process, it is imperative that applicants demonstrate they can handle the quantitative coursework.”

Depending on what school they are applying for, some students may opt for submitting GRE scores or taking the Executive Assessment to prove quantitative aptitude. Meanwhile, other applicants may point to their job experience as evidence of their abilities. 

But if you are determined to avoid taking a test altogether, the 10 schools below don’t require MBA applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Fortune MBA program rank: No. 8

MIT Sloan allows applicants to request a test waiver, and if approved, then no GMAT or GRE score is required. However, the school notes that standardized tests “play an important role in our holistic evaluation process.” And incoming students in 2020 had an average GMAT score of 720.

2. University of Washington (Foster)

Fortune MBA program rank: No. 18

The University of Washington Foster School of Business does not require standardized test scores for applicants to its full-time MBA program for 2022 and 2023 who are able to demonstrate strong quantitative skills through their prior academic work or recent professional experience. International applicants are still strongly encouraged to submit a valid standardized test score as part of the application process, given the competitiveness of the international applicant pool. The average incoming student last year had a 692 GMAT score.

3. Michigan State University (Broad)

Fortune MBA program rank: No. 31

Michigan State University (Broad) offers GMAT test waivers for applicants to its full-time MBA program who qualify, as the Broad MBA is “looking to build an MBA class with diverse experiences, talents, and perspectives,” according to information from the university. The average GMAT score for the class of 2022 was 674. 

4. Fordham University (Gabelli)

Fortune MBA program rank: No. 38

Fordham University (Gabelli) made submitting standardized test scores optional for the 2021–2022 admissions cycle due to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy says applicants still may submit test scores. The average incoming student in 2020 reported a 618 GMAT score.

5. George Washington University

Fortune MBA program rank: No. 40

George Washington University is a test-optional school but will accept scores from applicants who “feel it necessary to strengthen their application,” according to the university. In 2020, incoming students submitted an average GMAT score of 612.

6. Babson College (Olin)

Fortune MBA program rank: 45

Babson College full-time MBA program is test-optional for those applying for 2022 entry. In 2020, admitted students who chose to take a test had an average GMAT score of 608.

7. University of Denver (Daniels) 

Fortune MBA program rank: 49

The University of Denver (Daniels)’s full-time MBA program is test-optional. The average incoming full-time MBA student had a GMAT score of 612 in 2020.

8. American University (Kogod)

Fortune MBA program rank: 54

American University (Kogod) is a test-optional school but encourages applicants to submit a score if they have one. In 2020, incoming students who did so had an average GMAT score of 550.

9. Syracuse University (Whitman)

Fortune MBA program rank: 65

Syracuse University (Whitman) is offering GMAT and GRE waivers to qualifying full-time MBA applicants for the 2022 admission cycle. The average GMAT score for the 2021 entering class was 667.

10. Case Western Reserve University (Weatherhead)

Fortune MBA program rank: 67

Case Western Reserve University’s full-time MBA program is test-optional for incoming fall 2022 students. In 2020, admitted students that take a test have an average GMAT score of 636.

See how the schools you’re considering landed in Fortune’s rankings of the best part-timeexecutive, full-time, and online MBA programs.