How to Get Admission to MBA Programs Despite Lower GMAT, GRE Scores


The acceptance rates at top business schools are notoriously tight demanding a higher average GPA from candidates. In such a scenario, how would you like to gain admission to an MBA program even with low GPAs?

Not that difficult if you are willing to go in for a part time or executive MBA program that taught by the same faculty and even the cohort would be of a similar calibre as the full-time program. You will get enough opportunities to pursue your career goals, develop networks besides adding the brand value of the school to your resume.

For instance, if the full-time cohort averaged a GMAT score of 726 at Chicago Booth, you could gain admission to the part-time program with an average score of just 678. Thus, it is possible to enjoy all the facilities of the MBA program even if your scores are considerably lower.

The full-time MBAs scored higher than the executive cohort by a 706 to 631 margin. The Executive MBA average was also eight points higher than their part-time peers (631 vs. 623).

At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, there is a 54-point gap in GMAT averages between the full-time and part-time students (728 vs. 674). At Michigan Ross, the difference is 58 points (708 vs. 650). Similarly, at USC Marshall it is 692 vs. 614 and at Arizona State Carey (682 vs. 585).

Weighing the average GMATs against the enrolments in full-time and part time programs in the Top 50 MBA programs, ranked by U.S.News, shows the full-time MBAs with a 706 GMAT average, 83 points more than the part-time cohort with an average score of 623.

The situation is similar if you compare full-time and executive MBA programs. At Wharton, full-time students had an average GMAT score of 730 compared to 700 for the Executive MBAs. At Emory Goizueta and Vanderbilt Owen, the difference is more than 100 points, 683 vs. 571 and 691 vs. 586, respectively.

The full-time MBAs scored higher than the executive cohort by a 706 to 631 margin. The Executive MBA average was also eight points higher than their part-time peers (631 vs. 623).

Full-time MBAs also score better than the part-time and executive cohorts in the tests that involve quantitative problem-solving, interpreting readings, and managing time and pressure.

However, it is to be noted that only 9 of the top 50 Executive MBA programs reported their GMAT averages to U.S. News & World Report. A point to note is that several top EMBA programs have either opted out of requiring a GMAT score or are willing to waive the requirement for those having sufficient amount of management experience.

Admission Committees also tend to take into consideration other variables such as the diversity of advanced degrees, job functions and industries while granting admission to EMBA programs.

While every full-time and part-time MBA program published average GPAs for incoming students, EMBA programs collected or released GPAs for only 24 of the 45 programs. Among the top name business schools, few gave out their undergraduate GPAs, including Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Wharton, Northwestern Kellogg, and Berkeley Haas.

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The full-time MBA cohorts in the top 50 American programs notched up a 3.51 average GPA in 2016, part-time MBAs had a 3.30 GPA on average and EMBAs stood at 3.20.

Berkeley Haas recorded a 12% acceptance rate for the Class of 2018. However, it was 47.4% for the part time MBA program. Part timers chances of being accepted increase to more than 75% at Georgetown McDonough, Washington University’s Olin School, and USC Marshall.

On an average, the age of students entering full-time MBA programs is 27.8 compared to their part-time counterparts at 30.1. The Executive MBAs average 37.7 years of age.

In terms of networking, the full-time MBA cohorts, averaging 228 students per class as against 147 in part-time MBAs and 71 students for executive programs, are at an advantage. However, it is to be noted that in several schools including

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Washington Foster, USC Marshall, Georgia Tech Scheller, Rice Jones, and Maryland Smith, the part-time and executive MBA cohorts combined would outnumber the full-time MBA counterparts.

The part-time and EMBA students also enjoy the advantage of continuing to earn even while enrolled in the MBA program thus reducing the opportunity cost. They also get more sponsorship. According to a report released by the Executive MBA Council in 2016, 23% of EMBAs receive full-sponsorship while another 36% got partial tuition reimbursement.

At Kellogg, 66% of the latest EMBA class is either fully or partially sponsored. While data on part-time MBA sponsorship is harder to find, a 2015 GMAC study reported that employers surveyed offered some form of sponsorship to 40% of their employees.

In terms of students’ debt, in four out of five schools, part-time MBAs incurred less debt than the full-time students. The difference was more than $43,000 at Ross ($59,014 vs. $102,605) that dropped to just at Haas ($83,288 vs. $87,546).

The percentage of debt for part-time MBAs in debt was lower at three of the five schools. However, executive MBAs had the highest debt levels at all five schools, ranging from $74,567 at Washington Olin to $125,942 at Haas. But they formed the smallest percentage of debt holders at four of the five schools, including 16% at Ross and 28% at Haas.


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