Thinking about an MBA? GMAT Test vs. Waiver Request

Tips to present your most competitive MBA application

Are you ready to pursue an MBA to accelerate your career?

Whether you’re looking to move up in your company, pivot into a new role or launch a new venture, an MBA offers the leadership, management and analytical skills to help you reach your goal.

If you are reading this, you’re likely already researching and applying to your top choice programs.  Each MBA program has unique admissions requirements that you’ll want to review prior to starting your application (Hint: Check out our admissions requirements).

There’s one requirement that causes the most stress for applicants: the GMAT exam.

Traditionally, many schools require the GMAT for admissions, as it is considered a strong indicator of academic preparedness for an MBA program. The exam can take some time to prepare for, so it’s important to determine whether you need to take the exam early in your MBA application process.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many MBA programs began offering GMAT waivers to qualified candidates. The question for you now is if you should request a waiver? Or take the exam? It depends on your background and situation.

I’ve highlighted below four important factors to consider as you weigh your options of taking the GMAT vs. requesting a GMAT waiver.

1. Do you qualify for a waiver?

This might seem self-explanatory, but it’s important to review the requirements (if there are any) for a GMAT waiver as your start your application. Nothing can stop an application in its tracks like hearing you didn’t qualify for a waiver and now must prepare for the GMAT exam.

I invite you to review our GMAT waiver requirements.

Reach out to our admissions team if you have questions about your eligibility.

2. Refresh your ‘quant’ skills.

Are you well prepared for the rigor of a STEM-designated MBA program?

For many of our candidates who have been out of school for a while or for those who come from non-quantitative backgrounds, preparing for the GMAT can actually be a great way to refresh your quantitative skills, and build some tools necessary to better prepare for your MBA experience. There are several free study guides and tutorials available online to help you prepare.

3. Discounts and reimbursements are available for GMAT prep

Remember that you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Kick your studies into high gear by utilizing a test preparation tool (discounts are available):

As of 2021, the Graduate School of Management reimburses up to $800 for preparation materials for students who enroll. Learn more about reimbursement criteria here.

4. Most importantly, strengthen your MBA application

MBA programs are looking for the strongest candidates. Most business schools take a holistic view of your application, taking a look at your academic preparedness, professional experience, leadership, and other personal qualities you might bring into the program.

The GMAT exam is one way to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have the academic potential to be successful in an MBA program. This is especially important for candidates who want to increase their chances of being admitted or those who want to compensate for an area on the application in which they’re not as strong.

So while there is no negative impact by requesting a waiver, taking the GMAT exam might be a great way to shore up those gaps in your application and present a more competitive application.

As you study to take the exam, keep in mind the average GMAT scores that we look for in the UC Davis MBA programs:

Full-Time MBA

Average GMAT

Middle 80% Range

Part-Time MBA

Average GMAT

Middle 80% Range

Shoring Up Your Decision and Applying

Whether you decide the GMAT test is right for you and your situation, our team is ready to assist you with your application.

Our goal is to help you present the most competitive application to our admissions committee. So don’t be shy, schedule a personal consultation with us to discuss your application. Or, attend an upcoming application workshop for timely help and to get all of your questions answered.