Debating the Numbers on GRE as B-School Option

September 1, 2009

One of the hot battles in standardized testing these days is over the M.B.A. market. The Graduate Management Admission Test has long been dominant. In 2003, the Educational Testing Service lost its contract for the exam to ACT and a Pearson division, and a few years later, ETS was talking about encouraging business schools to consider the Graduate Record Examinations as an alternative to the GMAT and a growing number of top business schools have agreed to accept either test. (The GMAT is a general test, and doesn't focus on business skills or knowledge.) On Monday, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions released results of a survey of admissions officers at 260 M.B.A. programs, saying that while 24 percent now accept the GRE, only another 4 percent are considering making that move. Kaplan characterized the mood as one of "wait and see," despite the shifts by a number of highly regarded programs. Kaplan advised would-be b-school students to prepare for the GMAT.

David Payne, the ETS vice president and chief operating officer for college and graduate programs, questioned any assumption that more business schools aren't about to accept the GRE. "Had Kaplan posed the same question 18 months ago to Harvard, Wharton, Stern, Tuck, Darden and Yale, I would assume they might have indicated no plans to explore accepting GRE scores, too. What we know is that now more than 250 MBA programs and seven of the top 10 global MBA programs accept the GRE because it makes good business sense," he said.

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