The GMAT: #1 Factor in MBA Admissions
For many students, the GMAT will be the most important part of your MBA application. Why is the GMAT so important?
- It is an objective yardstick to evaluate candidates with entirely different academic backgrounds.
- It accurately measures quantitative ability, which is necessary for MBA programs.
- It is an easy and quick way to evaluate/eliminate candidates.
- It measures current ability (as opposed to the GPA, which is usually a few years old).
- The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is the only part of the application where the admissions officers can see what you actually write (application essays could conceivably be written by others... and often are).
Other factors, such as recommendations, work experience, diversity and academic background (GPA and quality of prior education) are secondary. The reason for the GMAT's pre-eminence as an admissions factor is simple enough for any first-year MBA to understand. The primary objective of MBA admissions committees is to find applicants who won't fail out. MBA coursework is often very intense and places a heavy emphasis on mathematical reasoning. Students who drop out of MBA programs constitute a massive failure of the admissions department. It is a staggering waste of resources and an injustice to the applicant who was accepted despite not being sufficiently qualified.
The simple question admissions committees ask is "what best correlates with the success rate of MBA applicants". The answer isn't GMAT alone, but a combination of undergraduate GPA and GMAT score that produces the most accurate result. GPA alone is flawed because the grades at undergraduate institutions remain un-standardized.
Among students who are obviously qualified to handle the coursework, the next question becomes subjective factors, like recommendations, work experience, etc. If you are handily beating the average GMAT and GPA at schools you are targeting, then apply your focus to more subjective factors.