Throughout my 20+ years as an MBA admissions consultant in Japan, getting a competitive GMAT score has been my clients’ the biggest challenges. Typically, they do really well in the Quant section but have difficulty with the Verbal portion. Many candidates get great support from GMAT prep schools and private instructors in Japan and overcome this challenge. However, quite a few excellent candidates just can’t get competitive scores. Often this is due to time constraints, including extensive overtime and family commitments. Over the past few years an increasing number of MBA programs have begun accepting GRE as well. For some test takes, GRE is a better option. Quite a few of my clients have entered top-tier schools with GRE scores. However, GRE is not an easy test either.
Fortunately, for those who just can’t get a competitive GMAT or GRE score, there is an alternative that is gaining acceptance at several top full-time MBA programs. It’s the Executive Assessment (EA) test, which can be taken online. It was originally created for Executive MBA programs, but during the pandemic peak, some full-time programs began accepting EA. Many of us thought this would be a temporary option, especially when GMAT went online. However, a good number of top full-time programs still accept EA as an alternative to GMAT and GRE. They include:
Carnegie Mellon Tepper
Columbia Business School
LBS (Sloan Fellows)
MIT (Sloan Fellows)
What’s nice about EA is that it’s shorter (90 minutes) and easier than GMAT and GRE. That’s because this test was made for executives who don’t have the time to deeply study for tests. Also, if you have been studying GMAT or GRE, a much what you learned is transferable. And even if you’re starting from scratch, EA is much easier test to prepare for.
I still believe that a good GMAT score is the best option. A competitive GRE will also put candidates in good standing. However, anyone who has done well in these tests will tell you that it took a LOT of preparation. It can take more than a year for some. But what if you need to apply this year, for example due to a company sponsorship, and you just don’t have the time to properly prepare for GMAT or GRE? Well, you could try your luck with a low GMAT/GRE score. Or, you could opt for the EA test. A good EA score is better than a bad GMAT or GRE score. And with so many top programs accepting EA, it is definitely something to consider.
If you’re wondering what’s the best option for you, or you have any other MBA/Grad School related questions, I invite you to contact me. I offer free 1-hour strategy sessions for all candidates.