This post was written by Josh Anish.
Q: How are you advising clients now that the GRE and GMAT are both accepted at many business schools?
A: Take the GMAT.
Schools that accept GRE scores are like venture capitalists who say “we prefer entrepreneurs to network their way to us, but we do accept business plans via email.” Sure, they accept them—and if they see one with a credible process for producing cold fusion they might actually fund it.
Likewise, business schools accept GRE scores as a kind of insurance: What if the Steve Jobs of Thailand wants to apply to business school, but has no access to a GMAT test center?Â Â Accepting GRE scores gives schools a shot at international candidates who have trouble finding a GMAT location. Or U.S. candidates who are applying to, say, a PhD in Physics but might apply to B-school on a lark. Of course, B-schools hate candidates who apply on a lark—but, hey, they’ll make an exception if you’ve invented cold fusion.
Q: Do you believe one test is better than the other? If so, which one is better and why?
The GMAT is a better made and more stable exam. The GRE has been a more troubled test, historically–so much so that it’s about to be significantly redesigned.
Furthermore, the GMAT tests skills that specifically correlate to success in business school. The GRE does not.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are applying to business school and trying to decide which test to take? How should they decide which is best for them?
A: Without question they should take the GMAT if at all possible. Schools don’t really want to see GRE scores. They’ll accept your GREs just in case you’re the next Steve Jobs. Problem is, you’re NOT the next Steve Jobs, so all you’ve done by submitting GREs is take an easier and less relevant exam.
Q: What do you see as the future of the GRE test at business schools?
A: It may continue to spread gradually. However, the GMAT people are working hard to make their test as widely available internationally as the GRE—which would obviate the main reason MBA programs accept GREs.
Q: Is there anything else you’d want our readers to know about the GRE and GMAT exams in regard to the business school application process? If so, what?
A: Business schools accepting GREs aren’t doing so to help you out. They’re doing it for themselves. They’re all competing like crazy for the top candidates from around the world, and they want to give themselves every opportunity to reach them. So they’ll accept GREs, but they really don’t want them, and you ought to have a good explanation for submitting them.