Why is the GMAT an Important Admissions Requirement for Executive MBA Programs?

Feb 28, 2012
Tags: Admissions Process, Admissions Requirements, B-School, Executive MBA, GMAT, GMAT, MBA, School Selection

bishop lanePeggy Bishop Lane, Vice Dean, Wharton MBA Program for Executives, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School 

The GMAT is an important admissions requirement for several reasons. 

At Wharton, EMBA students receive the same education as our full-time MBA students. This has been a principle of parity between our full-time and EMBA program since our EMBA program began 37 years ago.  They are taught the same classes by the same professors for the same number of hours.   Likewise, since we insist on the highest academic caliber of the students we admit, they are held to the same standards of performance and intellectual rigor.  They must have the same profile as our full-time MBA students with respect to admissions criteria and academic preparedness.

  • The GMAT serves as an assessment tool to gauge applicants’ academic abilities; it is an important requirement for applicants to both our full-time MBA and EMBA programs to help predict applicants’ likelihood of academic success.  If the score is too low, it’s a signal to us that the applicant is lacking in the required skills or is underprepared.
  • While it’s important to holistically look at candidates and consider other factors such as prior degrees, work and leadership experience, those are not an adequate substitute for the GMAT in terms of measuring analytical ability, reasoning skills, and aptitude.
  • Candidates’ willingness to prepare for the GMAT reflects their level of dedication to pursuing a rigorous graduate program.
  • Those whose undergraduate performance does not reflect their academic abilities have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the skill set necessary to perform in an MBA program.
  • And, finally, the GMAT is a good indication for applicants of what to expect when they begin classes.  By studying for the GMAT, candidates are not only preparing themselves to do well on the test, they are also preparing themselves to do well in school.  And, that is ultimately what we want for all candidates – to be fully prepared to thrive in our program.