GMAT Waivers for Military & VeteransUpdated: January 8, 2021
As veterans transitioning out of military service consider business school, they inevitably realize how expensive, time-consuming, and challenging the GMAT testing process can be. As such, in this article, we’ll outline different options for GMAT waivers for military and veterans.
Specifically, we’ll discuss the following:
- What is the GMAT?
- Why MBA Programs Provide GMAT Waivers to Military & Veterans
- MBA Programs that Waive GMAT Requirements
- Top Veteran-friendly MBA Programs without GMAT Requirements
- Final Thoughts
What is the GMAT?
GMAT stands for the General Management Admission Test, and it’s a computer adaptive test meant to assess the following types of skills:
Each of these skills is tested in written English, as the primary aim of the test is to assist US business schools in selecting qualified applicants to graduate business programs like MBAs. From that perspective, the GMAT for business school is roughly equivalent to the SAT for applying to undergraduate programs. It provides applicants a numerical score to be compared against program requirements and other applicants.
GMAT scores range from 200 (worst) to 800 (best). And, for comparison’s sake, two-thirds of test takers receive a score between 400 and 600. However, each graduate business school that requires the GMAT for applicants will have a different threshold for acceptable scores, with more competitive programs typically requiring higher scores.
For veterans applying to business schools – especially those who have been out of the classroom for an extended period – the GMAT can pose a significant challenge. It’s a difficult test, and success generally requires A) hours of self-study, B) enrollment in an expensive GMAT prep course, or C) a combination of both.
For these reasons, many veterans look for MBA programs that provide GMAT waivers, which we’ll discuss in the next several sections.
Why MBA Programs Provide GMAT Waivers to Military & Veterans
After explaining the GMAT, it’s clear that the score provides MBA programs a great metric for assessing applicants. As such, why would any programs want to waive the GMAT requirement for veterans?
Great question! And, two primary reasons for these veteran waivers exist.
First, most business schools understand that military service provides veterans a vast amount of real-world leadership and decision-making experience which many of their civilian counterparts haven’t had. These real-world experiences often provide a far better indicator for success in an MBA program than GMAT scores alone.
Consequently, business schools that waive the GMAT for veterans choose instead to look holistically at a veteran’s experiences, character, and application to determine if he or she will be a good fit for a program.
Second, MBA programs are inherently collaborative. The business world requires teamwork and collaboration, and business school curricula reflect this reality, as a large portion of coursework is group-based. And, veterans provide tremendous diversity of experience and thought within both these groups and the broader business school classroom, which is why many MBA programs seek to meet a certain quota of veteran students in each cohort.
Bottom line, having veterans in classrooms enhances the learning experience for all students, which is why many programs choose to waive the GMAT requirement for these applicants.
MBA Programs that Waive GMAT Requirements
After reading the above information about both the challenges of the GMAT and the rationale behind waiving this requirement for veterans, the next question to ask is, what MBA programs actually waive the GMAT requirement?
Here’s a list of eight major MBA programs that waive GMAT requirements, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list. If you’re interested in an MBA program not included below – but don’t feel comfortable taking the GMAT – reach out to that specific program to discuss your options.
- University of Arizona – Eller College of Management
- Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business
- Western Michigan – Haworth College of Business
- Xavier – Williams College of Business
- North Carolina State University – Jenkins MBA
- Purdue – Krannert School of Management
- University of Miami – UOnline MBA
- Syracuse University – Whitman School of Management
Top Veteran-friendly MBA Programs without GMAT Requirements
After cross-referencing the above list of MBA programs that waive GMAT requirements against the list of top business schools for veterans according to Military Times, two programs fall on both lists: Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management and Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.
In other words, for veterans looking to pursue an MBA in a military-friendly program but don’t want to take the GMAT, here are two outstanding options:
Syracuse University – Whitman School of Management
From a curriculum standpoint, Whitman offers a two-year, full-time, 54-credit-hour program. Of those credits, 36 are core courses and 18 include elective credits. With these electives, veterans can specialize in up to two of the following seven concentrations:
- Business analytics
- Entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises
- Marketing management
- Real estate
- Supply chain management
Additionally, Whitman provides tailored career preparation for its veteran MBA students. These veterans receive personalized career counseling, networking opportunities with established business professionals, internship and job placement assistance, and professional development training focused on interview preparation and practice.
Lastly, from a financing perspective, even though Syracuse University is a private school with tuition above the GI Bill ceiling, it’s a Yellow Ribbon participant. This means that veterans who apply for and receive a Yellow Ribbon slot will have 100% of their tuition covered.
Ohio State University – Fisher College of Business
Similar to Whitman, Fisher College of Business provides veterans the ability to personalize their MBA degree programs. Each student can focus their degree by selecting from a breadth of different electives and optional pathways, meaning that you can tailor your studies to meet your career goals.
Additionally, Fisher promotes the following advantages to its MBA program:
- Strong networking opportunities due to small program size (less than 200 full-time MBA students)
- World-renowned faculty with both academic and real-world industry expertise
- Experiential learning via work-study programs to help regional, national, and international companies to solve real-world problems
- Options for a global MBA perspective via the Global Applies Projects and Global Business Expeditions opportunities
For veterans, Fisher also offers the following support:
- Waived application fee and help finding financial aid opportunities
- Automated qualification for in-state tuition
- Roughly 90% of military students receive scholarships
- Inclusion in and support from the Fisher Veterans Association, designed to support fellow vets in their pursuit of MBAs
- A large – and growing – community of student veterans
For veterans considering an MBA, the GMAT can pose a major challenge – especially if you’ve been out of the classroom and “study mode” for a long time. Fortunately, many MBA programs provide GMAT waivers for the military and veteran community, meaning that you shouldn’t let this difficult test derail your MBA goals.
Maurice “Chipp” Naylon spent nine years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He is currently a licensed CPA specializing in real estate development and accounting.
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