What Does ‘No GMAT Required’ Admissions Mean for You?

The COVID-19 pandemic has added fuel to the debate over standardized testing admission requirements. Most universities and colleges dropped standardized testing requirement for Fall 2021 admissions. The idea of this being a permanent thing has a lot of buzz in higher education. Many educational institutions realize that standardized testing is not always an accurate representation of an applicant’s ability to succeed. The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is no exception in this debate. A majority of the top 100 MBA programs are waiving the GMAT admissions requirement. The University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business has recently joined many other schools by not requiring the GMAT for their MBA, Master of Science in Marketing, Master of Science in Finance, and the Master of Science in Taxation starting Spring 2022 semester. This change is exciting news for the 115-year-old business school and even more exciting news for future students. When a decision like dropping the GMAT admissions requirement is made a lot of questions can surface. I think one of the biggest questions is what does this mean for future applicants? Let’s dive into answering what, why, and how questions of this decision.

What is the GMAT?

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which administers the GMAT, the exam is designed to assess the skills needed to be successful in business school programs. The GMAT has several components, including analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning section, quantitative reasoning section, and a verbal reasoning section. Based on these sections, the exam gives institutions the ability to assess applicants and predict their success in their business programs. The exam was developed in collaboration with faculty members of graduate management programs. According to the GMAC, the test questions were created by international experts and included examples that minimize English-speaking or US-centric bias. The GMAC also states that the GMAT is used by more than 2,100 universities and institutions worldwide. This exam is a reputable and highly utilized test. Even if the test isn’t required at the business school of your choice, it’s still an excellent way to get a baseline understanding of the skills you already possess. Having that understanding is not only valuable for the universities but also for you as potential grad students. Entering graduate school confidently knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are can only help you in being successful.

Why Change the Requirement?

If the GMAT is supposed to help predict whether an applicate will be successful in a business program, why change the requirement? Jeffrey Franke, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs at the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, explains…

“By making test scores optional, we are working towards making our admission processes more holistic and reducing barriers to applying. Research has shown that test scores are not the only predictor of success in our programs. We want to help as many applicants as possible to be academically successful and achieve their career goals.

A thorough review of the applicant’s academic and work history, demonstration of their ability to be successful in their academic program, and recommendations provide a more complete picture for our admissions committees. Test scores are one piece of the puzzle and are helpful in some cases.

We leave it to the applicant to provide as much detail and information in their application and in interviews as they can to demonstrate their ability to succeed in the topics to be studied.”

Franke makes some key points that are especially applicable to online higher education. First is the idea of accessibility. By not requiring the GMAT for admissions into some of their master’s programs the Carl H. Lindner College of Business is opening the door to many who may never have considered applying due to the GMAT requirement. One of the goals at the University of Cincinnati Online is to provide the flexibility students need so they can complete their degree and achieve their career goals. Remove the GMAT application requirement and add the flexibility of online education from the University of Cincinnati and you a recipe for many to have the opportunity to attend a top-tier university, earn a quality degree, and further their career.

The second point Franke makes is that a GMAT test score doesn’t always tell the whole story of an applicant. In online education, students come from all over with varying experiences. As Franke mentions, it’s the academic and work experience in conjunction with recommendations and a demonstration of their ability to be successful in their academic program that shows a true picture of an applicant. Knowing that an applicant’s success is more than a test score gives the Carl H. Lindner College of Business admissions committee the freedom to view applications more holistically.

Finally, Franke explains that with a more holistic application process, it is left up to the applicants to demonstrate their ability to succeed in their program. As mentioned before, students of online education come from all over with varying experiences. It is the unique experiences of applicants that bring a diverse group of students. The University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business understands that the future is built on innovation and diversity. By giving applicants the ability to showcase their diverse experiences and innovative thinking, the university is opening the door to the future.

How Does This Change Affect You?

If you’re looking to begin earning your MBA, Master of Science in Marketing, Master of Science in Finance, or Master of Science in Taxation in Spring 2022 this change affects you if you’re one of two types of applicants. Either you’re someone who has not taken the GMAT or someone who has taken the test. Whether you’ve taken the test or not, removing the GMAT as a listed requirement from the application process means that it’s optional. As Franke explained, the University of Cincinnati wants to take a holistic approach to admissions, meaning that GMAT scores are just a piece of the puzzle. Taking the test can’t hurt your application, and if you do take the test and aren’t satisfied with the results, that can’t hurt your either. It is up to you to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and determination to succeed in the program. The GMAT can certainly help you demonstrate that, but it’s not the only way.


After diving into the Carl H. Lindner School of Business’s decision to remove the GMAT application requirement, hopefully, you understand more of what, why, and how. Specifically, why. Being a university with online programs is a unique privilege because we can welcome individuals with different life experiences, creating a diverse student body. The ability to open the door even more and allow for more accessibility is what the University of Cincinnati Online strives to accomplish. Standardized testing is just a piece of the puzzle, there is so much more a person can bring to the table that can make them successful in our programs.

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