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GRE for Business School

When you say entrance test and business school, you typically get a reflex response (GMAT!). But taking the GRE for business school may actually be a better choice.  To see if this applies to you, keep in mind the following points.


Most top name b-schools accept the GRE

Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, UC Berkeley, Duke, MIT, NYU, and Yale all accept GRE scores. ETS, which creates the GRE, carries a full list on its website. As to whether these programs each weigh the two tests the same is difficult to say. If you are entering a quant-heavy program, then it may favor the GMAT over the GRE for business school. Otherwise, which test you take may not be as important as many think. Scoring well is all that matters.


Keeping your options open

By taking the GRE, you do not limit yourself to only business school. The GRE is the only test for almost every graduate school. So if you are unsure about your future plans, then taking the GRE over the GMAT may definitely be the wiser decision. But then again, if you’re that unsure you might have bigger issues to tackle than which test to take.


Putting your best foot forward

The GRE favors those who have developed vocabulary and taken a slew of humanities courses in college, versus those who’ve only taking business-related courses. The GRE also favors those who may not be as math inclined. Again, there is a inverse relationship between quantitative aptitude and taking humanities courses in school. That is not to say the GRE math is easy, but it is far more learnable than the math component of the GMAT.


More places to take the test

For some, especially those in far flung foreign countries (Magoosh students have come from anywhere from Azerbaijan to Zaire!), finding a testing center offering the GRE will most likely be much easier than finding testing center offering the GMAT. After all, the GMAT is offered in only 500 locations worldwide. The GRE, by contrast, is offered in nearly 7,000 locations worldwide.


Save a little money

Taking the GRE costs $185 whereas the GMAT will run you $250. While that doesn’t sound like a major difference, for some the $65 they save taking the GRE is not inconsequential. In regards to the point above (‘More places to take the test’), travel time and cost will likely also be lower for GRE takers, since the GMAT is administered in far fewer testing centers (you may have to leave your country just to take the GMAT).



Depending on where you live, your skill set, and where you hope to go for graduate school (if you even decide to go to b-school), the GRE might be the test for you. Of course, if you’re dead set on a certain business school program, then you should do the appropriate research before making the decision.


So which test would you prefer take? Let us know. 🙂


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4 Responses to GRE for Business School

  1. Adam September 11, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    I’m not sure what the chances are of having this answered but I’m in the process of applying in round 2 to the top 16 business schools. I scored 160V 163Q on the GRE exam. Truthfully I’d like to be in the 90th percentile and don’t want to take this darn thing again. I’m hoping my background will make up the difference. I had a 3.5 GPA from a “Public Ivy” (whatever this means) Big Ten School and was a scholarship athlete. When I didn’t make it pro I took a job working for the top bank in the country and partnered with a high profile advisor. I left this job cuz my partner didn’t have the same personal character as mine. I suppose that’s common on Wall Street. I’m now attempting to be an investment banker and would like to gain admission to a target school. What do you think my chances are and can I squeak in without taking this darn test again?

  2. Anand May 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I am having one additional query on this GRE vs GMAT discussion. I personally feel GRE quants are easier compared to GMAT and have belief that i could score better in GRE compared to GMAT. But, how exactly does this GRE vs GMAT come into picture during the placements after completing the MBA degree? For example, in Schulich website, i read as follows – “Students can submit either GRE/GMAT scores. However, if you havent taken anyone yet, please go ahead with GMAT as the recruiters would most likely prefer GMAT scores”. So, does this GRE/GMAT come into picture at the time of job interviews? Thanks a lot in advance

  3. Maria January 18, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Hi Chris,

    God bless you for helping me out in this dilemma. A friend of mine told me I was a fool to take the GRE instead of GMAT as I intend to do my MBA. But thank you so much for this informative post.
    Now I feel like a burden has been lifted off my chest.

    Thank you!!


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 23, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Hi Maria,

      I’m glad this post did so much to allay any doubt or uncertainty. Good luck with your GRE prep–if you decide to go that way–and let me know if you have any questions along the way.

      Good luck 🙂

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