B. S. WARRIER

GRE-based admissions bring diversity to the management programme

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a part of the admission process in more than 4,000 graduate management programmes such as MBA, at nearly 1,800 schools of quality, distributed in various countries. The test measures verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills for judging the suitability of candidates for advanced study in business and management.

The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is used for non-business related graduate programmes to assess the applicants. Business school/law school aspirants generally do not take the GRE.

There is a recent trend of institutions across the globe accepting GRE General Test scores for admission to graduate business schools and MBA studies. The reason behind the trend is that the GRE style enhances and diversifies the applicant pool of business programmes. The diversity in terms of participants from different disciplines and career trajectories with different backgrounds would enrich the business programmes. Usually, GRE test-takers are undergraduates who are fresh or with limited job exposure. GMAT is taken more by those with a few years of work experience. The new pattern would offer a fine mix of both the categories, adding to the diversity in the candidate pool.

A large number of universities including the following have already come forward with revised norms permitting GRE candidates to compete in business school admission. Stanford began accepting GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores in June 2006.

United States: California State University – Stanislaus, Cleveland State University, Colorado State University, Delaware State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Harvard Business School 2+2 Programme, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oklahoma City University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, University of Dallas, University of Houston-Victoria, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Belgium: United International Business School-Brussels Business School

Canada: Queen’s School of Business; University of New Brunswick, Saint John

Germany: Troy State University, European Region

Japan: Sophia University

Norway: Norwegian School of Economic and Business Administration

Spain: Barcelona School of Economics

The GRE test measures more or less the same basic cognitive skills as the GMAT. Neither test presumes advanced content knowledge in any specific area. The GRE General Test includes many questions presented in a business context.

The content knowledge in mathematics is more or less the same in GRE and GMAT. However, the GMAT is in general the harder examination.

The GRE questions in mathematics and reading comprehension are relatively easier.

For those who are not proficient in the English language, the verbal section in GMAT may appear tougher than the Verbal Reasoning part in GRE.

Neither the GRE nor the GMAT assumes advanced knowledge in any specific discipline, including business or management. Further, the GRE General Test contains many questions, as in data interpretation, presented in a business context.

Comparison tool

The Educational Testing Service that conducts a variety of tests like the SAT, GRE, TOEFL, and MAPP (Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress) at the global level has evolved a GRE Comparison Tool for Business Schools and given in its website www.ets.org/gre/comparison.

The online tool offers business schools a method to predict GMAT scores from GRE General Test scores.

After entering a candidate’s Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores in the worksheet, we can see the predictable GMAT Total score. An example cited by the tool predicts a GMAT score of 570 for a candidate with GRE scores of 490 (Verbal) and 680 (Quantitative) respectively.

There are finer aspects in the comparison and prediction such as confidence level and standard error, which may be gathered by directly operating the tool with specific scores in specific situations.

In the final comparison, data such as the scores or grades in the undergraduate examination and faculty recommendation will also be taken into account to predict success in a business school. The statistical exercise in the tool is a boon to candidates desirous of entering business schools on the strength of their GRE scores.

The very basis of the comparison and acceptance of GRE for business school entry is the high level of correlation between the two tests. But a generalised equation of the two sets of scores is not fair, since the way in which the scores are primarily intended to be used are different.

The GRE does not focus on the total score, but keeps the scores in Verbal and Quantitative separate for use by graduate school admitting authorities.

But with GMAT, the total score in Verbal and Quantitative is used for admission decision. This means that the scores in GRE and GMAT are not directly interchangeable. But they can be wisely used for comparison and prediction on the lines indicated above.

From the standpoint of the candidates, the system offers tremendous advantage.

They can compete for admission both in general graduate schools and business schools on the strength of the GRE scores. They save time, effort, and money in the process.