MBA in USA without GMAT

MBA In USA Without GMAT: A Complete Guide 2024 - LilacBuds

The USA is one of the most chosen destinations for students aspiring to pursue MBA programs. Home to some of the world’s top MBA programs and being a pioneer in STEM learning, the United States is the hub for MBA and other Master’s courses. Known to be the largest economy in the world, the USA offers global business education and helps broaden your horizons to stay ahead of the international business landscape. 

To enroll in an MBA course in the USA, students need to fulfill the eligibility criteria and submit proof of their readiness to succeed in such a program. One of the major eligibility factors in US universities is the GMAT / GRE score. You need to prepare well in advance and appear for the GMAT / GRE to be eligible for many MBA courses in the USA. 

However, if you have not appeared for the test and still want to pursue your goal of an MBA in the USA, you may still get admitted to certain colleges that offer a general waiver or a conditional waiver for the tests. Here is a piece of detailed information on pursuing an MBA in the USA without GMAT as well as a list of universities to study MBA in the USA without GMAT. 

The importance of GMAT

GMAT or the Graduate Management and Aptitude Test is the best way to get admission to a reputed college in the USA to pursue an MBA course. Having a valid GMAT score ensures you have an added advantage when it comes to getting admission to your choice of college for pursuing a management degree. A GMAT score helps in the following ways:

  • Measures your verbal and quantitative skills as per the curricular requirements
  • Assess your commitment and motivation for the MBA program
  • Check your ability in terms of focus, aptitude, and diligence, all required to perform and succeed in the global business realm 

Why do MBA schools consider admission without requiring a GMAT score?

Several business schools are adopting a more holistic approach to assessing applicants, leading to the granting of GRE / GMAT waivers. This shift emphasizes a comprehensive evaluation that considers work experience, leadership capabilities, and academic achievements, rather than solely relying on standardized test scores.

The recognition among business schools is growing that GMAT/GRE scores solely may not accurately reflect an applicant’s capabilities, business acumen, and other critical skills. As a result, institutions are placing greater emphasis on a broader range of criteria to provide a more nuanced evaluation of candidates.

How to study MBA in the USA without a GMAT?

While GMAT has been an important criterion for MBA admission in the USA, more and more colleges are now open to enrolling students in MBA in the USA without GMAT. However, it is important to apply for a waiver request as soon as possible. The waiver request can be made via an essay along with your applications, or a pre-application email along with your CV attached. We believe most US B-schools will only offer a limited number of seats to MBA applicants without a GMAT or GRE score, so don’t feel disheartened if the school replies suggesting that you must take the test since that’s the policy for the school.

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MBA Universities in the USA without GMAT

For international students, MBA is one of the most sought-after courses in the USA. owing to its high demand and promising career opportunities, aspiring students look to get into top universities and colleges for an MBA. Here are some of the leading universities offering MBA programs in the USA without GMAT:

Name of University

QS World University Ranking 2024

Programs Offered

Average tuition fee for full-time MBA program

USC Marshall  – Full-time/part-time/Executive MBA/One year MBA/Part-time MBA




Harvard Business School 4 Full-time MBA $74,910
Scheller College of Business Full-time/Executive/Evening $29,508 for a Georgia resident and $40,752 for Non-residents


Stanford University 5 Full time $79,860
UCLA Anderson 29 MBA $74,618
University of Chicago 11 Full-time/Evening/Executive/Weekend MBA $76,350
McDonough School of Business Full-time/Flexible/Flexible online MBA $64,600
Johnson Cornell Full-time MBA/Executive MBA $79,910 onwards
NYU Stern 38 Full-time/Executive/Part-time/Dual Degree/Specialised MBA $84,180
Columbia University 23 Full-time/Executive MBA $84,496

Also, please note that the tuition fees are subject to change and at the discretion of the university management. It is therefore recommended you check the official website of the desired university for any latest updates.

Eligibility criteria for MBA in the USA without GMAT

The eligibility requirement for MBA programs in the USA without GMAT remains the same as for MBA where GMAT is required. While some requirements may vary as per university rules, the basic criteria remain unchanged. However, since you are requesting a waiver of your GMAT score, it is important that your application stands out and captures the eye of officials through your other transcripts. Do not forget to include:

  • Well-written Essays that adequately demonstrate your goals and experiences
  • Providing two or more strong letters of recommendation confirming your readiness for B-school
  • GPA score during college
  • Relevant work experience including promotions and leadership roles
  • Additional degrees, if any

MBA Programs in USA Without GMAT - Lilacbuds

Requirement for GMAT waiver

Typically, to qualify for a waiver of the GMAT/GRE test, it is necessary to present substantial evidence of academic excellence and preparedness, demonstrating the capability to thrive in a business school environment. While the specific criteria may vary among MBA programs, there is a general trend toward seeking candidates with robust undergraduate performance, particularly in quantitative and analytical subjects. 

Other qualifications that may support a waiver include holding certifications like the CFA charter or CPA, possessing a graduate degree in a quantitative field, or having professional experience involving regular use of quantitative and analytical skills.

When should you apply for a GMAT waiver?

Applicants should consider applying for GMAT/GRE test waivers based on the specific requirements outlined by each business school. Certain institutions prefer that candidates request a waiver before submitting their MBA application. In such cases, if the waiver is not granted, applicants are then required to take the exam before finalizing their application. On the other hand, some programs integrate the waiver request process directly within the application. This approach allows applicants to submit their complete application before determining whether they still need to take the test.

It is crucial to thoroughly review the instructions provided by each school and conduct thorough research well in advance. Some schools may have deadlines for waiver requests that precede the general application deadline by several weeks. Being well-informed about each school’s specific procedures ensures that applicants can navigate the process seamlessly and meet all requirements.

Final word

The changing landscape for MBA admissions across the world and the option to skip GMAT have opened new horizons for aspiring candidates. Besides the standard test, management schools are now emphasizing academics, professional excellence, and an overall compelling application. This is a reflection that talents and accomplishments are recognized, and applicants can seek admission by showcasing leadership, meticulous preparation, and academic excellence. 

LilacBuds is one of the leading MBA consulting organizations helping students get admission to MBA programs in the USA without a GMAT. Feel free to reach out to our experts for guidance and support at any point in your MBA admissions journey. Good luck!

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