Most MBA admissions teams stress that the application process is holistic, meaning they take into account all elements of the candidate’s application and don’t assign overwhelming weight to any one aspect.
In a recent update to UCLA Anderson School of Management‘s MBA Insider’s Blog, Associate Director of MBA Admissions Jessica Chung provides some answers for applicants who have expressed concern over how UCLA Anderson weighs test scores and undergraduate academic performance.
Like several elite business schools, Anderson now accepts either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the GMAT for admission. Chung is more candid than most in MBA admissions when she advises, “If you have not taken either test and are unsure which one to study for, I would lean towards the GMAT since it was designed specifically for business school admissions and we have more familiarity with it.”
Ultimately applicants should choose whichever exam they feel comfortable with that would best highlight their abilities, but from Chung’s comment we come away feeling that the GMAT is still the “gold standard” in MBA admissions simply because it’s a more more known entity.
A diverse class leads to a robust and lively educational experience, which is why UCLA Anderson encourages applicants from all majors to apply. For that reason, applicants with little quantitative experience in undergrad should strive to do exceptionally well on the GMAT or GRE. On the flip side, candidates with a strong quantitative track record in an academic or employment setting might alleviate any concerns admissions might have over a less-than-stellar test score.
Interestingly, Chung explains that the admissions team looks beyond the grades or GPA of your undergraduate transcript and considers factors such as the rigor of your school and course load trends over time.
All of the puzzle pieces—test scores, GPA, essay, recommendation letter, interview, work experience—are considered when it comes to making admissions decisions, and, says Chung, “It’s this holistic approach that leads us to an incredible class each year!”
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The Round 1 deadline is coming up on October 22, 2014. Please check out our Fall 2015 UCLA Anderson MBA essay tips for advice on how to approach this year’s streamlined essay prompt.