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How Perception of the Value of Admissions Tests Varies by Regions_10
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How Perception of the Value of Admissions Tests Varies by Regions


Rahul Choudaha, PhD


The 2020 Application Trends Survey of over 1,000 graduate management programs worldwide showed that the 2019-2020 admissions season was unlike any other. As the pandemic unfolded and test centers closed, many business schools were compelled to adopt flexible admissions policies, such as extended deadlines, deferral policies, and test waivers. With the launch of GMAT Online, candidates and schools overcame the disruptions of the test center availability. However, some schools remained curious about candidate perceptions of admission exams. They asked us to gauge what admission exams signaled to candidates about business schools, and if that signal varied by candidate segment?

As a part of GMAC’s non-profit mission to “provide the tools and information necessary for schools and talent to discover and evaluate each other,” we responded by including a set of questions in the monthly Prospective Students Survey. These questions complement the previous data on the use of GMAT in graduate management education (GME) admissions and its role in reducing subjectivity and underlying bias. Likewise, prior research published in the Academy of Management Learning & Education concluded that “…the GMAT does better than we thought in predicting future academic performance and persistence in graduate programs in business schools, which is, in turn, positively related to future job performance” (p. 568).

The summary of the data indicates that the candidate perceptions of admissions exams varies by regions.

More than half of candidates (52%) from Western Europe and 43 percent from the US agree that admissions exams improve reliability in the evaluation of graduate business school candidates. Prospective students from Africa (68%), Central & South Asia (68%), and East & Southeast Asia (64%) are more likely to agree that the use of admissions exams demonstrates the importance graduate business schools place on the quality of their students. This is significantly higher than the perspective of candidates from the US (45%) and Western Europe (50%). As many business schools continue to attract and enroll a diverse pool of candidates, they need to recognize the regional differences in the perception of admissions exams as an indicator of quality of business school.


Read the full research blog here.



Dr. Rahul Choudaha is Director of Industry Insights & Research Communications at GMAC in the Washington DC area. He is an evangelist and analyst of graduate management education, focusing on mobility trends, student choices, and enrolment strategies. Choudaha has presented more than 150 sessions at professional conferences and has been quoted over 300 times in global publications. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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