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 mba.com 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
Read the full research blog here.
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.