Three Ways the GRE® Programme Helps Business Schools Expand Their Applicant Pools (And ways the GRE® General Test benefits your applicants)

The word is out, and the message has been received: The GRE® General Test helps Business Schools access a massive, diverse, global pool of qualified candidates, a growing number of whom are interested in pursuing business degrees. A decade ago, only about 100 or so Business Schools were accepting GRE scores for their MBA programmes. Today, nearly 1,300 Business Schools around the world accept GRE scores for their MBA programmes.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS), the company that makes the GRE tests, works closely with Business Schools to ensure that its assessments and services are helping them achieve their recruitment and enrolment goals. ETS worked with Business Schools to conduct validity research which shows that GRE scores are valid predictors of success in MBA programmes. The GRE team also engages with more than a dozen highly regarded Business School deans and faculty members, who offer their input and insights as members of the GRE Programme’s Business School Advisory Council and help guide ETS in meeting the needs of the Business School community. See the list of current Council members.

Why are more Business Schools accepting GRE scores?

Primarily, Business Schools want access to a larger applicant pool of diverse, qualified candidates from around the world. More than 550,000 individuals from 160 countries take the GRE General Test each year, and the number of them interested in a business programme has consistently increased each year.

The GRE Programme helps Business Schools expand their applicant pool by offering:  

1.  Access to a large, diverse, international pool of test takers

A large, diverse pool of applicants is a key driver for Business Schools accepting GRE scores, whether, for example, they are interested in attracting individuals with various educational and career backgrounds or from different countries of origin. And they know that the GRE General Test will serve as a common measure to compare students from these differing backgrounds. 

Of the nearly 550,000 individuals who took the GRE General Test in the 2016–17 testing year (July 1–June 30), 43% were citizens of countries other than the United States, with students from India and China comprising a large portion.

Business Schools also benefit from GRE test takers’ breadth of fields majored in during their undergraduate programmes, including life sciences, physical sciences, education, engineering, humanities, social and behavioural sciences, and business. 

This information and more is publicly available in a report titled A Snapshot of the Individuals Who Took the GRE® General Test, available on the GRE website.  

2.  Access to a growing pool of applicants interested in business

The number of GRE test takers indicating an MBA as their intended degree objective increased 10.6% from 2015–16 to 2016–17, according to the snapshot report. And in the past five years, the number of GRE test takers indicating business as their intended graduate major increased by 39%. Also, the percentage of women indicating business as their intended graduate major grew 3% from the 2015–16 testing year.

Business Schools that want to attract GRE test takers should ensure that their website and recruitment materials clearly indicate that GRE scores are accepted, and explicitly state that they have no preference regarding which graduate admissions test scores prospective students submit.

3.  A cost-effective way to find prospective students

The GRE Programme offers institutions access to the GRE® Search Service, a database of about a half million individuals who have taken or plan to take a GRE test and have opted in to receive information from participating institutions. Programmes can choose from 30+ search criteria — including country of citizenship, preferred region for graduate study, intended graduate major field, intended enrolment date and intended graduate degree objective — to more precisely target recruitment campaigns and meet specific enrolment goals.

The GRE Search Service is designed to help Schools maximize their recruitment results. A Director of Recruitment for an MBA programme in the Pacific Northwest recently indicated that the GRE Search Service enables her to test recruitment strategies in new geographic markets to gauge interest before increasing her investment.

Ways the GRE General Test benefits your applicants

The benefits of the GRE General Test are not exclusive to Business Schools. Students benefit as well. Here’s how:

  • Convenience: The GRE General Test is offered at more than 1,000 test centres around the world — more than any other Business School graduate admissions test. In most regions of the world, the computer-based test is available on a continuous basis throughout the year. In remote areas of the world where computer-based testing is not available, ETS offers a paper-delivered version to ensure access to the test.
  • Cost: The GRE test is less expensive than other Business School graduate admissions tests and the cost includes sending four score reports to institutions.
  • Flexibility: Students interested in dual degrees can avoid the hurdle of needing to prepare and pay for multiple tests. No matter what advanced degree your students are considering, they will have more opportunities when they take the GRE General Test because it is accepted by graduate and Business Schools worldwide. Test takers also have the option to send only their best scores to schools, which can help them approach test day with confidence.
  • Visibility: Test takers can sign up for the GRE Search Service during registration, which allows for their GRE profile to be viewed by graduate and Business School recruiters.
  • Test taker friendly features: The test offers test taker friendly features such as the ability to skip questions and go back and change answers. These features allow test takers to decide how to approach each question and each section in a way that fits their personal test-taking strategies.

For more information on how the GRE General Test and GRE services can benefit Business Schools and applicants, visit our website or email gretests@ets.org.