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Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help students enter or advance in a number of different business-related fields, including finance, human resources, marketing, and information technology. However, having to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) may be a barrier to entry for students considering an MBA. The good news is there are many high-quality MBA programs that don’t require this test for admission.

Many students pursue an MBA to prepare them for management roles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment in management positions will increase at a faster-than-average pace through 2032, with an average of 1.1 million new job openings annually during that time. The average median salary for managers across all industries is $107,360. Other jobs that MBA graduates can pursue include management analyst, human resources manager, and financial analyst.

Tuition costs for MBA programs vary. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the average annual tuition for graduate programs during the 2021-22 academic year was $12,596 at public institutions and $29,931 at private non-profit colleges. Completion time also differs, with most MBA degrees taking 1-2 years of full-time study.

How to Choose an MBA (No GMAT) Program

Choose your area of study

MBAs are highly versatile degrees that cater to a diverse student body and give students many specialization options. Therefore, before you begin researching programs, it’s helpful to establish some parameters for what you’re seeking.

Students have the option to pursue a general MBA that covers a broad range of business-related topics or choose a concentration in a specific area of business, such as finance, information technology, human resources, management, or entrepreneurship. Think about what your long-term career goals are and determine if an MBA with a concentration will help you prepare for the type of employment you desire.

It’s also helpful to consider what type of MBA program is appropriate for your educational and professional background. Some MBA programs, known as executive MBAs, require that students have an undergraduate degree in business or a related field as well as several years of professional experience. Others are open to students from all educational backgrounds and cover both foundational and advanced business topics.

You may also want to consider other types of master’s degrees in business or related areas, such as a Master of Science (MS) in management or a Master of Finance (M.Fin). These degrees cover similar topics but have a different pedagogical approach than an MBA.

This is also an appropriate time to consider your logistical needs, including budget and schedule. Determine whether you’re able to accommodate daytime classes in your schedule or if you’ll need a program with classes that meet in the evenings or on weekends. If fitting in-person classes is challenging due to work or family responsibilities, you can also explore online MBA programs.

Research schools and programs

Knowing what you’re looking for in an MBA (no GMAT) program can help you narrow your search from the many options available.

Most students start their research by visiting the school’s website, where they can find information about the curriculum, admissions requirements, faculty, and tuition costs. Attending open houses or information sessions can also be a good way to gather more information about programs and determine if they’re a good fit.

Some questions you may want to ask when conducting your research include:

  • What is the curriculum, and does it align with my interests and goals?
  • Who are the faculty members, and what are their qualifications?
  • What networking and mentorship opportunities are available?
  • Is there an internship or other experiential learning component?
  • What support services does the school offer to students?
  • What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available?
  • What type of accreditation does the institution and program have?

Accreditation is important because it can affect students’ financial aid eligibility, employment options, and future educational opportunities. Schools in the U.S. can be regionally or nationally accredited, with regional accreditation being the more widely recognized accreditation status. MBA programs can also have programmatic accreditation through agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Students can verify institutional and programmatic accreditation through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s database.

Prepare for tests and applications

Even if the MBA programs you’re applying to don’t require the GMAT or the GRE, another common standardized test for graduate programs, there are still several application materials you must submit. Specific requirements for MBA admissions vary by school, so be sure to consult with admissions counselors from the schools you’re applying to before beginning your application.

In general, applications for MBA programs require the following:

  • Completed application and required fees
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Personal statement

Because of the lack of a GMAT requirement, schools typically give more weight to your undergraduate academic record, work history, and personal statement. They may also require an interview to help determine if you’re a good fit for the program.

Select your program

Once you have a shortlist of MBA programs, determine how many you want to apply to. Admission to MBA programs can be competitive, so you may want to apply to multiple programs to increase your odds of admission. However, your priorities and interests should be the main guide to how many applications you submit. If you apply to and are accepted by multiple MBA programs, return to the list of parameters you made in step one and compare programs based on these factors to decide which one is best for you.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

As you research programs, you should collect information about tuition and available financial aid resources at the schools you’re considering. If necessary, speak to a financial aid counselor to get clarity on costs and financial aid.

If you plan on working while earning an MBA, consult with your employer about tuition assistance benefits. Because an MBA gives students so many in-demand skills, many employers are willing to help students financially with obtaining this degree.

In order to access federal student aid, such as student loans and grants, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges use the information from this application to determine eligibility for federal and institutional need-based aid. Graduate students are eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans through the U.S. Department of Education. Many external organizations, including professional associations, nonprofits, and community and religious groups, also award scholarships and grants.

Best 50 Accredited MBA (No GMAT) Degree Programs

Best MBA No GMAT Degree Programs

University of California, Los Angeles

MSU Broad College of Business

William & Mary School of Business

Southern Methodist University

Fordham University

University of Pittsburgh

Washington University in St. Louis

Baruch College

Duke University

University of Notre Dame

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of California, Irvine

GW School of Business

University of Denver

University of California, Davis

Stanford University

Baylor University

Harvard Business School

University of Cincinnati

University of San Diego

University of Chicago

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How we rank schools

This list features some of the best MBA (no GMAT) programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, regionally accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. Many of the options on our list also have programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), both reputable organizations that assess business programs for educational excellence.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for on-campus students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of MBA programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an MBA (No GMAT) Degree Program?

The curriculums for MBA programs are similar regardless of whether they require GMAT scores as part of the admissions process. The number of required credits typically ranges from 36-60, which translates to 1-2 years of full-time study or 2-3 years of part-time study.

Most programs feature a core curriculum of general business-related courses in areas like management, leadership, business ethics and law, financial accounting, and communication. After completing these courses, students can choose electives or a specialization that allows them to focus on an area of interest, such as marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, or human resources.

Internships or other experiential learning requirements are common in MBA programs, and they give students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they learn in classes in a real-world setting. Some MBA programs also require a thesis or capstone project to round out the program.

Potential courses you’ll take in an MBA degree (no GMAT) program

  • Business Strategy: Introduces students to principles and conceptual frameworks for evaluating and formulating business strategy, including analysis of industry economics, strategic positioning and competitive advantage, and the role of resources and capabilities in shaping and sustaining competitive advantages.
  • Leadership Communication: Introduces students to the foundations of effective management communication by covering ways to communicate clearly, strategically, persuasively, and collaboratively in professional settings.  
  • Managerial Economics: Examines market behavior and focuses on the actions and reactions of businesses and consumers in various market environments. Topics include supply and demand analysis, production and pricing decisions, and market equilibrium.
  • Leadership, Ethics, and Organizations: Focuses on the principles that leaders use to analyze and improve performance in organizations and the ways leaders can contribute to their firms to inspire respect and attention.

MBA (No GMAT) Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an MBA (no GMAT) degree program?

To apply to an MBA (no GMAT) degree program, you’ll most likely submit an online application and send other supporting materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statement) electronically through an admissions portal. Contact the school’s admissions office if you have questions about the required application materials and how to submit them.

Admission to many MBA programs is competitive, so you must be mindful of application deadlines and start terms. Some programs only admit new students once or twice per year, and missing deadlines can impact your ability to start when you want.

Also, pay attention to eligibility criteria. Some programs are open to all students, regardless of their undergraduate area of study and professional background. Others require students to have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field and a certain amount of business experience. They may also have a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement.

How much does an MBA (no GMAT) degree cost?

The cost of an MBA degree varies by school and student circumstances. For example, tuition varies based on whether a school is public or private. According to the Education Data Initiative, an MBA at Binghamton University, a public school, costs $34,940, compared to $112,760 at Harvard University, a private school. However, students should keep in mind that public institutions typically charge higher tuition for students who are considered out-of-state because they’re not permanent residents of the state where the school is located.

The amount of financial aid a student receives will also impact the overall cost of the MBA program. Scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance can lower the cost significantly.

For the most accurate information about the cost of an MBA, students should speak to a financial aid counselor at their chosen school.

How long does it take to earn an MBA (no GMAT) degree?

The total number of required credits and the student’s enrollment status will determine how long it takes to complete an MBA degree. Most MBA programs require 36-60 credits. Programs with fewer credits can typically be completed in 12-18 months, while programs with more credits can take 2-3 years to complete. Part-time students will take longer to progress through their program because they complete fewer courses each term.

Students who transfer previously earned credits from another MBA or graduate program can complete their MBA faster than those who start from scratch. There are also many MBA programs that grant students credit or waive certain requirements if they have applicable work experience. On the other hand, students without a business background may need to complete prerequisite coursework, adding time to their program.

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