CSU College of Business opens doors wider for prospective grad students

MAB students visit while walking.

In recent years, Colorado State University’s College of Business has been re-assessing its requirement of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for application to graduate programs. And — with student feedback closely considered — the College of Business has come to the decision to forgo the GMAT as a requirement for its Executive MBA, Part-Time MBA, and Online MBA programs.

The change is effective immediately, meaning that for the summer 2017 semester and beyond, no applicant to these programs will have to take the test.

Why the change?

“The MBA program’s audience is largely individuals with several years of work experience,” says Jill Terry, assistant dean of College of Business Graduate Programs. “CSU believes their success in industry speaks to their ability to perform in the MBA program. We’ve found that standardized tests do not accurately measure prospective students’ ability to complete the complex real-world projects that are addressed in the MBA curriculum.”

Kevin Kuhnen, a current CSU MBA student who was able to get a waiver for the GMAT, agrees. “I was coming from the business world with nine years of professional experience that included handling multi-million dollar deals, and managing other employees,” he says. “I felt like my work experience provided me the qualifications to achieve my MBA. In addition, I felt I would bring value to the classroom with my insights and experience.”

Additionally, CSU is not alone in its decision. A number of elite business schools across the U.S. have dropped the GMAT requirement. And as Terry notes, the change does not affect these programs’ rigor or reputations.

“Our College of Business holds the highest accreditation by AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business),” she says. “And while our accrediting body sets these rigorous standards as a minimum for quality business education, it’s our faculty who go above and beyond to ensure that CSU’s graduate business coursework meets and exceeds these standards. As a result, our students have a superior experience regardless of how they may have scored on a standardized test.”

Opening the doors

Kuhnen says not having to take the GMAT will remove barriers for many people continuing their education.

“The test requires hundreds of hours of studying, taking a day off from work to take the test, and a large amount of unneeded stress,” he says. “For most professionals, time is precious.”

As he says, the intense preparation means people are spending time away from their hobbies, jobs, and even more importantly, their families. “Removing the GMAT requirement puts that precious time back into the applicants’ possession,” he notes. “That meant the world to me.”

Beyond the study time, it costs about $250 to take the GMAT. As a result of all these factors, the daunting nature of the test has become clear in recent years: The number of students taking the GMAT has been on the decline. In fact, in January 2017, the total volume of GMATs went down 2 percent in the U.S., and 5 percent worldwide from the previous year.

Kuhnen says the decision should give CSU a competitive edge against other schools, too. That was the case for him, due to timing. While he had already scheduled to sit for the exam, he ultimately canceled it after CSU accepted him, so he wouldn’t have to spend more time waiting on results and decisions.

All of this helps support CSU’s role as a land grant university, Terry says.

“We continue to support Lincoln and Morrill’s dream to make a great college education available to every American,” she says. “We are proud to provide access and opportunity to individuals who have the motivation and ability to pursue their dreams through education. The College of Business sees the decision to remove the GMAT as another step toward serving this mission.”

Applicant qualifications

Applicants to CSU’s Executive MBA, Part-Time MBA, and Online MBA generally should still be able to demonstrate:

  • Receipt of an undergraduate degree from an accredited, four-year institution in any field, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A minimum of four years of professional work experience

In addition, international applicants must achieve an internet-based TOEFL score of 86 or higher, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher, or a PTE score of 58 or higher.

Discover more

Ready to broaden your horizons through graduate studies at CSU? Now is the right time to take the first step. Apply today to see what the future may have in store for you.