An MBA can open a lot of professional and personal doors and is certain to be an asset to your expanding list of qualifications as well as a valuable learning experience. Most MBAs, however, require you to have already completed a GMAT or GRE, often both, and some institutions favor one over the other. It can be difficult to decide which one to pursue and then you’ll have to commit to a 6-month study period to get your qualification — all before starting the course that you actually want to do.
But there are options for those without a traditional business background or those who don’t have the time or financial means to invest in these additional requirements. The MBA offered at the University of Europe Laureate Digital, for example, doesn’t require students to have completed either a GRE or GMAT beforehand.
Initially, this might seem like an odd choice — there is certainly academic value in both the GRE and GMAT, and they are often solid indicators of a student’s success on an MBA program. Filipe Castro Soeiro, Academic Director at the University of Europe Laureate Digital, explains the reasoning behind dropping these requirements:
“Currently, we are seeing major changes in societies, organisations, social and cultural aspects, human behaviour. This means, of course, that the learning pathways of students are changing as well. I don’t see GMAT and GRE as gateways to this new reality.”
That’s not to say that they are without value — Filipe recognizes their importance: “Of course verbal reasoning, quantitative analysis and so on, are extremely valuable. No one is disputing that. The point is, change focusing on knowledge, especially when combined with experience, is also very important. The customer is no longer the ultimate entity in the chain that buys a product or service. Instead, the customer is now at the core of the social network, the business network, and this is changing the way students are learning, thinking.”
While certainly beneficial in assessing some key skills, it’s also important to recognise the limitations these tests impose: “My personal opinion is that these tests have to evolve,” Filipe says. “We are missing very important components. Design thinking, for instance. Why are there no design thinking tests? What are we potentially missing when we don’t test students for computational thinking? It’s more and more important that we recognise these skills as the importance of technology increases. The ability to interact with the network, think innovatively — these will be increasingly fundamental skills.”
When thinking about these questions, it becomes clearer that the GMAT or GRE could prevent potentially talented students from pursuing an MBA path. The aim of the University of Europe Laureate Digital MBA is to open the doors to non-traditional students, as well as those who might have different perspectives or ways of thinking. Not only that, it helps to increase student opportunity: “A different approach is also very important when it comes to respecting the diversity of students. A diverse cultural environment, that is more global, is more adaptable to a global network.”
Increasing diversity among the student population makes sense considering the increasingly global nature of social and business networks. More than that, however, Filipe and the University of Europe Laureate Digital are all too aware how important interacting within a digital community and virtual framework will be in the years to come. As more of the world has access to technology, talent will arise from an increasing number of places — and such talent may not have access to traditional educational systems.
Having already completed a GMAT or GRE will, of course, be no hindrance on a University of Europe Laureate Digital MBA, but owing to the innovative, peer-to-peer-based and personally tailored approach that our courses take, it’s not central to success.