Best Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Required

Updated October 24, 2022

Thinking about getting an MBA? Discover which MBA programs do not require GMAT scores.

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Annual salaries for master of business administration (MBA) graduates can hit $84,580 — over $27,000 more than their counterparts with a bachelor's degree, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers backs up this salary difference.

MBA graduates can compete for many business and financial occupations, for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports high salaries and a 8% projected job growth rate from 2020-2030.

Admission requirements for online MBA programs typically include official transcripts, resumes, recommendation letters, and GMAT scores. The 2019 GMAT Geographic Trend Report indicates that 2,015 U.S. MBA programs accepted GMAT scores in 2019.

However, studying for and taking the GMAT requires time and money, which may seem daunting for students who struggle with test performance. Fortunately, some online MBA programs require no GMAT scores, instead emphasizing strong GPAs, GRE scores, or professional experience. 

Read on for an overview of the best online MBA programs without GMAT requirements.

What Is the GMAT?

Created by business school deans in 1953 and first administered in 1954, the GMAT is a standardized test used to evaluate prospective business students' aptitude and potential. This four-part test features quantitative, integrated reasoning, verbal multiple-choice, and analytical writing sections. These sections assess prospective business students' abilities in analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The GMAT takes 3-4 hours to complete and costs $250.

Graduate programs that typically require the GMAT include the master's in management, the MBA, and MA or MS programs in business-related fields. Strong business schools often look for minimum GMAT scores of 600, while top programs may expect scores in the 700-800 range. Performing well on this difficult test typically requires several months of rigorous study.

Students should plan to take the test several months before school application deadlines to allow time to retake the exam. Examine prospective MBA programs' GMAT requirements carefully, as some schools count only the most recent GMAT score and others accept the highest score. Some schools emphasize the essay score heavily, while MS programs may focus more on the quantitative score.

Why Are Business Schools Waiving or Not Requiring the GMAT?

The GMAT assesses students' basic skills and can help demonstrate their preparedness for graduate study, but it does not measure intangible qualities such as leadership or teamwork abilities. Many business schools continue to eliminate their GMAT requirement to attract more applicants.

Additionally, many schools recognize that advanced degrees and work experience provide strong evidence of the skills needed for success in business school. Schools that still insist on GMAT scores for admission use them to gauge students' commitment to earning a business degree while weeding out less serious candidates.

Offering alternatives to the GMAT benefits both schools and applicants by reducing hurdles that discourage prospective students from applying. For example, offering GMAT waivers to candidates with demonstrated work experience benefits those who have been out of school for a few years, while schools gain a more diverse applicant pool of experienced professionals.

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MBA Admission Requirements in Place of GMAT Scores

Studying for and taking the GMAT requires a significant investment of time and money, so some prospective students narrow their search to online MBA programs with no GMAT requirement or those that offer GMAT waivers to qualified applicants. These schools commonly emphasize the following admission criteria:

  • Work Experience: The best online MBA programs prefer applicants with a few years of professional experience under their belt. Programs that require GMAT scores often waive the standardized testing requirement for students with significant professional experience. Some business schools require a specific amount of work experience for consideration.
  • Advanced Degrees: Similarly, many programs with GMAT requirements do not require applicants with master's degrees to take the exam. Graduate degrees demonstrate that applicants can handle the academic rigor of top online MBA programs.
  • Exceptional GPA: Business schools with no GMAT requirement may emphasize undergraduate performance. By considering a candidate's transcripts, admissions officers can evaluate a student's academic abilities, which they typically deduce through GMAT scores. Programs that generally require the GMAT frequently waive the requirement for students with high GPAs.
  • Professional Licensure: Earning a professional license or certification can help an aspiring business student to stand out from other applicants. Candidates demonstrate skills and industry knowledge through certifications in project management, accounting, financial risk management, financial analysis, and human resources.
  • Letters of Recommendation: By reading recommendation letters from professors and former supervisors, admissions staff can get a sense of an applicant's personality, work ethic, and dedication. Unlike test scores and grades, letters of recommendation add a crucial personal component to an application.
  • Essay or Personal Statement: Most business schools require essays or personal statements as part of their MBA requirements. Prospective business students typically need to explain their reasons for pursuing a business degree and why they are interested in a particular program. Applicants must elaborate on their academic interests and career goals.
  • Graduate Record Exam: This standardized test administered by the Education Testing Service evaluates prospective graduate students' abilities in critical thinking, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The GRE also meets the standardized test score requirement for many graduate schools, including some MBA programs. High GRE scores (often above 285) can qualify MBA applicants for a GMAT waiver at some schools.

Evaluating MBA Programs Without GMAT Requirements

Today's crowded business education landscape features MBA programs differing in characteristics and requirements. However, top MBA schools with no GMAT requirement often share the following five features. To identify the best MBA programs without GMAT requirements, look for these elements during your program search:

Accreditation

This voluntary evaluation process verifies institutions' academic quality. Approved accrediting organizations assess academic curricula, resources, and outcome data to provide recommendations for improvement. Regional accreditation, typically reserved for nonprofit higher education institutions, is more rigorous and considered more prestigious than national accreditation, which typically applies to vocational schools. 

Accreditation protects students by certifying quality, increasing transparency, and ensuring return on investment (ROI). Consult this guide to learn more about accreditation.

Affordability

MBA programs often charge $50,000-$100,000 for tuition alone. Make sure to identify programs that can prove their value through positive ROI data. MBA programs also vary in credits, so compare programs by price per credit and total cost.

Graduate Success

Some online MBA program websites post student-outcome statistics gathered from surveys and institutional statistics. Often including graduation rates, employment rates, and post-graduation salary averages, this outcome data can help prospective students choose programs worth the financial investment.

Online Resources

Most high-quality MBA programs with no GMAT requirements offer resources like technical support to assist distance learners. Schools with low student-to-faculty ratios often provide more mentorship, which enriches the online MBA experience considerably. Other online student resources may include internship support, resume review, and mock interviews.

Robust Curriculum

Concentrations allow students to specialize their MBAs based on their desired career path, field, and/or industry context. Concentration options can include: supply chain management, healthcare administration, principles of manufacturing, and strategy and execution.

Common concentrations include finance, data science, and management. Pursuing specializations, including MBA internships, can help qualify and prepare graduates for their dream careers.

Why Get an MBA?

Today, students have more avenues than ever to develop qualitative and analytical skills and become successful business managers. Many options cost far less than business schools, leading some to question the continued utility and value of MBAs.

As Harvard Business Review notes, quality business schools have shifted their focus to respond to the changing educational landscape. Top MBA programs retain a strong emphasis on technical and analysis-driven proficiencies, and they also deliver comprehensive leadership training. This important feature separates MBA degrees from lower-level and alternative credentials, reinforcing their continued relevance and utility.

Other noteworthy benefits of an MBA degree include:

  • Prestige: MBAs persist as one of the most marketable credentials a business professional can hold. They send a strong message to prospective employers about your commitment and capabilities.
  • Network Access: Alumni networks are an excellent career-building asset, even for learners who study entirely online.
  • Transferability: MBAs offer outstanding versatility, enabling degree-holders to keep pace with the ever-changing dynamics of economic sectors and industries.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

What Jobs Can an MBA Get You?

MBA degree-holders find gainful employment at impressive rates: A 2020 U.S. News & World Report analysis found that 85.2% of 2019 graduates from ranked MBA programs landed a job within three months. Online MBAs with no GMAT open the same career doors as classroom-based programs. These include high-ranking, lucrative executive positions with C-suite growth potential.

Professional experience and on-the-job training carry a great deal of value, but companies often prefer credential-based pedigree when making hiring decisions for upper-level roles. As such, MBA programs increasingly attract candidates whose career progression has stalled due to a lack of advanced business education. 

Business schools also attract independent self-starters in large numbers, and MBA programs offer strong appeal to emerging entrepreneurs. Many MBA degree-holders launch their own businesses or work as self-employed management consultants. Other popular career paths for those with MBAs include:

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers lead teams that formulate, execute, and refine strategies that promote a company's products or services. They often find employment in specialized marketing or advertising agencies.

  • Required Education: MBA with a concentration in marketing or advertising
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +10%
  • Median Annual Salary: $141,490

Financial Analyst

These analysts evaluate financial data and trends to guide and inform an organization's decision-making processes. Many focus on assessing investment and growth opportunities.

  • Required Education: MBA degree with a specialization in finance or economics
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $83,660

Healthcare Manager or Administrator

Healthcare managers implement organizational policies, allocate resources, and maintain quality assurance guidelines in hospitals and inpatient care centers.

  • Required Education: MBA with a concentration in healthcare management; some roles prefer or require front-line experience as a nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +32%
  • Median Annual Salary: $104,280

Management Analyst

Management analysts help businesses identify areas where they could boost profitability by improving organizational efficiency.

  • Required Education: MBA degree with a concentration in management
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +14%
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,660

Financial Services Sales Agent

Also known as investment bankers, financial services sales agents recommend investments and financial products to clients. They also act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers in financial markets.

  • Required Education: MBA with a concentration in finance or economics
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $64,770

What To Expect From the Online MBA Experience

Online MBA programs with no GMAT deliver a rigorous and challenging educational experience. In most cases, full-time enrollees can complete their studies within two years. Some degree paths offer accelerated structures leading to graduation in just 10 months, while part-time students typically graduate in 3-5 years.

Program structures typically include core or required courses, electives, and capstone culminating experiences. Core courses cover essential learning, while electives afford degree-seekers the chance to specialize their learning in specific areas. Capstone courses synthesize program content, typically by requiring students to apply the sum of their learning to analyze and solve real-world business problems.

Costs vary widely: At the high end, business schools can cost upwards of $2,000 per credit. Meanwhile, the most budget-friendly programs charge an average of about $315 per credit as of January 2020. Given these figures, each student should carry out a careful cost-benefit analysis to maximize their educational ROI.  

Selecting Your Online MBA Program That Doesn't Require the GMAT

Finding the right online MBA with no GMAT requires applicants to weigh much more than just admission standards. Candidates should also carefully consider the school's reputation among employers to ensure their degrees can lead to worthwhile job opportunities. Prospective students who have already identified specific career goals can pursue concentrated and specialized learning opportunities that support their objectives.

Students should always ensure the accreditation status of each prospective school and only apply to programs hosted at institutions with current national or regional accreditation. Several specialized accreditors, including the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, offer voluntary endorsements that elevate their prestige.

Depending on your goals, preferences, and learning style, you may also wish to prioritize additional factors. Aspiring enrollees can consider student achievement metrics, such as post-graduation job placement rates, alumni networks, geographic location, and financial aid availability.

Ranked lists provide a valuable resource, but aspiring students should still conduct their own research. The best online MBA programs with no GMAT for your situation may be under the mainstream radar.

Why You Should Get Your MBA Online

The best online MBA programs with no GMAT deliver learning experiences as effective as traditional classroom-based education. Without a significant focus on dynamic factors such as real-time student-instructor interactions, business programs translate especially well to digital learning formats.

However, students need specific capabilities to succeed in online programs. Most online MBAs feature asynchronous formats, with recorded lectures for students to engage with on their own schedules. As such, they demand more independence, organization, and self-discipline than classroom-based learning. 

These program structures heighten the appeal of online MBAs. The asynchronous virtual classroom delivers far more flexibility, making it easy to integrate studies with personal and professional commitments. This is a key reason why many working professionals prefer online delivery formats.

What If the School You Want Requires the GMAT or GRE?

After thoroughly researching all your options, you may find that your ideal MBA program does require GMAT or GRE scores, but don't fret. These standardized exams test many of the same mental skills and faculties applied in MBA programs, regardless of entry requirements.

GMAT/GRE requirements can provide your application with a major boost, especially if your undergraduate grades fall on the lower end of the acceptable spectrum. Business school candidates gearing up for the GMAT/GRE can purchase exercise-based study guides, enroll in prep courses, or work one-on-one with tutors. 

Experts also stress the importance of starting the preparation process early and integrating multiple timed practice exams into your study routine. For more information and tips, consult this complete guide to the GMAT for MBA applicants.

Explore These Other MBA School Rankings

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

2022's Top Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Requirement

Explore our 2022 rankings of the top five schools offering online master of business administration (MBA) degrees. For information about how we rank colleges and universities, visit the ranking methodology page by following the link below.

#1 Best Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Required

University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Coral Gables, Florida, UM opened in the fall of 1926 with 646 students. Today, UM boasts an enrollment of more than 17,000 learners from all over the world. The private university houses 12 schools and colleges. 

Patti and Allan Herbert Business School

UM's Herbert Business School offers one of the best online MBA programs focused on transforming global business and building connections within the Miami business community. The collaborative, cohort-based curriculum integrates live and asynchronous online learning with a 3-5-day in-person immersion experience and networking events. 

Instruction employs case studies to foster skills in leading teams, negotiating, and strategic thinking. Coursework includes financial accounting and reporting, foundations of marketing management, management of digital transformation, and responsible business. 

Graduates emerge prepared to lead diverse teams at international companies, and alumni have found employment with the Miami Heat and Norwegian Cruise Line, along with global corporations, such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, and Visa. 

Applying to UM

UM's online MBA program offers three start dates each year and waives the application fee for those who meet the early priority deadlines. Admission requires an online application, resume, personal statement, two recommendation letters, and transcripts.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; EQUIS; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $2,213 per credit hour for full-time and part-time students
  • Required Credits: 42
  • Program Length: As little as 20 months
  • Delivery Format: Online (synchronous and asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$50,400
Out-of-state
$50,400
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
27%
Students Enrolled
17,811
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Required

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Minneapolis-based UMN is Minnesota's only land-grant university and the flagship campus of the University of Minnesota. Founded in 1851, UMN now accommodates more than 50,000 students enrolled in schools that include agricultural, engineering, law, medicine, and veterinary medicine.

Carlson School of Management

The online MBA at UMN provides opportunities for students to gear their education to their future career goals and access an alumni network encompassing 95 countries. Designed for working professionals, the program supplements online learning with optional on-campus residencies and international experiences.

Remote learners proceed through the coursework at their own pace. Core courses are offered online, along with 70% of available electives. Core courses include business ethics, leading others, managerial economics, marketing management, and strategic management. Electives and optional specializations span areas, such as accounting, business law, entrepreneurship, insurance and risk, and supply chain and operations.

UMN's MBA Specializations

Entrepreneurship & Innovation | Finance | Food & Agribusiness | Information Systems & Digital Transformation | Management | Marketing | Medical Industry Leadership Institute | Supply Chain & Operations

Applying to UMN

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have two years of work experience, including internships. In addition to an online application, candidates submit transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, recommendations, a personal statement, and a video essay.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition: $1,605 per credit hour for full-time and part-time students
  • Required Credits: 52
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$13,318
Out-of-state
$31,616
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
57%
Students Enrolled
51,327
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Required

University of the Cumberlands

  • Williamsburg, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

UC, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, applies Christian values to its educational mission and offers more than 40 fields of study. Founded as the Williamsburg Institute in 1888 by Baptist ministers, UC assumed its current name in 2005.

Robert W. Plaster Graduate School of Business

UC offers a flexible and convenient online MBA for business professionals who work full time. Rather than focusing on core business concepts, enrollees hone advanced skills in business analytics, communications, corporate governance, managerial decision-making, and project management. Concentration areas allow students to zero in on an area of interest, such as healthcare administration or strategic management.

Graduates bring skills learned in the MBA program back to their current organizations or pursue new career opportunities. A capstone course during the final semester allows students to showcase acquired knowledge and skills through an academic paper or project that addresses a business need or problem.

UC's MBA Specializations

Accounting | Entrepreneurship | Healthcare Administration | Marketing | Project Management | Strategic Management

Applying to UC

Prospective students need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a 2.5 GPA. Submission requirements include an application and official transcripts. Applicants can start in the spring, summer, or fall.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $315 per credit hour
  • Required Credits: 31-37
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,875
Out-of-state
$9,875
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
16,966
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Required

Lincoln Memorial University

  • Harrogate, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

LMU, situated on more than 1,000 acres in Harrogate, Tennessee, celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. LMU boasts a 14:1 student-to-instructor ratio for its 5,113 enrollees.

LMU School of Business

LMU's student-driven online MBA program provides flexibility for those who want to earn their degree at their own pace. The curriculum focuses on case studies, group projects, and class discussions that apply business concepts to practical issues. Graduates can pursue management and leadership careers within global business organizations.

Remote learners can participate in consulting for local businesses and academic leveling courses that explore core business topics. The program offers specializations in fields, such as healthcare, sport management, and technology. Doctoral students in healthcare, law, and veterinary medicine can opt to add a dual online MBA.

Key coursework covers business strategy, economics for decision-making, project management, and technology management.

LMU's MBA Specializations

Business Analytics | General Business | Healthcare Administration | Marketing | Operations Management | Sport Management | Strategic Management | Technology Management | Dual Degrees: MBA with Doctorate in Jurisprudence, Occupational Therapy, Osteopathic Medicine, Physical Therapy, or Veterinary Medicine

Applying to LMU

Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 2.75 GPA. Application materials include a 500-word response to essay questions, a resume, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Admitted students take an entrance exam during their first semester.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $530 per credit hour 
  • Required Credits: 30-36
  • Program Length: 14-36 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$22,200
Out-of-state
$22,200
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
4,867
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online MBA Programs with No GMAT Required

Excelsior College

  • Albany, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online

Albany, New York's Excelsior specializes in fully online education for busy adults with start dates every eight weeks. Established in 1971 to serve non-traditional college students, Excelsior became one of the first schools to develop and offer remote learning. 

School of Graduate Studies Business Programs

Designed for executive managers, Excelsior's online MBA program emphasizes digital transformation, global development, human resources, operations, and strategy. Concentration areas focus on cannabis control, finance and accounting, healthcare management, human resource management, leadership, and marketing. Students can complete up to three concentrations or create their own within the general business track. 

Core courses include an interdisciplinary approach to ethical leadership, strategic talent management in a complex world, and a strategy and policy MBA capstone.

A generous transfer credit policy allows enrollees to count academic, professional, and military experience toward their degree. Graduates qualify for in-demand careers as chief financial officers, financial analysts, marketing managers.

Excelsior's MBA Specializations

Cannabis Control | Finance and Accounting | General Business | Healthcare Management | Human Resource Management | Leadership | Marketing

Applying to Excelsior

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and provide transcripts. Non-business-related bachelor's degree-holders must complete self-paced foundational prerequisite modules in accounting, economics, and business statistics.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $695 per credit hour 
  • Required Credits: 33
  • Program Length: As little as one year
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
25,245
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Frequently Asked GMAT Questions

Can I get an MBA without the GMAT or GRE?

Yes. Some business schools do not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. In other cases, candidates with extensive professional experience can waive GMAT or GRE requirements, creating another avenue to test-free entry.

How do I get my GMAT waived?

Business schools that offer GMAT waivers usually reserve these options for students with professional or military experience. To receive a GMAT waiver, a candidate usually writes a compelling letter to the school that explains the basis for their request and provides complete supporting documentation.

How long does it take to prepare for the GMAT?

The time it takes to prepare for the GMAT depends on your test-taking abilities and the amount of time you can dedicate to studying each day. You may want to spend three months or more preparing for the exam, depending on your schedule and goal score.

Are MBA programs that do not require the GMAT good?

Yes. GMAT requirements typically do not reflect the program's quality. Most top business schools do not require standardized tests and instead emphasize other parts of a student's application. Similarly, many excellent undergraduate programs no longer require the SAT or ACT.

What GPA should I have if I am not taking the GMAT?

Business schools often post minimum GPA requirements on their websites, but a high GPA increases your chances of getting into any business program. Schools that waive GMAT requirements often require a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Do online MBA programs require the GMAT?

Online MBA programs generally share the same admission requirements as on-campus programs. Some online business programs require that applicants take the GMAT, while others do not. Carefully research each school's requirements to find out whether or not you need to take the GMAT.

Are there any MBA specializations that do not require the GMAT?

Yes. However, you may find slightly different admissions processes and requirements for various MBA tracks within one university.

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