The McDonough School of Business now accepts a new standardized test for its admissions application to the Flex MBA Program, a first for graduate business programs in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University announced Monday.
Applicants with seven or more years of work experience can apply to the Flex MBA Program, the part-time master’s program in the MSB, using the Executive Assessment test instead of the traditional Graduate Management Admissions Test or Graduate Record Examination. The EA takes 90 minutes, rather than the three hours required by the other two tests. The EA also does not have an Analytical Writing section and includes an Integrated Reasoning section, which is not present in the GRE.
Adding this test option helps recognize the value of work experience, according to Associate Dean for MBA programs Shelly Heinrich.
“Extensive work experience is a huge asset to the experience in analyzing case studies and group projects,” Heinrich said in an interview with The Hoya. “We wanted to provide an option that’s more geared towards experienced professionals.”
The EA exam is administered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the same organization that administers the GMAT. The EA exam originally targeted executives and included sections similar to the GMAT exam, and launched in March 2016, according to the Princeton Review.
The EA exam requires less preparation time from candidates, shortens the time needed to complete graduate program applications and provides a more professionally diverse pool of candidates for consideration by graduate business programs, according to the GMAC.
Allowing students to apply with the EA exam ensures that potential Flex MBA Program candidates are not only strong academically but are also individuals that will contribute to the classroom environment, according to Heinrich.
“At the end of the day, we want to admit candidates who are going to be academically successful in the classroom, but we also want to admit those candidates, competitive candidates that are going to add to the classroom experience,” Heinrich said.
After seeing that some other top business schools accept the EA for their part-time MBA programs, the MSB decided to expand its application to include the shorter test, according to Heinrich.
“The mission at McDonough is constant innovation,” Heinrich said. “So we look at everything, everything from our programs to innovate, to our admissions process to innovate, to our career center to innovate, and this was just a new innovation that we wanted to apply this year.”
The MSB offers the first part-time MBA program in the D.C. region to accept the EA exam, according to Heinrich. Applicants cannot use the EA exam to apply to full-time MBA programs through the MSB.
“By accepting the EA, we want to provide more flexibility in how we assess academic preparedness and believe this exam better aligns with our experienced populations,” Heinrich said in an MSB news release.
Students who have more professional experience can bring knowledge to classroom discussions that enhance the learning experience for the whole MBA class, according to Heinrich.
“One of the best values from more experienced applicants comes from their professional background rather than the academic discipline they chose at the undergraduate level or their GPA,” Heinrich said in the news release.
The comprehensive application process for the Flex MBA program will weed out candidates that are not qualified for the program regardless of standardized test results, according to TJ Fleming, a first-year Flex MBA student.
“I think the MBA program has a good understanding of the type of student they want to bring in and if that’s the test that gets them here, I think the interview and the application and the essays — if they’re not supposed to be here, that will be clear,” Fleming said in an interview with The Hoya.
Increasing the diversity of the applicant pool to include perspectives of students who have a lot of professional experience enhances the entire MBA program, according to Fleming.
“If it allows more intelligent people with interesting diverse backgrounds into the MBA program, I think that’s a good thing,” Fleming said. “The more options, I think the better.”