Some waived the GMAT requirement for applicants with considerable managerial experience. However, the issue of standardised testing for EMBA admission has been around for quite a while.
Challenges for testing executives
Executive candidates typically have considerably more work experience than full-time or part-time applicants. On the one hand this means they must have developed better analytical and critical reasoning skills. On the other, they have been removed from the classroom for much longer and are not in the best position to take a standardised test.
Another issue is that EMBA applicants, normally being in positions of higher responsibility, have less time to prepare for a test. GMAT preparation usually takes at least 100 hours and can span three to six months.
Check out: How to Prepare for GMAT – Essential Guide
It would seem that the Graduate Management Admission Council – creator and owner of the GMAT – has risen to the challenge and decided to develop a test tailored exclusively to EMBA students – the Executive Assessment (EA). This new type of test gives Executive MBA applicants another testing option that looks a lot like the GMAT, but may prove to be an easier path to success.
Executive Assessment (EA) vs. GMAT
The key change comes with the different structure of the new exam. The EA puts a greater emphasis on critical thinking, analysis and problem solving and much less focus on pure mathematics and grammatical structures.
Another feature is the test duration. Unlike the three and a half exhausting hours of the GMAT, the Executive Assessment is over in 90 minutes.
Here is a closer look at the similarities and differences between the two exams:
The GMAC Executive Assessment contains three sections: Integrated Reasoning, Verbal and Quantitative. Each section is just 30 minutes long, and the exam is delivered on demand at existing test centres around the globe. Scores are valid for five years, unofficial scores are provided at the test centre upon completion. Candidates are required to register at least 24 hours in advance.
In terms of test structure, there are 40 questions: 12 Integrated Reasoning, 14 Verbal, and 14 Quantitative. The order of sections is slightly different from the GMAT, with Integrated Reasoning leading off, followed by Verbal and then Quantitative. Once you start the test, there will be no breaks between the different sections.
Test content and scoring
From a content perspective, the test seems to be consistent with current GMAT questions, but with a slightly more skewed focus towards business. Some of the practice questions appeared in previous versions of the GMAT Official Guide. This suggests content that is consistent with current GMAT questions.
The score scale is different – total scores will be reported on a scale of 100-200 (200-800 for the GMAT), and individual sections on scales of 0-20.
Is the executive MBA exam computer adaptive?
This test is not computer adaptive in the way that the GMAT is. Your answer to a single question does not determine the level of difficulty of the next question. Rather, questions are released in groups (based on your performance on the previous group). This type of testing is called multi-stage adaptive design.
Price and retake policy
The Executive Assessment, although shorter, will actually cost you more (350 USD, compared to 250 USD for the GMAT). However, there is no fee for rescheduling – unless you are less than 24 hours from your appointment – or for additional score reports.
If you are not happy with your score, you can retake the test, but you can only do so once. Compared to the 16 days to retake the GMAT, the EA waiting period is only 24 hours.
How business schools are welcoming the Executive Assessment
GMAT has worked with business schools to develop the new exam. The first six schools that signed on to use the EA as part of their admissions processes are INSEAD (France), CEIBS (China), London Business School (UK), the University of Hong Kong, Columbia University (New York, US), and the University of Chicago (Illinois, US). Some of these schools have already expressed a preference for the Executive Assessment, while others still accept the EA and the GMAT equally.
While it will be some time before the new exam is well established, executive MBA applicants now appear to have a choice between the GMAT and Executive Assessment. However, before you opt for one or the other, check out the admission requirements of your selected business schools for any preference they may have between the two exams.
This article is original content produced by Advent Group and included in the 2016-2017 annual Access MBA, EMBA and Masters Guide under the title “Executive Examination”. The digital guide file will soon be available for download.