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Entrance Exam for MBA Abroad: A Comprehensive Guide

Plan your journey to an international MBA degree

Are you planning to pursue an MBA abroad? In this guide, we’ll explore the top 5 colleges globally renowned for their MBA programs. We’ll discuss the entrance exam for MBA abroad and the scores you must aim for. Whether it’s Harvard Business School in the USA or London Business School in the UK, we’ll provide valuable insights to help you kick-start your journey toward achieving your MBA abroad dreams. Let’s start!

What is an Entrance Exam?

What is an Entrance Exam?

An entrance exam is a standardized test designed to assess the skills and knowledge of applicants seeking admission to educational programs, such as an MBA. These exams play a critical role in the admission process, helping institutions evaluate the qualifications and potential of prospective students.

Typically, entrance exams measure abilities in critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, verbal communication, and analytical writing. For instance, the GMAT, one of the most common entrance exam for MBA abroad, is taken by over 200,000 candidates annually and is accepted by more than 7,000 programs worldwide. Similarly, the GRE, another popular choice, is taken by nearly 600,000 candidates each year and is accepted by thousands of graduate programs globally.

Entrance exams also often include components like integrated reasoning, which tests the ability to analyze and interpret data from multiple sources, a skill crucial for business professionals. High scores on these exams can significantly enhance an applicant's chances of admission and may qualify them for scholarships and financial aid.

Importance of Entrance Exams

Importance of Entrance Exams

Entrance exam for MBA abroad are essential for evaluating applicants on a standardized basis. This section discusses how these exams ensure fair comparison, assess academic readiness, influence admissions decisions, and impact scholarships and financial aid.

  • Admissions Decisions
    • Influence on Admissions: Scores from entrance exams often significantly influence admissions decisions. High scores can enhance an applicant's profile, potentially leading to acceptance into competitive programs.
    • Program Selectivity: Top-tier MBA programs, such as those at Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton, often report average GMAT scores in the range of 720-730, highlighting the competitive nature of admissions.
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid
    • Financial Support: Many institutions use entrance exam scores to award scholarships and financial aid. High-performing students may receive substantial financial support based on their exam results.
    • Merit-Based Aid: For instance, candidates with GMAT scores above 700 are often considered for merit-based scholarships at leading business schools, sometimes covering up to 50-100% of tuition fees.
  • Career Impact
    • Employability: Strong performance on entrance exams can also positively impact career opportunities post-MBA, as top scores reflect strong analytical and problem-solving abilities employers value.
    • Return on Investment: Graduates from programs with high entrance exam score requirements often report higher starting salaries and faster career advancement, underscoring the long-term benefits of excelling in these exams.

Excelling in entrance exams is vital for securing admission to top MBA programs and obtaining financial support. Understanding their importance can significantly enhance your educational and career prospects.

List of Entrance Exams for MBA Abroad

When pursuing an MBA abroad, one of the most crucial steps is to take the appropriate entrance exam. These exams help business schools assess the readiness and capability of applicants. There are general exams like the GMAT and GRE, widely accepted by most MBA programs worldwide, and specific exams like the CAT, which certain countries or institutions require.

General Exams for MBA Programs

GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

The GMAT is one of the most popular entrance exam for MBA abroad. It is designed to measure the analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English.

Section Details
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) One essay is to be written in 30 minutes.
Integrated Reasoning 12 questions to be solved in 30 minutes, measuring data analysis skills.
Quantitative Section 31 questions in 62 minutes, focusing on problem-solving and data sufficiency.
Verbal Section 36 questions in 65 minutes, assessing reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.
Scoring System
  • Total score ranges from 200 to 800.
  • The Quantitative and Verbal sections contribute to the total score, while AWA and Integrated Reasoning are scored separately.
Test Registration and Fees
  • The GMAT exam fee is around $250.
  • Registration can be done online, and test centers are available worldwide.

Preparation Strategies for GMAT

Preparing for the GMAT effectively can make a significant difference in your performance. Here are some essential strategies, along with recommended study materials, practice tests, and preparation courses.

Category Description Resource Link
Official GMAT Study Materials and Practice Tests Provided by GMAC, includes two free practice exams and additional question banks. GMAT Official Prep Software
The comprehensive guide includes over 900 past GMAT questions with answers and explanations. GMAT Official Guide
Contains 300 difficult questions to challenge those aiming for higher scores. GMAT Official Advanced Questions
Consider Enrolling in a GMAT Preparation Course Offers a range of options, including in-person, live online, and self-paced courses. Kaplan GMAT Prep
Known for its high-quality content and experienced instructors, offering both live and on-demand courses. Manhattan Prep GMAT
Offers a variety of courses, including one-on-one tutoring, live online, and classroom options with a score improvement guarantee. Princeton Review GMAT
Provides affordable online courses with a wealth of video lessons and practice questions, offering a score improvement guarantee. Magoosh GMAT
Practice Time Management Take full-length, timed practice tests to simulate the actual exam environment. Official GMAT practice exams are available through the GMAT Prep Software. GMAT Prep Software
Focus on timing each section individually. Use a timer to ensure you stay within the allotted time for each section. GMAT Timer Apps
Review your answers after each practice test and analyze your timing. Courses like Manhattan Prep and Magoosh provide detailed analytics. Manhattan Prep / Magoosh GMAT

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The GRE is another widely accepted entrance exam for MBA abroad, particularly favored by programs that offer both MBA and other graduate degrees.

Sections Details
Analytical Writing Two tasks in 60 minutes.
Verbal Reasoning Two sections of 20 questions each, with 30 minutes per section.
Quantitative Reasoning Two sections of 20 questions each, with 35 minutes per section.
Scoring System
  • Total score ranges from 260 to 340.
  • The Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 130-170 each, while Analytical Writing is scored on a scale of 0-6.
Test Registration and Fee
  • The GRE exam fee is approximately $205.
  • Registration is available online, and the test is offered at numerous locations globally.

Preparation Strategies for GRE

Preparing effectively for the GRE is crucial for securing a high score and enhancing your chances of admission to top MBA programs abroad. Here are some essential strategies and resources to help you prepare:

Resource Description Availability
Official GRE Super Power Pack Includes three essential books published by ETS Amazon or ETS website
PowerPrep Online Free online practice tests by ETS ETS PowerPrep website
Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems Offers a vast number of practice questions Amazon
Kaplan’s GRE Prep Plus 2024 Includes five full-length practice tests Amazon or Kaplan website
Magoosh GRE Vocabulary Flashcards An online resource and app for learning GRE vocabulary Magoosh website
Barron’s Essential Words for the GRE A comprehensive book focusing on GRE vocabulary Amazon
Khan Academy Offers free online resources for basic math skills Khan Academy website
Magoosh GRE Prep Provides comprehensive online courses and practice questions Magoosh website

Specific Exams for Certain Countries or Programs

Specific Exams for Certain Countries or Programs

Specific exams for certain countries or programs cater to the unique requirements of different regions and institutions. For instance, the CAT (Common Admission Test) is essential for admission to prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), while some MBA programs in India and the Philippines require the NMAT. Additionally, exams like XAT and TAGE MAGE serve specific purposes for MBA aspirants in India and French-speaking regions, respectively. Understanding these country-specific exams is vital for applicants targeting MBA programs abroad.

CAT (Common Admission Test) for Indian Institutes of Management

The CAT (Common Admission Test) is a highly competitive entrance exam exclusively for MBA programs in India, notably for admission to the esteemed Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). It serves as a standardized assessment tool to evaluate candidates' aptitude in quantitative ability, data interpretation, verbal ability, and logical reasoning. Success in CAT opens doors to top-tier MBA programs and offers lucrative career opportunities in India's dynamic business landscape.

Other Country-Specific Exams

Certain countries have their own entrance exams for MBA programs, designed to align with the educational standards and requirements of their respective regions. These exams offer several advantages, such as assessing candidates' understanding of local business practices, cultural awareness, and language proficiency. Additionally, they provide a fair and standardized means of evaluating applicants, ensuring that those admitted are well-suited to thrive in the specific academic and professional environments of their chosen countries. Understanding and excelling in these exams are essential for aspiring MBA students seeking opportunities abroad.

Essential Documents for MBA Abroad

Starting your journey to pursue an MBA abroad is an exciting endeavor, but it requires meticulous planning, especially when gathering the necessary documents for admission. Here's a comprehensive guide to the essential documents you'll need:

  • Academic Transcripts:
    • Official records of academic performance, including grades and courses completed.
    • Required from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
    • Ensure transcripts are sealed and sent directly from previous institutions to the schools.
  • Entrance Exam Scores:
    • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores are crucial.
    • Register in advance and arrange for scores to be sent directly to chosen schools.
  • Letters of Recommendation:
    • Usually required from academic or professional sources.
    • Provide insight into character, abilities, and potential for success.
    • Choose recommenders who know you well and give them ample writing time.
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Personal Statement:
    • Articulate reasons for pursuing an MBA abroad, career goals, and fit for the program.
    • Showcase motivation, clarity of purpose, and written communication skills.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV):
    • Comprehensive overview of academic background, work experience, and achievements.
    • Tailor to highlight relevant skills and accomplishments.
    • Keep it concise, well-organized, and error-free.
  • Passport:
    • Valid passport is essential for international travel and proof of identity.
    • Ensure it has sufficient validity beyond anticipated duration of stay abroad.
  • Visa Documentation:
    • May require a student visa depending on destination country.
    • Requirements vary but commonly include a letter of acceptance, proof of financial means, and health insurance coverage.
  • Financial Documents:
    • Provide proof of financial resources to cover tuition, living expenses, and associated costs.
    • Include bank statements, scholarship or sponsorship letters, and financial aid documentation.
    • Demonstrating financial stability is crucial for obtaining a student visa.

Preparing the necessary documents for your entrance exam for MBA abroad  is a vital step toward securing admission to your desired program. Start early, stay organized, and pay attention to the specific requirements of each school you're applying to.

Top 5 Colleges Abroad Providing MBA Programs

Top 5 Colleges Abroad Providing MBA Programs

In this section, we'll talk about the top 5 colleges globally renowned for their MBA programs. We'll discuss the entrance exams for MBA abroad requirements for admission, such as the GMAT or GRE, and the scores needed to secure your spot in these prestigious institutions.

School Location Admission Test Average Score
Harvard Business School (HBS) Boston, Massachusetts, USA GMAT/GRE 730
Stanford Graduate School of Business Stanford, California, USA GMAT/GRE 737
INSEAD Fontainebleau (France), Singapore, Abu Dhabi GMAT/GRE 710
London Business School (LBS) London, England, UK GMAT/GRE 710
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA GMAT/GRE 732

Remember, scoring well on the entrance exam for MBA abroad is crucial for gaining admission to these top-tier institutions. Aim for a competitive score to enhance your chances of acceptance and kick-start your journey toward a successful career in business management.


In summary, pursuing an MBA abroad requires careful planning and preparation. Entrance exams like the GMAT or GRE are important for getting into top schools and securing financial aid. Understanding their significance and aiming for competitive scores is crucial. Gathering essential documents such as transcripts and recommendation letters is also important. By staying focused and working hard, you can increase your chances of getting into renowned institutions like Harvard or Stanford. Keep pushing toward your dreams, and success will follow!

When should I start preparing for the exams for MBA abroad?

Ideally, you should begin your preparation at least a year in advance. This allows sufficient time for studying, taking the exam, and retaking it if necessary. It's important to stay updated with the 'MBA entrance exams abroad dates' to plan effectively.

How do I choose the right MBA program for me?

 Research is key. Consider factors like the curriculum, faculty, location, network, cost, and post-MBA opportunities. It's also useful to connect with alumni or current students to get firsthand insights.

Do I need work experience for MBA programs abroad?

Most top MBA programs prefer candidates with a few years of work experience. However, it varies from school to school, and some programs are more accommodating towards recent graduates.

How can I finance my MBA abroad?

Studying abroad can be expensive, but there are several financing options available. These include scholarships, fellowships, financial aid from the school, education loans, and part-time job opportunities.

Know Your Author
Photo of Rohit
Rohit Rajaram
Study Abroad Expert
Rohit is a results-driven individual with a strong background in Education Mentorship, Program Management and Business Development. Holding a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Business School in Paris, Rohit combines academic excellence with extensive industry experience. Throughout his career, Rohit has consistently delivered exceptional results, driving sales, increasing turnover, and achieving targets. Known for his strategic acumen, Rohit formulates and executes successful business strategies, enhancing operational quality, customer satisfaction and key bottonline drivers. As the Co-Founder of MiM-Essay, a leading Early Career Degrees application consulting company, Rohit has successfully mentored over 10,000+ students, enabling them to secure admissions in top-ranked schools worldwide with significant scholarships. Under his leadership, the company has maintained high-quality service and exceptional client satisfaction rates. With expertise in analytics, product development and business excellence, Rohit has successfully driven the success of various initiatives. Committed to constant innovation, he is expanding the company's offerings by introducing digital and technology-powered products for comprehensive education solutions.
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