Six leading business schools are piloting a brand-new entrance exam designed specifically for applicants to executive MBA (EMBA) programs. Called the Executive Assessment test (EA), it was developed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), maker of the GMAT, as an alternative to the GMAT or GRE that would require less preparation time while still allowing EMBA programs to effectively evaluate applicants’ business school readiness.
“Because you are busy juggling the demands of work and home, the assessment is easy to schedule, short in duration and requires only modest preparation,” reads the GMAC website. The six schools participating in the EA launch are Columbia Business School, London Business School, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, INSEAD and the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). GMAC expects it to open to the rest of the industry a year from now.
Because it is designed as more of a diagnostic assessment of analytical abilities than a rigidly scored exam, test takers should only need to plan for modest preparation in advance of taking the EA. Ninety minutes in total, the exam will be divided into three 30-minute sections—Integrated Reasoning, Math and Verbal. Together, the sections are intended to measure skills critical both in an EMBA candidate’s career and classroom experience, such as higher order reasoning, critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving.
Beyond serving as an evaluation tool for schools, results of the EA test are also intended to help prospective EMBA students identify which areas they might want to spend time focusing on before beginning their business school program.
GMAC developed the test with extensive input from peer schools, not only to provide a simpler option for test takers but also to more accurately measure the more extensive professional knowledge EMBA students bring to classroom. “While the GMAT is a strong predictor of success in core courses for our full-time MBA program, we discovered it was not as accurate a predictor of success for EMBA students,” Michael Robinson, senior associate director of MBA admissions at CBS, wrote in an announcement about the new offering. “We believe the Executive Assessment will become the new standard for all Executive MBA programs.”
The exam will be administered at the same 600 GMAC centers worldwide where the GMAT exam is currently offered. Prospective EMBA applicants who have already taken or still want to take the GMAT or GRE have that option—those scores are still valid as part of the EMBA admissions process.