Is it possible to get into a good European MBA with a low GMAT score? Well, as we all know, the GMAT is a necessary evil. The de facto business school entrance test measures smarts that are essential for doing an MBA, but requires at least 100 hours preparation for a decent score. Candidates will struggle without the quantitative skills the GMAT assesses.
GMAT scores have been rising over the past couple of decades, so competition for MBA admission is getting fiercer. But the GMAT, even though it appears to play an outsized role in the MBA application, is just one element of it.
Many schools claim they do not have a GMAT average. But candidates can use class score averages as a guide to choosing schools to apply for. And every year some schools will admit plenty of high-caliber students with GMAT scores that are anything but exceptional. Based on these two measures, we’ve ranked the 10 best MBAs in Europe for those whose standardized test scores are sub-standard.
BI Norwegian Business School is Norway's only triple-accredited school, which is a wonderful quality stamp. Better yet is that the minimum GMAT score is only 600. MBA applicants can also request a waiver, with the decision made on a case-by-case basis. Valid reasons for exemptions include graduates from partner institutions, which are many in number and based all over the world.View School Profile
The average GMAT sore for the MBA cohort at this triple-accredited school is only 643. The program was ranked fourth in France by the FT in 2019, and was ranked as the 28th best MBA in Europe by the same publication. Grenoble is one of the elite Grande Ecoles French schools of management, so it has a world-class reputation across the world.View School Profile
The Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is the only business school in Ireland to hold the “triple crown” accreditation. It’s also well ranked by all the major rankings providers, and has a sterling international reputation. The average GMAT score is just 640 for the 2019 MBA cohort. Being based in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland (not part of the UK), gives it an edge. It’s a vibrant capital city, and is a hub for business, finance and innovation.View School Profile
At University of Edinburgh Business School, only some candidates are required to take the GMAT, such as those without substantial work experience or those without a degree from an accredited institution, or a renowned professional qualification. In which case the minimum GMAT score required is just 600. The business school is triple-accredited and is ranked 10th in the UK by The Economist.View School Profile
The average GMAT score at ESMT Berlin is 640, which is surprising when you consider the quality of the MBA program. The school is one of only three business schools in Germany to have the “triple crown” of three accreditations, from AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. ESMT placed 24th in the FT’s European Business Schools ranking, and was 12th in The Economist’s MBA list.View School Profile
St.Gallen, in Switzerland, does not require the GMAT. Candidates can instead take the business school’s internal MBA admissions test, on which they must achieve a minimum score of 80 percent. Or old a PhD, CPA or CFA Level 2 qualification. For those who do pick the GMAT, there’s no minimum required score. And the current average is a lowly 656. St.Gallen was ranked as the fourth best business school in the FT’s European Business Schools Ranking 2018.View School Profile
EMLYON Business School is one of France’s finest MBA providers. The EMLYON MBA is ranked globally by the FT newspaper. And the school has no minimum GMAT requirement. Better yet, MBA aspirants can apply for the EMLYON course even if they have not taken the GMAT. An exemption from the test is possible, but decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.View School Profile
Alliance Manchester Business School stresses that the GMAT is only one part of its admissions criteria. A very high score does not give someone a stronger chance of admission and a below average score does not automatically eliminate a candidate. Students should aim for a 600, but Manchester has admitted candidates with scores as low as 500. The middle 80 percent range for the class is usually 550 — 700.View School Profile
The MBA at the Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands was ranked as the 25th best program in the world by QS last year. The minimum required GMAT score is just 600, with the current class average also relatively low at 633. And applicants to the MBA at RSM do not have to complete the analytical writing assessment, nor the integrated reasoning portion of the GMAT.View School Profile
MBA applicants to Spain’s ESADE Business School must take the GMAT, but there is no minimum score required for admission. However, the current average score is 660, at the higher end but still low if you consider the quality of the ESADE MBA. It is ranked 21st in the world by the Financial Times, according to the newspaper’s Global MBA Ranking 2019.View School Profile