No GMAT? No problem: How to get an MBA in UK without GMAT

Updated on: Mar 1, 2024
No GMAT? No problem: How to get an MBA in UK without GMAT
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About MBA in UK

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) in the United Kingdom offers a high-quality business education that prepares students for leadership roles in the global business arena. Renowned for its prestigious universities and strong academic reputation, the UK provides a diverse range of MBA programs tailored to meet different career goals and interests. With a focus on academic excellence, industry connections, and international perspectives, an MBA in the UK equips students with the knowledge, skills, and networks necessary for career advancement and success in the dynamic business world.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the most sought-after postgraduate degrees in the world. It is a highly regarded qualification for professionals seeking to further their careers in business and management. However, one of the common requirements for admission to an MBA program is a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score.

While many MBA programs in the UK do require a GMAT score, there are several ways to get into a program without taking the test.

In this article, we will explore some of the ways to get an MBA in the UK without a GMAT.

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Is it Possible to Pursue MBA in the UK without GMAT?

Yes, it is possible to pursue an MBA in the UK without taking the GMAT. While many MBA programs in the UK traditionally require the GMAT as part of the admission process, an increasing number of universities have started offering GMAT waivers or alternative admission criteria.
Some universities may consider applicants for their MBA programs based on their academic qualifications, work experience, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and interviews. These universities recognize that other factors can demonstrate a candidate's aptitude for business and management studies beyond the GMAT score.

However, it's important to note that the availability of GMAT waivers or alternative admission criteria varies across universities and programs. It's recommended to reach out to the admissions departments of the universities you are considering to get specific information about their admission criteria, including whether they offer GMAT waivers or alternatives.

Also Read: Study MBA in Finance in the UK

Requirements to get admission for MBA in UK without GMAT

The requirements to get admission for an MBA in the UK without the GMAT can vary depending on the university and program. While some universities completely waive the GMAT requirement, others may consider alternative admission criteria. Here are common requirements to consider:

1. Work experience

Many universities without a strict GMAT requirement place significant emphasis on work experience. They may require a minimum number of years of relevant professional experience, typically ranging from 2 to 5 years. Highlight your achievements, leadership roles, and the skills you have developed during your work experience.

2. Academic background

A strong academic background is still important for admission. Most universities require a bachelor's degree from a recognized institution. Some universities may also consider postgraduate degrees or professional certifications. Check if there are any specific academic prerequisites or minimum GPA requirements.

3. Personal statement

Craft a compelling personal statement that outlines your motivations for pursuing an MBA, your career goals, and how the program aligns with your aspirations. Clearly articulate your strengths, skills, and what you can contribute to the program. Use this opportunity to explain why you are a suitable candidate despite not taking the GMAT.

4. Letters of recommendation

Obtain strong letters of recommendation from individuals who can vouch for your abilities, character, and potential to succeed in an MBA program. Choose recommenders who are familiar with your professional or academic background and can speak to your skills and achievements.

5. Interviews

Some universities may conduct interviews to assess candidates. If invited, prepare for interviews by researching the program, highlighting your experiences and skills, and practicing common interview questions.

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6. English language proficiency

International applicants whose first language is not English may need to demonstrate proficiency in English through standardised tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. Check the specific English language requirements of each university and ensure you meet the minimum scores.

How to get an MBA in UK without GMAT

While many MBA programs in the UK require a GMAT score as part of the admission process, there are also several programs that do not. This is good news for students who do not want to take the GMAT or who may not have performed well on the exam.

Here are some ways to get an MBA in the UK without GMAT:

1. Look for MBA programs that do not require a GMAT score

The first step to getting an MBA in UK without GMAT is to find universities and programs that do not require a GMAT score for admission. Many universities in the UK offer MBA programs that do not require the GMAT as part of their admission criteria. Some of these programs may require other forms of assessment, such as essays, interviews, or work experience.

These programs may have different admission requirements, such as a minimum GPA or certain prerequisite courses, so it is important to carefully review the program's website and admission requirements before applying. Additionally, it may be helpful to reach out to the admissions office to clarify any questions or concerns you may have about the application process.

Also read: Top MBA programs that don't require GMAT

2. Gain significant work experience

Some MBA programs may waive the GMAT requirement if you have a certain amount of relevant work experience, typically at least five years. This is because work experience is seen as a substitute for the GMAT in demonstrating your abilities and potential for success in an MBA program.

The work experience should be in a professional setting, and ideally in a leadership or management role, so that it demonstrates your ability to work effectively in a business environment. When applying to these programs, you will need to provide evidence of your work experience, such as a resume or CV, and possibly letters of recommendation from supervisors or colleagues.

Also read: Popular Degree Courses in The UK?

3. Consider alternative standardised tests

Some MBA programs may accept alternative standardised tests, such as the GRE or Executive Assessment (EA), instead of the GMAT. These tests are designed to assess similar skills as the GMAT, such as analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

You will need to check with the schools you are interested in to see if they accept any of these alternative tests and what scores are required. If you decide to take one of these tests, it is important to prepare thoroughly, as the questions and format may be different from what you are used to.

Also read: How to prepare for an MBA program without the GMAT

4. Focus on your application essays and interviews

MBA programs look for candidates who demonstrate strong communication skills, leadership potential, and a clear understanding of their career goals. By crafting a compelling application essay and performing well in interviews, you can show admissions committees that you have what it takes to succeed in an MBA program, even without a GMAT score.

Your essays should showcase your accomplishments, strengths, and unique perspective, while also demonstrating your knowledge of the program and how it aligns with your career goals. During the interview, you should be prepared to discuss your background, experiences, and motivations for pursuing an MBA, as well as ask thoughtful questions about the program and the school. You can also use the interview as an opportunity to showcase your communication and interpersonal skills, which are highly valued in the business world.

5. Consider online MBA programs

Online MBA programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional on-campus programs, allowing students to complete their coursework remotely and at their own pace. Many universities in the UK offer online MBA programs that do not require the GMAT as part of their admission criteria. Online MBA programs may have similar admission requirements as their on-campus counterparts, such as a minimum GPA and relevant work experience, but they may also have additional requirements, such as an interview or written essays.

When considering online MBA programs, it is important to research the program's reputation, faculty, curriculum, and resources to ensure that it meets your needs and career goals. You may also want to consider factors such as the program's accreditation, class size, and student support services. Additionally, you should carefully review the program's admission requirements and application process, as well as any deadlines or fees.

6. Highlight your academic achievements

While the GMAT is often used as a measure of academic ability, other factors can also demonstrate your academic potential. If you have a strong academic record, with high grades in relevant coursework, you can emphasise this in your application. This may be particularly important if you have a degree in a field that is not traditionally associated with business, such as the humanities or social sciences.

You may also want to consider taking additional coursework in areas such as economics, accounting, or statistics to demonstrate your quantitative skills. This can be done through online courses, continuing education programs, or community college classes. By highlighting your academic achievements and demonstrating your ability to succeed in challenging coursework, you can strengthen your application and improve your chances of being accepted into an MBA in UK without GMAT.

7. Emphasise your professional achievements

MBA programs are also interested in candidates who have demonstrated leadership potential and success in their careers. If you have significant professional achievements, such as promotions, awards, or successful projects, you should highlight these in your application. You can also provide examples of how you have demonstrated leadership, teamwork, or strategic thinking in your work.

In addition to highlighting your successes, you may also want to address any challenges or setbacks you have faced in your career and how you have overcome them. This can demonstrate your resilience, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. By emphasising your professional achievements and potential, you can demonstrate your value as a candidate for an MBA program.

8. Consider other factors that can strengthen your application

MBA programs look for candidates who have a diverse range of experiences, skills, and perspectives. You can strengthen your application by highlighting your experiences outside of work, such as volunteering, travel, or hobbies. These experiences can demonstrate your leadership, creativity, and cultural awareness.

You may also want to provide examples of how you have overcome challenges, adapted to new situations, or learned from failures. This can demonstrate your ability to learn and grow, as well as your resilience and determination. Additionally, if you have unique perspectives or insights related to your field or industry, you should share these in your application to demonstrate your thought leadership and potential to contribute to the program. By highlighting your diverse experiences and unique perspective, you can demonstrate your value as a candidate for an MBA program.

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List of Universities which offers MBA in UK without GMAT

Many universities offer MBA programs without requiring the GMAT. Here are a few examples:

  • Durham University Business School
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • Middlesex University
  • Lancaster University Management School
  • University of Reading
  • Warwick School of Business, University of Warwick
  • Birmingham City Business School
  • Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University
  • University of Liverpool Management School
  • Aston Business School
  • University of Bradford School of Management
  • Henley Business School at the University of Reading
  • University of Roehampton Business School
  • University of Hertfordshire Business School
  • University of Gloucestershire Business School
  • Northumbria University Newcastle Business School

Here are the available options in the UK for a one-year MBA program without requiring the GMAT if you're interested.

The University of Wales MBAMBA (Full-time)Cardiff, Wales
Aston UniversityMBA (Full-time)Birmingham, UK
The University of WorcesterMBAEngland, UK
The University of BoltonMBABolton, UK
The University of ExeterThe Exeter MBAExeter, UK
The University of WolverhamptonMBA (Full-time)Wolverhampton, UK
Canterbury Christ Church UniversityMBA internationalCanterbury, UK
Harvard Business SchoolMBACambridge, MA
Stanford Graduate School of BusinessMBAStanford, CA
MIT Sloan School of ManagementMBACambridge, MA
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of ManagementFull-Time MBA, Executive MBAEvanston, IL
University of Chicago - Booth School of BusinessFull-Time MBA, Executive MBAChicago, IL
University of Virginia - Darden School of BusinessFull-Time MBA, Executive MBACharlottesville, VA
University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of BusinessFull-Time MBABerkeley, CA
Duke University - Fuqua School of BusinessDaytime MBA, Global Executive MBADurham, NC
University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of BusinessFull-Time MBA, Executive MBAAustin, TX
Yale School of ManagementMBANew Haven, CT


While a GMAT score is a common requirement for admission to MBA programs in the UK, it is not the only factor that universities and business schools consider when evaluating candidates. By exploring the various options available, such as part-time or online programs, waivers, strong communication skills, and a well-prepared application package, you can still pursue an MBA in UK without GMAT.

Frequently asked questions

Do all MBA programs in the UK require a GMAT score?

No, not all MBA programs in the UK require a GMAT score. However, it is a common requirement for many programs.

Can international students apply for MBA programs in the UK without a GMAT score?

Yes, international students can apply for MBA programs in the UK without a GMAT score, as long as they meet the other requirements for admission. However, it is important to check the specific requirements for each program and the visa requirements for studying in the UK.

Can I apply for a waiver for the GMAT requirement?

Yes, some MBA programs in the UK may offer a waiver for the GMAT requirement based on your previous academic achievements, work experience, or other factors.

Are part-time and online MBA programs in the UK easier to get into than full-time programs?

It depends on the program and the specific requirements for admission. Part-time and online MBA programs may have different requirements than full-time programs, but they still require a strong application package and relevant experience and skills.

What MBA does not require a GMAT score?

There are several MBA programs that do not require a GMAT score for admission. Some universities offer GMAT waivers based on certain criteria such as work experience, academic achievements, or professional certifications. It is recommended to research individual universities to find specific programs that waive the GMAT requirement.

Can I get an MBA without GMAT?

Yes, it is possible to pursue an MBA without taking the GMAT. Many business schools and universities offer alternative admission pathways or waivers for the GMAT requirement.

Which university accepts an MBA without GMAT?

Some well-known institutions that offer GMAT waivers or alternative admission criteria include Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Can I go to Harvard without GMAT?

Harvard does offer a few pathways to request a GMAT waiver for its MBA program. Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis and are generally reserved for candidates with exceptional professional achievements or those who have completed specific programs or degrees.

Is GMAT waived for 2023?

The GMAT waiver policies and eligibility criteria may vary among universities and business schools. While some institutions may have temporarily waived the GMAT requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is advisable to check with the specific schools you are interested in to determine their policies for the year 2023.

What is the lowest GMAT score accepted?

There is no fixed lowest score, as it depends on the competitiveness of the program and the overall applicant pool. Generally, a competitive GMAT score is considered to be around 600 or higher.

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