MBA Programs Are Courting Laid-Off Tech Workers By Removing Testing Requirements to Sweeten the Deal

If you were laid off from a job after August 1, 2022, you can ask for a waiver from taking the GMAT at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business.

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By Gabrielle Bienasz

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Harvard Business School Graduation in 2014.

You can catch more flies with fewer tests.

That's the position of a few MBA programs at business schools around the country, some of which have made admissions easier aimed at laid-off tech workers, according to Bloomberg.

"We wanted to provide a pathway for some very talented individuals who now find themselves at a crossroads and don't have much time to prepare for the GMAT or the application process in general," said Lawrence Mur'ray, executive director of admissions and financial aid at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, per the outlet.

Legions of tech workers were laid off in the second half of 2022 and 2023, with over 12,000 people from more than 400 tech companies laid off so far this year, according to, which tracks job cuts in the sector.

This included industry giants like Google, Meta, and Amazon. Other sectors suffered, too, with layoffs affecting Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Related: More Than 1,600 Tech Workers Are Being Laid Off A Day On Average In 2023, According to a New Report

Layoffs and an economic downturn have presented an opportunity for business schools that have faced declining admissions, as Bloomberg noted.

After the pandemic hit, MBA programs saw increases in interest from potential students, and they reduced things like testing requirements and lengthened application windows to try and attract folks, as the Wall Street Journal reported.

But a subsequently booming job market in 2021 had people wanting to stay in the office. Yale, for example, saw applications for the class that would graduate in 2024 decrease by 16%, a representative of the school told the WSJ. Good job markets tend to hurt MBA programs, the outlet noted.

These trends have reversed, leaving business schools to try and regain some ground. Schools including the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell have offered testing waivers in some cases.

Studying for the GMAT, a graduate school admission exam, can take prospective applicants months. This could shorten the process by a fair amount, Bloomberg reported.

Caroline Diarte Edwards, director of Fortuna Admissions, an MBA consultancy, told Bloomberg that application rates of late for some schools of late were low.

Other sweeteners have been offered, such as waiving application fees and extending deadlines. The Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley has done both, for example.

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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