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GMAT or GRE – that is the question

Which graduate admission test should you take and how should you prepare for the test? And who is required to take the test?
Kuvassa näkyy Kauppakorkeakoulun maisteriopiskelija Elina Mäkelä.
First-year student in the Master’s Programme in Global Management Elina Mäkelä chose the GRE test because it fitted better for her strengths. Photo: Susanna Rosin / Aalto University.

Applicants to Master's programmes at the School of Business are required to take either the GMAT or the GRE test if their basic education is a Bachelor’s degree from a university of applied sciences in Finland or from a higher education institution abroad. The only exception to this is the Finnish study option of Yritysjuridiikka. Those applying to the study option of Finance are always required to take the GMAT or the GRE test.

The tests carry equal value when students apply to a Master’s programme at the School of Business, meaning that neither is considered superior to the other. Which test the student decides to take usually depends on the student's strengths or how the test schedules fit in the student’s calendar.

Choice of test was based on own strengths

‘It was clear to me that I would choose the GRE test from these two options,’ says Elina Mäkelä, a first-year student in the Master’s Programme in Global Management.

‘I googled and found an online test that helped me choose between these two tests. I based my decision on my strengths, which are analytical and critical thinking and the ability to justify matters convincingly,’ Elina Mäkelä continues.

Seowon Jung, who has just started to study in the Master’s Programme in Marketing, took the GMAT test. 

‘I chose the GMAT because I think it measures logical and mathematical thinking more and requires less memorizing than the GRE test,’ Seowon Jung says.

Kuvassa näkyy Markkinoinnin maisteriohjelman opiskelija Seowon Jung.
Seowon Jung, first-year student in the Master's Programme in Marketing, chose the GMAT test that does not require a lot of memorizing. Photo: Susanna Rosin / Aalto University.

Careful preparation is worthwhile

No matter which of the two tests you choose, you should prepare for it carefully.

‘I bought a prep book recommended by the GRE test administrator in an online bookstore and prepared for the test by reading and completing the assignments and practice tests in the book. I studied for the test alongside work for a few weeks, a few hours every day,’ says Elina Mäkelä.

Seowon Jung also studied for the GMAT test alongside work, and she recommends a few months’ preparation time.

‘In my home country South Korea, working days can be very long, so you may not necessarily have the energy to study for hours after a day at work. That is why I recommend preparing for the test over a longer period of time, so that the daily reading time is reasonable.’

Aalto University School of Business students

GMAT and GRE exams

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is required for School of Business study options.

Study at Aalto
Aalto University students on campus. Photo by Aleksi Poutanen.

Applying to master’s programmes

The admissions to the two-year master’s programmes at Aalto University are organised once a year.
The application period for studies beginning in the autumn of 2024 runs from 30 November 2023 to 2 January 2024.

Study at Aalto
Business students gathered around a table to study together.

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