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The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is increasingly used for entry onto MSc programmes. For MSc International Management in particular, a GMAT or GRE score is an important entry requirement. So if you’re applying to this programme you need to be thinking about GMAT if you haven’t done so already.

So what is GMAT and why is it needed?

GMAT is a three and a half hour test comprising of quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing components.

Each section is designed to test a different element of your skillset, including critical thinking, numerical aptitude, ability to analyse data and ability to understand written material. The idea is that higher scores show that you have good competence in these areas, and are therefore well-equipped to succeed in postgraduate business study. You can read more about the structure of the exam on the GMAT website.

The GMAT is well known as being ‘designed for business schools by business schools’ meaning that your results provide us with a key insight into your analytical and quantitative ability, and help us to distinguish top candidates as a result. The test shows us that you are serious about postgraduate study, which is crucial when you are looking to take a programme as competitive and rigorous as MSc International Management.

What’s more, we can trust the GMAT as the entire exam experience is consistent across the world. From the time you register for the exam to the time when you receive your scores – the whole process is standardised, no matter what country you sit the test in. To give you some numbers, 200,000 business school candidates take the GMAT exam per year, exclusively for application to a graduate business programme – and we expect this number to grow.

Amy Duckworth, Director of Admissions, explains:

The application process for our MSc International Management programme is highly competitive. We receive applications from all over the world, from candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds. While the GMAT is just one element of the application, it is very useful as it gives us a frame of reference that applies across the whole applicant pool. A strong, well-balanced score in the GMAT can definitely help to strengthen your application.   

Are there any other benefits of taking GMAT?

A well-rounded score will not only add weight to your application, but can continue to be valuable post-MSc.

Although GMAT is predominantly designed to predict likely success in postgraduate study, the type of skills that are demonstrated through the test such as quantitative analysis, problem-solving, working with data and reports, and communication, are sought after professionally. In the fields of finance, analysis, risk management, investment banking, management and consulting, it is becoming more common for firms to ask for your GMAT scores. Even if you aren’t required to take it, an excellent score will look good on your CV and LinkedIn profile as it has a strong global reputation. GMAT results are valid for five years, so this gives you quite a wide timeframe.

The Graduate Management Admissions Council conducted a study of both corporate recruiters and business school applicants, and found that 88 per cent of recruiters are projecting a need for outstanding business school graduates. Graduate business school applicants reported taking the GMAT exam in order to stand out, in support of similar goals, to help increase job opportunities, salary and accelerated career growth.

You can read more about the study and watch videos from recruiters at some key firms here.

Even better, the skills, time and effort you put in to preparing for the GMAT, as well as striving for a good result, will put you in good stead for the challenges and rewards of MSc study – a good indicator of things to come!

I’d like to take the GMAT soon, what next?

The GMAT exam is available both at a test centre and online, giving you the convenience and flexibility to plan your testing strategy. If you are unsure about which test to take, you can compare the two options with this handy guide, and rest assured we accept both formats for entry to MSc International Management.

If you have decided you want to do the in-person test, you can select one of over 530 worldwide test centres here.

Bear in mind that the GMAT is designed to be prepared for. The time needed varies from person to person with some test-takers reporting that eight weeks is enough time to get ready for the exam. Some of our current International Management students have put together their own tips to prepare for the GMAT.

Once you are ready, you should upload a copy of your results within your application and request your score to be released to Imperial College Business School. This will enable us to verify your results online, so you should not send a hard copy unless we request it. Our GMAT code for MSc International Management is S22-7S-53.

You are expected to have a valid GMAT or GRE score as part of your application for MSc International Management, but a minimum GMAT score is not required. We do, however, recommend aiming for at least 600 overall. The online and in-person tests are both considered equally, so whichever you can obtain will be considered. Please note that both tests are valid for five years.


Much like the GMAT, the GRE General Test is widely used for admission to demanding postgraduate programmes such as MSc International Management, designed to reflect the kind of thinking you’ll need to succeed in your postgraduate studies or professional life.

The GRE is comprised of 3 components: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing, which aim at testing the skills you need to succeed, and apply to all, not just a specific field of study. You can see further details about the test structure on the GRE website. For Msc International Management, although you don’t need to have achieved a minimum score in order to apply, we recommend a minimum of 159 in the Quantitative section.

Unlike the GMAT, the GRE General Test is the only admissions test for graduate and professional school that lets you skip questions within a section, go back and change answers, and have control to tackle the questions within a section you want to answer first.

As with GMAT, GRE is available in test centres around the world, or you can take the test online with GRE Home (except in Mainland China and Iran).

What next? 

Lastly, given their first-hand experience and insight to the GMAT/GRE exams and preparation, we recommend reaching out to our Student Ambassadors, who will be more than happy to answer any questions you have. You can also meet us at one of our upcoming events for MSc programmes.

Should you be taking the test soon – best of luck!

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About Aimee Robinson

Admissions Coordinator
I am an MSc Admissions Coordinator at the Business School, since starting in March 2020. I am currently responsible for looking after MSc Management and MSc International Management with further experience across many of our Master's programmes and Summer School.