Yes, the thought of taking a standardized test after years of being away from the classroom can certainly be daunting. We understand that you might not be the best test taker or that you have other strengths that should be able to convince us of your qualifications for business school. Yet, the responsibility of the admissions team is to evaluate whether a candidate (YOU) has the academic aptitude that is required to complete the rigorous coursework in the MBA program.
Here are 3 reasons why the GMAT or GRE can help you in the MBA admissions process:
1) It can help us assess your quantitative, verbal and analytical aptitude when we may not have other academic coursework that can do the same. Perhaps you graduated college without ever taking a math class, or your undergraduate major did not require you to write many essays or analyze an argument in written English communication - the standardized test can fill in those gaps.
2) It can help to compensate for a weaker undergraduate GPA. Perhaps your grades in quantitative courses were sub-par because you were working to pay for school and couldn't put in as much studying time as you would have liked OR you were a college athlete OR you were just less motivated and mature than you are today (we have never heard anyone claim that one :) ). The GMAT or GRE can help you if your grades are not the best reflection of your potential.
2) It is used to evaluate you for merit-based funding opportunities. We basically have two quantitative measures that we can use to level the playing field for all applicants and to compare your academic merit against one another - GPA and GMAT/GRE score. Yet, all undergraduate colleges and universities are not the same, offering varying levels of rigor, different degrees, etc. Some applicants will apply with another master's degree in progress or under their belt, while others will not. While not a true equalizer, the standardized test is the only application requirement that is "standardized," that has been tested for validity and reliability and that is offered to all applicants.
We do have a couple of exceptions, so you can check to see if you might qualify for exemption from the GMAT or GRE. For most of you, however, open up those study books and websites to start preparing!