GMAT Subgroup Validity Study

The Relevance of Testing for Underrepresented Populations in the B-School Classroom

For decades, graduate business schools have relied on GMAT exam scores to assess an applicant’s readiness for the rigors of their MBA or business master’s program. Numerous validity studies have been conducted that show how successful the GMAT exam is at predicting academic performance—this new study is designed to take a fresh look at the value of admissions testing and its purpose, intent, and effectiveness in predicting academic success and post-GME employment success, particularly for underrepresented populations (URP) at business schools.

📊 To participate in the study, sign up at

📺Learn About the Study

What is the Subgroup Validity Study?

The GMAT Subgroup Validity Study is commissioned by GMAC and conducted by an independent third party, the Center for Advanced Studies in Measurement and Assessment (CASMA). This study is designed to evaluate how GMAT scores predict academic performance for URP candidates once an individual is admitted into a graduate-level business program. The term URP refers to racial or ethnic groups (typically collected for U.S. Citizens), and women that have historically constituted a disproportionately smaller percentage of those enrolled in higher education than they do of the overall population.

The study will include a statistically relevant sample size, and use rigorous, multilevel modeling with data to be collected from a variety of different schools and programs. Study variables will include at a minimum: race, ethnicity, gender, citizenship, GMAT scores, undergraduate GPA, and mid-program or core course GPA, final year GPA.

Participating business school programs will be asked to provide data for the analysis, either by providing a full set of de-identified data or by opting to have GMAC identify applicable data from our database. Data from multiple years is encouraged.

What will we learn?

This research will result in insights that refine admissions procedures for the various schools and programs included in the study, including MBAs and master’s degree programs. Schools will gain evidence on the extent to which tests like the GMAT are valid, reliable measures of capabilities for different student populations in business school and postgraduation.

This study will also provide actionable insights into the implications of requiring and waiving tests as part of program admission processes. Our goal is to partner with institutions to improve best practices for using tests as pre-admission criteria and improving informed admissions decisions.

Participating schools can benchmark themselves against other business school programs and the Industry. Following the publishing of the industry-wide report to schools, GMAC will work with individual schools to ascertain the benefit of an individualized report to enable benchmarking. 

How much data will be needed for the study?

This study requires data for students who graduated in Years 2018, 2019, and 2020, and data from multiple years is highly encouraged. Participating schools have two options to submit data.

Option 1: Schools gather and submit a full set of de-identified data for the study in the format laid out in the template:

Option 2: Schools provide a limited amount of personal information (i.e. Unique identifier, First name, Last name, Date of Birth) about students which GMAC would use to match to GMAT records to obtain GMAT scores, self-reported undergraduate GPA, undergraduate major, gender, citizenship, US subgroup, native language, and years of work experience. Once data is matched, names are removed from the data file, which will then be shared with CASMA for analysis.

GMAC and CASMA take data privacy very seriously and handle all submitted data under the strictest regulations. In particular, student data will be combined into a single de-identified file to be analyzed and reported in aggregate. Files across schools and programs will be combined, for more group-level analyses, but will not contain any personally identifiable information.

How can you participate?

Please email to sign up for this study or for additional details.

The deadline to enroll in the study is August 15, 2021. Please contact your GMAC representative if you have any questions about the data submission process and timeline. 

Ready to submit your data?

Schools can download data templates and upload completed templates through our secure portal page. For additional information, please contact your GMAC representative or email