GMAT Score and MBA Admissions

Admissions committees look at your GMAT score to determine if you have the academic ability to succeed in business school. An outstanding GMAT score won’t necessarily get you into the school of your choice but a low score will probably keep you out. If you scored poorly on the GMAT, consider taking it again. Admissions committees usually focus on your most recent score.

How should you approach GMAT CAT?

The GMAT is a standardized test; therefore, it has standard ways of approaching it–question type strategies, time-management techniques, etc. Understanding the format of the exam and the ways you can use it to your advantage can significantly increase your score. Because of the intensity of the GMAT and the competitiveness of today’s b-school admissions environment, we highly encourage you to prep formally for the exam (obvious reasons aside…). The structure that preparation provides can help you build the skills, techniques, and confidence to score your best.

What GMAT score do you need?

Although the median score is approximately 500, the latest U.S. News and World Report guide to graduate schools reports that the average GMAT scores of the top business schools in the country–such as Stanford, Sloan (MIT), Kellogg (Northwestern), and Wharton (Penn)–hover around 690. As you can see, the environment is extremely competitive. In fact, 690 translates to a percentile figure of 95 and up.

However, what you consider a good score should depend on your own expectations and goals. But, you should keep in mind that top business schools consider a score of at least 600 as competitive. Information on average test scores at different schools is readily available. Research the schools on your list. Find out what their average GMAT scores are and then develop a preparation plan to achieve it.

Average GMAT Scores*
Business School Average Score
Stanford 722
Chicago 695
MIT 690
Harvard 689
Northwestern 685
Penn 685
Virginia 685
UCLA 683
Yale 682
NYU 675
Berkeley 674
Michigan 672
Texas-Austin 660
Maryland 653
USC 650
Rochester 637
Georgetown 637
Wake Forest 633
Babson 622
Boston College 622
Thunderbird 601

**U.S. News and World Report

What Role Does GPA Play?

When admissions officers evaluate your GPA, they consider the academic reputation of your college and the difficulty of your curriculum. Most committees attach more weight to your junior and senior year grades. Increasingly, admissions committees are examining your performance in quantitative courses, as they feel these courses are good indicators of your likely performance. If you lack quantitative classes in your transcript, you may want to take (and do well in) a statistics or calculus class before you apply.