There are a lot of ways you can rank MBA programs. Rankings like the ones from Financial Times and U.S. News use complex methodologies that combine factors ranging from alum earnings to admissions selectivity.
A simpler way of analyzing programs is just to look at which schools boast the highest average GMAT scores. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that top business schools tend to have impressive average GMATs. But what are the exact numbers in terms of how schools line up by GMAT score?
According to data from U.S. News, the top ten MBA programs with the highest average GMAT scores are:
– Stanford Graduate School of Business: 737
– Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania: 730
– Harvard Business School: 729
– Kellogg School of Management,. Northwestern University: 728
– Booth School of Business, University of Chicago: 726
– Yale School of Management: 725
– MIT Sloan School of Management: 724
– Columbia Business School: 720
– Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College: 717
–Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley: 717
The first takeaway from this data is that top schools have high average GMAT scores. That might seem like an obvious statement, but it’s worth considering for a minute.
Here’s the reality behind these numbers: on average, a student accepted to Stanford GSB will have a GMAT score of 737.
Half of incoming Stanford GSB students have better GMAT scores. And, yes, half have lower GMATs, but the further you get from 737, the lower your chances are.
To put it another way: Stanford simply does not accept many students who don’t have stellar GMAT scores. Even if you stand out in other ways, trying to get into Stanford (or Wharton or Harvard) with GMAT scores that don’t stack up is an uphill battle.
If anything, the competition on GMAT scores is just getting tighter. A recent analysis by Poets & Quants shows that while GMAT scores have leveled off at the very top B-schools, scores for the top 50 schools are still going up on average.
All of which is to say that, as an MBA applicant, you owe it to yourself to take these tests seriously. The path to a top business school begins with investing time into preparing for standardized testing starting earlier.
This is true whether you consider test taking one of your strong suits or whether you expect other aspects of who you are will carry your application.
To put it another way: if you want your score to stand out at a top MBA program, you need to really stand out. And if you think your score will be one of the weaker parts of your application, you still need to get it as high as you can to stay in the running.
There’s another side to this as well: great test scores by themselves aren’t enough to secure a place at a top program. That’s because everyone there has great test scores. Rather, great test scores have to become part of a wider personal branding strategy that makes you stand out as a complete candidate.
That’s something we can help with. At EXPARTUS, we can’t guarantee that you’ll get excellent GMAT scores because, well, you’re the one taking the test obviously.
But we can tell you, based on the scores you do have and the rest of your profile, what schools you have a good shot at, and then help you build a coherent strategy for communication your strengths to adcoms. Ask us for a free assessment!