What is a good GMAT score?
For a few years now, media reports have covered the rise in GMAT scores for reasons explored by our friends at FindMBA. Here, we present the latest average test scores and test score range for the top US and European programs. We’ll also share a snapshot of the internal dialog among our consultant team about MBA applicants and test score scenarios. Both of these should clarify the eternal burning question: What is a good GMAT score?
GMAT Scores by Program
Harvard and Stanford
Harvard and Stanford’s class profile stats, inclusive of GMAT and GPA, are comparable between the two programs, as the chart below shows. Notably, GPA and GMAT score averages for both programs have increased in recent seasons.
|Class of 2024 Admissions Stats||Harvard||Stanford|
The GRE has become more common and is considered an acceptable replacement for the GMAT. At the GSB, 33% of Class of 2024 applicants submitted a GRE score. Meanwhile, at HBS, 30% submitted a GRE score.
Wharton and Columbia
|Class of 2024 Admission Stats||Wharton||Columbia|
Kellogg and Chicago Booth
|Class of 2024 Admission Stats||Kellogg||Booth|
MIT Sloan and Berkeley Haas
|Class of 2024 Admission Stats||MIT Sloan||Berkeley|
INSEAD and LBS
|Class of 2023/2024 Admission Stats||INSEAD||LBS|
Duke Fuqua and UVA Darden
|Class of 2024 Admission Stats||Duke||Darden|
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GMAT Score Scenarios
Q: Should my client show the track record that she has at least tried it twice by reinstating her original score? I have a client who has taken the GMAT twice. The first time she took it, she got a 670 and canceled it. The second time, she got a 710 V 41/94%, Q 46/62%. She has zero desire to retake it and has adjusted her school expectations accordingly.
A: A former Rice MBA Admissions Officer on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team says, “I only used the highest, reported score in my evaluation–other test attempts neither factored in nor biased me on the highest score.”
A former MIT Sloan Admissions Officer on our team adds, “I don’t think a specific mention of the lower score adds value in any way. That 710 is strong enough to stand on its own without explanation.”
A former NYU Stern Admissions Officer on the team took a different approach, saying, “I always liked to see that they took it more than once. So I would vote to reinstate the score.”
Q: What overall score should my client aim for?
A: A former Kellogg Admissions Officer on our team says, “My rule of thumb is that if you’re less than the average by more than 10 points (so a 720 would be ok for M7 programs), you should try and address any issues with the GMAT score and/or retake.
Check out B-Schooled Podcast Episode #106: Admissions Test Deep Dive
Q: What quant score is risky or needs an explanation?
A: “In my opinion, a quant score in the 45+ range does not require any explanation, as it is a strong score. A quant score in the 40-44 range is competitive for top 25 programs,” notes a former Rice Admissions Officer on our team. “Whether to address will depend on other factors (e.g., bachelor’s degree, amount of quant courses, how analytical/quantitative the professional experience is, etc). ”
Q: Can you share an example of a recent client test-taking scenario?
A: Let’s review a scenario together. We had a client who took the GMAT three times, but he was still not quite in range quant-wise for his top choice, Wharton. Here are his stats:
Latino male with a strong track record of leadership in a prestige consulting firm and then a PE associate position at a small, mid-market firm with less than one year of experience. Graduated magna cum laude from a top 50 college with a liberal arts major. Strong leadership-oriented extracurricular activities. GMAT- 690, quant (41, 45%), verbal (44, 98%).
Which of the following should we do?
1) Take the GRE
2) Retake the GMAT
3) Apply Rd 1 with the current score.
“For a high-achieving, under-represented minority candidate, a 690 is not a problem for Wharton. The quant is the hurdle, we usually advise 56% or higher. Otherwise, apply to Consortium schools to mitigate risks,” says a LATAM expert on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team.
Another expert, a former Rice Admissions Officer, adds, “A 41 quant score is not outstanding, but it’s not bad despite what the percentile is (quant percentiles are bit misleading these days). With analytical work experience and good grades in quant courses in college, there is evidence he can do the work. A short optional showcasing this evidence is his best course of action.”
Q: Have average GMAT scores for MBA programs increased, and does that affect me?
A- GMAT scores have risen in recent years. From our experience, this reflects the bias in reporting only GMAT scores so that MBA programs can get a flashy news headline. MBA admissions have become much more flexible on test options; this allows programs to cherry-pick the higher GMAT score candidates. For example, Georgetown saw a one-year 14-point increase in average GMAT scores at the same time the school started to accept the Executive Assessment, and its share of GRE submissions has grown to 48%.
Many test takers who would otherwise score much lower on the GMAT have opted to take alternative tests such as the Executive Assessment or the GRE exam. MBA programs that tout higher average GMAT scores for marketing value are likely just accepting far more applicants who opt to take these other exams or those who opt to submit without a test altogether.
Test-optional or test waiver features, another avenue through which programs can cherry-pick high GMAT score applicants, are much more common now—as a result of the pandemic—among the lower-ranked programs and even a top-7 school: MIT Sloan.
What Does Test Optional Really Mean?
Across our client pool, we see test scores that are in line with the score ranges from the previous seasons. We don’t see that scores are higher; rather, we advise our clients on alternative test options more commonly. Applicants would be wise to consider alternative test options unless they have test scores for the GMAT that are at or above average—or their profile has true differentiating qualities.
Stacy Blackman Consulting’s Director of Test Prep, Anthony Ritz, has created a masterpiece of tips, tricks, and formulas in this GMAT Math Cheat Sheet that is a must-have for any GMAT test taker. This comprehensive 10-page compendium is the only cheat sheet that includes absolutely every rule and strategy you need to know on topics such as Geometry, Data Sufficiency, Algebra, Word Problems, Statistics, and more. Peruse it on the subway. Refer to it when you review your practice tests. Tape it to your bathroom mirror and stare at it while you brush your teeth. Profit!
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