GPAs & GMATs: What You Need To Get In

 The Raw Stats for the Top 25 Business Schools in the U.S.

Rank and School                          GMAT Average    GMAT    Range*    GPA    Average    GPA Range*
  1. Harvard 724 490 — 790** 3.66 NA
  2. Stanford GSB 730 680 — 770 3.70 3.36 — 3.97
  3. Chicago (Booth) 719 670 — 760 3.52 3.08 — 3.90
  4. UPenn (Wharton) 718 680 — 760 3.56 3.18 — 3.87
  5. Columbia 716 680 — 760 3.50 3.00 — 3.80
  5. MIT (Sloan) 710 660 — 750 3.51 3.10 — 3.86
  7. Northwestern 712 660 — 760 3.54 3.19 — 3.88
  8. Dartmouth (Tuck) 718 660 — 760 3.52 3.20 — 3.84
  9. Berkeley (Haas) 715 675 — 750 3.64 3.39 — 3.90
10. Duke (Fuqua) 689 630 — 740 3.44 3.06 — 3.79
11. Virginia (Darden) 701 643 — 750 3.40 3.00 — 3.80
12. Michigan (Ross) 703 650 — 750 3.40 3.00 — 3.80
13. Cornell (Johnson) 691 630 — 740 3.29 2.78 — 3.77
14. Yale School of Mgt. 719 680 — 760 3.52 3.10 — 3.87
15. New York (Stern) 719 670 — 760 3.42 3.02 — 3.79
16. UCLA (Anderson) 704 650 — 750 3.50 3.20 — 3.86
17. Carnegie (Tepper) 686 620 — 740 3.35 2.73 — 3.84
18. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 689 630 — 740 3.31 2.80 — 3.80
19. Texas (McCombs) 692 640 — 740 3.43 2.87 — 3.85
20. Emory (Goizueta) 681 610 — 730 3.30 2.68 — 3.70
21. Indiana (Kelley) 670 590 — 730 3.32 2.80 — 3.78
22. USC (Marshall) 687 630 — 740 3.30 2.93 — 3.74
23. Georgetown (McDonough) 686 640 — 730 3.31 2.85 — 3.78
24. Wisconsin-Madison 680 630 — 730 3.33 2.79 — 3.80
25. Vanderbilt (Owen) 695 640 — 760 3.40 2.90 — 3.90

Source: Poets&Quants’ 2011 Ranking of the Best Business Schools and School Reported Data to U.S. News & World Report for classes entering in the fall of 2011 Notes: * Reported ranges for both GMAT and GPA are the 10th and 90th percentile. ** Full range of scores


  • angry_pickle

    Those tests were created over 50 years ago.

  • JohnAByrne


    Yes, indeed. In fact, we took a look at GMAT and GPA changes at the top 50 business schools over the past five years. See here:

    Average GMATs:

    Average GPAs:

  • Sally A

    Is there an updated version of this today?

  • GW

    That won’t keep you out of Harvard if you have the money to go. You won’t get a scholarship.

  • Lili

    dude, just shutup.

  • anon


  • Bored

    A few things:
    1) I don’t agree with GM’s statements
    2) in his defense he doesn’t say all people that go to top schools are successful businessmen. He said, that of the portion of people who did go to bschool and whom did become successful (1%>X>100%) didnt take the GMAT
    3) George Bush is known for having gotten into both Yale and HBS based purely on his father’s connections and name. Though there may still be a small percentage of similarly-situated folks today, the fact is in the last 15 years, the percent of such students has dropped precipitously (and is almost non existent at Yale undergrad – no connections are getting a C student with horrible SATs in).
    4) {cut and paste} Changes in the Administration of the GMAT

    In the fifty-five years since the first meeting of the Graduate Business Admission Council (changed to the Graduate Management Admission Council in 1976), nearly every aspect of the test has changed. In 1976, the name of the exam changed from the Admissions Test for Graduate Study in Business (ATGSB) to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). In 1955, one year after the exam was first administered, the Quantitative and Verbal sectional scores were added. In 1961 all but one of the question types were changed and they continued to change until 1994. The length of time required to take the test grew from two hours and twenty-five minutes in 1954 to four hours in 1994 and settled at the current three hours thirty minutes in 1997. Even the test developers have changed. ETS developed GMAT questions until 2006 when GMAC changed vendors to ACT Inc. Since 1954 the only things that has not changed is the GMAC’s desire to test those skills necessary to succeed in graduate business schools’ core curriculums, the belief that the skills tested on the exam develop over a relatively long period of time, and quantitative problem solving questions.

  • ALD

    Didn’t George Bush Jr. get his MBA at Harvard?

  • Happy

    Hi there,

    That is why I am sticking to the no name brand universities. I applied for them and all i care for is it is a Regional and AACSB International accredited Graduate Business programs. I don’t want to compete and be stressed out all time. Just be happy, degree is a degree, what you do with it, is more important. Luck is a huge factor in any one’s success. Good luck to all of you!

    “bummed”, your post is funny!
    Just be happy 🙂

  • Roajhaansakaki

    If i am taking AP biology and AP european History, Honors Algebra 2, 10th Honors English, Spanish 3, and i play volleyball, the piano, and i do other things but i got a C in Ap bio, H alg 2, and i got a C in AP european history, and im in 10th grade do you think my chances to getting into and Ivy league school like Harvard is impossible, or do i still have a chance?

  • sandro

    Bo Guagua?

  • Castor

    @ Rolad I definitely agree with you. ps. I think Chicago avg GMAT is not 719 was lower if I remember right? Can you recheck please?

  • Rolad

    The GMAT is the single most transparent and easily comparable metric across the table. GPAs are not comparable since we do not know the quality of undergrad schools. Salary increases are distorted by currency manipulations and differences in cost of living in the specific regions/countries. The sole criteria of comparison is the GMAT. 

  • Rolad

    @ Lala NYU and Yale definitely do deserve to be among the best I am not sure why they hold 14 and 15th place given that given the most important criteria the GMAT, they hold the 3rd place together with Chicago at 719.. These schools are EASILY top 10 and no way top 15.

  • bummed

    Oh I absolutely agree with you….I was only questioning the validity of the article’s so much emphasis on the GPA and GMAT.

  • Matt C

    I would look at GPA/GMAT not necessarily as a stat to get you in (Interviewed) rather a stat to keep you out.  So if you have 710/3.5 you’re not guaranteed to get selected for an interview (based on other criteria) but if you have a 650/3.0 you’re other criteria prob won’t even be looked too closely.  So I think of GPA/GMAT is that first hurdle you have to climb and the rest (WE/Essays/Recs) are the 2nd then interview the 3rd.  IMO of course.

  • bummed

    Matt C…a lot of things could have been wrong with my app..and probably are….and thats is just my point…GPA and GMAT can only take you so far…they are just a part of the whole picture…not as singularily important as this article suggests

  • Remmi776

    GMAT is so over rated. As long as you are in the 80% range then forget about it and do the applications. I got into a top 10 with a score 80 points below the median and outside the range but my resume, gpa, leadership etc speaks for itself. It wasnt amazing but it was solid. Too many consultants and such think 700 is critical that’s garbage though. Just my 2 cents.

  • Mhasan

    It possibly does make a difference.  On the other hand, a 3.5 in Liberal Arts from Princeton would also be quite different from a 3.5 in Engineering from UT Austin.  One probably needs to look at the relative rankings of these schools in various majors from US News or other similar sources, to measure their difficulties.

  • GM

    The most successful businessmen and CEOs whom graduated from top schools didn’t write GMAT or gre at all. because such test are just 20 years old. and they just for money nothing more. 

  • Guest

    How important is difficulty of undergrad institution? I would think a 3.5 from Princeton is quite different from a 3.5 from UT Austin, for example.

  • Matt C

    If you’re WE is weak then that could’ve been a reason

  • RC

    An Olympic gold medalist who speaks five languages but has always found taking standardized tests a challenge.

  • Lulu

    Sure, you can reorder the rankings with Yale, followed by Kellogg, Chicago, MIT, NYU and Berkeley.

  • bummed

    I am not sure I believe that GMAT and GPA could hold more than 50% weightage in an applicant’s profile. By that means, I should have recieved atleast interviews from all the colleges I applied to (710 GMAT and 3.5 GPA)…yet, nothing, nada, zilch….I heard not a single peep until the ding letter. While I agree that GPA and GMAT are important, but if your essays dont convey your GOALS properly (which is my case probably) then it is a sure ding. I am more likely to trust the Adcom when they say that GPA and GMAT are just one set of criteria. 

  • RC

    Lala, the issue is that in the top part of the top 10 vs. the top 15, there is very little, if any difference. It’s like taking the top 15 downhill skiers in the world – anyone of them is superhuman and can win a given event.  Sure, NYU and Yale might be as good as the top of the top 10 (NYU dropped one in BW while Yale dropped two in FT), but who do you displace?  Taking it a step further, there is really no ranking difference between NYU/Yale/Darden/Fuqua/UCLA Anderson/Cornell.  Even the slightest rounding difference can move one of these schools a slot up or down.

  • Ree698

    John, I believe Tuck report full range (570 – 790)  as in the link: 

  • JohnAByrne

    Yes, it is the full range. hBS is the only school to report the full range.

  • JohnAByrne

    The source of this data is U.S. News which is reporting what the business schools have told them. It’s possible that U.S. News got it wrong, but Duke would have notified me if that were the case.

  • Guest

    The range for Harvard has got to be the full range, not the middle 80%.  There’s no way 10% (or 90 enrolled students) of the incoming class scored below a 490.

  • Ree698

    in large class size like HBS, INSEAD, and others, there is much more availability for lower scores to be admitted. this will not affect their averages nor rankings. I believe such people have other strong parts in their applications. may be strong recommendations, some connections with the school, or good achievement..

  • shorttheworld

    I Think Fuqua’s average gmat is 698 not 689 🙂 typo?

  • Lolo

    How are these agencies and yourself treating schools that previously emphasized leadership in both private and public sectors, such as Yale? It will for sure pump out leaders in public sector more than other schools but we all know public sectors don’t pay as well. That sort of thing needs to be normalized but I doubt it is normalized.

  • JohnAByrne


    I think your criticism is fair. Putting together a much of flawed rankings doesn’t create another ranking that is unflawed, for sure. But to the extent that it does paper over any given ranking’s anomalies (and there are a few of them in each system), it helps to get you to a better and more credible list overall. As for double counting common measures, that’s true and not true. Each of these rankings measures significantly different metrics that come from numerous sources. To the extent that they overlap, they serve as an additional check against small samples sizes or schools that fudge the numbers. A good example is compensation: Forbes gets its numbers of alumni salaries from the alums. U.S. News uses whatever the schools tell them for starting salaries. The Financial Times uses numbers reported by alumni as well. Somehow all this comes together rather nicely, I think.

  • Lala

    I think Yale and NYU deserve to be among the very best, looking at the stats alone.
    I’m not sure if creating your own ranking by diluting several rankings is 1) original 2) accurate.
    You claim that it eliminates bias but firstly it doesn’t completely do that and secondly by diluting, your ranking enhances/doublecounting overlapping/common measures.
    This is not to call your baby ugly but really you created another unnecessary ranking table that people will debate.

  • Guest

    I’d like to know who got into Harvard with a 490 GMAT

  • JohnAByrne


    Adcoms do look at transcripts and this is especially true of poets. They want to make sure that the courses you took in undergrad were somewhat rigorous and they want to make sure those grades show that you can cut it in the quant classes.

    As for a high GMAT or low GMAT offsetting a low GPA or a high GPA, yes that’s true, as long as the number isn’t so terribly low it’s really out of the 80th percentile range. But as Sandy has said in our MBA Handicapping series, Adcoms will wink once at something that isn’t quite as long as everything else in the application is perfect. They will rarely if ever wink twice at two problems.

  • Matt C

    and by lowish i mean within the 10-30% of their ranges

  • Matt C

    Thanks for the consolidation of scores!  No matter how much Adcoms say they take a holistic approach, most applicants know it comes down to the numbers (but not as much compared to law school).  How deeply do you feel Adcom delves into one’s GPA though — is it a matter of that your gpa is primarily made up of quant heavy classes and not basket weaving/ballroom dancing or do they really focus mainly on the raw score?  Also for those who transferred between undergrad universities, are both gpa’s considered for the total or only the graduating gpa (obviously they prob want to see you do better in the harder program)? 

    If what you say is true, that GMAT is weighed heavier than GPA when considering dings, is it fair to assume that applicants can make up for low(ish) GPA w/ a higher GMAT easier than making up for low(ish) GMAT w/ higher GPA based on the school’s ranges?