Those Pesky GPA & GMAT Averages

by John A. Byrne on

studySo you want to go to business school, but you have no idea if where you want to go will accept or reject you?

Though an MBA application has many components, there are two raw scores that largely dictate your range of possibilities: your undergraduate grade point average and your GMAT score.

Admissions officials at highly selective schools have been known to blink once at a below average number. But rarely do they blink twice at both a GMAT score and an undergraduate transcript that fails to hit their averages. And their are some schools–most notably Stanford, Wharton and MIT–where high GMAT scores really seem to matter.

No top 50 business school has an average GPA below 3,0 or an average GMAT below 641.. In fact, the lowest reported average grade point average is 3.20 at the University of Illinois’ business school. The highest? Stanford and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management: 3.69. The lowest reported average GMAT at a top 50 MBA program is 641 at Michigan State’s Broad School. The highest? Stanford: a lofty 729 average.

If you want to get into Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, that pretty much means you need to have a GPA between 3.40 and 3.94 on a 4.0-scale and a GMAT score between 680 and 780 on an 800-scale. Those are the 10th and 90th percentile numbers for the Stanford class that entered in the fall of 2012. Few schools, by the way, publish the full range, though Harvard Business School is an exception. At HBS, class that enters in the fall of 2013 had GMATs as low as 550 and as high as 780, though your chances of getting into Harvard with a GMAT below 700 are awfully slim. The median for admits to the Class of 2015 was 730.

‘THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 740 GMAT AND A 780 IS NOT GOING TO MOVE THE NEEDLE’

“At HBS, the difference between a 740 GMAT and 780 is probably not going to move the needle,” believes Sandy Kreisberg, a prominent MBA admissions consultant and founder of HBSGuru.com. “At Wharton and MIT, ultra GMATs are recognized and rewarded although hard to quantify. The difference between a 640 and 680 GMAT can be critical at many places, especially if the rest of your profile is likable. With a 680, you are meeting them half way. With a 640, you are asking for a big favor.”

Wharton already has announced that its incoming MBAs this year (2013) boast a record average GMAT score of 725, seven points higher than last year. At Wharton, even the lowest score isn’t all that low: 630.

Face it: a low GMAT score or a low GPA are the biggest application killers. No matter what admission officials or consultants say, this is unfortunately one of the unshakeable truths of the B-school admissions game. In an ideal world, a GMAT score would just be another data point, perhaps equal to any other in your application, from recommendation letters to how you craft your essays. But last year’s survey by Kaplan Test Prep of business school admissions officers at 265 MBA programs across the United States – including 17 of the top 25 — showed that a low GMAT or GRE score is the single biggest reason why business schools ding MBA applicants.

The 2012 survey found that 49% of admissions officers said that a weak score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the biggest application killer. A low undergraduate GPA placed second at 31%, while the lack of relevant work experience followed at just 18%. Asked which is the most important factor in the MBA admissions process, only 2% of the officers said recommendation letters and a mere 1% cited essays.

WHY YOUR GMAT OR GRE SCORE LOOMS SO LARGE IN AN MBA APPLICATION

One likely reason for the GMAT or GRE’s outsized importance is that it is a recent objective measure of an applicant’s ability to tackle the academics of an MBA program. Admission officials also consider the score comparable across countries and cultures by all applicants. That’s not true with a GPA and it may not be true for a recommendation letter.

Another likely reason for the GMAT’s importance is that an entering class’s average GMAT score is heavily weighted in rankings of  business schools by U.S. News & World Report, The Financial Times, and The Economist. So some admissions offices often are under pressure to keep those scores as high as possible.

Generally, these scores are highly correlated with a school’s given ranking because they are the easiest and most visible way to measure the quality of the candidates enrolled in an MBA program.

(The latest GMAT and GPA stats for the top 50 full-time MBA programs in the U.S. are on the following pages)

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  • baston

    How can NYU Stern be so cut throat selective and be ranked only 14. It really doesnt make sence. Check the difference in criteria, GPA and selectivity versus other schools like Duke or Cornell for instance. I think US news is by far a more reliable ranking.

  • Orange1

    A lot of it is perception. NYU Stern is always going to be the “little brother” of Columbia. They could do a faculty swap with Columbia and still be ranked lower so that slides them a bit. Think of these rankings like college football recruiting classes. Is there really a difference between the #4 and #9 group?
    If all these schools have students with the SAME GMAT scores, GPAs from basically the same feeder schools, and instructors who were educated at Harvard/Stanford/Wharton, how different could they be? Nobody can come on here and prove that NYU Stern or UCLA is not as good as Duke or Cornell. All four have great students and opportunities. But I do agree that US News generally fits where most people perceive the rankings to me.

  • Yamo

    The problem is that Nyu’s biggest selling point is its location.. Not academic reputation or global prestige.. Basically anyone who gets rejected from cbs that wants to experience nyc will choose nyu.

  • Kiki

    How would you overcome a low GPA? When I was 19, classes and GPA seemed a bit unimportant. At 28, I’m kicking myself since its seems to be a big killer for MBA applications. Would going to a community college for a year or two help?

  • Africanwizard

    How can they compare GPAs from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America to that of the US? According to Alex Chu of MBA Apply for foreigners its all about the GMAT. I would like to know what is Kreisberg and Byrne’s take on this

  • poems

    NYU has 720 GMAT with 3.51 GPA and 15.7% selectivity rate versus Columbia with 715 GMAT, 3.50 GPA and 20.8% selectivity rate. It really does not appear to me that rejects from CBS would join NYU really..NYU is far more selective its insanely cut throat selective from any angle you take it compared to CBS..

  • sf

    It just proves that Columbia rejects people with “just” high GMAT and GPA unless they also have something extra to offer..

  • Renault

    How many people from NYU would attend Columbia if given the chance? How many people from Columbia would attend NYU? I imagine it would skew pretty heavily towards Columbia being the more desirable option.

    That’s the most important metric (I imagine it’s impossible to determine for sure).

  • JohnAByrne

    Most business schools organize their admissions office by world region so they have on staff people who are familiar with the universities in a given area of the world and can translate grades into a common GPA. They also attempt to discount for grade inflation, though recent studies have shown they have not been entirely successful at adjusting GPA for schools that grade more rigorously. And as the article points out, GMAT tends to be weighted just a bit more heavily than one’s undergraduate transcript, in part because a GMAT score is thought to be more comparable across the world.

  • TopDog

    Agreed. CLEARLY, GMAT scores and GPAs are vitally important to getting aditted into a Top BSchool, BUT they also clearly do not define the brand and reputation of BSchools.
    No doubt NYU is rightly a constant powerhouse in the BSchool world and its Stats are top dog – but I agree that a majority would choose Columbia over NYU becuase of Columbia’s Ivy League heritage and (likely) more global cachet…
    Does not matter that NYU’s stats are superior – does not make it a better BSchool at all.
    Same with Duke and Cornell – two great schools and with top global brands (Cornell Ivy Leage and now incidentally entering NYC) – regardless of their Stats being weaker than those at NYU – they fare well becuase their brands are that strong. The AdComs at Duke and Cornell could choose to become GMAT and GPA hawks but have clearly decided that other metrics also make strong classes/cohorts.
    To each their own – all are great schools!

  • sternstudent

    more than a few current stern students turned down cbs

  • dirs

    “If you want to get into Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, that pretty much means you need to have … a GMAT score between 680 and 780 on an 800-scale. Those are the 10th and 90th percentile numbers for the Stanford class that entered in the fall of 2012.”

    John – Can this possibly be true? A 780 as the 90th percentile, meaning fully 10% of the class (~40 students) got 790 or 800? I would think the 90th percentile number couldn’t possibly be above 770…

  • rere

    Which GPA is considered more important for applicants with graduate degrees? Are both undergrad and grad GPAs equally important?

  • baston

    Well its true that Columbia does have its Ivy status but it loses a lot of ground vs NYU. Nevertheless US new stats are far more reflect B school power and prestige. As far as GMAT stat is concerned, GMAT tells a lot about the candidates IQ and success potential and lets face it its the only stat that you can really compare across the table in a fair and transparent manner. People are basically compared under precisely the same standards.

  • fds

    NYU struggles to stay in top 10 despite being in NYC (according to US News. In other rankings, it’s way below) .. I think that says a lot..
    Imaging what would happen if schools like Cornell, Duke and Dartmoouth ran programs out of NYC..

  • God

    “As far as GMAT stat is concerned, GMAT tells a lot about the candidates IQ and success potential”

    Bullshit! It tells people that you are good at taking the GMAT. What’s next – correlation with cock size?

  • TopDog

    Agreed! And Cornell just is beginning by offering a 1 YR Accelerated MBA in NYC at Google’s NYC Offices, as a first step, prior to opening a full campus on Roosevelt Island in NYC over the next several years.

  • Renault

    sternstudent said: “more than a few current students turned down cbs”

    Maybe, but I guarantee you that far more turned down NYU to attend Columbia.

  • Orange 1

    Who says they are struggling? They are in the Duke/Yale/Michigan/Cornell/Virginia/UCLA tier. So one is #10 and another might be 12 or 13? Big deal. I see more trashing talking and pumping on this site than some of the sports blogs I read.

  • Orange1

    Whatever they do in NYC, hope they never abandon the vitality of the Ithaca-based program. I was once thinking of going there because I wanted to get away from a big city for a while. Can’t be the only person who thinks that way.

  • TopDog

    I agree – my best read is that Cornell views expanding into NYC as a way in which to augment and better serve the full marketplace of potential high quality MBA seekers and does not intent to abandon the main campus in Ithaca – but time will tell. I too have always been fond of Cornell and believe this step will serve to grow the universe of potential Cornell MBA Seekers who prefer life and potential opportunities in the City combined with an Ivy League and globally significant brand…

  • soible

    Then why dont you tell them that they will run out of business soon because it just tells that they are good at taking GMAT? Also did you read an article here at P&Q which demosntrates that GMAT result is a very very important admissions criteria? DO your homework first.

  • soible

    Are you an NYU Reject man? s for the other Unies. I have een Columbia running its NY program for ages? So? Do you see a big difference? NYU Doesnt struggle to be in top 10. It has an elite finance faculty and its picking up in other areas. The fact is IT IS a top 10 school and I presume you are a Cornell student hoping for the best? What are the Cornell stats? Dont you see a huge difference between Cornell (or even Duke, etc?) and NYU Stats?

  • Soible

    Thank you Orange 1. I see trashing as well. Very possibly from NYU rejects..

  • Towski

    Could be. Remember that the 90th percentile will simply choose a score without regard to the scores above or below it. Therefore, it’s fully possible that those ~40 students that you reference could have all scored 780 as well.

  • Kiki

    Thanks for the suggestions!!

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    You’re welcome!

  • Renault

    1) Nobody cares about faculty, and

    2) NYU is NOT a top 10 by every metric (though it sometimes is). It’s in the YSOM/Cornell/Duke/UVA/etc. tier and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • BlazingSaddles

    I totally agree with Renault – what is your beef with NYU being ranked in the same sphere as Cornell and Duke – NYU is not perceived as any better in my mind at all? In fact, Cornell and Duke are ranked higher than NYU in a majority of rankings including the composite P&Q rankings. Personally I would be thrilled to atend NYU, Duke, or Cornell, as they are all terrific schools – BUT I would choose Cornell or Duke over NYU because I think more of their brands and locations (I am an outdoor enthusiast) regardless of NYU’s superior GMATs and GPAs You seem too hung up on GMAT and GPA – and certainly they are a key factor in rankings and reputation (and granted important ones) – but as TopDog mentions, clearly not necessarily the only ones or even the key ones…

  • gaston

    Have you read the US news rankings? By metrics of admissions rigor its top 5 and by any metrics its top 10- read US news which is THE most unbiased, prestigious and reliable rating report. Sorry to disappointing you.

  • Renault

    It happens to be number 10 this year, but it fights for that spot every single year with its other peer schools (YSOM, Cornell, Duke, UVA, UCLA, Ross). It will never be seen as better than any of the M7 schools, and very likely will never rank above Tuck or Haas.

  • BlazingSaddles

    I take it you like US News the best because it favors your vision that quantitative metrics offer the best and most “unbiased” vision of a school- and thus NYU fares solidly at #10. I think that is reasonable – if you have that perspective. I happen to disagree. I am after a job and salary etc – and so I like the qualitative measures in a BW and Forbes as well…
    However, it is amusing that those who favor Duke or Cornell equally indicate that BW, Forbes, P&Q and all the rankings that mark them higher are a better measurement…
    How convenient and random???
    Let’s get real here…Duke, Cornell, NYU, and Darden are splitting hairs in quality – they are all excellent and all peers…ridiculous to claim that one is a whole lot better or worse than the other…sounds foolish unless one wishes to be a troll…
    onward and upward

  • gaston

    It ranked # 11 only last year else # 10 and 9

  • jamie

    Who cares about those schools? London Business School trashes all of them big time and with closed eyes.

  • BlazingSaddles

    Let’s agree to disagree on this strongly – or “big time and with closed eyes” as you say…but I respect the opinion.
    LBS is a great school though – no doubt about that…I would personally choose NYU, Cornell, Duke, or Darden over it in a second though…that is a personal choice though. I am certain u have your reasons which make your opinion perfectly valid…
    Cheers!

  • MyBigCock

    Then why isn’t Fordham in NYC well regarded?
    How about the Stevens Institute of Technology?

  • jamie

    Why? LBS is the best European Business School. The Schools you mentioned are top #10 in US but NOT top 3.

  • Renault

    No, just honesty.

  • BlazingSaddles

    It is a great BSchool. I personally, and it is just my own opinion, believe that a US Business School ranked in the 10-15 range like NYU, Cornell, and Duke will serve my career goals and objectives better than a Top 5 European school…
    Again that is personal – if my goals and objectives were different than my conclusion might vary.

  • IndiansAsiansNOTatRoss

    Racism is rampant at Ross:

    “About 40 percent of white Americans and about 25 percent of non-white
    Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race,” Reuters reports.

  • Renault

    You’ve single-handedly convinced me to apply to Ross this year, since it seems like I’ll have a very good time as a tall, good-looking white guy. Thanks.

  • jamie

    Its equivalent to H/S/W all other schools are far worse compared to LBS: 1) H; 2) S; 3)W-> 4) LBS and by large distance all others

  • Renault

    LBS isn’t even the best school in Europe (yep, it’s INSEAD) and you’re declaring that it’s better than the rest of the M7?

    LOL

  • BlazingSaddles

    Let’s agree to disagree strongly on this but respectfully of course!
    I do not perceive LBS to be on par with H/S/W – but I recognize that is my opinion.
    I see LBS as a fantastic business school that would be considered by most in the US to be comparable to a US Top 10-25 range school – so excellent by most all measures, just not premier.
    In and amongst European schools, I would anticipate that LBS would indeed hit the premier mark along with INSEAD, IMD, and HEC Paris and maybe IE.
    Good Luck

  • Raymond120

    It is a syndrome of narrow minded american! that still thinking the world is in its twentieth century! My friend, The world did change in the last decade and particularly in the last five years! the economic power is shifting toward east or may be to the center. You can easily see this change by looking into the latest employment reports of all the top US MBA programs to notice that the highest salaries are actually moving geographically to the emerging economies. You can see that top IB/MC firms are hiring more for foreign offices than for the US places. You can see that the international programs are gaining momentum as result of the economic shift. You can notice that Top US schools are trying to be “GLOBAL” by many initiatives (exchange programs, collaborations with another international schools, doing field studies abroad,..etc..) and therefore, every one with logical thought would expect that the top US schools will definitely be affected negatively. in today world, many if not all the top employers (elite employers) consider LBS and INSEAD to be on par (if not better in case of INSEAD for consulting) with the HWS. in fact, INSEAD has the lead globally, in the field of global management and cross cultural businesses. No question about how excellent the M7 Schools are, But so is INSEAD and LBS. Please, note this site is american centric, hence do not expect deep knowledge about the other parts of the universe, called Europe, Asia, Africa, etc..

  • olinshom

    INSEAD by far better than M7 schools, except Harvard.

  • BlazingSaddles

    @Raymond120,
    I appreciate your perspective but certainly not the “narrow minded” insulting portion. This clearly reflects the syndrome of an insecure, arrogant, and scared non-american!
    If you actually read my post, and in particular my earlier post(s) – I specifically stated my view was with respect to MY OWN goals and objectives – and so was personal to me. I went on to state that if my goals and objectives changed that my thoughts on this subect may change as well. And I stand by my comments fully with respect to MY OWN goals and objectives. A top 25 US business school would serve my goals and objectives better than a premier European BSchool like LBS!
    You obviously were eager to speak about this topic – which is fine. However, in so doing, you have betrayed your own insecurities on this subject. Be stronger than that. If you believe that INSEAD and LBS are as strong as Harvard and Stanford and Wharton and other US top MBA programs including those in the M7 than let their records prove that out – just as the records of top US business schools have over many many years.
    Take the chip and remove it from your shoulder – I for one was not attacking – merely stating my own opinion specific to my own goals, while making sure to complement LBS, INSEAD, IMD, HEC Paris, and IE – again in the context of my own goals.
    And since this is a US centric website, which happens to devote significant time and resources to International schools as well – do not be surprised to encounter a US perspective, since that is where the majority will seek employment.
    Good luck to you

  • Raymond120

    My friend, it is not about secured or insecured! it is about the natural change in this world, US came to its end, no doubt about that, it is just a matter of time! can you believe that in 2030, the middle class will be around 3.5 Billion in Asia compared with just 150 m in all north america!, and now many many people particularly INDIAN and Chinese choose to study management in their home countries or in another asian top schools! can you imagine for the first time, there is number of indians turn down Harvard for IIM-A! not for national dogma, NO, merely for employment prospective. My point is: if it is about you OWN goals, then state it clear and do not confuse people. and with regard to INSEAD and LBS, their strength is not because they are European, NOOOO, it is because they are international (% of the student body). in my opinion, the MBA itself as a degree is no longer attractive like before, in fact, the perception about top US MBA is often connected with the financial crisis and the dark face of capitalism and virtual and greedy economy. you can notice this by the sharp fall of the financial jobs and salaries. I’m not surprised at all when knowing that some of top financial engineering programs has been closed at top us universities…

  • BlazingSaddles

    @Raymond120,
    My Friend, I believe that you have a strong command of the world and a well-founded vision of the global economy and of where global growth likely will come from – I think we agree on far more than we disagree with respect to a macro level on the global economy.
    However, at the micro level, we disagree. My comments, which you did attack, were specific to my own career and goals, which are in fact quite US specific as a function of the public company I work for…
    You yourself said that Indian Nationals are turning down Harvard for IIM-A – I understand – and that is my very point! For ME, Cornell, Duke, Virginia-Darden, NYU Stern, etc (let alone Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton) will serve ME better than LBS or INSEAD. I was not being nationalistic – I was focusing on the reality of my own career.
    One should not pick a business school simply because it enrolls a larger % of international students???? That is silly! One should pick that internationally oriented school if global or international work is highly aligned with their goals. For the same reason that an Indian National may turn down Harvard for IIM-A (which is not highly international in its enrollment – why? Becuase that serves their own goals better…
    So relax – go to the business school that suits your needs best and let people post thoughts/questions about themselvels without attacking and insulting and you too may learn something valuable!
    Good luck…

  • Juan Aja

    John, I’ve heard so much about country quotas and diversity quotas but always from future applicants (meaning either we are trying to make each other feel better about our chances of admission or there is some truth behind this). I wanted to ask your take on this. I’m a mexican lawyer dreaming on studying at a top 10-15 US.B-school. If univs. do have these quotas, I would expect my chances to increase a little, would you agree? (BTW, I have a 3.49 GPA and GMAT:640 42Q 35V).
    Best.

    Xoan

  • Renault

    Nope.

  • JohnAByrne

    London Business School has a superb MBA program and its location in one of the world’s greatest cities is hard to beat. However, it would be wrong to assume that LBS “trashes” the top U.S. schools. In fact, the average GMAT score at London of 698 is currently below at least 14 U.S. business schools, including Yale, Virginia, Michigan, NYU, and UCLA. Of all the stats on student quality, the single most important measure–for good or for bad–is the GMAT score. By the way, INSEAD’s average GMAT score of 705 is behind 11 U.S. schools. Just a data point worth considering in this debate. If you were ranking on nothing more than average GMATs as a short-cut metric of student quality, London would be more equivalent to Cornell’s Johnson School or Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School, which is still awfully good company to be in.

  • Raymond120

    INSEAD avg GMAT is heavily affected by the fact that large portion of the student body come from very different backgrounds, educationally, geographically, culturally, and more..otherwise it’d very easy for INSEAD to get its avg GMAT increased by 15 to 20 points at least. I know personally many many student at INSEAD with score of 790 and 780, and on the other side there are people with score as low as 570 or even less. But, giving that INSEAD has the largest class of MBA more than any other schools in the world, yet, they managed to keep the GMAT above 700, with such huge diverse student body, this fact is really impressive. all this if we consider the numbers as sole measure of the student quality which is absolutely wrong.

  • poppa

    you have good chance at duke, virginia, and wharton.

  • demond44e3

    anyone know the release time of forbes ranking?

  • JohnAByrne

    This year, Forbes was hoping to release its new ranking in early September. But for editorial reasons, the editors may push it back until October. Will know for sure next week. In any case, it looks like the release date will be one month to two months later than last time which is here:

    http://poetsandquants.com/2011/08/03/hbs-nudges-aside-stanford-in-new-forbes-ranking/

  • CDM554FR

    in my humble opinion, and after watching rankings, analysis, forums, employment reports, …, I came to the conclusion that the top 10 full time MBA in the world are: M7 schools, followed by INSEAD, LBS, Tuck, and Haas (no order). This is general speaking, and everyone can make his/her own ranking out of those 11 schools based on his/her career goals and fit factor.

  • SouthernMAN

    John, can you please comment on the latest preliminary employment data of the Texas McCombs school full time MBA. I see their mean salary is 105k which is just 5k less than Columbia last year. and in investment banking, they both has the same salary! are wee seeing some shift here or what?

  • GeomAct

    HE DOES NOT LIKE SOUTHERN THINGS :)

  • gaston

    I agree to John’s commend about the GMAT scores. NYU is way better than LBS by miles so LBS and INSEAD is behind. In fact, I totally agree with John’s comment that both INSEAD and LBS are equivalent to top 15-20 US schools.

  • gaston

    totally agree LBS at par with top 15-25 US business schools at the very best. INSEAD the same.

  • Professor Weasel

    What do CBS and Stern students have in common? They all got admitted to Stern.

  • Rami

    partially agree. INSEAD and LBS at most compared to top 25 to 35 US schools (US news Ranking).

  • Carlos Escalante

    Hey! I am an international (Mexico) MBA hopeful, have an average of 93/100 on my undergrad studies about 3.8 or 3.9 if converted to the GPA system), have good work experience and have both a day job and a moderately successful advertising business venture, as well as nice extra-curriculars and social work. What is killing me is my GRE score. I did pretty averagely on it, and though I will take the exam again in a few weeks, I have been studying for more than 6 months, on and off, and my score really hasn’t improved much. I will give my all but again, but I am expecting around 155Q and 160+ verbal. My TOEFL ibt score is 111 so I am on the high range there. What would be some realistic expectations for me? My top schools are Kellogg and Stanford (very hard, I know), do I have any chance?

  • sedlar

    Let us be clear, we can not compare one year MBA with the traditional two year MBA, therefore, INSEAD can be compared only with those top schools in US that offer one year MBA. First, it is very obvious that Kellogg and Cornell are away ahead of INSEAD. Second, Emory one year and Notre dame programs are slightly better than INSEAD due to the fact they belong to a very established universities. The only program that I feel comfortable to compare it with INSEAD is Katz one year MBA at University of Pittsburgh, if we ignore the class size, it is quite equivalent to INSEAD.

  • ramon

    Agreed. Easy Top 15-25 US business Schools >= INSEAD or LBS. And by the way, I think INSEAD is better than LBS if we are talking about European Schools.

  • soible

    Blazing I agree with you. Its not only that top US business schools would serve you better for your own particular circusmtances. The fact and reality is that top 15 business schools are BETTER (its a fact) than INSEAD or LBS. Full stop. I also would like to remind you and will quote John’s comment above “London Business School has a superb MBA program and its location in one of the world’s greatest cities is hard to beat. However, it would be wrong to assume that LBS “trashes” the top U.S. schools. In fact, the average GMAT score at London of 698 is currently below at least 14 U.S. business schools, including Yale, Virginia, Michigan, NYU, and UCLA. Of all the stats on student quality, the single most important measure–for good or for bad–is the GMAT score. By the way, INSEAD’s average GMAT score of 705 is behind 11 U.S. schools. Just a data point worth considering in this debate. If you were ranking on nothing more than average GMATs as a short-cut metric of student quality, London would be more equivalent to Cornell’s Johnson School or Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School, which is still awfully good company to be in.”

    This IS the reality.

  • soible

    My above comment was to support your comments vis a vis those raised by Raymond120 which are completely untrue

  • Raymond120

    if the GMAT is the criteria here, then IIM-A (with avg GMAT 770) should be away better than Harvard and Stanford. am I right?

  • Raymond120

    I’d be always nervous to accept any argument that contains words such as “completely” or “absolutely”. Professionally speaking.

  • BlazingSaddles

    You are correct only if GMAT is the sole criteria – however we all know that it is not the only factor – and far from it. There are many other intangible and tangible qualities that make a great/premier business school. GMAT is a key/central metric and so obviously IIM-A excels and dominates in that one area. For most though – such quanitiative metrics are not the deciding factor – it is the intangibles…and so I would submit that a strong majority of global MBA aspirants would pick Harvard over IIM-A despite their superior GMAT scores…essentially no contest as this point in time. Does not mean IIM-A is not outstanding – it is – and so is Harvard…

  • Raymond120

    So, if we agreed that the GMAT is not the sole factor, then we should exclude it when compare (say) INSEAD to Harvard! right? I claim that INSEAD is on par with Harvard based on many things; global outreach, innovative dual campuses, mastering the cross-cultural management and particularly in consulting. I’d also claim that INSEAD and based on those previous factors is by far ahead of schools like Chicago, Haas, MIT, and Tuck. Only HSW could be really compared to INSEAD due to very obvious fact that they are the schools that established the business education itself from the scratch and still setting its standards except the globalization thing which is an INSEAD invention.

  • BlazingSaddles

    We agree that GMAT is not the only criteria to measure business schools – but where we disagree is what other tangible and intangible measures to weigh after GMAT that define a BSchools’s position/rank. My feeling here is that because of the variances in personal opinion about which criteria to weight most – than it is unlikely to get agreement. Thus our disagreement with one another. There is nothing wrong with your presumption that INSEAD is on par with Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton – in as much is there is anything wrong with my full disagreement with that statement. Two reasonable people will agree or not based upon what they value most in a BSchool.
    Perhaps the best indicator would be a Cross Admit Analysis in order to see what % of applicants admitted to two schools pick one over the other. not sure if that has been done or not – but I would speculate that a greater % of applicants admitted to H/S/W choose H/S/W over INSEAD and LBS…which would make a statement. I would also submit that that pattern would extend for a greater number of US top 25 BSchools than you believe.

  • Raymond120

    I really appreciate such wise statement. First, you implicitly agreed that INSEAD is comparable to Harvard so that you need to set up a percentage measure to differentiate between those two prominent schools. However, due to its massive brand value, wealth, long history, I’d not be surprised by the lead of Harvard. Stanford, and wharton? I’m not sure.

  • BlazingSaddles

    Thanks – I appreciate the interesting dialogue…
    However, to be clear I did not imply that I agree that INSEAD is = to H/S/W – quite the contrary actually. What I said was that there is nothing wrong with YOU thinking that and ME disagreeing with it…
    I PERSONALLY do not agree that INSEAD is equal to H/S/W – and that it is more likely a US 10-25 equivalent.
    Again I greatly appreciate the conversation.
    The Cross Admit Data I think would help resolve such a debate…
    Thx!

  • Raymond120

    OK. which ranking you mean by (10-25) US schools? because it is quite confusing to consider INSEAD equivalent to school number 10 and in the same time equivalent to school number 25!!! do you consider the top 10 US school is equivalent to top 25 US school?! or it is range someone can stretch it based on his own view, meaning, if I like INSEAD, then I’ll consider it equivalent to top 10, and if I do not like it, I’ll consider it equivalent to top 25!!!

  • BlazingSaddles

    Lots of thoughts on rankings – we could start a whole other massive debate about.
    So with that in mind, I tend to favor the Poets & Quants Rankings which is a composite of the major rankings publications…
    It is the one that I would favor…
    Thx

  • Raymond120

    well, on the latest P&Q ranking, the #10 school is Fuqua and 25 is USC, how can someone decide which one of those two schools is comparable to INSEAD?!!!

  • BlazingSaddles

    Well – I think lots of people could and do – you for example. You clearly think INSEAD is superior to those two schools. Some, many, few, or none may agree with you.
    I on the other hand, think Duke is superior to INSEAD. Some, many, few, or none will agree with me. I would have to consider hard between USC and INSEAD – I do not think it is so obvious.
    Again – we are debating personal preferences…not easy…since they are personal. Cross admit data would be useful…

  • Juan Aja

    Thank you poppa, those are excellent options.

  • nerdpolitic

    go for MIT, the head of admission there is originally from mexico, and love to have mexicans in the sloan school :)

  • Mike Porter

    Let’s take things in the right perspective, there’s a lot to do even if the GMAT is not 730!
    if you didn’t see this yet I recommend it: http://www.aringo.com/low_gmat.htm

  • score

    my undergrad gpa is 3,75, I have a PhD degree in economics and its gpa is 3,70. I am working for an international organization. My experience and resume is excellent. However, my Gmat score is 600. Do you think Tepper or Fuqua invites me for interview?

  • JohnAByrne

    I think you have a real shot at Duke or Carnegie, but I would definitely retake the GMAT and try to get a better score.

  • Apurva

    Hey I am an international MBA aspirant and am in my final year of undergraduate education. I have a GMAT score of 720 and GPA of 3.6 (after converting to a scale of 4) Do you think harvard 2+2 will take me? or Stanford will offer deferred admission. Do you know any other good B school that offers deferred admission?

  • Cecil

    Thanks for the insight Linda. Really wanted this..

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    Glad to be of help. Thanks for the feedback!

  • JohnAByrne

    That’s really impossible to say based on the limited information you provide. While GMAT and GPA scores are vital to admission, there’s a lot more that goes into this than that including your life’s goals, likely work experience, leadership experience in extracurriculars, recommendations, in-person interview, and quality of your essay.

  • Cecil

    Very few knows that the average GMAT score of IIM-A is 767 !!

  • Cecil

    Absolutely !!

  • Prashant

    I have 8.5 years of core Marketing Business Strategy & Entrepreneurship experience with Global Iconic Brands In consumer durable and sporting goods company. Most of the roles have been at Leadership positions which also includes an entrepreneurial experience of starting my own restaurant. I have had the unique opportunity to set up the Business of one of the Worlds leading camera company where I was the 1st employee to join them and was responsible for their India set up which includes a complete 360 degree business set up of Sales, Supply Chain, Service and Marketing.
    For the last four years I have been working with US based Golf Sporting goods company responsible for marketing. I have grown within the company and am now at a Senior leadership position, responsible for Revenue P&L . I have been with the company since inception and responsible for growing the share to 30% from less than 5%.

    I have taken the GMAT twice & my best score is 630.
    Do you think my experience will compensate for my low score to get a call from Wharton, LBS , Harvard, IMD ?? What are the top schools that will consider my experience ??
    Do you suggest I re-take the GMAT?
    Is age an important factor?

  • pingu

    Madam, I have a 5.5 points over 10,I’m a student of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) I can improve my grade up to 6+ is there any chance that I may get into HBS or stanford or whitmore or any top colleges with a good G-Mat scores? I had many backlogs.

  • pingu

    I’m a undergraduate in Electronics & Communication Engineering

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    I assume you mean Wharton, not Whitmore.

    If you raise your grade point to well over 6, stop having the backlogs, excel professionally, show leadership i multiple arenas, earn a high GMAT, and perhaps complete a certification like a CFA or CPA or take grades classes and earn As in them,, then yes you would have a chance at top schools.

    Also provide context for what caused the low grades while showing that either those circumstances don’t exist or no longer affect your performance.

  • David Romang

    John and Linda, you both seem to have a lot of background in this and although I am yet just one more inquisitive greenhorn I would like to ask you to assess my chances based on your frame of reference. I took the GMAT in november for the first time and suprised myself with my performance. I scored a 730, have an undergrad GPA of 3.6 and have been a Marine Corps Officer for the last 4 years with multiple deployments. My main two reccomenders I have used are a retired Lt Col I worked for who has been part of the Marines for 40 years and a high school teacher of mine who was a Harvard MBA grad. What would you assess my chances are of landing Harvard/Stanford or one of the other top ten MBA programs

  • David Romang

    I have already submitted my Round II Harvard application and will submit Stanford here in a couple of days. I feel like I am in decent shape but I also feel a little over my head with as many applications as I have tried to put together this past month. Any advice and expertise you can impart is greatly appreciated.

  • Veggalam Sriram

    Do we need job experience to get seat in top20 mba colleges????

  • JohnAByrne

    Generally, you need anywhere from two to four years of job experience. A very small percentage of applicants do get in with no work experience, but you’re clearly at a disadvantage at the best schools.

  • AJ

    Hi, I would welcome some opinion with regards to my chances

    – Indian, 23 (by the time of applications), Male
    – Undergrad – BBA, (One of the better colleges in India)
    – GMAT – 740 (q50, v39, IR 8, expect 5-6 in essay), 1st attempt
    – GPA – 3.06/4 (Better than class average, top GPAs were around 3.55)
    – 2 years in a Financial Advisory Firm. Mainly assisted a big PE firm. Involved in a few of the investments that tool place. Killed at work. Received early promotion after the first year (1st time in the firm history), managed small teams after the promotion on projects, got offered another promotion but decided to quit
    – Next 8 months – helped out with family business, was about to launch a venture but ditched plans after a few months of work, travelled some
    – Presently, will be working with Acumen (Social Impact Investment) in a short term role for the next 3-4 months

    Schools I am targeting, in order of preference, are Harvard, Wharton, Booth, and Columbia.

  • Karan

    Hi! I am an Indian applicant. Some stats to provide a background:
    (a) 3.4 GPA from a top tier engineering college in India
    (b) 720 GMAT – first attempt
    (c) Just over 3 years of work exp. in research & analysis, business development (in Prague) for a solar tech company, and a minor start-up with a college batchmate
    (d) Very strong extra-curriculars in college (which explain the relatively low GPA) – over 25 different certificates and founded 2 different student clubs on a national scale
    (e) Amateur script and screenplay writer and semi-professional theatre actor

    Two questions:
    (a) Potential schools to target?
    (b) Should I retake the GMAT? (as I gave the earlier one with very low degree of preparation)

    PS: I recently sat for and cleared a country-wide exam to secure a job as an Assistant Manager at a prominent nationalised government Indian bank (selectivity: 1%).

    Responses shall be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks!

  • post

    Quick chances:

    Harvard Undergrad, STEM major 3.7 gpa
    GMAT: 730, 6 essay
    Investment banking at an elite boutique bank in NYC for two years.
    First generation student/ parents had no formal schooling

    Thinking HBS, Stanford, or Wharton.

  • Shpw

    3.7 gpa at Harvard undergrad is average. Harvard is known for its grade inflation and it is known that the median GPA hovers around 3.7. Also the gnat is very good but falls on the average range for stanford, harvard, wharton. So score-wise I would say you are average+ for the schools you are shooting. What you have going for you is the unparalleled prestige of the Harvard name, the prestige of the elite bank you re working at and also the first generation student thing.

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