Average GMAT Scores For The Top 50 Business Schools

Studying at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School - Ethan Baron photo

Studying at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School – Ethan Baron photo

Editor’s Note: The latest update to this story can be found here.

Looking at GMAT score trends over the past five years brings you to one unmistakeable conclusion: The more highly ranked schools are getting more of the high scoring test takers than ever before–and in many cases the average class scores at highly ranked schools are hitting new records.

Among the Top 50 U.S. MBA programs, only half show increases in their average GMAT scores for their entering classes in the past five years. More tellingly, though, 17 of the Top 25 ranked schools have been able to improve their average GMATs, largely by taking a higher percentage of those students from lesser-ranked institutions.

Among the schools reporting the biggest increases are the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, which saw a 14-point rise to an average GMAT score for last fall’s entering class of 732, up from 718 in 2011. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management boasts a 12-point jump to 724 last year from 712 five years earlier, while the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business school saw its average class GMAT also rise a dozen points to 701 from 689 (see below). Yet, the Top 50 school with the single biggest increase in GMAT scores was none other than Michigan State University’s Broad School where the average soared by 26 points to 664 from 638.


Rising GMATs are not only an element of a school that is improving the quality of its incoming students. They can also be an indication of a school’s aggressiveness in offering more scholarship money to compete with rivals and be a sign that a school is eager to move up in rankings that weigh GMAT scores in the methodology used to compute those lists.

A 700 GMAT score puts a test taker in the 89th percentile of those who have taken the exam. That means only 11% of those who sit for the GMAT have a score of 700 or above. The average is about 547. Stanford’s leading average GMAT of 733 comfortably puts the incoming class among the top four percent of all test takers, though the latest entering MBA students have GMATs that range from a low of 570 to a perfect score of 800. Last fall, Harvard accepted a 510 GMAT scorer, while Wharton’s lowest score last fall was 110 points higher at 620.

Just as surprising as the schools that have had significant upticks in their GMATs are those that have reported falls. The biggest surprise occurs at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business which has long boasted the highest average GMAT scores of any elite MBA program. Stanford’s average has fallen six points to 733, just a point above Wharton’s record 732 last fall. Just five years ago, Stanford was ahead of Wharton with a 21-point gap, with Stanford then at 739 and Wharton at 718. Harvard Business School, by contrast, reported a class average of 725 for the Class of 2017, up just a single digit from five years ago and down two points from 2013.

Most likely, the difference has more to do with Wharton placing increasing value on GMAT scores in its admission decisions, a point of view subscribed to by MBA admission consultants. Likewise, the decline at Stanford has more to do with the school moving toward a slightly more holistic evaluation of candidates, with somewhat less emphasis on a standardized test score.

Top 50 With Biggest Five-Year Increases In GMAT Scores


School Five-Year Change Average 2015 GMAT Average 2011 GMAT
Michigan State (Broad) +26 664 638
Pennsylvania (Wharton) +14 732 718
Southern Methodist (Cox) +14 656 641
Northwestern (Kellogg) +12 724 712
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) +12 701 689
UCLA (Anderson) +9 713 704
Washington (Foster) +8 688 675

Source: Poets&Quants analysis from available GMAT data

  • sk

    lol looks like some is gonna have a tough time with the CR section…

  • BR

    Does anyone know typical GMAT scores of male students (of Indian origin) to get into the top MBA programs? Appreciate any information or where to look for, boards etc.

  • sherwinwill

    again your table is titled Average GMAT Scores At The Top 50 U.S. MBA Programs..Stanford’s GMAT score is the highest for every year you have listed yet is listed second.

    John.. I know you love harvard but misrepresenting these stats to curve fit your desired results is lame.

  • Not weird at all. It’s stated clearly in the article and a quick scan of the tables shows you the results.

  • sherwinwill

    weird that this is not listed by GMAT score?


    is the official ranking.

  • AH

    UCLA’s average has been 715 for the past three years. The increase is +11.

  • Josh

    Demonstrates that HBS is feeling the heat/competition from the other M7 schools in attracting top calibre students. Havard is a great school and has been recognised as the top B-School in the US and globally. The school has been relying on its legacy reputation and the fact that its older cohorts of alumni (those that graduated in the 70’s and 80’s) taking the leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies.

    However, that is changing given the changing global landscape where retail, consumer and manufacturing companies’ dominance is being replaced by the rising importance and dominance of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industries. Schools like Stanford known for its strong technology focus and halo effect from its undergraduate programs may likely overtake Harvard in the near future. within the top B-schools or the M7, those that are revamping their offerings and curriculum with an all-rounded focus to meet the changing global landscape and needs of the new generation of leaders in business education like Northwestern University’s Kellogg and Dartmouth’s Tuck are likely to also attract a greater share of top calibre applicants. The rising average GMAT scores of Stanford (733), Wharton (732) and Kellogg (728) supports this. Harvard’s was at 725.