The Super GMAT Schools

The first hurdle every MBA applicant must jump to get into a great business school is the entry exam. Afterall, admission officers admit that a low score on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the single biggest reason why business schools ding MBA applicants.

As the table below shows, average GMAT scores for the top U.S. schools are extremely high. The 13 highest scores are all above 700, with average undergraduate grade point averages of 3.4 and above. There are 29 full-time MBA programs in the U.S. with average GMAT scores for entering students in the 85th percentile or above of all test takers.

Just how important is the GMAT score? A recent survey, by Kaplan Test Prep, found that 48% of some 288 responding admissions staffers said that a weak GMAT or GRE score is the biggest application killer. A low undergraduate GPA placed second at 33%, while the lack of relevant work experience followed at just 10%.

Most admissions officials tend to downplay the importance of any one piece of the MBA application. The Kaplan report, which includes responses from the admissions offices of 22 of the top 30 U.S. business schools, confirms that an applicant’s GMAT or GRE score far outweighs consideration of any other factor in a candidate’s chances–regardless of what the school’s websites or marketing literature contends.

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. Another likely reason 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.

Here are the 29 MBA programs in the U.S. with the highest GMAT scores for the latest crop of students to enter their schools last fall:

SchoolsAverage GMAT GMAT Range Average GPA GPA Range
1. Stanford728680 – 7703.693.38 – 3.95
2. Harvard724NA3.67NA
3. Yale722680 – 7603.523.12 – 3.95
4. MIT (Sloan)718670 – 7603.573.22 – 3.88
4. California-Berkeley (Haas)718680 – 7603.633.39 – 3.87
4. UPenn (Wharton)718670 – 7603.503.20 – 3.90
7. Dartmouth (Tuck)716667 – 7603.503.12 – 3.85
8. New York (Stern)715660 – 7603.423.05 – 3.75
9. Chicago (Booth)715660 – 7603.523.10 – 3.90
10. Northwestern (Kellogg)714660 – 7603.523.13 – 3.86
11. Columbia712680 – 7603.503.10 – 3.80
12. UCLA (Anderson)710680 – 7503.533.21 – 3.88
13. Michigan (Ross)704650 – 7503.402.90 – 3.80
14. Virginia (Darden)699640 – 7503.413.00 – 3.80
15. Duke (Fuqua)697620 – 7603.402.80 – 3.90
16. Washington (Olin)695640 – 7503.483.09 – 3.90
17. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)694640 – 7503.232.58 – 3.77
18. Florida (Hough)694640 – 7353.513.13 – 3.86
19. Minnesota (Carlson)694640 – 7503.503.11 – 3.93
20. California-Davis692650 – 7403.272.85 – 3.82
21. Southern California (Marshall)690640 – 7403.302.93 – 3.67
22. Cornell (Johnson)687620 – 7403.252.77 – 3.74
23. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)686620 – 7503.32.82 – 3.80
24. Notre Dame (Mendoza)685600 – 7503.332.86 – 3.83
25. Georgetown (McDonough)684640 – 7403.372.98 – 3.77
26. Texas-Austin (McCombs)684620 – 7303.432.94 – 3.86
27. Boston University681620 – 7403.352.80 – 3.90
28. Washington (Foster)681620 – 7403.342.86 – 3.86
29. Emory (Goizueta)680620 – 7503.342.84 – 3.80

 

Notes: Ranges for GMAT an GPA represent the 10th percentile to 90th percentile. So 10% of the entering class scored lower than the reported GMAT or GPA here, while another 10% scored higher. All numbers were reported by the schools to U.S. News & World Report.

DON’T MISS: THE 50 MOST SELECTIVE MBA PROGRAMS IN THE U.S. or WHAT AN AVERAGE GMAT SCORE WILL GET YOU

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.