Kellogg | Mr. MBB Private Equity
GMAT TBD (target 720+), GPA 4.0
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
MIT Sloan | Mr. MBB Transformation
GMAT 760, GPA 3.46
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. CPG Product Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Founder
GMAT 700, GPA 3.12
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Tesla Intern
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Supply Chain Data Scientist
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Consultant
GMAT 770, GPA 80% (top 10% of class)
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB/FinTech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Digital Indonesia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB to PM
GRE 338, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBT Social Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.79
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Stanford GSB | Mr. Oilfield Trekker
GMAT 720, GPA 7.99/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Kellogg | Mr. Big 4 Financial Consultant
GMAT 740, GPA 3.94
Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Darden | Ms. Inclusive Management
GRE 313, GPA 2.9

Highest To Lowest Average GMAT Scores At Top Business Schools

student studying

Year in and year out, the business school in the U.S. with the highest reported average GMAT score for its incoming class is Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. The class that entered in the fall of 2014 had GMATs of 732 which put Stanford’s MBA students in the 96th percentile of all GMAT test takers–on average! That’s nearly 190 points above the 547 average that all of GMAT’s test takers score.

More than any other number or fact in an MBA application, GMAT scores tend to matter the most. Surveys of admission officials have repeatedly shown that the number one killer for an MBA applicant is a low or unbalanced GMAT report. And when it comes to having the highest GMATs, the top five schools after Stanford are Wharton, Harvard, Chicago Booth, and New York University’s Stern School of Business.

There are only a dozen MBA programs in the U.S. that sport average GMAT scores of 700 or more. And that select group of schools has remained at the top of the MBA rankings over many years.

BIGGEST GAIN IN AVERAGE GMAT AT A TOP SCHOOL WAS AT KENAN-FLAGLER

Average GMAT scores are among the most closely watched metrics on the quality of an incoming MBA class. They are consciously managed by many admission officials, largely because the numbers are a reflection on the performance of the admissions office and play a significant role in key rankings, particularly U.S. News & World Report where latest average GMAT scores account for slightly more than 16% of ranking results. Not surprisingly, surveys of admission officers continually show that the single biggest killer of an MBA application is a low or unbalanced GMAT score.

Who made the best year-over-year gains in average GMAT scores for their incoming classes? Generally, business schools that had significant increases in their applicant pools, allowing admission officials to be far more selective in who they admitted. Among the highly ranked schools, the GMAT climbing standouts include the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, where the average score jumped 14 points to 697 last year. Applications to Kenan-Flagler’s full-time MBA program, not surprisingly, were up 28%.

The University of Washington’s Foster School was next with a 12-point increase to an average GMAT of 682, followed by Michigan State with an 11-point rise to 655. Both UCLA’s Anderson School and Yale’s School of Management also posted impressive increases, with Anderson up nine points last year to 715 and Yale up five points to 719. All of these schools also reported often significant increases in application volume last year.

CLAREMONT’S DRUCKER SCHOOL SUFFERED THE LARGEST DROP: 32 POINTS

There were larger increases at several second-tier business schools as well. Most notably, Texas Tech Rawls College of Business which reported a 36-point jump to an average score of 559 for its latest incoming class of MBAs. That kind of increase in a single year is highly unusual. For Rawls, the average GMAT score went from just above the 36th percentile to the 48th percentile. The University of Alabama’s Manderson Graduate School of Business posted a 27-point rise to average GMATs of 659 (see below table).

Schools Reporting Largest YOY Increases In Average GMAT Score

 

SchoolIncrease20142013
Texas Tech (Rawls)+36559523
Alabama (Manderson)+27659632
Oklahoma (Price)+22628606
Cincinnati (Lindner)+21622601
Babson (Olin)+20630610
Wake Forest+20652632
Kansas+17594577
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)+14697683
Iowa State+14636622
Washington (Foster)+12682670
North Carolina State (Jenkins)+12639627
Michigan State (Broad)+11655644
San Diego State+11607596
Buffalo-SUNY+10614604
UCLA (Anderson)+9715706

Source: P&Q analysis of publicly available data from business schools

And what goes up must sometimes go down. The biggest year-over-year declines in GMAT scores for incoming classes were at Claremont’s Drucker School where scores plummeted 32 points to 577 from 609 a year earlier. The decline meant that average GMATs went from the 64th percentile of all test takers to below the 54th percentile in a single year. Tulane University’s Freeman School, still attempting to put behind a rankings scandal, saw average GMATs fall 27 points to 649. Louisiana State’s business school had a 22-point drop to 620 from 642 in 2013 (see table below).

Schools Reporting Largest YOY Declines In Average GMAT Score

 

SchoolIncrease20142013
Claremont (Drucker)-32577609
Tulane (Freeman)-27649676
Louisiana State-22620642
Binghamton-20606626
UC-San Diego-18660678
Illinois (Liautaud)-15591606
Texas Christian (Neeley)-14638652
Boston University-12670682
CUNY (Zicklin)-11630641
Connecticut-Storrs-11630641
St. Thomas-11557568

Source: P&Q analysis of publicly available data from business schools

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.