Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61
MIT Sloan | Mr. Tech Enthusiast
GRE 325, GPA 6.61/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Midwest Dreamer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Foster School of Business | Ms. Diamond Dealer
GRE 308, GPA Merit
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Undergraduate GPA
GMAT 720 (Expected), GPA 2.49
Stanford GSB | Ms. Try Something New
GMAT 740, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Military Missile Defense
GRE 317, GPA 3.26
Wharton | Mr. Army Bahasa
GRE 312, GPA 3.57
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Public Service
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Strategy To Real Estate
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Standard Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
NYU Stern | Mr. Customer Success
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Industrial Goods To MBB
GMAT 650, GPA 3.35
Stanford GSB | Mr. Family Biz From Chile
GMAT 710, GPA 5.5/7.0 (Ranked 6 out of 181 of class)
Tuck | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.45
Harvard | Dr. Harvard Biotech
GRE 322, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Global Connector
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Ms. Tech Researcher
GRE 331, GPA 3.17
Kellogg | Mr. Nigerian Engineer
GRE 310, GPA 3.5/5.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Business Analyst
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. National Table Tennis
GMAT 720, GPA 4
INSEAD | Mr. Petroleum Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 3.46
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Aspiring Consultant
GMAT 690, GPA 3.68

Stanford GSB Reports 5-Point Slide In GMATs

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, which could long claim having the highest average GMATs for its entering classes of MBA students, today (Sept. 26) reported a five-point slide in that well-watched metric in MBA admissions. The new average of 732, down from 737 in the past two years, brings Stanford in a tie for the highest average with Columbia Business School, Northwestern Kellogg, and the Wharton School.

The lower average GMAT score, the first in many years at the GSB, occurs at a time when many other schools have been increasing their averages even in the face of application declines. Columbia, for example, saw its GMAT average soar eight full points this year when applications fell by 2.6%. In common with most U.S. business schools, Stanford said applications to its MBA program fell by 4.6% this past year to 7,797 from last year’s record of 8,173.

The decline in Stanford’s GMAT average coincides with publicly expressed concern by Kirsten Moss, assistant dean and director of MBA admissions and financial aid, that some prospective students are deciding not to apply to the school because they have lower-than-average scores that they perceive would harm their chances of admission. “Some of our students tell me that they almost did not apply because they did not come from a ‘top’ university, or they were from the ‘wrong’ industry, or their GMAT or GPA was ‘too low,’” says Moss in an interview with Poets&Quants. “This is heartbreaking to me (see Stanford’s MBA Gatekeeper On A ‘Heartbreaking’ GSB Myth).”


MBA admission consultants hoped the new GMAT average could slow the arm’s race for ever higher averages, in part fueled by U.S. News‘ business school rankings which weight the scores in their annual lists of the best MBA programs. “I am sure that Kirsten Moss would tell you that her job is to admit the best class, not the best GMAT scores,” says Jeremy Shinewald, founder and CEO of mbaMission, a leading MBA admissions consulting firm. “Even with Stanford near its peak application volume, there still has to be a sense at the GSB that sky high GMAT averages are discouraging some otherwise strong applicants and possibly even limiting diversity in the applicant pool. We push truly remarkable applicants with lower scores to apply to the GSB and many decline, thinking that they are wasting their time – that has to irk the GSB.

“So, the drop may have been intentional, but remember, the hurdle at the GSB is still quite high,” adds Shinewald. “And, in reducing their average, they may have been aided ever so slightly by the increase in GRE test takers and the small decrease in applications – a mandate may have met ‘friendly’ macro conditions, taking some heat off of the GSB’s admissions office. So, let’s see what happens next year – I don’t see them taking it much lower, as some peer schools are still finding ways to increase their averages. I always find it absurd that top business schools are allegedly teaching visionary, “fearless” leadership, but show such fealty to these averages. Who will have the courage to take a step back? Maybe the GSB has started – let’s see. I suspect that even if they drop 10 more points, they will still be number one in selectivity.”


In releasing its class profile for the Class of 2020, Stanford also reported that GMATs for the 419 incoming students range from a low of 600 to 790. The average undergraduate grade point average also fell slightly to 3.72 from 3.74. For the second straight year, Stanford also disclosed GRE scores for its entering class. The average verbal GRE score this year is 165, with a range of 156 to 170. The average quant score on the GRE is also 165, with a range of 152 to 170.

The school noted that its new MBA students come from very diverse backgrounds, including 63 countries, 172 undergraduate institutions and 306 organizations — an increase in all three categories. Women make up 41% of the school’s Class of 2020, up from 40% a year earlier, while internationals comprise 42% of the students, a metric that includes permanent U.S. residents and dual citizens, compared to 41% last year. U.S. minorities total 27% of the class, down two percentage points from a year earlier. The entering students averaged four years of work experience, with a range of zero to 11 years.

The percentage of students who come from humanities and social science backgrounds also increased. Stanford said that humanities and social science undergraduate majors make up 48% of this year’s entering class, up four percentage points from the 44% last year. STEM grads with engineering, math and natural sciences degrees fell to 34%, from 37% a year earlier, while business majors in the class dipped a single percent to 18% from 19%.

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.