Average Class GMATs For Incoming MBA Classes In 2019, From Highest To Lowest, In 25 Top U.S. MBA Programs
|School||2019 Class Average GMAT||2018 Class Average||Y-O-Y Change|
|2. UPenn (Wharton)||732||732||——–|
|3. Chicago (Booth)||730||731||-1|
|3. Northwestern (Kellogg)||730||732||-2|
|6. MIT (Sloan)||727||728||-1|
|8. UC-Berkeley (Haas)||725||726||-1|
|9. Dartmouth (Tuck)||723||722||+1|
|10. Yale SOM||721||724||-3|
|10. NYU (Stern)||721||717||+4|
|12. Michigan (Ross)||719||720||-1|
|12. UCLA (Anderson)||719||719||——–|
|14. Virginia (Darden)||713||718||-5|
|15. Rice (Jones)||710||706||+4|
|16. USC (Marshall)||708||705||+3|
|17. Duke (Fuqua)||705||704||+1|
|18. Texas-Austin (McCombs)||704||703||+1|
|19. Cornell (Johnson)||697||699||-2|
|19. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)||697||703||-6|
|21. Washington (Foster)||695||694||-1|
|21. Washington (Olin)||695||693||+2|
|23. Georgetown (McDonough)||694||693||+1|
|24. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||687||690||-3|
|25. Emory (Goizueta)||684||685||-1|
First, the big picture. The 2019 data on Graduate Management Admission Test scores don’t change much for most of the top 50 MBA programs in the United States as far as the last five years go — and they change even less the higher up the rankings you get. Since 2015, only three B-schools in the Poets&Quants top 25 have seen an overall decline in the average GMAT score of their incoming full-time MBA classes; seven more schools in the lower 25 have seen a decline over that span. Altogether that’s just one-fifth of all schools. The lesson: Over the years, fluctuations in score averages tend to even themselves out, and most schools gradually improve their class-wide scores.
In the short term, though, many schools are experiencing declines — and a few are enduring dropoffs of the dramatic variety. More on that in a bit.
At the peak of this year’s list of average scores on the main test for admission to graduate business programs, once again, is Stanford Graduate School of Business, which reports a 734 average for the 2019 incoming cohort. Stanford is followed by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (732) and three schools at 730: Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Columbia Business School and MIT’s Sloan School of Management both reported 727 averages.
AVERAGE GMAT SCORES AT TOP BUSINESS SCHOOLS
Stanford’s dominance in average GMAT dates back to 2016, when the school shook off the competition and jumped five points to a record 737, 7 points better than its closest peer school that year. Stanford maintained the lofty mark the following cycle as well — leading to some to question whether the stellar metric was sending the wrong signal.
“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,’” Stanford assistant dean of admissions and financial aid Kirsten Moss told P&Q in 2018. “This is heartbreaking to me. We are trying to select a class who aspires to our motto of change lives, change organizations, and change the world. From my experience, I am clear that those who will live up to this motto do not come from a limited number of institutions, job roles, or GPAs. We look at what you value, what you aspire to do, how you think, the impact you have had, and the perspective you will bring.”
In 2018, Stanford’s average GMAT dropped back to 732, tied with three other schools for the best score in the Poets&Quants top 50. But this year it started to climbs again.
WHERE THE DECLINES HAPPENED
Over the last five years, there were declines of a point or more in the average GMAT score at 10 schools, but only three saw drop-offs of double digits. The worst came at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, which fell 20 points between 2015 and 2019, to 638. In the top 25, however, only three schools have seen declines, and all were small: Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business (-3 to 687), UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School (-4 to 697), and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (-2 to 666).
The two-year declines, conversely, are what jump out at you from the table of scores at the top 50 schools (see pages 2 and 3). Six of the top 10 schools saw reversals in average GMAT; Columbia’s 5-point decline was worst. In the top 25, 14 schools slipped, with Indiana Kelley’s 8-point decline the worst.
Surprisingly, the lower half of the top-50 ranking suffered fewer setbacks, with only seven schools out of 25 slipping. The worst came at Arizona State University’s Carey School of Business, which fell 14 points to 680 after reporting a school record the previous year.
WHERE THE NUMBERS ARE GOING UP
How about some good news? In the last five years, the GMAT averages at most schools are going up — sometimes way up. Three top-10 schools — MIT Sloan, Columbia, and UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business — have seen double-digit increases, as has another former top-10 — the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, currently No. 12 in P&Q‘s ranking. Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, this year’s No. 25 school, saw its average GMAT score jump 34 points, to 710; USC’s Marshall School of Business, ranked even higher at No. 19, climbed 29 points to 708. Further down the ranking, the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business (33 points), Penn State’s Smeal College of Business (22 points) and the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business (20 points) all have seen significant increases since 2015 — but none beats the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, one of two newcomers to the top 50, whose Haslam College of Business has jumped an incredible 41 points, to 657.
Last year the average five-year increase for 24 of the top 25 schools was 7.72. This year that number, for 22 schools, is 8.05. Overall in the top 50, the number of schools with double-digit five-year GMAT average increases last year was 17; this year it is 15. The number of schools with positive trends overall is 32, down from 38.
Looking at the two-year window, Stanford (2 points) and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business (1 point) are the only top-10 programs with increases. Eight schools in the top 25 saw their average GMAT score go up, while three schools remained flat. In the top 50, 23 schools had increases, five were even, and one school (UC-Davis) lacked enough data for a result.
Honorable mention goes to Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, which fell to 51st in P&Q‘s ranking this year and therefore was not factored into the overall calculations. Boston Carroll had a 667 GMAT average in 2016, then saw a precipitous drop by 30 points the next year, but arrested the slide in 2018 to remain at 637. In 2019, the school returned to its former glory with a 30-point jump, back to 667. Even though Boston Carroll is no longer in our top 50, we thought the accomplishment was worth a nod.
See the next pages for complete five-year breakdowns of the top 50 U.S. schools, as well as data on European schools and Graduate Record Exam takers.
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