Business schools want to accept tomorrow’s business leaders. A business leader can typically hire and lead all the 750 GMAT people she likes, but a 750 GMAT doesn’t indicate that someone will ever inspire others.
Of course you want the best of both worlds. But every year Admissions Ace works with applicants who are concerned because their scores are ‘only’ in the top 2%, while they feel the need to get into the top .5% to have a shot at H/S/W!
We also work with many candidates who have scored in the mid-600s and are worried over whether to apply to business school at all. Hint: apply! You will still wind up in the top two tiers of schools if you are seen as one of tomorrow’s business leaders.
This GMAT worry can get pretty extreme, yet it’s understandable, given the ‘conventional wisdom’ out there. The old saying goes ‘there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.’ The average GMAT scores posted by schools can be intimidating. But by definition, every last one of those schools has many students who scored well below the average. What those students have in common: a compelling narrative that rounds out a diverse class in some professional, geographic, or cultural way.
You aren’t a statistic. Ultimately, your score is just a sanity check. In other words, can you speak the same essential ‘language’ as your prospective classmates do? All those 750 GMAT people want a leader with whom they can relate on quantitative things.
A note of caution: the GMAT can be used as a scapegoat. Blaming a test usually feels better than blaming a narrative about business leadership potential. Don’t fall for this! Your leadership story is what will determine your fate if you let it.
Mark Friedman is a graduate of the Wharton Business School and Stanford Law School. He prides himself on crafting novel messages out of seemingly ordinary backgrounds, mastering the details and the big picture of the application process, and helping clients overachieve. He is the founder of Admissions Ace.