GRE Scores & Submission Rates At The Top 50 U.S. MBA Programs

GRE Scores At The Top 50 U.S. MBA Programs

In the spring of 2023, Poets&Quants reported that the Graduate Record Exam appeared to have peaked: that the test, which for years had been gaining market share against the Graduate Management Admission Test, seemed to have plateaued in terms of the rates at which prospective MBA students were submitting it with their applications to the top business schools.

Not so fast. A new analysis of submission rates at 54 of the leading U.S. B-schools shows that 2022 may have been just a minor slump. Boosted by a return to mandatory admissions testing at several schools, the GRE bounced back in 2023, with 23 of 54 B-schools analyzed by P&Q showing year-over-year increases in GRE submission rates. The average increase was 7.6 percentage points.

The rebound was not clear-cut: Nineteen schools had GRE declines in that span, averaging more than 9 percentage points. But underscoring the GRE’s strength and the GMAT’s weakness are submission rates for the latter test: Even more than the GRE’s ascendancy, the GMAT — long the dominant entrance exam for graduate business admissions — continues to decline, down at 39 of 54 schools from 2022 to 2023, and up at only eight. And the number of schools where the GRE is the preferred test continues to grow, with 16 schools reporting higher GRE than GMAT submission rates in 2023, up from nine schools the year before.


P&Q Rank School 2023 Quant Average 2023 Verbal Average 2023 Total 2022 Total 2021 Total 3-Year Change
1 Stanford GSB 164 164 328 327 330 -2
2 Harvard Business School 163* 163* 326 326 326 Even
3 Dartmouth (Tuck) 161 161 322 NA 324 -2
5 Yale SOM 166* 164* 330 329 330 Even
9 Michigan (Ross) 162 160 322 320 320 +2
10 New York (Stern) 163 163 326 325 324 +2
11 Chicago (Booth) 163 162 325 NA 325 Even
12 Northwestern (Kellogg) 163* 163* 326 NA 327 -1
15 UC-Berkeley (Haas) 163 161 323 324 323 Even
19 Texas-Austin (McCombs) 161 160 321 319 319 +2
22 Southern California (Marshall) 163 160 323 321 321 +2
31 Pennsylvania (Wharton) 162 162 324 324 324 Even
Source: Business schools


In past years, U.S. News & World Report included GRE score averages in the data release accompanying its annual B-school ranking; this year the magazine released only GRE ranges for 2023, making score comparisons with past years across the top 50 B-schools impossible. Fortunately, several elite B-schools publish their own GRE data as part of their MBA class profiles; see the table above for 12 of the leading schools for which this data is publicly available.

Once again, in average GRE scores, Stanford Graduate School of Business led the way, averaging 164 in each of the Quant and Verbal portions of the GRE for a total score of 328. In medians, Yale School of Management reported scores of 166 on the Quant and 164 on the Verbal for a total of 330. That was better by 4 points than both Harvard Business School and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, both of which reported median scores of 163 on both Quant and Verbal for a total of 326.

U.S. News‘ GRE ranges don’t tell us much but offer only a very general sense of the kind of score test-takers need to gain admission; see page 2 for a complete list of ranges at the top 54 B-schools. Some highlights for the Quant portion of the GRE:

  • Highest high end, Quant: 14 schools at 170
  • Lowest high end, Quant: 2 schools at 161: Arizona State Carey and UC-Davis
  • Highest low end, Quant: 4 schools at 158
  • Lowest low end, Quant: 2 schools at 144: William and Mary Mason and Southern Methodist Cox

And for the Verbal:

  • Highest high end, Verbal: 3 schools at 170: Kellogg, Stanford, Harvard
  • Lowest high end, Verbal: 2 schools at 158: Maryland Smith and Northeastern D’Amore-McKim
  • Highest low end, Verbal: 2 schools at 158: NYU Stern and Yale SOM
  • Lowest low end, Verbal: Rutgers Business School, 141

In the third portion of the test, which measures a candidate’s writing ability, 41 of 54 schools reported score ranges to U.S. News, with Virginia Darden School of Business and Michigan Ross School of Business the only two schools with perfect 6.0 scores at the upper end of their range. Eight schools reported high low ends of 4.0.


P&Q 2024 Rank School GRE Submissions 2023 GRE Submissions 2022 Trend
25 Florida (Hough) 6% 46% -40
40 UC-Irvine (Merage) 6% 29% -23
28 Washington (Olin) 27% 47% -20
55 Utah (Eccles) 24% 38% -14
24 Georgetown (McDonough) 37% 49% -12
42 George Washington 12% 23% -11
19 Texas-Austin (McCombs) 30% 40% -10
Source: U.S. News and business schools


In graduate business education admissions, the GRE remains a little brother to the GMAT, and the release of streamlined versions of both tests in late 2023 and early 2024 — and the fact that only 20 of the top 54 U.S. B-schools currently are test-optional, down in one year from 37 schools — will doubtless roil the rivalry between the two even further.

But before we get to set eyes upon data from takers of the new tests, we have numbers from the 2022-2023 MBA application cycle — and by far the most interesting have to do not with actual scores but with submission rates.

Nineteen of 54 U.S. B-schools lost GRE submission volume between 2022 and 2023, with the biggest drop-offs occurring at Florida Hough Graduate School of Business (down 40 percentage points to 6%), Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business (from 69% to 40%), Washington Foster School of Business (64% to 39%), Washington Olin Business School (47% to 27%) and UC-Irvine Merage School of Business (29% to 6%). Altogether, seven schools saw GRE submission declines by double digits year over year.

Yet compare that to the GMAT, which saw declines at 39 of 54 schools, and double-digit drop-offs at 18. The biggest: 29 points at CMU Tepper (to 40% from 69%), followed by 25 points at Washington Foster (to 39%), 24 points at Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business (to 30%), 22 points at Emory Goizueta Business School (to 28%), 19 points at Rice Jones Graduate School of Business (to 20%), and 18 points at both Rochester Simon Business School (to 21%) and Ohio State Fisher College of Business (to 18%). Notably, five of these seven schools do not require entrance exam scores for admission.

Altogether, 12 schools of 54 saw declines in the submission rates of both tests. Wisconsin School of Business, where GMAT submissions declined by 7 percentage points and GRE by 6, is one of those schools. See the table on page 4 for details.


P&Q 2024 Rank School GRE Submissions 2023 GRE Submissions 2022 Trend
18 Rice (Jones) 31% 7% +24
17 Washington (Foster) 32% 9% +23
26 Rochester (Simon) 27% 16% +11
30 Notre Dame (Mendoza) 27% 16% +11
13 UCLA (Anderson) 32% 22% +10
41 Boston (Questrom) 28% 18% +10
50 Ohio State (Fisher) 33% 23% +10
Source: U.S. News and business schools


Then there are the gains: 23 of 54 B-schools grew their GRE submission volume from 2022 to 2023, including 14 of the top 25, with the biggest leap coming at Rice Jones, which jumped 24 percentage points to 31%; Washington Foster was next with a 23-point gain, to 32%. Altogether, seven schools grew their GRE volume by double digits between 2022 and 2023; in the year between 2021 and 2022, only two did.

In the seven years from 2017 to 2023, 19 schools in the top 50 have seen their GRE submission rates grow by double digits. Only four have dropped by double digits in that span. Thirty schools overall have seen GRE increases since 2017, and just nine have seen declines.

The GMAT hasn’t kept up. Only eight schools saw GMAT submissions increase in 2023, led by Florida Hough, which grew its rate to 72% from 54% — one of only two schools, along with Boston Questrom School of Business (27% from 17%) to report a double-digit GMAT increase. Hough was the top school in 2023 for GMAT submission rate; Questrom, interestingly, was the only school out of 54 to have gains in both tests: Its GRE share grew to 28% from 18%.

The number of B-schools with a higher GRE than GMAT submission rate doubled in 2023 to 16, with the average rate at those 16 schools growing to more than 30%; in 2022, the average at eight schools was 17.4%. In 2023, there were 30 schools with GRE submissions at 25% or higher, up from 23 in 2022. Conversely, GMAT in that span fell from 46 schools to 43. And while there was only one B-school with more than 50% GRE submissions in 2023 — UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, at 53% — the number of schools with GMAT submissions over 50% dropped to 11 in 2023 from 18 the year before.

Key data points in the matchup between the GRE and GMAT:

  • Average % at the top 10 B-schools in 2023: GMAT 50%, GRE 32.3%
  • Average % at the top 10 B-schools in 2022: GMAT 55%, GRE 31.1%
  • Average % at the top 25 B-schools in 2023: GMAT 46.5%, GRE 30.6%
  • Average % at the top 25 B-schools in 2023: GMAT: 54.2%, GRE 29.6%

See next pages for data on GRE score ranges at the top 50 B-schools, GRE submission rates for the last seven years, and GRE versus GMAT submission rates for the last two.

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