Stanford may not have topped this year’s FT rankings, but it has one of the highest average GMAT scores.
Stanford may not have topped this year’s FT rankings, but it has the highest average GMAT score.
The GMAT Exam is the world’s premier business school admissions test, measuring your readiness for the academic demands of an MBA program.
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Setting a series of quantitative and verbal questions, your skills are put to the test of the course of the three hour GMAT test. Scoring high on the GMAT will make a good case for you to earn a seat on a top MBA .
So, what is a good GMAT score for an MBA program? A good idea is to aim for the average score of the MBA class you want to get into.
To help you out, each year we highlight the average GMAT scores for the world’s top-20 MBA programs according to the Financial Times.
2019 saw a four-way tie at the top between four US programs with the highest average GMATs—Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School, and Kellogg School of Management.
This year, there is one stand-out school with the highest average GMAT score: Stanford.
Average GMAT Score by School
US Schools; Average GMAT Scores from Stanford to Harvard
Stanford cements its place as one of the best MBA programs, proved primarily by the quality of its candidates. The Stanford average GMAT score is 734, the highest among the FT top 20 MBA programs.
While Stanford lost its pole position in the overall rankings to Harvard Business School (HBS) and Wharton, it trumps the two Ivy League giants in the GMAT score competition.
The Wharton average GMAT came in a close second at 732, while the average GMAT score for Harvard followed with a respectable 730. Harvard is joined in third place with Kellogg, and Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, also on 730.
Columbia, joint top last year, drops to a respectable average of 727, joined by MIT Sloan.
Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, a new entrant into this year’s top 20, recorded a solid 713 average GMAT, just beating Duke Fuqua on 710.
What is clear though is that a 700+ GMAT isn’t everything. Look a little closer at a school’s GMAT test score range, and you get a better idea of how diverse candidate profiles might be.
Harvard Business School and Wharton see the biggest ranges. Harvard accepted students from 590 all the way up to 800 (the highest score on the GMAT). Wharton has the biggest range, accepting candidates with scores as low as 540 in last year’s intake.
GMAT Test Score Ranges for Top Business Schools, average gmat score and gmat score ranges
European and Asian MBAs: INSEAD average GMAT score & more
While high GMAT scores clearly remain an emphasis for US MBA programs, the numbers would suggest they are less an emphasis in Europe or Asia.
Of the eight non-US schools in the ranking, none recorded a higher average GMAT than any of the 12 US schools. The highest outside of the US was the INSEAD average GMAT of 708, close behind Duke Fuqua’s average of 710.
London Business School drops a few points from last year, but still finishes above the 700-mark, at a solid 701.
The three Asian programs in the top 20—CEIBS (681) and HKUST (660) in China, and NUS Business School (669) in Singapore—have the lowest average GMAT scores in the rankings.
What is a good GMAT score to aim for?
If you’re applying to a top MBA program, aim for the class average GMAT score. Average GMAT scores for MBA programs are increasing, so you’ll need to be ready for the challenge. Consider your test prep options and practice GMAT sample questions.
At the same time, GMAT ranges vary. You don’t always need to score over 700 to get accepted. But you’ll need to demonstrate your quantitative ability and academic strength elsewhere in your application.
A good GMAT score for MBA programs is important. Business schools look at your profile as a whole, but the GMAT remains an important factor.
New GMAT Online Exam
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), owner and administrator of the GMAT, has now made the test available online, in response to closures of GMAT test centers around the world brought about by coronavirus.
The GMAT Online exam is almost identical in format to the original test, without the Analytical Writing Assessment, or essay section. At $200, it is also cheaper than the conventional test.
The move to the internet has been celebrated by many business schools and test prep firms. While GMAC believes that the online format is just a temporary solution, it could have a future impact on average GMAT scores. It’s likely that doing the exam at home will be less painful than going to a testing facility.
It’s unclear if the coronavirus’s influence would have a major impact on average GMAT scores for top MBA programs.