Chicago Booth GMAT Scores Breakdown

by on October 2nd, 2015

Chicago Booth GMAT Score Range and Averages

We’ve talked about Harvard. We’ve talked about Stanford. We’ve talked about Wharton. Now, let’s talk about the currently 4th ranked business school in the country*: Chicago Booth. Similar to Wharton, Booth has been been playing hardball when it comes to GMAT scores. This year marked at least the 13th consecutive year that GMAT scores have risen for Booth’s incoming class. GMAT scores for the Class of 2017 come in at a whopping average 726 points. This isn’t that much different than the other big players: Stanford’s and Wharton’s average was 732 and Northwestern Kellogg’s (currently ranked #5) was 724. But it demonstrates a huge gain from the early 2000s when Booth’s average scores hovered in the 680s (don’t you wish you could go back in time?).

Chicago Booth GMAT Scores More Important than GPA

It’s clear that Booth is playing the GMAT game to win; particularly as it competes for positioning with Wharton and Kellogg, and the data shows that high GMAT scores are going to get you further than a high GPA in the admissions pool. Unlike Harvard and Stanford, which are more likely to be generous towards an exceptional student with an unexceptional GMAT score, Booth is very protective over its score ranges and average GMAT scores, since they have a greater impact on its ranking, so you won’t see as many exceptions made here.

Chicago Booth’s Opinion on Retaking the GMAT for a Higher Score

Since you really need to knock the GMAT out of the park, it should hopefully comfort you to know that Booth admissions looks favorably on taking the test more than once (although they don’t recommend that you take it more than three times). Taking the test a second, or perhaps a third, time demonstrates your perseverance and commitment. Of course, it looks better if your score improves (or, at the very least, doesn’t change all that much). Booth admissions will use your highest score, which is to both your benefit and theirs since they want to boast about the highest average GMAT score they can.

So let me break down the score ranges to better answer the question about what GMAT scores you need for a shot at Booth.

Chicago Booth GMAT Score Ranges

  • The safe zone: 730-800. If your scores are in this range, as long as your work experience, GPA, resume, recommendations, and essays are on track with the typical Booth student, you have a good shot. Keep in mind, though, that even a 790 or an 800 doesn’t guarantee admissions. Even though GMAT scores are very important at Booth, they aren’t everything, and Booth looks long and hard at the real you and your “fit” for the flexibility and freedom of the Booth curriculum.
  • The “in the running zone”: 700-730. You are definitely in range here for a chance at admissions, but other aspects of your application are going to need to also be very strong.
  • The “pretty please?” zone: 650-690. Your application is certainly going to face some extra scrutiny. If you are in this range, you must be filling a particular gap in the incoming class or be bringing particularly exceptional strengths in some other area for Booth to give you consideration.
  • The RARE exception zone: 600-650. There might be a few exceptions in this range, but not many at all. And any exceptions that are made will be for the true superstars.

If your scores are in the “pretty please?” or “rare exception” ranges, I highly recommend you do some serious GMAT prep or consider the GRE as an alternative (a test that is also accepted at Booth).

*According to U.S. News and World Report 2016 Business School Rankings

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