Average GMAT Scores by School: How Do You Compare?
What is the average GMAT score at top business schools? What does the average GMAT score at your prospective business school mean for you?
In this article, I’ll go over the 50 highest average GMAT scores at MBA programs, how to find the average GMAT score by school, and what those average scores mean for your MBA admissions.
Understanding Average GMAT Score by School
The overall, worldwide average GMAT score of test-takers is 551.94. However, that number incorporates everyone who take the GMAT, including those who don’t end up applying or getting into business school.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to score much more highly than the average prospective MBA student to get into most business schools. Average GMAT scores at top 50 business schools are especially high, ranging from the 700s at top-ranking MBA programs like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and the University of Chicago, to the 650+ range for mid-ranking schools.
Average GMAT scores have also gone up over time at nearly all MBA programs. At U. Penn’s Wharton School of Business, for example, the average GMAT score of incoming students went up 14 points between 2011 and 2015 (from 718 to 732). At Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business, the average GMAT score rose from 638 to 664 in the same time period, a 26-point increase.
These increases are partly due to the influx of international students taking the exam, as many students from outside the U.S. score more highly on the quantitative section than do American test-takers. Another factor is the schools’ desire to move up in MBA rankings, which are partly based on average GMAT scores. MBA programs seeking to move up the rankings ladder often offer more scholarship money and other incentives to high-scoring students.
Average GMAT Score by School: The Top 50
Let’s take a look at the top 50 average GMAT scores by school. These averages include only full-time U.S.-based MBA programs and are based on data compiled in 2016.
Remember that most of the info available out there is on the average (mean) GMAT score, which can be skewed by outliers like one or two very low or very high scores from exceptional students. A few schools release info about their median GMAT score, which means there are an equal number of scores below and above that score. These are noted in the chart.
As you look through this data, keep in mind that that PrepScholar GMAT’s online course comes with a 60 point GMAT score improvement guarantee, which will get you closer to your dream school’s average GMAT score!
How to Find the Average GMAT Score by School That Matters for You
In order to plan your GMAT prep, you’ll need to set a target GMAT score based on the average scores of the admitted students at the schools you’re considering. Doing so let’s you see what kind of score you’ll need to be in the running and how much studying you’ll have to do to get there (or, in extreme cases, whether a schools is feasible for you at all).
To find the average GMAT score by school, first look for the most recent class profile, where business schools list demographic data about their admitted MBA students. You can usually find this page on schools’ websites or by searching “[business school] class profile” on Google. For example, here’s Stanford’s class of 2018 profile which was the top hit when I searched “stanford business school class profile”:
If a school doesn’t list this info on their website (you can also check the section on test scores), try looking at other publications and sites. Poets and Quants and US News will list this data for many schools and are extremely reliable, but make sure to treat any data from less reputable sites cautiously.
Once you’ve found the average GMAT scores of each of your prospective business schools, you can use them to set a goal score. Your target GMAT score should be the highest average GMAT score in your list, or, to be safe, 20 points higher than that score. For more information on setting a target score, check out What’s a Good GMAT Score?
What If Your GMAT Score Is Lower Than Average?
If your GMAT score is low, don’t lose hope (after all, Harvard Business School did enroll a student with a 510 GMAT in 2014, so nothing is impossible). Average GMAT scores by school just give the middle of the program’s GMAT range, some students score higher while others score lower. If you’re just slightly below your goal (10-20 points), you shouldn’t worry too much—you’re still well within range for your target schools, even if your GMAT score won’t stand out the way you might hope.
If, on the other hand, your score is well below the average for your target schools, the best option is to prepare further, focus on your weaknesses, and retake the GMAT. Many students take the GMAT several times, and it isn’t looked down on by business schools. You can’t take the GMAT more than once a month, but you can take it as many times as you like. It’s not an inexpensive test, though, so you should get yourself as ready as possible before taking the exam a second or third time.
If you really can’t raise your score and are still 30+ points below average, you might want to adjust your list of schools. That might mean simply applying to some less competitive business schools that accept students with lower GMAT scores or looking at less traditional MBAs, like international, online or part-time programs. While there are some disadvantages to part-time and online MBA programs in particular, like fewer networking opportunities, there are many accredited, high-quality schools outside of the conventional realm.
Finally, if you’re really concerned about your GMAT score, there are some business schools that waive the GMAT requirement for students with extensive work experience or prior academic achievement. Check out our guide to MBAs that don’t require the GMAT (coming soon) for a list.
MBAs That Don’t Require the GMAT (coming soon) will give you a guide to business schools to check out if you aren’t planning on taking the exam.
Not sure if you should retake the GMAT? (coming soon) Check out our article to help you decide whether to take the GMAT more than once.
Wondering what’s actually a good GMAT score? Our guide to good, bad, and excellent GMAT scores will help you set a target GMAT score, depending on your preferred business school.
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