How important is the GMAT?

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How important is the GMAT?

by beatthegmat » Thu May 01, 2008 1:38 pm
I'd like to kick off this new Veritas Prep MBA Admissions forum with the first question:

How important is the GMAT when it comes to MBA admissions? There are plenty of people in this community who are obsessed with getting a 700+ score, but it's unclear to many what a 700 GMAT would do for your candidacy.

How do the top business schools weigh the GMAT in relation to the other factors they consider in your application?

Thanks!
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by VP_MBA_Guru » Thu May 01, 2008 2:20 pm
Eric,

Great question! As most of us know, the GMAT is one of many important factors in the overall application package – which includes your essays, undergrad GPA, interview, letters of recommendation.

While a high GMAT score is important, it is not a deal breaker. The Admissions Committee looks to the GMAT as an indicator for academic performance. Moreover, the score often supports/counters your perceived quantitative and qualitative skills. For example, if you had low grades in quantitative coursework (math, science), a high Math score on the GMAT can demonstrate to Admissions that you have the ability to handle the quantitative rigor of the MBA program.

If you are satisfied with your score, great! If not, you can retake the test (remember - business schools take the highest score). And if you don’t retake the exam – don’t worry, again it’s only a portion of the entire application.

To Eric’s question about scoring a 700+, I would not focus on a number. Instead concentrate on doing the best you can (I know, I know… common sense – but you would be surprised at how many test takers are so obsessed with a certain score, that the pressure throws them off completely). Make sure you spend more time in areas that you are weak (or have gaps in your application).

Lastly, Admissions Directors always remind us that a high GMAT score does not guarantee admission, just as a low score doesn’t preclude admission. We all know applicants who were denied admission with top GMAT scores and those who were accepted with lower GMAT scores.

Regards,

Nikhil
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by beatthegmat » Thu May 01, 2008 2:35 pm
Thanks for the response, Nikhil. I think it's easy for folks to forget that MBA admissions is multifaceted; as I mentioned in my original post, there are plenty of people in this community who become overly-focused on the GMAT alone.

Look forward to reading more of your posts in this new forum!
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by [email protected] » Thu May 01, 2008 3:31 pm
I'll second Nikhil's response. Obviously the GMAT is very important. Heck, there are whole forums like this one dedicated to beating it! But MBA admissions officers look at so much more than just the GMAT.

Think of it this way... At a top busniess school with an incoming class of 500 students, does the school just want the 500 "smartest" people as measured by a test? Of course not. They want the 500 brightest, most interesting, most motivated people who together can create a great environment for learning.

The GMAT is one way to measure some of those traits, but is just one part of a whole portrait that an applicant will paint.

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by RayBanFan » Thu May 01, 2008 4:02 pm
Sounds cheesy but, what is the lowest GMAT score you guys have seen get into a top 20 program?

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by [email protected] » Thu May 01, 2008 5:14 pm
I personally have helped someone with a 560 get into a top-ten school (U. of Michigan), although there are probably examples that are even more memorable...

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by codesnooker » Fri May 02, 2008 12:30 am
VP_Scott wrote:I personally have helped someone with a 560 get into a top-ten school (U. of Michigan), although there are probably examples that are even more memorable...

Scott
Indeed you must have done that. But can i ask what are the chances of a person having 560 as GMAT score to the one having 700+ score?

If I guess correctly 700+ people have more probability as compare to lower score. Though good score in GMAT doesn't guarantee the admission in top colleges but indeed it improves the chances of getting admitted either now or later.

Anyway, it is a rat race and unfortunately we have participate in it. The more stretched boundaries of goals requires more hard work and dedication towards the goal.

So if even 560 scores have 1% chance to get admitted into top colleges as compare to 10% chances of 700+ scores, anybody would like to be in the safe zone.

I am sorry, if I am incorrect for the moment, but I haven't given the test yet and I only described how the world see from my eyes.

Like others, I am also targeting top ten schools (especially Harvard and then may be Wharton). May be I will catch you around after 3 months for my application processing if I could hit 700+ score.

Any guidance from VP is welcomed.

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by simplyjat » Fri May 02, 2008 2:04 am
A lot depends on the application pool which you are competing against. And it's really good that you know which one you are in.

I am in application pool called IIM (Indian IT Male ). All indian male software engineers are good in math and critical reasoning, that leaves only RC and SC as the deciding factor. And with good math (Q 49-51) and CR you can easily 650 mark. And with a bit of practice you even get 720. 720 is so much common with IIM that 95% gmatter I know got 720. I have one of my friend with 720, and got ding from all the colleges he applied for, though the colleges were not the elite m7.

IIM is also characterized by high-volume applications and low-volume accepts. There are three aspects to IIM: namely indian, software engineer and male. If you are able to break any one of the aspects you will definitely get to m7 with 720. But when you combine all three you have to move the mark beyond 750. And because of this specific reason I am retaking GMAT after scoring 730.

The problem is that unless you get a really good GMAT score its really difficult to differentiate yourself amongst rest of the applications in the same pool. The whole GMAT application process is about differentiating yourself from the rest of the applicants....
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by [email protected] » Fri May 02, 2008 9:32 am
codesnooker wrote:
So if even 560 scores have 1% chance to get admitted into top colleges as compare to 10% chances of 700+ scores, anybody would like to be in the safe zone.
Oh, absolutely. Please don't misunderstand me. Of course anyone with a 700+ GMAT stands a better chance of getting into a top MBA program than someone with a sub-600 score. That person with a 700+ score is also more likely to have a better undergraduate GPA, more impressive work experience, etc. (there's certainly a correlation), but even keeping all of those other attributes equal, an applicant has a much better chance with a 700+ score than a low score.

What's the acceptance rate of people with a 560 score applying to top-ten schools? I don't know the exact number, but it's certainly below those schools' published average acceptance rates. And the acceptance rate for 750+ people is probably noticeably higher than those average rates. But that's just one attribute of many, all of which affect one's chances of success.

That person with a 560 had an incredible story to tell, and she told it very well, which is how she earned a Ross MBA. It's rare, but with the right preparation, it happens every year.

Scott