What GMAT Score Do I Need for Columbia University?

by Target Test Prep, Apr 15, 2022

MBA admissions at Ivy League schools are notoriously competitive, and admission to Columbia Business School is no exception. So, many prospective MBA students wonder, what GMAT score do I need for Columbia’s MBA program?

In this article, we’ll look at the average GMAT scores of MBA students at Columbia Business School, along with other key aspects of the 2021 incoming class profile. We’ll also discuss the criteria to consider when determining what GMAT score will make you a competitive applicant at Columbia’s full-time MBA program.

To start, let’s look at Columbia’s application requirements as they relate to test scores.

Does Columbia Require a GMAT Score?

For admission to Columbia University’s MBA programs (either the full-time MBA program or the Executive MBA program), all applicants must submit a valid GMAT, GRE, or Executive Assessment score.

So, while a test score is required, it does not necessarily have to be a GMAT score, depending on your situation. If you’re unsure which test to take for MBA admissions, check out our article on whether to take the GMAT or GRE and this comparison of the GMAT and the Executive Assessment.

One thing to keep in mind, regardless of which test you take, is that according to Columbia’s website, you MUST submit your test score by the application deadline. So, just make sure you plan ahead so that any scores you need to send reach the admissions office in time.

So, now that we know that a test score is required for admission to Columbia, this begs the question of whether Columbia requires a particular score.

What Is the GMAT Score Required for Columbia?

In its application requirements, the Columbia MBA program does not specify a certain threshold that your GMAT score must reach for you to gain admittance. In fact, none of the M7 schools state that a minimum GMAT score is required for acceptance.

The thing is, test scores are just one aspect over your overall applicant profile. MBA programs don’t admit students based on any one factor alone. Thus, they tend to admit students who, overall, have a pretty wide range of GMAT scores.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Columbia MBA GMAT range and the average GMAT score of the incoming class in 2021.

Columbia MBA GMAT Scores in 2021

Columbia Business School reported the following GMAT score data for its MBA students who were incoming in 2021:

There are a few things to note about the data above. First, 729 is a pretty impressive average GMAT score. However, 729 is right in line with the average GMAT scores reported by other M7 schools. Those scores tend to fall in the 720-730 range.

Second, there is a sizable GMAT score range among accepted students — 240 points! This goes to our earlier point that MBA programs evaluate applicants based on numerous factors. So, a particular test score is not going to be the end all be all that either guarantees or tanks your admission. Perhaps more importantly, this information indicates that what is considered a good GMAT score for one applicant may be very different from what is considered a good score for another applicant.

Given that variability, the GMAT score range of the middle 80% is a useful data point. The middle 80%, or “mid-80%,” as it’s often called, is the score range within which 80% of people in a school’s class scored. In other words, 10% of the class scored above that range and 10% scored below it. So, the mid-80% range tells us what kinds of scores the vast majority of incoming MBA students achieved. Furthermore, this range tells us that admitted students scoring, in Columbia’s case, in the 540-690 range and the 770-780 range were relative outliers.

Thus, the mid-80% range gives applicants a better sense of what score they may need to be on par with most of their competitors.

Of course, who wants to just be “on par” with other applicants? You want to outshine your competitors, not blend into a sea of them, right? There’s also the matter of those outliers; can you shore up your acceptance by aiming for the top 10%? Should you worry if your score falls in the bottom 10%?

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