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What GPA/GMAT is needed to get into a top 5 school?

Launched April 26, 2006
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One question that I receive from a lot of candidates is: what GPA/GMAT is needed to get into a top 5 school?

Most applicants know that the average GMAT at schools such as Stanford and Wharton is 700. The average GPA is about a 3.5. These numbers provide a basic benchmark. If you can hit or exceed these figures, you know that "you are in the ballpark".

The GPA is very important because it tracks your performance for approximately four very important years and demonstrates your ability to perform in an academic environment. Unfortunately, by the time you apply to business school, it is too late to do much about a low GPA. The GMAT is important because everyone is competing on a level playing field. I view the GMAT as a great opportunity, because it is something that is within your control now, and you have an opportunity to retake it several times if necessary, without penalty. While it may not be as important as your GPA, it is something that can help to balance out a low GPA. If you did not do well in business and quant classes, it is that much more important to excel on the quant portion of the GMAT.

Because this is a holistc process, every piece of the puzzle matters. If one piece is weaker, you want to work on maximizing other areas. This is why there is no specific cut off for GPA or GMAT. We work with clients with sub 3.0 GPA's and sub 600 GMAT's every year who are successful. If you do have very low numbers you will need to address this somehwere in your application. You do not want to be whiney and make excuses, but just honestly confront the issue head on.

For those that want a specific GMAT guideline, here are my rules of thumb:
1) try to get the highest score you are capable of - the higher the better!
2) exceeding 700 is a reasonable goal that will put you in a pile where GMAT is not a concern
3) if you do not hit 700, 680 is generally considered OK
4) below 650 is a "low" GMAT score for a top school - but NOT a deal killer!
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one more article s needed

by aim-wsc » Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:10 am
that s really a great article ma'am.

can you make one more sticky thread...& write something on 'applying at R1 vs R2' ?

'applying early vs better app. package'
& related scholarship issues.

how many people in MBA classusually get tuition fees waive...or full scholarship?

thank you.

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by venkb » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:49 pm
hi stacey,

in india the score is mostly in percentages. how do you convert percentage to gpa?

for eg if i have a percentage of 85, what is the corresponding gpa?

regards,
venkb

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by Stacy Blackman » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:13 pm
I am finding more and more that different schools have different methods of converting GPA. Some have requested that applicants hire an outside service. Others have instructions posted on their website. You should call your target schools and ask what they recommend. I have heard many different answers and you want to follow the instructions for your schools.
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by venkb » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:01 am
Thanks for your reply!!!

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by parore26 » Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:17 am
Hi Stacy,
I'm a newbie on these forums. I had a quick question regarding the Bachelor's GPA and Master's GPA. My Master's GPA is much better than my Bachelor's GPA, although my Bachelor's GPA is around the average you mentioned. Which one would be considered, both my universities are in the top 30 National Universities. Not to boast but to just give you a perspective, as I know that Graduate Programs look at your university when they take the gpa into account.

Thanks and Appreciate your help.

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by Stacy Blackman » Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:08 am
They will consider both of your GPA's, but the "GPA" number that everyone talks about and that is quoted as an average for MBA criteria, is the undergrad GPA.
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by blackcobra » Wed May 16, 2007 9:51 am
Can we overshadow Low GPA with High GMAT and very well written SOP's .

Can we aim for a Top 20 Schools.:)

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by Stacy Blackman » Wed May 16, 2007 1:13 pm
GPA is only one component of many. So, yes, if you have other elements that are strong, they may make up for the lower GPA.
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by aim-wsc » Wed May 16, 2007 1:21 pm
blackcobra wrote:Can we overshadow Low GPA with High GMAT ...

Stacy,
Dont you think GMAT scores more point than UG GPA given the fact that It's a standardise test?

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by yogeshsheth » Wed May 23, 2007 9:29 am
Hi Stacy,

What is your view on Indian IT demographic? Does belonging to this demographic significantly impacts your chances though your scores and GPA are comparable to average of top schools?

Regards
Yogesh

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by specialk1975 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:23 am
I had a 3.00 from my Freshman and Sophomore year at Junior College where I got my Associates degree. I then transferred to University of Texas at Dallas where I have a 3.97 with 4 classes to go. Will Business Schools take the overall GPA or just the GPA of my Junior and Senior classes? Thanks for your help.

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by GmatDevil » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:51 pm
Hi Stacy..

Thanks for all the important info you have provided here. I just wanna mention my case. I have got a GPA of 3.75 in ma undergrads from a top 10 University in India. Now i am starting my preps for GMAT and wanna land up into a top 10 B-School. At present what should be my target for the Exam ?

Reply Awaited. Thanks in Advance :)

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by SigGolfer » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:58 am
specialk1975 wrote:I had a 3.00 from my Freshman and Sophomore year at Junior College where I got my Associates degree. I then transferred to University of Texas at Dallas where I have a 3.97 with 4 classes to go. Will Business Schools take the overall GPA or just the GPA of my Junior and Senior classes? Thanks for your help.
Each B-school chooses what their policy is regarding GPA. For example, UT-Austin (McCombs) calculates GPA using your Upper-Division Courses (3000 and 4000-level). Other schools take your cumulative GPA. You'll just have to contact each school that you want to apply to and find out their policy. Good luck!

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by vinviper1 » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:11 am
Hi,

Does the type of school matter along with GPA? For example, a lower GPA but still good from a tough school (ex. Ivy League), vs a very high GPA from say a state school.

Thanks