If you are applying to an MBA program, you probably already know that the business school admissions committees will look at a number of elements in your application, but also that not all components are made equal in this process. One of the most important factors when applying to business school is your score for the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), which is a standardized exam developed specifically for business school applicants, intended to measure their capability in pursuing an MBA program in an objective way.
Applicants to MBA programs often think that the GMAT is only important in the admissions process, to get admitted to their dream business school, but that is actually not true. Instead, it is likely that you will be asked to disclose your GMAT score after graduation, as many prospective employers, companies and talent scouts will want to see these to evaluate how suitable you are for specific jobs.
In this post, however, we will be focusing on the importance of a GMAT score for MBA application purposes, as we know many MBA applicants are wondering: just how important is the GMAT score? And is it worth retaking the exam, should you get a less than perfect score?
The answer to these questions is that it depends where you will be applying. Not all business schools place the same importance on the score. It is known, however, that many of the top business schools use the score to weed out applicants, before looking closely at other parts of their application. It is also said that even in cases where they do look carefully at the application as a whole, a lower than average GMAT score can often be such a hurdle that the applicant needs to be extraordinary in other areas in order to overcome the low score and even be considered for admission.
Some of the top business schools known to place a lot of importance on GMAT scores are Wharton, MIT and Stanford. That doesn’t mean it is unheard of for an applicant with a low GMAT score to be admitted to these schools, it just means they will have to make up for that score in a big way in the rest of their profile.
Applicants applying to such GMAT-heavy business schools may want to consider retaking the test if they end up with a less than desirable GMAT score to improve their chances of admission, and repeat if necessary.
On the other hand, there are plenty of other reputable business schools that just see the score as one part of the application and are looking for a well-rounded application instead. Applicants applying to these schools need not worry as much about their GMAT score and may want to consider other ways of boosting their profile (excellent recommendations, strong essays, etc.) instead of retaking the exam.
What is a “good” GMAT score then?
Again, this really depends on the business school in question but for most top ranked business schools, a score above 700 is considered to be a good thing, meaning the applicant will probably not be rejected on the basis of the score alone. Anything under 700, however, for the top 10 or even top 20, and the applicant may want to consider retaking in order to maximize their chances of admission. For lower ranked business schools, the definition of “good” will vary considerably but keep in mind that an above average score may really boost your chances at these schools, including for scholarships.