How Important Is Your GMAT Score?

Low GMAT Scores May Not Ruin Your Chances

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What Is a GMAT Score?

A GMAT score is the score that you receive when you take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), a standardized exam administered to business school applicants. Many business schools use GMAT scores to make admissions decisions (as in who to let into business school and who to reject).  

Should You Worry About Your GMAT Score?

Many an MBA applicant has fretted over their GMAT score.

Some worry so much about it, that they retake the test time and time again. Before dedicating too much energy to this sort of stress, you need to ask: how important are GMAT scores in relation to business school admissions? To get the answer for you, I asked several admissions representatives from top business schools. Here's what they had to say.

McCombs School of Business on GMAT Scores

"The GMAT provides an indicator of potential for academic success. The GMAT is one of many factors - including recommendations, essays, undergraduate GPA, etc. - that we will consider when reviewing an application." - Christina Mabley, the Director of MBA Admissions at McCombs School of Business

NYU Stern on GMAT Scores

"NYU Stern's admissions process is holistic, so we are evaluating every aspect of an applicant to assess potential for success. We look for three major criteria: 1) academic ability 2) professional potential and 3) personal characteristics, as well as "fit" with our program.

The GMAT is just one component that we evaluate to assess academic potential." - Isser Gallogly, the Executive Director of MBA Admissions at NYU Stern School of Business

Darden School of Business on GMAT Scores

"This is just one piece of the puzzle. We have validated the GMAT as a predictor of first year success.

In addition to the GMAT we will also be looking at an applicant’s undergraduate transcript as well as any post graduate work they may have completed. The GMAT and academic work provide us with some evidence that an applicant can handle the quantitative nature of an MBA program. The last thing the Admissions Committee wants to do is put someone in academic jeopardy." - Wendy Huber, the Associate Director of Admissions at the Darden School of Business

Chicago Graduate School of Business

"It is one of the predictors for how well a student will do in studies at the GSB. The 80th percentile range of scores for the entering class is 640-760 (a broad range). A high score will not guarantee admissions; likewise, a low score will not preclude admission. It's just one piece of a complex puzzle." - Rosemaria Martinelli, the Associate Dean of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the Chicago Graduate School of Business

What Do These Comments Mean?

Though each of the comments shown above varies in context, they all say one thing. Your GMAT score is important, but it is only one part of the business school admissions process. To get into a top program, you will need a well-rounded application. Keep that in mind the next time you start agonizing over your GMAT score.

Additional Resources

Get more advice from MBA admissions officers.