A 6 minute read

Harvard MBA application process is one of the most competitive application processes in the world. For 2020 admissions its acceptance rate was 9.9% and yield rate 91%. To get into HBS you need a well-rounded profile and should be able to convince the HBS admissions committee that you can ‘get through’ its rigorous MBA program and HBS is the business school which will help you achieve your career goals.

We have previously mentioned in one of our articles on MBA application process that GMAT score holds a 22% weight in your application. Therefore, GMAT score is one aspect of your application that you have to perfect in order to make your application appealing to the MBA admissions committee. Now, the question arises is what is a good GMAT score for Harvard Business School?

good GMAT score for harvard business school

A good GMAT score for HBS is the one which not only makes your application more appealing to the admissions committee, but also assures you that your GMAT score is sufficient and you should now focus on other components of your MBA application i.e., resume, letters of recommendation, and essays. It would also be a good idea to start preparing yourself for the interview.

So, what is that number? That GMAT score which can be considered a good score. To answer this question, we’ll look at two types of data and try to come up with the most accurate answer. Here is the outline of this article:

 

5-year GMAT score trend of Harvard Business School

First, let’s take a look at the average GMAT score of the incoming class of Harvard MBA from 2014 to 2018.

GMAT score 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Harvard Business School 729 729 729 725 726

You can see that since 2016 the average GMAT has been 729 for the incoming class. In one of our previously written articles on what is a good GMAT score, we had explained a 5-step process of arriving at the answer.

good GMAT score for HBS

According to it, a good GMAT score for Harvard MBA would be 20+ points more than the average GMAT score of the latest Harvard MBA class. Therefore, a good GMAT score for Harvard Business School should be 750.

Once you have scored a 750, you should focus on other aspects of your application.

Here is 5-year GMAT score trend of 50 top US and European business schools

However, the above method is a simple quantitative analysis and a high-level approximation. In this article, we’ll go one level deeper in our analysis by looking at GMAT scores of actual students who were invited for an interview and candidates who made it to HBS.

We’ll also look at the GMAT scores of applicants who were waitlisted by the HBS admissions committee and who received an admit after getting waitlisted and conclude at what is a good GMAT score for Harvard MBA.

HBS decision tracker on gmatclub

The decision tracker page on gmatclub is where applicants post their MBA application status of different business schools. This data has been collated for candidates who have applied for admission to Harvard full-time MBA class of 2021. This is how the page looks.

good GMAT score for Harvard MBA

Methodology

For this analysis, we have considered only the GMAT scores of the applicants. We have categorized the applicants by their GMAT scores and have analyzed how many applicants in each group secured an interview invite and how many of those finally received an admit.

GMAT score Applications Interview invite Admitted
800 2 2 1
790 1 1 0
780 8 3 2
770 19 6 3
760 30 11 3
750 26 11 7
740 26 11 9
730 28 10 6
720 19 8 3
710 22 8 5
700 18 2 0
690 3 0 0
680 2 0 0
650 1 1 0
620 1 1 0
610 1 0 0

Observations

good GMAT score HBS MBA observations

  • You can see that both GMAT 800 scorers received an interview invite from HBS and so did the applicant with a GMAT 790.
  • However, you can see as we go to 780 and below, the application to interview invite rate hovers in the range of 35% to 42%.
  • The highest value of the application to interview invite rate is for the GMAT 740 and GMAT 750 i.e., 42%. As we go below 740 the chances of getting an interview invite also dips
  • If we look at the ratio of admissions to interview invites, the scores of 740 and 750 again stand apart from other scores i.e., 82% and 64% respectively. The admission conversion rate for GMAT 730 also stood at 60%

 

Inference

We can infer that a good GMAT score for HBS ranges from 730 to 760. Scores above 760 do give applicants an edge and it increases their chance of getting an interview invite.

But, after the interview invites the admissions committee looks at your complete profile and therefore, even in you have scored a 750 then there is no point in retaking the GMAT if you have been working on other portions of your application.

Here are 10 ways you can boost your MBA profile

To narrow down the range of GMAT score, let’s take a look at the GMAT scores of waitlisted candidates and see who got confirmed from the waitlist.

GMAT score Waitlisted Admitted from waitlist
800 0
790 1
780 0
770 2 1
760 3
750 5 1
740 2
730 1
720 0
710 1
700 1
690 0
680 0
650 0
620 0
610 0

We can see that maximum waitlisted candidates have a GMAT score of 750. However, the two waitlisted candidates with GMAT scores of 750 and 770 received an admit.

Here are some interesting ways to get off the MBA waitlist

The admissions committee definitely looked at the complete profiles of the candidates but they still didn’t ignore the GMAT score. In fact, none of the candidates below 750 received an admit. It goes to say that the GMAT score is an important parameter considered by adcoms to judge how good an application is.

What is a good GMAT score for HBS

A good GMAT score for Harvard is the one which makes your application appealing to the adcom and also tells you that the score is good enough and you should now concentrate on other aspects of your MBA application. Therefore, we can conclude that a good GMAT score for Harvard Business School is 750.

What is a good GMAT score for Indians applying to HBS

The Indian applicant pool is a highly competitive applicant pool. Apart from having a good profile, a high GMAT score is required to receive an interview admit. Here are the details of GMAT scores of Indian applicants who applied to HBS for admission to the incoming class of 2021.

GMAT score No. of Indian applicants
800 2
790 0
780 1
770 0
760 3
750 5
740 3
730 2
720 2
710 0
700 0
690 0
680 0
650 0
620 0
610 0

Both the candidates with 800 GMAT received interview invites and only one received an admit. However, this does not convey any information on a good GMAT score for Indian applicants. Therefore, let’s look at the data for the previous year i.e., HBS class of 2020 admissions.

Using the same tracker, we found out that

  • 24 Indians applied to Harvard MBA
  • 5 received an interview invite (GMAT scores of 770, 770,760, 730, and 720)
  • 2 received admits (GMAT scores of 770, and 760)

GMAT 770

One of the candidates, Mansi Dhiman, who scored 770 on the GMAT was an e-GMAT student and went on to receive admits from 5 top business schools viz. Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, and INSEAD. She joined the Harvard MBA class of 2020.

Therefore, with so much competition in the Indian applicant pool, a good GMAT score for Indians applying to HBS should be at least 760.

If you want to try out the e-GMAT course that helped Mansi score a 770, sign up for our Free Trial

We can also help you with a personalized study plan and give you access to quality online content to prepare. Write to us at acethegmat@e-gmat.com. We are the most reviewed GMAT prep company on gmatclub with more than 1825 reviews (as on May 15, 2019). 

What are your thoughts on our analysis? Is there something we can add to make this article on ‘What is a good GMAT score for HBS’ better? Let us know your thoughts.

*Harvard logo used in the image is the property of Harvard Business School

Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
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