Generally, a good GMAT score is between 700 and 740 and a score of 740+ is an excellent score. The average GMAT score for the top 50 business schools in the US in 2021 is 703. It ranges from 634 – 734. Similarly, the average score for the top business schools in Europe is 676, ranging between 638-709. If we look at the top MBA programs in Canada, the average GMAT score range is between 520-780, and for Australia, it’s between 600-695. Thus, the question arises – What is a Good GMAT Score?
A good GMAT score varies from person to person and would depend on the target business schools. Therefore, what we need to understand first is that ‘good’ is a relative term. One score might be good for one business school but might not be suitable for another.
Thus, having a look at the average GMAT score of the incoming class for your targeted business school is one way to identify a good GMAT score. But that is not the only step.
In this article, we help you decide the best GMAT score for you and how to derive one in just 5 steps. We also discuss the factors that you need to consider to know – What is a good GMAT score?
- What is a good GMAT score?
- Average GMAT score
- Factors to Consider to determine a good GMAT score
- What is a Good GMAT Score? A 5 Step Guideline
What is a good GMAT score?
A good GMAT is generally above 700 if you want to get into top business schools. A 740+ score is considered an excellent score whereas a 550+ score is considered average.
|Average GMAT Score||550+|
|Good GMAT score||700+|
|Excellent GMAT score||740+|
A good GMAT score is an indicator of your sound intellectual aptitude and academic readiness. By scoring high on the GMAT, you are assuring the admission committees that you have the potential to not only ‘get in’ but also ‘get through’ the rigorous MBA program. It’s one of the reasons why the GMAT has the highest weightage in your MBA application.
Thus, scoring high on the GMAT is a reliable predictor of how you will perform in your first year of business school. According to GMAC, the average score of all test takers between 2018 and 2020 is 568.21. So, a good GMAT score will be above 568?
No. Because everyone has unique goals and, therefore, a standard answer to the question, “What’s a good GMAT score?” cannot fit in.
When you apply to a business school, you are competing against your peer. Thus a high score will set you apart. As pointed out by Ariba, an INSEAD MBA student, “One of the things that you start realizing is a lot of business schools have an international quota. So, if you have a lot of applicants from say India with an amazing application, then one way to filter out is the GMAT.”
Thus, to understand how high you should score on the GMAT, you also need to understand the GMAT percentile ranking, which will let you know how you did on the exam as compared to other test-takers. For example, an 88% percentile ranking means that you got a higher or equal total score than 88% of your peers and a lower overall score than 11% of other GMAT test-takers.
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Total GMAT score – percentile ranking
Let us, now look at the overall GMAT score percentile ranking with the individual Quant, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and AWA Percentile Ranking for students who gave GMAT from 2018 -2020:
GMAT Total Score
200 – 210
GMAT Score percentile ranking sub-section wise
|Verbal Score||Verbal Percentile Ranking||Quant Score||Quant Percentile Ranking||IR Score||Integrated Percentile Ranking||AWA Score||AWA Percentile ranking|
GMAT has four sections:
- Quantitative – scored between 0 and 60
- Verbal – Scored between 0 and 60
- Integrated Reasoning – Scored between 0 and 6
- Analytical Writing Assessment – Scored between 1 and 8
Only the scores of the Quantitative and Verbal sections are considered for the total GMAT score, which ranges between 200 and 800.
Read this article to know if GMAT integrated reasoning and AWA matters for MBA admissions?
Average GMAT score
The average Quant and Verbal scores (2014-2018) are 40.7 and 27.26, respectively. Similarly, for Integrated reasoning and AWA score are 4.6 and 4.43 for the test takers between 2018-2020.
You can note that the gap between Quant and Verbal percentile ranking for a score of 46 is pretty huge. If you score 46 in the Verbal and Quant section, you will be considered under the 99th percentile in Verbal, whereas for the Quant section, you only make it to the 56th percentile. This gap indicates that more students score high on the Quant section than the Verbal section.
The total GMAT average score mention by GMAC (568.21), you need to score more than 550, which is a 38% percentile ranking. However, if you are planning to get into top business schools in the US, the average GMAT range is between 634-734. Take a look at the average GMAT score for all test-takers from three years (2018-2020):
|GMAT section||Average GMAT score|
|Analytical Writing Assessment||4.44|
Thus, a good GMAT score depends on the business school you are targeting and what you are aiming for. Even a score of 600 would be considered low at some schools. Business schools such as Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg, UC-Berkeley, Columbia, and MIT Sloan have an average score above 720 on the GMAT.
Let us now look at the factors that you need to take into consideration to identify a good GMAT score for you.
Factors to Consider to determine a good GMAT score
There are four factors you need to take into consideration:
- Average Score of the last incoming class
- Profile of last years class
- Score required for Scholarship
- Estimated ROI on the GMAT score
Average GMAT Score of the last incoming class
A good score can be identified by looking at the average score of last year’s class. At this point, you should target a score that is 20+ points higher than this score.
For example, Wharton’s average GMAT score for the 2023 MBA class is 733. Therefore, you should target at least 750+.
Score required for Top Business Schools
Ariba, an MBA student at INSEAD MBA, points out that you do need a decent score on the GMAT to get an admit. You should aim for a 700+ on the GMAT or even above to get into top business schools.
In general, the top MBA programs look for a score of 720+, whereas for the next set of business schools, the average scores of incoming students are usually in the 600-700 range.
Here is the table that represents the average score for some of the top business schools in the US, India, Canada, and Australia:
|US||GMAT Score (Class of 2023)||Europe||GMAT Score (latest incoming class)||Australia||GMAT Score (latest incoming class)||Canada||GMAT Score|
|The Wharton School||733||INSEAD||710||Melbourne Business School (2019)||695||University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management||678|
|Harvard Business School||730||London Business School||708||Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) 2020||670||McGill University – Desautels Faculty of Management||675|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||738||Cambridge (Judge)||687||Monash Business School||N/A||York University – Schulich School of Business||660|
|Booth School of Business||732||HEC Paris||690||University of Queensland Business School||600||Western University – Ivey Business School||660|
|Kellogg School of Management||727||IESE Business School||681||MGSM Macquarie||680||HEC Montreal||630+|
|MIT Sloan School of Management||730||Oxford (Saïd)||690||University of Sydney||600+||Queen’s Smith School of Business||654|
|Dartmouth Tuck||724||IMD||680||Alberta School of Business||550+|
|Columbia Business School||729||IE Business School||650-770||UBC Sauder School of Business||650+|
|UC Berkeley (Haas)||726||Mannheim||600+||Concordia University – John Molson School of Business||580 +|
|Yale School of Management||730||SDA Bocconi||665||Sobey School of Business||590|
Aspiring to score 700+ on the GMAT? Watch this video:
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Profile of last year’s class
Let’s pick Wharton as an example. 750+ on the GMAT is a good score, which will increase your chances of getting an admit from Wharton. However, the chances of your admission will depend on the level of competition in your candidate pool. At the end of the day, Wharton, like any other business school, is trying to build a diverse class.
For example, if you are a software engineer from China, your candidate pool is highly competitive. A good GMAT score for you would be at least 30-40 points higher than the average score of Wharton i.e. 760+.
On the other hand, if you are an investment banker from Mexico, yours is a low-competition candidate pool. You could get an admit from Wharton with a 720 on the GMAT.
Anuj, an Indian engineer with 6-year work experience in Petroleum and Energy industry, received an admit from Duke with a 770 on the GMAT. On the other hand, Guillermo received an admit from Wharton with a 710 score and a 5-year work experience in Finance.
The crux of this whole analysis is that the best GMAT score is the one that will distinguish you in your candidate pool.
Score required for MBA Scholarships
According to Jon Fuller, a former admissions director at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business states that “Someone with a 770 GMAT is much more likely to get a financial award than someone with a 670.”
A study shows, if you score 20 points higher than the median GMAT score of your desired business school, you have high chances of getting a good scholarship amount.
Thus, a general thumb rule is targeting a score higher than the Business’s incoming class score. For example, if you are targeting the top 10 B-schools, GMAT 730+ will make your application more lucrative. If you are targeting the top 25 B-schools, then a score of 700+ can do the trick.
Read this article to know more about How to get a scholarship for an MBA in 2021?
Estimated ROI on the GMAT score
We have estimated that incremental ROI of a 730+ GMAT Score over a 700 is $500K+, the highest it has ever been. A 730+ on the GMAT or higher helps in getting into top business schools, and the career outcome at these business schools is far higher than others.
For example, the median base salary of MBA graduates 2019 from MIT Sloan is $140,000, whereas for Babson College is $85,000.
Also, as stated earlier, a high score is likely to attract the right amount of scholarships, which will, in turn, reduce your MBA cost and have a positive impact on the ROI.
Thus, look into your targeted business school’s average score and class profile. This will give you an idea about what should your targeted score be. Also, if you are planning to apply for scholarships, then you might have to rethink your targeted GMAT score.
What is a Good GMAT Score? A 5 Step Guideline
Once you have considered these factors, follow this 5-step process, and you’ll be able to identify what is the best GMAT score for you:
To reach your target business school, you must first know your starting point. There are two aspects to assessing yourself.
- Identifying your current score. The best way to achieve this is to take a diagnostic test.
- Assess your profile on the basis of the following factors:
- Pre-MBA industry
- Average GPA
- Average age
The purpose of this step is to establish a baseline. It will give you an idea of where you are as of now, and following step 3 will provide you with an idea of where you want to go and the gap you have to fill.
For example – If you get a score of 450 in the diagnostic test and you have two months left for the application deadline, then it would be difficult to improve to a 700+ score level in that amount of time. Moreover, at this time, you’ll also have to work on your application essay.
Therefore, establishing a baseline score is essential.
Identify your target Business Schools
Once you are done assessing yourself, you should then identify your target business schools. The factors to consider here are your career goals. If you want a career in Finance, Wharton is a business school, and you should target it. If you want a career in consulting, Booth is the school you should focus on.
Research your target business schools
There are two aspects you need to research on, for your target business school
- The average score of last year’s incoming batch
- Last year’s class profile
Refine the list of target business schools
Now you have an idea about a good score for you and are clear on your career goals. You should refine your list of business schools and divide them into three categories:
- Reasonable ones (Your profile and score are a good fit)
- Optimistic ones (You are pushing your luck here, but there is a small chance of admission)
- Safety nets (You are almost sure of an admit)
Arrive at a good GMAT score for you
Once you a refined list of your target business schools, compute a score for yourself by taking the factors into consideration:
- Understanding the competition level in your candidate pool
- The average score of the last incoming class
- Getting the Scholarship
- Analyzing the ROI
Let’s have a look at the above process with the help of an example.
If you are from an over-represented applicant pool like an IT engineer working in information, technology, or engineering, a higher score can increase your chances of an admit.
You are an Indian Engineer with 4-5-year work experience, and your baseline score is 680 at the moment. At this point, you wish to target the top 10 business schools.
After considering your candidate pool competition and the average GMAT score of your target business schools, the best score would be 30+ points higher than the maximum average of the business schools.
Stanford GSB has an average score of 738. Therefore, you should get around 764 and above to stand out.
If you are not left with enough time for preparation, then you can refine your list to the Business Schools from rank 6 to 15. With the same process, a good GMAT score for you would be 750 and above.
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The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a 3 hour 7 minutes long Computer adaptive test. It has four sections:
3. Integrated Reasoning
4. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
Here is an article to help know all about the GMAT Exam.
The total GMAT score ranges from 200 to 800, and according to the GMAC the average total score is currently 568.21 for the test takers between 2018-2020. However, we need to understand that ‘good’ is a relative term. A score that might be good for one business school might not be suitable for another.
For the Class of 2021, the average score was 710. A score of 730 on the GMAT or higher will increase your chances remarkably to get an admit from ISB. Here is how we calculated it.
The average GMAT score for Harvard 2023 MBA class is 730. Know what is the good GMAT score for Harvard here.
The average GMAT score for Stanford 2023 MBA class is 738. Know what is a good GMAT score for Stanford.