The GMAT & Its Role In MBA Admissions

The MBA is a professional degree for high potential young professionals (on average 4 to 6 years of work experience by matriculation). Though your pre-MBA work experience will heavily impact your application, Admissions Committees will also carefully review your academic background, and that’s where the GMAT comes in.

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT is a standardized test that is used by more than 6,000 programs globally. The GMAT helps you stand out during the admission process. Schools know it’s a proven predictor of your ability to succeed in their program.

9 out of 10 new MBA enrolments globally are made using a GMAT score

It tests a number of skills b-schools care about: clarity in writing, logical reasoning, reading comprehension, math concepts and importantly, your ability to effectively use the limited resources at your disposal to solve a problem. Time is the essence and the GMAT almost never requires you to do laborious equations out by hand. It’s about getting the right answer efficiently.

The GMAT & Its Role In MBA Admissions | Prep Zone Academy

Why is the GMAT crucial to your MBA application?

The GMAT helps business schools compare applicants from different countries and universities.

  • In that sense, it levels the playing field a bit. Applicants who majored in sciences, for example, may have faced grade deflation, and certain universities are known for having grade inflation across majors. Perhaps your university is not known for its academic rigor; a very strong GMAT score can play a part in convincing a b-school that you’ll be able to contribute academically in a class with students from even the highest ranked universities in the world.

When you need to shortlist schools, your GMAT score can help.

  • It is impossible to get into a top MBA program like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, INSEAD and the like with a 600. Last year, 40% of our applicants got an offer from an M7 and their GMAT average stood at 745. All of our applicants ended up with at least one offer from a top 15 MBA programs; their GMAT average was 735.
  • You can estimate what GMAT score you need by looking at a b-school’s average GMAT score. If you only have a couple years of work experience or if you’re an international applicant, you generally want your score to be above the school’s average.
  • Of course, we do see exceptions to this – especially if an applicant is from a country that is underrepresented in the target business school.
  • Year on year, the trend is that average GMAT scores at relatively competitive b-schools are going up, which suggests that schools continue to care about the GMAT scores.

The GMAT also helps admissions committees to get a sense of your academic potential.

  • If your undergraduate GPA is from several years ago, then your GMAT score is a more recent indicator of how you will do academically. If your GPA is below the average GPA of a b-school’s admitted students, the GMAT can help compensate for that lower GPA. 
  • Certain employers will also care about the GMAT score. Top consulting firms, for example, like to see a score of 720 or above. 

By the time you apply, you can no longer influence your undergraduate GPA or past work experience but you have direct and immediate control over the GMAT.

Make sure you give yourself every advantage, and apply with a strong GMAT score . Although it’s just one piece of the evaluation, it can (like every other part of the evaluation) be a bar to admission. On the other hand, a strong GMAT score does not guarantee admission, but it will improve your admissions chances.