The Importance of a Good GMAT Score in Getting into Top B-schools Abroad


A good score. Essays. Applications.

As a GMAT aspirant, these words must be buzzing in your mind most of the time. And, if it is your dream to get into one of the top B-schools abroad; and, subsequently, make it big in the corporate world, a good score in GMAT should be your first step.

So, the pertinent question is: “In GMAT, how much ‘good’ is good enough to assure me a chance of admission into a top B-school abroad?”

Before answering, let’s begin with the relevance of GMAT.

Business management aspirants often get confused with the flurry of management admission tests being conducted by different academic bodies worldwide. Which one should you attempt? In a nutshell, CAT and MAT are conducted by—and for— management institutes in India only. Whereas, GRE is popular for getting admission opportunities and career facilities abroad. However, of late, few Indian universities have started to accept GRE scores for admissions.

Among all these competitive exams, GMAT is one of the most widely used for graduate business school admissions, both in India and abroad. As per GMAC, the conducting authorities of GMAT, ‘…it is relied on by more than 7,000 graduate programs worldwide, and 9 out of 10 new MBA enrollments globally are made using a GMAT score.’

So, GMAT offers you, perhaps, the biggest selection pool and widest range to choose from the top-ranking business school/universities abroad.

Now, let’s clear this ambiguity around a ‘good GMAT’ score. The trend shows that a mean GMAT score of 556.04 gives you a ticket to apply to the well-respected B-schools. This means, anything above (or around) 560 is just a fair chance to get an entry pass to the auditorium only. But, to get the seat with the best view, you have to reach closer to the perfect score of 800.

As an Indian GMAT applicant with a score of above 600 (or under 700), you stand in good stead for Indian B-schools like ISB, IIMs, and others. In case of top B-schools abroad, including the likes of Stanford, Wharton, Harvard in the USA, or INSEAD and IE in Europe, the average GMAT score ranges from 650–730.

The Higher the Better

The more the merrier – this idiom does not always hold true for exams; as, in reality, human intelligence and competency cannot be assessed based only on the numerical values of a scorecard. However, a GMAT score of 650 (or 75 percentile) or more certainly correlates to your zeal and diligence to get admitted in a reputed MBA program.

There is a practical reason for this. The admission officers at the university desks receive thousands of applications. They have to scout around for the eligible candidates from that heap, without any opportunity to know—or meet—them personally. So, a GMAT scorecard with a higher percentile is an easy, and logical, filtering process to list the prospective ones.

Furthermore, B-schools are constantly vying for higher rankings to get attention of the top industry recruiters and placement agencies. And, students with good GMAT scores set the benchmark for top-ranking schools.

Better Future

If the university admission desks are the entry-level judges, then there is another set that keeps an eye on your GMAT scores in the long run, namely, the recruiters. Many top business houses and organizations with an agenda to recruit the best (and diverse) talent pool prefer B-schools that use GMAT score. And, more often than not, students with competitive GMAT scores often tilt the placement decisions in their favor.

Advantage You

As GMAT is an exam ‘created by business schools for business schools’; interpretations of a ‘good’ score are manifold for the sought-after universities. First, it is believed that the GMAT questions are set based on the pattern and content of the curriculum of these universities. So, a good GMAT score means you are better prepared for the first year.

Another intangible aspect of achieving a high score in GMAT is that, if you can succeed under the pressure of the exam, you are better equipped to handle the pressure of the rigorous management programs of the elite universities/institutes.

Further, a high GMAT score helps strike a balance with the other criteria of admission to a B-school, like the GPA, essays, profile, experience, accomplishments, etc. For example, Harvard Business School takes great care in creating class profile that is diverse and creative. However, the average GMAT score for admission in HBS is around 737, which is highest amongst the universities using GMAT score. So, profiles are important, but a good GMAT score often eases the pressure of the painstaking effort to create a profile and perform extraordinarily in your GPAs.

More Power to You

Last, but not least, remember, it is all about you. If you are reading this blog post, then either you already have a plan, or you are in the middle of the process of cracking the Quant, Verbal, AWA, and IR questions in GMAT. So, if you are putting in the effort, then the power to make a choice should be yours too.

And, a good GMAT score yields that power for you.

To conclude, whether you are preparing for GMAT next month, or next year, here are some valuable tips to score above 700 in GMAT.

Shoma Banerjee
Guest Author