No one wants to be labeled average, unless you’re speaking in terms of the top business schools. Here the definition of average becomes oxymoronic: “average” means exceptional, such as scoring in the 90th GMAT percentiles or boasting a 4.0 undergrad GPA.
Though the above are not requirements for admission to a top MBA program, the academic accolades of these school’s newest students are impressive. Especially among the elite programs, the competitiveness of applicants has only increased in recent years, evidenced by a consistent rise in the average GMAT scores of admitted classes.
However, before you rush to judgment about your admissions chances and compare your own score, or what you hope to score, to the average at your desired schools, consider the value of a class’s average score. The score is a summary statistic: Most of the class scored near it, but many scored a little above it, and many scored a little below it. Typically, few students actually score the exact average, and it’s not the best benchmark to by which to judge your own score or on which to base your goal score.
A more accurate benchmark is a school’s middle 80 percent range of GMAT scores, which shows the middle range of the scores of accepted students and gives a better picture of where your score should fall to help your admission chances.
Average scores are a better indication of school quality rather than acceptance chances. In fact, the average score is one of the key metrics U.S. News uses to rank schools in its annual report, and the rise or fall in average scores can indicate a school’s investment in its business program.
The following table lists the average GMAT scores by school for the top 25 MBA programs according to U.S. New’s 2015 ranking. The scores represent the average of GMAT of the most recent class, which started school in the fall of 2013.
|U.S. News 2015 Ranking||School||Average GMAT|
|1||University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||725|
|4||University of Chicago (Booth)||723|
|7||University of California – Berkeley (Haas)||714|
|9||Dartmouth College (Tuck)||718|
|10||New York University (Stern)||721|
|11||University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross)||704|
|11||University of Virginia (Darden)||706|
|14||Duke University (Fuqua)||694|
|15||University of Texas – Austin (McCombs)||690|
|16||University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson)||706|
|17||Cornell University (Johnson)||691|
|18||Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)||691|
|19||University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)||683|
|20||Emory University (Goizueta)||681|
|21||Indiana University – Bloomington (Kelley)||664|
|22||Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)||696|
|23||Georgetown University (McDonough)||688|
|23||University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)||690|
|25||University of Washington (Foster)||670|
Stanford’s class of 2013 holds the highest average of all MBA programs, and not surprisingly, U.S. News ranks Stanford number one in a three-way tie along with Harvard’s HBS and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton.
At the other end of the scale, the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University has the lowest average score at 664. Though it has the lowest score, Kelley is ranked 21st, four spots ahead of the University of Washington’s Foster School, which comes in at 25th with an average GMAT of 670.