GMAT Scores for Top Business Schools

January 15, 2019

Are you aware of the average scores that most business schools publish when it comes to its GMAT applicants? With many schools accepting the GRE now, prospective test-takers have two different exams from which to choose. That doesn't mean that the GMAT is any less viable in the eyes of an admissions officer or that they still don't uphold strict standards when it comes to MBA admission. Naturally, elite schools require elite GMAT scores; this has always been true and will continue to be true of top business schools.

Are you aware of what a school publishes as it pertains to its own scores? Most students aren't, which is why we're devoting this article to important data surrounding just that. While test scores aren't your entire application package, they are certainly important and require a sharp eye for detail. As if studying for the GMAT wasn't hard enough, keeping up with a school's averages and percentiles can feel like an additional part-time job! Well, don't stress—we've got you covered on this one. Hopefully, this article will help debunk a few myths about top school averages and what it takes to be considered a viable high GMAT scoring applicant. Let's dive in!

The 411 on GMAT Scoring

Before we delve into specific GMAT scores for specific universities and programs, let's first examine what goes into a good GMAT score. Are you aware of all that goes into scoring for the GMAT? Do you know the range by which GMAC scorers must evaluate your multiple-choice answers and AWA writing assignment? Many students do not, as they are so focused on the end result, they lose sight of what scorers are actually looking for and how each section is scored. This can provide us with continued insight into our own score, as well as a deeper understanding of how we can enhance our own test-day strategies.

ScoreRangeHow It's Calculated
Total Score200-800 & reported in 10-point incrementsMath and Verbal Section results
Quantitative Score0-60 & reported in one-point increments

This score is based upon:

  • the number of questions you answer correctly
  • levels of difficulty for questions you get right
  • the total number of questions you answer
Verbal Score0-60 & reported in 1-point increments

This score is based upon: 

  • the number of questions you answer correctly
  • levels of difficulty for questions you get right
  • the total number of questions you answer
Integrated Reasoning1-8 & reported in 1-point incrementsBased on number of questions answered correctly
AWA (Writing)0-6 & reported in half-point incrementsAverage of scores assigned by two readers

As is evident on the above table, the range of scores for the GMAT vary on a scale of 200-800. In other words—200 is the lowest score you could possibly get, while 800 is the highest. Both the Qualitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections are scored on a scale of 0-60 in one-point increments; the Integrated Reasoning section is scored on a range of 1-8 in one-point increments; the AWA is evaluated on a range of 0-6 and reported in half-point increments. What was the last score you receive on a mock exam? Did it align with your ideal score for your own application purposes? Diagnostic practice exams are sources of tracking and identifying our own progress throughout the studying process.

According to GMAC, the makers, innovators, and administrators of the GMAT, the averages from 2015-2017 were as follows:

GMAT SectionAverage Score
Verbal26.86
Quantitative39.4
Integrated Reasoning4.23
Analytical Writing Assessment4.44
TOTAL SCORE556.04

With the scoring rubric in mind, as well as the global average—we're now equipped to delve deeper into specific schools and their own score averages. This article will explore reliable data as it reflects a school's average scores, percentiles, as well as fluctuation the past few years. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of where you fit in along the preparation process and shed some light on your problem areas that necessitate improvement.

Domestic B-School GMAT Averages

This section is devoted to both domestic and international schools and their average GMAT scores. First, let's look at domestic elite schools with the highest GMAT averages. The following rating was for the year 2017 and published by The Economist:

University/MBA ProgramAverage GMAT Score for 2017
Stanford University—Graduate School of Business737
University of Pennsylvania—Wharton School730
Harvard Business School729
Northwestern University—Kellogg School of Management728
University of Chicago—Booth School of Business726
Columbia Business School718
Dartmouth College—Tuck School of Business717
University of California at Berkeley—Haas School of Business717
UCLA—UCLA Anderson School of Management715
University of Virginia—Darden School of Business712

The top three schools in this 2017 table are Stanford, Wharton, and Harvard. Naturally, these are all very impressive averages with very few points away from 800. Of course, with these being score averages, some applicants actually score higher. Regardless of the actual number, it's clear that top schools require a very good GMAT score. Retaking the GMAT might be a viable option if you aren't able to align with some of these averages. Improvement, enhancement, and progress is within reach with more and more practice!

Below is a table for average GMAT scores in the U.K, based off recent data published by MBA Crystal Ball. Interested in applying to any of these schools? Take note of some of these scores—they very well could shape your rigorous course of study. 

U.K. Business SchoolAverage GMAT Score
University of Cambridge (Judge)680
Cranfield University664
Warwick658
Imperial College Business School638
City University: Cass635
Manchester Business School630
University of Bath610
Lancaster University Management School601

Below is a table chronicling the top business schools in Europe and their average GMAT scores. Also taken from MBA Crystal Ball, this table also specifies the country of the MBA program to avoid any confusion. 

European Business SchoolAverage GMATCountry
INSEAD703France
HEC—Paris682France
IMD672Switzerland
IE Business School672Spain
Mannheim Business School671Germany
IESE Business School—Navarra669Spain
SDA Bocconi665Italy
ESADE660Spain
University of St. Gallen656Switzerland
European School of Mgmt (ESMT)645Germany
The Lisbon MBA645Portugal
Erasmus University (RSM)643Netherlands
TiasNimbas Business School620Netherlands
University of College Dublin (Smurfit)619Ireland
Vlerick Business School600Belgium

Are you interested in applying to schools in Canada? What a great country with so many unique cities from which to choose! Below are six top Canadian Business Schools and their average GMAT scores: 

Canadian Business SchoolAverage GMAT
University of Toronto (Rotman)672
McGill University—Desautels655
University of Western Ontario (Ivey)655
Queen's University650
University of British Columbia646
University of Alberta623
Average Canadian GMAT Score650.16

And finally, also courtesy of MBA Crystal Ball, we have data regarding average GMAT scores in Asia-Pacific, India, Singapore, China, and Australia. If you are interested in any of these schools, you will find the information you're looking for as it relates to your GMAT score and MBA program.

Asian-Pacific Business SchoolAverage GMATCountry
Indian School of Business711India
IIM-A PGPX706India
IIM-B EPGP702India
CEIBS689China
Melbourne Business School677Australia
HKUST (Hong Kong)671China
Nanyang (NTU)670Singapore
University of Hong Kong664China
National University of Singapore (NUS)650Singapore
Australian School of Business: AGSM650Australia
CUHK Business School640China

The Takeaway

In the end, you must have this data handy for your study purposes and share it with your GMAT tutor or teacher so that he or she understands your ambitions and goals. Studying for the GMAT takes time and careful attention, so plan ahead and also allow room for retakes if it means you're able to get to your intended score. While these are just averages, keep in mind the minimum and maximum could be well over 100 points. Even a perfect score of 800 does not guarantee automatic admission. In addition to your GMAT score, there are countless other important factors that go into your application package.