GMAT scores you’ll need to get into the top business schools in the US

There are numerous MBA specialisations to choose from - the world truly is your oyster. Source: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP

By U2B Staff 

Read all stories

Do you harbour hopes of attending a top business school in the US?

The country is a popular choice for business studies. A survey by BusinessBecause and GMAC found that more than half of respondents (52.6%) want to study in the US. “For the two-year MBA, the US still reigns supreme despite falling application numbers, with 64.8% of candidates preferring to study two-year MBAs there,” it said.


Entry into top institutions are highly competitive, but a good GMAT score may strengthen your application and improve your chances of getting accepted. According to GMAC – the company that administers the GMAT exam – the total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800, and two-thirds of test takers score between 400 and 600. A test takers’ score is valid for five years after the test date. 

Your GMAT score demonstrates your potential for academic success in your MBA programme. While they may not be the sole predictor as to whether or not you’ll be successful in business school, they are typically held in high regard by many universities, so it’s worth putting in the effort to obtain a high score.

What’s a good GMAT score?

business schools
Your GMAT score is an important part of the admissions process at many top business schools. Source: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP)

If you’re wondering what a “good score” entails, it’s worth noting that some universities list their average GMAT scores on their website, which should give students a good idea of what score they should strive for. 

Harvard Business School (HBS) notes on its website that their median GMAT score is 730, but the school has a total range of 590–800. Despite this, HBS, along with many other top business schools, often note that there is no minimum GMAT score to apply. 

Meanwhile, the average GMAT score at the Stanford Graduate School of Business is 734, but their GMAT score ranges between 600-790. The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania has provided a snapshot of its Wharton MBA Class of 2021, which has a mean GMAT score of 732 and an overall GMAT range of 540-790.


Over at MIT Sloan, the average GMAT score for its class of 2021 profile is 727, while its GMAT range is 690-760. Meanwhile, the magic number for average GMAT score is 730 at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; its GMAT range is 610-790.

It’s clear from the above that average GMAT scores, along with the score ranges between schools, vary widely. For instance, HBS – which is ranked first in the FT Global MBA ranking 2020, has accepted students with a score of 590, which suggests that your GMAT score is not necessarily the be-all and end-all.

Meanwhile, GMAC recently introduced the at-home GMAT on April 20 amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s worth noting that the online version only consists of the Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal sections. The Analytical Writing Assessment has been omitted, thus shortening the duration of the test.

There are many ways to practice for the GMAT, from practice books at bookstores to free practice tests by GMAT test prep companies. Give yourself several months to study and choose wisely if you’d prefer to study on your own, or enrol in a class. And if you’ve failed to achieve your desired score – fret not. There’s always the option to retake your GMAT.