Average GRE Scores for top MBA Programs in Business Schools

GRE scores

Average GRE scores for top MBA programs depend on the school and the program you are interested in. Generally, a score of 325+ is considered to be good.

Till about two or three years back, GRE was widely known to be preferred by students opting for an MS degree. However, lately, there has been a steady increase in the number of students applying for MBA programs (with GRE scores).

An important aspect that needs to be considered is that unlike other tests, GRE’s scores are considered in sections- Verbal, Quant and Analytical Writing. This means that schools will be looking at your scores individually. Therefore, instead of asking- what is a good GRE score? You should be asking- what is a good Quant/Verbal score?

The above questions will be best answered with the help of percentiles. Percentiles refer to the number of people (test-takers) you scored better than in the category. By that logic, the higher the number, the better off you are.

Here’s a look at a possible interpretation of GRE scores based on the percentiles

Sno Verbal ScoresQuant Scores PercentileInterpretation
1169-17017099Excellent score
216216690Very good
315716075Good
4150-15115350Average

 

This is just a broad analysis, you can see the detailed percentile chart on Verbal and Quant scores here.

 

Looking at the numbers you can see that if you score above the 50th percentile, you will have a good GRE score. Further, you can see that at the same percentile, the Verbal scores are lower than Quant. This is due to the fact that most test-takers score better on Quant than on the Verbal section of the GRE test. Therefore, the scores are relative. For instance, a score of 162 falls in the 99 percentiles for verbal, but the same falls approximately in the 80th percentile range when it comes to Quant.

 

What are the Average GRE scores for top MBA programs

 

RankBusiness School2018 Average GRE score2018 GRE Verbal Score2018 GRE Quant Score2017 Average GRE score
1Wharton UPenn325163162326
2Harvard Business School328165163328
3Stanford GSB330165165329
4Chicago BoothNANANANA
5NorthwesternNANANANA
6MIT SloanNANANANA
7Dartmouth Tuck324163161324
8ColumbiaNANANANA
9UC-Berkeley Haas329165164325
10Yale SOM328165163329
11Michigan Ross320161159320
12Duke Fuqua319160159321
13Virginia Darden328164164323
14Cornell Johnson320160160322
15UCLA Anderson328164164328
16NYU – Stern324163161323
17Carnegie Melon320158162321
Ranking as the report published by Poets and Quants April 2018, the schools marked in blue have not published the GRE scores.

 

Quick Look:

  • The school that takes the top spot in this list is Stanford Business School with 330 as its average GRE score. University of California- Berkeley Haas has moved up to second position thanks to the 4-point jump in their average scores from 2017- 2018. You can also see that all these schools feature Verbal and Quant scores starting from 158 and 159 respectively.
  • Despite publishing the average total scores, schools also release the scores of each section. This allows the schools to get a better insight into the student’s capabilities.

 

Do schools convert GRE scores to their equivalent GMAT score?

To compare equivalents of GMAT and GRE, various methodologies have been put into place. To give you an idea of what GRE scores will look like when converted to GMAT, here’s a sample that includes scores above 130 and 152 for Quant and Verbal.

 GRE Verbal scores
GRE Quant Score 152154156158160162164166168170
130270280300310320330350360370390
132290300320330340360370380390410
134310330340350360380390400420430
136330350360370390400410420440450
138360370380390410420430440460470
140380390400420430440450470480490
142400410420440450460470490500510
144420430440460470480500510520530
146440450470480490500520530540560
148460470490500510530540550560580
150480500510520530550560570590600
152500520530540560570580590610620
154530540550560580590600610630640
156550560570590600610620640650660
158570580590610620630640660670680
160590600610630640650670680690700
162610620640650660670690700710730
164630640660670680700710720730750
166650670680690700720730740760770
168670690700710730740750760780790
170700710720730750760770780800800

 

For those who would like to do it on their own, the formula to convert your GRE scores is as follows:

 

– 2080.75 + (6.38 * GRE Verbal Reasoning score) + (10.62 * GRE Quantitative Reasoning score)

 

{What you should bear in mind is that the above formula does not give exact numbers as seen in the chart. The numbers are typically rounded off.}

If you would like the convenience of a readymade tool, then check out the GRE comparison tool that is available on their website.

Is there a preference for GRE or GMAT?

There seems to be a preference for GMAT over GRE for a few reasons.

  • Firstly, a majority of MBA applicants send in GMAT scores. So, it makes it easier for the admissions committee to compare them. For instance, looking at Harvard’s MBA class of 2021, you can see that GMAT scores are still the popular pick. 80% of the class submitted GMAT scores while the rest of the 20% handed in GRE scores.
  • Another factor to consider is that those attempting the GRE are known to be open to a number of programs (other than MBA). This throws doubt in the minds of the committee about the intent of the applicant to pursue the program.

 

Laura Wolter Nash – Counselor for the MBA program in Wharton Business School opines that GMAT is definitely more business and calculus focused than the GRE. It is, therefore, a better indicator of how the student will eventually perform in the program. She probably echoes the thoughts of many other schools that consider the stringent Quant and Integrated reasoning sections of GMAT to be far more effective than those of the GRE.

 

Having stated the above, it must be mentioned that schools are definitely more open to accepting both scores. Accepting GRE scores expands the pool of potential candidates for the school and therefore despite initial reservations, they have devised ways to work around it.

More than 1200 schools now accept GRE scores and here’s a list of the top business schools in that list:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. Harvard Business School
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan
  5. University of Chicago-Booth
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. Northwestern University – Kellogg
  8. University of California Berkeley – Haas
  9. Yale School of Management
  10. Duke University – Fuqua
  11. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – Ross
  12. Dartmouth College – Tuck
  13. New York University – Stern
  14. University of Virginia – Darden
  15. Cornell University (Johnson)
  16. University of California (UCLA)
  17. Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper
  18. University of Southern California- Marshall
  19. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – Kenan Flagler
  20. University of Texas Austin – McCombs

Finally, consider the average GRE scores as only a guide. Ultimately, you will need to combine a good score with a stellar profile to find the success you are looking for!

Before we head down to the average GRE scores, let’s address some basic questions about the same.

 

Is GRE the right choice for you?

Depends! on what programs and geographies are you applying to. A study of more than 50 leading business schools conducted by Poets and Quants (2015-17) reveals that in 2015, 8 schools admitted 20% of students on the basis of GRE scores and this number grew to 22% in the year 2017. Further, eleven schools saw a double-digit increase in GRE-admits last year.  In what seems like a response to this growing threat that GRE poses, GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) announced on April 4th, 2018, that the GMAT will be shorter in length (3 ½ hours from the current 4-hour duration).  So, if you have attempted or plan to attempt GRE, then you can worry less about its acceptance as compared to GMAT.

Over the last couple of years, Schools publish a whole ton of information on their websites and you can access the same to understand their preferences. For instance, check out Michigan Ross’s full-time MBA class profile of 2020. Apart from other information such as average GPA, class size, background, and average GMAT, you can see that only 24% of the incoming class has submitted GRE scores.

Also, GRE is known to be great if you have strong language skills. So, if this is your area of expertise, then play to your strengths by attempting GRE. Similarly, the quantitative section on the GMAT is supposed to be quite hard. If you would like to display your prowess in this area, then obviously GMAT is a much better option for you.

 

The ‘elephant in the room’- A low GRE score

So you had a bad ‘test’ day! Time to move on. Take a re-test. If you are embarrassed, don’t be. According to an ETS survey, more than one in four candidates (that’s 25% of the test takers!) across the world attempts the GRE test more than once. Further, since ETS allows you to (re)take the GRE up to 5 times a year, you have many chances to improve a bad score.

If this is not an option you want to consider, then work on your application to present a strong profile- one that a school will find hard to ignore. While the score is the first thing the admissions committee see, what they really consider is your ‘readiness’ for the program. So, your work experiences, goals, co-curricular activities, community service(s); projects-small and big; and your past academic achievements come into play here. Learn about the schools, what they need, and how you can present yourself as a good fit. This combined with a good set of recommendations is bound to work in your favor.

 

Also Read

GMAT vs GRE for MBA Programs

GMAT or GRE for MBA Admissions? The Debate Gets More Interesting

 



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