Average GRE Scores for top MBA Programs in Business Schools

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Average gre scores for MBA

Average GRE scores for 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 scores for business schools 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 Scores Quant Scores Percentile Interpretation
1 169-170 170 99 Excellent score
2 162 166 90 Very good
3 157 160 75 Good
4 150-151 153 50 Average

 

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

 

Rank Business School 2018 Average GRE score 2018 GRE Verbal Score 2018 GRE Quant Score 2017 Average GRE score
1 Wharton UPenn 325 163 162 326
2 Harvard Business School 328 165 163 328
3 Stanford GSB 330 165 165 329
4 Chicago Booth NA NA NA NA
5 Northwestern NA NA NA NA
6 MIT Sloan NA NA NA NA
7 Dartmouth Tuck 324 163 161 324
8 Columbia NA NA NA NA
9 UC-Berkeley Haas 329 165 164 325
10 Yale SOM 328 165 163 329
11 Michigan Ross 320 161 159 320
12 Duke Fuqua 319 160 159 321
13 Virginia Darden 328 164 164 323
14 Cornell Johnson 320 160 160 322
15 UCLA Anderson 328 164 164 328
16 NYU – Stern 324 163 161 323
17 Carnegie Melon 320 158 162 321
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  152 154 156 158 160 162 164 166 168 170
130 270 280 300 310 320 330 350 360 370 390
132 290 300 320 330 340 360 370 380 390 410
134 310 330 340 350 360 380 390 400 420 430
136 330 350 360 370 390 400 410 420 440 450
138 360 370 380 390 410 420 430 440 460 470
140 380 390 400 420 430 440 450 470 480 490
142 400 410 420 440 450 460 470 490 500 510
144 420 430 440 460 470 480 500 510 520 530
146 440 450 470 480 490 500 520 530 540 560
148 460 470 490 500 510 530 540 550 560 580
150 480 500 510 520 530 550 560 570 590 600
152 500 520 530 540 560 570 580 590 610 620
154 530 540 550 560 580 590 600 610 630 640
156 550 560 570 590 600 610 620 640 650 660
158 570 580 590 610 620 630 640 660 670 680
160 590 600 610 630 640 650 670 680 690 700
162 610 620 640 650 660 670 690 700 710 730
164 630 640 660 670 680 700 710 720 730 750
166 650 670 680 690 700 720 730 740 760 770
168 670 690 700 710 730 740 750 760 780 790
170 700 710 720 730 750 760 770 780 800 800

 

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 For MBA Programs 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 for MBA Programs 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 scores for MBA Programs 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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