Ever since b-schools in the US have started accepting GRE scores, the GRE applicant pool has been steadily increasing in number. In fact, some reports from last year have estimated that there has been a 40% rise in MBA applicants taking the GRE instead of GMAT. Also, the average number of applicants submitting their GRE scores in schools across the US is pegged at around 17%.
The popularity of GRE scores for business schools has reached an all-time high because big names such as Harvard Business School, Yale School of Management and Stanford Graduate School of Business are now accepting GRE scores for admission. The notion that schools accept a wider range of GRE scores compared to equivalent GMAT scores might also be fuelling this trend. GRE quantitative section is also considered easier than the GMAT quantitative section. For students with a weakness in math, GRE is the natural go-to option.
However, it is not easy to determine GRE score requirements for business schools. Since GMAT provides an absolute score and GRE reports scores of two sections along with an AWA score, it is difficult to arrive at a perfect score comparison. Moreover, many b-schools still do not release any official average GRE scores for their accepted students. Even if they do, the data is usually half-baked and does not give any additional insights. Additionally, admissions to b-schools depend on your overall profile – which is a mix of GRE scores, statement of purpose, work experience and GPA, among other parameters. But for students wanting to apply through GRE scores, one thing is pretty clear – more applicants with GRE scores are indeed getting selected to business schools every year.
For applicants opting for the GRE, scoring as high as possible never hurts. Try to get a combined GRE score >320 to give yourself a good shot at the top b-schools in the country. We have drawn up a list with available data and back-of-the-envelope calculations. Test takers should look at this data as a reference indicator and not an absolute one.
Here are average GRE scores for Top 10 business schools in the US
Average GRE scores
|Stanford University GSB||328-332|
|University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||328-332|
|Harvard Business School||326-330|
|University of Chicago (Booth)||326-330|
|New York University (Stern)||326-330|
|Yale School of Management||326-330|
|UC – Berkeley (Haas)||326-330|
|Dartmouth College (Tuck)||326-330|
But many MBA Admissions consultants think that individual tests may matter at some b-schools. According to them, GMAT might still give applicants a slightly better leverage than the GRE. This is because GMAT is still seen as a slightly better predictor of success in management programs and indicates that the applicants are more focused towards an MBA program.
While there is no way to ascertain this sentiment, the fact is that GRE may work out to be a better option in certain cases. As mentioned earlier, GRE is good for students who have not taken up rigorous quant courses in their undergraduate programs. It may also be a good option for those students who have tried multiple times but not secured the required GMAT scores for admission. The newer format of the GRE and a slightly less strenuous quantitative section may be beneficial for such students. And with the average GMAT scores across leading business schools only increasing every year, GRE maybe a smart choice for applicants.
For b-schools, the GRE applicant pool allows them access to a more diverse range of candidates. Since GRE is a more popular test around the world, the schools are drawing in more applications to their MBA programs though this test. Also, many popular rankings do not take into account the average GRE scores reported by schools and these schools can perhaps get away by selecting students with lesser than average GRE scores. Our guess is that it may still take a while before schools started reporting both their average GRE and GMAT scores.
If you are confused among GRE vs GMAT, go for the option that works best for you. GRE will keep your options open for other graduate programs as well. Also, don’t be under the impression that a slightly below average GRE score will still keep your admissions hopes alive. Shoot for as high a GRE score as possible. A good performance in GRE will definitely increase your chances of admission at a top b-school.
Remember that most business schools in the US are still pretty new to using GRE scores for admission. Naturally, there is more variance in accepted GRE scores compared to GMAT scores. GMAT has been used in the admission process for many years and has matured as part of the application process. Schools can easily link GMAT scores to their preferred candidate pool. Since GRE is new to the whole application process, schools are naturally accepting a wider variance in scores. It is fair to assume that with more experience of using the GRE scores, business schools will get better at correlating the performance in GRE with student performance in MBA programs.