Friday, June 01, 2007

How significant is GMAT?

Earlier this week, my friend received feedback from Keenan Flagler on his rejected application. Amongst other things, it said, "...we anticipate that the average GMAT score of our successful applicants this year will be well above last year's average score of 660. Consequently, any efforts that you can make to improve your GMAT score from 720...".

The debate over GMAT's significance for a top 10 B-school admit is as atleast old as when I first started looking at a foreign MBA as an option. You will find many so-called 'low GMAT' success stories. MBAbabe got into H/S despite having a less than 80% in quant. Hobbes made it to Duke this time with the same GMAT that he had been asked to improve upon.

All schools say that GMAT is not the only component that they look at. There are a lot of things that make an application and each aspect carries its own weightage. Applicants can offset certain weaknesses in their application, such as a low quant GMAT score, with strong academic background in Mathematics.

My two cents: The adcoms are being honest. They do look at all components before deciding on an application. Importance of GMAT is the same for all applicant pools. What varies is the average GMAT scores among these pools. The average GMAT score of a school may be 650 but adcom cannot help it if you happen to be in a pool where the average GMAT score is in excess of 750 (read Indian IT male in case of my friend). Same goes the other way around as well. If you are competing with a pool where average GMAT is just 550, you stand a good chance of getting into that school (having GMAT average 650) with a score of 600!

Bottomline - tough luck if you happen to be in such a competitive applicant pool. No use frowning over why the feedback given to you says your GMAT can do with some improvement. Either improve a whole lot of things to offset the GMAT (which is manageable if you have a GMAT 720) or bite the GMAT bullet once again.

Of course, as I said before, there are many success stories. Its not impossible to get an admit with a low GMAT, its just tougher than usual. For those curious, my GMAT 720 friend did make it to a good school in the end.


Deba said...

Which school did your friend finally get into?

Sudha said...

you know wat i think? schools do look objectively at your entire application, but when it comes to giving you feedback for why they rejected you, its just easy for them to point out GMAT rather than give a more comprehensive answer...

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