Average GRE scores for top MBA programs at business schools

Q. What’s a good GRE score for MBA?
A. Any score that can get you into your dream school is a great score.
Q. Hah! Spoken like a true consultant. Can we get a little more specific? Some numbers, statistics maybe?
A. Anything higher than the average GRE score for your target business school should be good.
Q. Hmmm, what’s the average GRE score at the top business schools then?
A. For that, my dear, we need a longer discussion. The short answer as it stands today is that most business schools don’t reveal their average GRE scores.

Grab a coffee and sit back as we try to understand how international business schools have been dealing with GRE scores and how you should interpret the limited data available.
 

Why bschools hide the average GRE scores for MBA programs

ETS (the company behind the GRE test) has been actively promoting the fact that a huge number of MBA programs (around 1500 and counting) that traditionally accepted only GMAT scores have started accepting GRE scores as well. Apparently that number includes 85% of the bschools in USA. The overall number of GRE test takers is 655,000. Compared that to the GMAT test taker population (250,000) which is a much smaller fraction.

All this sounds pretty impressive. Enough for GMAT-challenged MBA applicants to start doing cart-wheels into the horizon.

Makes one wonder why bschools are acting shy and hiding their average GRE scores for MBA courses. To find the probable answer, we’ll have to dig deeper.

Consider the relevant statistics.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this is old data (2013) as we couldn’t find any other survey / article with the most recent data. Do check out any new statistics that may be available directly from the school website.

Here’s the proportion of GRE scores submitted by applicants to some of the leading business schools:

18% of Yale applicants submitted GRE scores. Wisconsin Business School was at 11%. At Duke (Fuqua) this number dwindles down to 4%. For Wharton it was 5%. We’ve got a bunch of other schools in the table below.

For the few other bschools that revealed similar stats, the proportion of GRE to GMAT ranges between 4% to 30%. Though we aren’t aware of what the median might be, let’s keep things simple and assume it’s somewhere in the middle i.e. 17%

Fact 1: GMAT scores (at over 80% of the overall mix) still dominate the MBA applications game versus their rivals GRE. This is what gets shared with all the top MBA rankings.

Hang on to that thought for a moment while we move on to the next important finding from the limited data that’s accessible in the public domain.
 

Average GRE scores for bschools aren’t close to their GMAT equivalents

GMAT and GRE exam formats are different. Since MBA courses started accepting two unrelated scores, the powers that be came up with a mapping table to convert GRE scores to GMAT scores. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here – GRE to GMAT converter.

This allows us to compare apples to tomatoes (which technically is a fruit). Good logic to convince regular folks like you and me that it’s a like-to-like comparison.

Botanical analogies aside, the basic takeaway so far is that it’s possible to compare and contrast GRE and GMAT scores.

Time for some more statistics now.

A smaller number of the schools that revealed the percentage of GRE scores vs GMAT scores submitted to their MBA courses, were kind enough to also share the average GRE scores along with the quant / verbal score breakup.
 

Average GRE Scores for Business Schools

 

Business School %       Verbal / Quant
Average GRE Average GMAT Difference
Duke (Fuqua) 4% 159 V, 156 Q 590 690 100
Yale 18% 164 V, 162 Q 690 717 27
Michigan (Ross) 5% 159 V, 160 Q 630 703 73
Texas (McCombs) 13% 161 V, 161 Q 660 692 32
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 4% 161 V, 156 Q 600 693 93
UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 9% 157 V, 155 Q 570 692 122
Washington (Olin) 31% 156 V, 153 Q 540 698 158
Georgia Tech 14% 158 V, 158 Q 610 678 68
Notre Dame (Mendonza) 12% 160 V, 155 Q 590 687 97
Vanderbilt (Owen) 23% 153 V, 154 Q 530 682 152

Source: 2013 data from P&Q
 
We need to highlight that these numbers don’t match up exactly with the source table (in P&Q). We used the 2 year old GRE quant / verbal scores from their site and reconverted them into GMAT equivalent scores using the latest conversion excel tool from ETS. That probably resulted in amplifying the difference.

However, as we were looking for some general trends rather than accuracy, we didn’t bother much about these numbers not matching with the source data. The conclusion is pretty much the same.

Fact 2: Average GRE scores accepted by the top MBA programs have been lower than the average GMAT scores for the same business school, sometimes by a big margin.

For all we know, the students who got in with lower GRE scores might’ve been the outliers with very strong overall profiles. But there’s no way for us to know that.

 

Now let’s put this and the earlier finding together. We’ve got a minority factor (GRE scores) bringing down the average of the majority (GMAT).

While most bschools are trying hard to get their average GMAT scores higher, it doesn’t help to highlight a lower benchmark for GRE exam scores. Even with a weighted average calculation, the overall average for the blended score would go down. Not a good sign for bschools as far as perception management is concerned.

It may take a while before all MBA programs start sharing their average GRE and GMAT scores.

 
Let bschools worry about that issue. As an applicant, your best strategy is to avoid getting entangled in statistics. Don’t assume that a lower GRE score will get you in because it’s worked for some early birds.

Focus on getting the highest possible score you can. Whether it’s on the GMAT or GRE exam is secondary.

There are more important aspects (like applications, essays, recommendations, interviews) to stress out over. Save some energy for that phase too.

Sources: WSJ, Kaplan, Poets & Quants


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here’s more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

43 Comments

  1. Dafney says:

    Hi.. I’m pursuing my BBA final year.. Now I wanna do my MBA in abroad.. I hv choosen australia for my master program.. I Don’t hv work experience. I got a mail from macqurine university like only master of management programme can be done by the candidate wid lack of work experience. Suggest me wid some gud ideas dat will i have a good scope in INDIA after completing this program in Australia? Whether it’s worth the money?

    • Sameer Kamat says:

      Dafney, going abroad for a management program when you don’t have any experience isn’t a good idea. In case, you insist on going ahead anyway, you should try to get a job in Australia.

      The degree will not mean much in India, where you’ll be competing with graduates armed with IIT and IIM degrees which are valued more.

  2. priya says:

    hello sameer

    i am pursuing my B.E.degree in CSE (2nd year) at rajalakshmi engineering college ,thandalam,india..I would like to join bussiness schools. but im very confused about the schools i would like to join. is india prefarable or abroad schools?

    • Sameer Kamat says:

      Priya, read the earlier answer. If you can’t wait for 4-5 years before applying to MBA programs, then you are better off taking the CAT exam and applying to Indian MBA programs that accept freshers.

  3. Piyush says:

    Hi,

    I am an experienced professional of over 8+ years of experience in IT industry. Work experience from Accenture, KPMG, ZTE kind of top notch organisations. I am a BE by qualification. Want to Do MBA to grow high in terms of salary and switch into the management kind of profile. 1 year executive MBA would do for me. Please help me finalizing the MBA school I should target for the 1 year executive MBA.

  4. Sandeep says:

    Sir.
    M in second year of Bba gndu university..i admire of persuing mba in harvard uni..but my profile is not too good nd m having an average of 62% till now.is there any chance of me getting into Harvard.if yes, then please guide me what should i do to get my seat confirmed.m ready for hard work .i will do whatever u want me to do .please show me the.itz like Do or Die kind of situation for me .i am ready for each and everything. I just want you to lead my path.

  5. somya says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am a btech graduate in instrumentation.currently woking in a bank with 2 yrs of experience.Does it worth to appear gmat..my educational details 10th-74,12th-68,btech-77.

  6. Emmanuel says:

    I think these statistics are definitely wrong. I applied to Georgia tech this year. I got accepted with a 50% scholarship. 10 minutes later the email was recalled and I was told that my score of 314, when converted to gmat (590) was way below their average of 680.

    I would suggest you get your facts straight before posting such misleading stats.

    BTW Georgia Tech GRE average is 323 on their website.

    Thanks
    Emmanuel

  7. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Sandeep; Why assume that Harvard is the only stepping stone to success? There are many more ways to get to your goal if you are practical and persistent with your goals.

    @Sowmya: A little early to apply this season. If you can wait for 1-2 years, you’ll get closer to the average age & work experience for most US format MBA programs.

    @Emmanuel: Thanks for sharing those perspectives. This is old data (as we’ve mentioned in the article) and probably not relevant now. We used it in the absence of any new reports on this topic, based on websites that are credible in the industry.

    For the sake of transparency, here are the actual posts (from 2013 and 2014) that we used for reference.
    WSJ | Kaplan | P&Q

    P.S. Sorry to hear about the experience you had with the Georgia Tech scholarship. CMU did something similar by sending 800 emails to applicants and then recalling them. Hope you had better news from other programs.

  8. Emmanuel says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Thanks for sharing the helpful information and your support.

    Apologies for sounding a bit rude in my comment. I think I’m still quite affected by the experience with Georgia tech and my thoughts kind of lashed out.

    I appreciate the information you’ve provided here. Thanks for replying quickly and professionally even though my comment was aggressive.

    Thanks
    Emmanuel

  9. Sameer Kamat says:

    You don’t have to apologize, Emmanuel. I understand the frame of mind you might be in right now, after going through after such a distressing experience.

    Keeping the tone of your earlier comment aside, I thought that the point you raised about the credibility of the data was valid and needed a response from my side (as opposed to the simple option of deleting comments that we don’t like).

    I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities for you. If you’d be willing to share what happened since that rejection, I’d love to host your story on our site.

    Till then, hang in there.

  10. Mrinal says:

    Hi Sir ,

    I have completed my B.Com from Delhi university this year , with b.com I was also pursing CA but wouldn’t like to go further with it as I am not into it therefore I have applied for distance MBA from ignou , I have got a 3 years work exp as I had started working during my college days and ,
    I would love to get a full time MBA from India or abroad particularly NUS ,
    I am very bad at maths and didn’t have a maths as a subject in my 12th ,
    Can you please suggest a road map ,
    should I go for a GMAT or GRE or CAT ?

    regards,
    MRINAL

  11. Ruhi says:

    Hello Sir,

    I’m Ruhi, currently in my second year BMS, planning to do my post graduation abroad, particularly USA. I am planning to go for masters in management. As I would fund myself by loans,can you tell me how difficult is it to get a job there in management sector for Indians? And in India the bachelors degree is of 3 years, so am I eligible to apply for a masters degree directly after bachelors or should study another year and then apply?
    Thankyou. :)

    Regards.
    RUHI.

  12. Muhammed says:

    Hi Sameer

    My profile is as follows

    B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering- 59.7%
    PGDM-International Business- 65%
    Work Experience-
    16 Months in an Outdoor Advertising Firm in a Sales role(pre-PGDM)
    46 Months in an EPC Company doing Business Development for the African Market
    10 Months in a IT/Telecommunications company handling Business Development for Middle East market
    Age: 31

    After MBA , I want to move to a marketing role in a product company.

    I have given the official GMAT Prep test and got a score of 680( Q47, V35). Since I already have a PGDM degree, does that affect my chances for admission? What are my chances at any of the top global MBA programs? I have just started my GMAT preparations so which year should I target for my admission. Which will be more apt for my profile- a 1 year MBA or a 2 year MBA? Can you please suggest a few schools where I have a good chance?

  13. Pariksheeth says:

    hello Sameer;

    I’m Pariksheeth, currently in my third year of B.E. And then would like to do my post graduate in Business Management abroad,or India. I would prefer to join in top university or B-schools. And i also have some doubts to be asked to u (i.e) does MBA colleges accept GRE scores or should i do GMAT or CAT to join MBA . And i also need to know that which MBA course has good scope,with good high salary package and what about MBA in Finance .I also need to know about the average score does top university or schools accepts. Suggest me some universities and i’m a good hardworking person with good academic skills and good communication skills.

    Regards;
    Pariksheeth

  14. Anusha says:

    Hi can you please tell when I should be taking up my gre exams,and the required coaching for it.I am currently pursuing my second year biomedical engineering.Which are the best colleges for biomedical engineering abroad?

  15. Prachi says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I’m taking GMAT in a month’s time. My scores on Gmat mocks seem about average. However, i had given GRE a couple of years back and scored 308. Would you recommend applying to B schools with my GRE scores incase my GMAT score isnt that great, or should i consider giving the GMAT another time? Thanks for your help! :)

  16. apurwa jain says:

    Hi… I am preparing for GRE to pursue MBA in finance…. is gre advisable or gmat? I saw the ets compariosn tool where gre score:315(above average ) is equal to gmat:610(very low).. do all colleges convert the scores like this? Please help.. Thanks in advance.. :)

  17. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Ruhi: Getting an overseas job gets more difficult when you go there without experience. Many univs ask for 16 years of experience, however some are more flexible. Best would be to check directly with the university you are interested in.

    @Muhammed: Yes, having an MBA from India does affect your chances. Many schools prefer candidates who don’t already have an MBA. Here’s a list of universities that do accept second MBA applicants.

    @Pariksheeth: The article above answers the first question. You can also refer to MBA rankings to find out the average salaries.

    @Anusha: You don’t necessarily need to join a GRE coaching class. Many manage it on via self-study guides for GRE.

    Here’s a post we published on biomedical careers. It includes information about qualifications and universities too.

    @Mrinal and Apurwa: For an MBA abroad, GMAT is still a better bet.

    Apart from the GRE to GMAT conversion table, bschools may have their own criteria to convert and evaluate GRE scores. But I’m guessing the differences would be minor and take it up by 50-60 points.

  18. apurwa jain says:

    thanks a lot.. by what time should i appear for the exmas (gre or gmat) to get admission in fall 2016.. considering universities deadlines!

    • Sameer Kamat says:

      For the current season, it’s already tight for Round 1 applications. You’ll have to aim for Round 2.

      If you are targetting classes starting in Fall 2017, take the exams by Mar/Apr 2016 or even earlier.

      That’ll give you enough buffer to re-take it if you can’t get close to the target range.

  19. Abhinav says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have completed my BA Hons in Economics from Delhi University in 2015, which was a three year course.
    I have given my GRE and obtained a score of 335/340( 170Q;165V), however I am yet to give the GMAT.
    I plan to apply to an MBA program in the US either this year or the coming year.
    The queries I had were would it be advisable to give the GMAT, or would my GRE score put me in with a good shot at the top 10 business schools in the US? Also, would it be advisable to spend another year gaining work experience prior to applying or should I give the application a good shot this year?

    Thanks!

  20. Sameer Kamat says:

    Abhinav,

    Your GRE score (and the converted GMAT equivalent) is strong. The bigger constraint is your experience. It won’t be the right time for you to apply this year or even next. You’d be competing with applicants who have an average of 4-5 years at the time of applying.

    Given your aptitude for cracking entrance exams, while you work on building your profile, why not try your hand at the GMAT too when it’s closer to the application date? It’ll be more recent.

    I hope you are aware of the fact that all bschools don’t accept 15 years of education, though the number seems to be increasing now.

  21. bhanu says:

    hi sameer,

    This is bhanu ,may i know the GRE score cut off for MBA program in top colleges of california and my academics details are btech: 60%, intermediate:70% (no job experience)

  22. Ajay says:

    Sameer,

    You are doing a great job answering to all questions about MBA

    Quick question, GRE or GMAT for B schools in USA?

    To be honest, I’m not too strong in quans, heard GRE is less tough as compared to GMAT.

    have been with banking industry for five years now, pls suggest should i go with GMAT or GRE?

    Are students with GRE scores treated at par with students with GMAT scores.

    In plans to apply for colleges next year, should have started preparing for GRE or GMAT by now, but I’m stuck in deciding which one?

    Quick reply will be much appreciated

    Once again, you doing great job, keep up the good work, Cheers!

    AJ

  23. Ruchita says:

    Hi Sameer
    I completed my BBA(Hons.) in HR and marketing in 2012 . It was a 4 year course. I have a total of 3 yrs exp in core HR from IBM
    I am planing to do my further studies in USA , but I am confused on which course to take . I am currently preparing for GRE
    Few programs that I had in mind was MIM, Ms in HR or mayb go for MBA ( the universities that accept GRE scores)
    Frankly I m looking out for programs that give me a career jump and has good ROI , also growth in the market.
    I am looking for Fall 2016 intake.
    Kindly advice which course would be wise to take ?

  24. Vimal says:

    Hi Sammer,

    I have a couple of clarificatiosn needed for GMAT based MBA programs in top 50 universites in the US. I am gratuated as Engineer in 2014 and have one year experience working in IT company. I am looking forward to do MBA and havent given any exams like GRE before. Im looking for August 2017 admissions. So what can be the best time I would need to give my GMAT exam(considering to start preparations for the same) so that I can get into the top 50 unicersities, the averge score and the minimum work expericence( by 2017-March I would have 1.5 years of experience).

    Please advise:)

  25. Sriram says:

    Hello Sameer. I have given both GMAT and GRE. I have a score of 690 (49q and 34v) in GMAT and a score of 323 (167q and 156 v) in GRE. I am planning to apply to B schools in the US (schools such as Olin, Kelley, Mendoza). I have 4.5 work experience across different roles in operations and geographies (India and US). Based on the data (http://poetsandquants.com/2014/04/29/gre-gaining-on-the-gmat/2/), would I have a better chance if I apply using my GRE score?

  26. Ryan says:

    How is the GRE essay included in the stats? I took GRE and got a 327 (167v and 160q), but I only got a 4.0 on the essay portion. Trying to determine whether to take the test again….

  27. Christie Deepa says:

    Hi ,

    I’m from India. My profile goes as below:

    a. GRE Score – 331 ( I took the GRE as opposed to the GMAT as, at that point in time, I had not decided if I wanted to do a masters programme or an MBA programme)
    b. Work Experience – Will complete 3 year before the 2017 intake, Working as a part of the FP&A team in a US based hedge fund operations in Hyderabad. In the past 2 years, I’ve been promoted once in an accelerated cycle
    c. Academics – 10th – 88%, 12 – 92%, Undergraduate studies – 82%; 5-95/6.00 CGPA. Placed 3rd in college
    d. Extracurricular – I was a part of the college choir for the whole duration of my undergraduate studies. I was also a part of the college editorial committee for 1 year and was a voted ladies representative of my class for another year
    e. Extra professional – Part of a pen pal programme for the Teach for India fellowship
    f. Awards / Honours – Academic excellence awards in school and college. Also, I was selected to be a part of a cultural exchange programme to go to Japan from college.

    I have applied to HBS, INSEAD, BOOTH, ROSS & STANFORD. I’ve been rejected by the first 3. Can you give me some insight on what I can be doing better to secure an interview call, let alone an admission?

    Thanks,
    Christie

  28. Rahul says:

    Hello Sameer

    I am pursuing BTech from NIT Durgapur. Presently I’m in 3rd year. I want to do MBA after BTech. I’m looking forward to take GRE soon. It would be of great help if you could advice me on:
    1. Which of the renowned universities accept freshers for MBA programs?
    2. Which among the above provide scholarships?
    3. Shall GRE be enough or I need to take any more exams?
    4. What else to do and what skills I need to acquire to make my CV, profile stand out from the crowd and increase my chances of admission?

    Thanks
    Rahul

  29. Lokesh sharma says:

    Hi Sameer,

    1st of all i would like to appreciate and congratulate you for the amazing work you are doing…the info provided in the website is really very helpful.

    Sameer i am a 31yr old B.Com graduate and have a total work ex of 10 years into sales and marketing with few awards and accreditions.My Gre score is 293 and 7 on IELTS,i wish to do an MBA from a good US B-school,can you suggest me few schools ?
    Does trying singapore schools like NTU / NUS makes sense with this score ?
    Btw i am also planning to retake GRE by 25th Jan…regards,Lokesh.

  30. Shivali says:

    Hi Sameer

    I am willing to join one of the good universities in US for pursuing MBA.
    Gre score is ( Q-161 V-147 AWA-3.5) 311
    2yrs of work experience from an MNC
    B.Tech aggregade 81%
    Secondary(10th ) 83%
    Senior Secondary (12th) 87%
    Could you please suggest some good universities for MBA according to my profile.

    Awaiting your reply asap.

  31. Sadaf says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I am currently working in a leading Indian MNC and intend to apply for MS in MIS. I have an experience of 10 months and passed out this year only.If you could let me know the criteria and the lump sump GMAT score that the following universities consider one’s profile for admission to MS in MIS
    1.TAMU
    2.SUNY Buffalo
    3.NJIT

  32. Nisha says:

    Hi sameer
    This is nisha..
    I’m in B.Sc second year and I’m planning for MBA program after completing my BSc. So plz guide me how should I prepare, how should I start, step by step path to walk through for Gud career in MBA i.e exams and pursing MBA from abroad or India…what will be more better as per successful MBA career is concerned ..
    Regards..
    Nisha

  33. Ali says:

    Hi Sameer,

    A very knowledgeable post indeed.
    I am a post graduate chemical er. with around 4 years of working experience in chemical process design.
    Now i want to switch my profile from purely technical to product marketing,business development targeting the chemicals/Oil and gas/ FMCG industries.
    I have been considering to take up a decent distance PGDM/MBA in marketing management. What is your say on this? Would it help me in the above mentioned aspiration? If yes can you suggest a good institute for that?
    Also, i have no qualms in taking up the full time regular course if not for the cost factor. I am not in a position financially to shell out more than 1-2 L for this course. I found out FMS, and JBIMS are two good institutes that are very affordable.However the competition of course must be cut throat.
    One thing that i want to add is that i have a recent GRE score of 306/370. (153v 153q ) Can it be of some use if i look for a reasonable MBA program in India or abroad?!
    Thanks in advance buddy. Your timely response shall be gratefully appreciated!
    Cheers
    Ali

  34. ROHit singh says:

    hello sir,
    i am rohit singh chauhan & i am pursing B.E from biomedical now m in 8th semester and i want to go aboard for mba course.
    so which college or universities is good for mba . and i m fresher but i also running an NGO since last 1year.
    how much score i want in gre exam for good university ?

  35. Ramesh says:

    Hey there I am pursuing b.e in comp engg.I got 307 in gre and avg of 58% in b.e as of now with no work experience.I want to pursue mba in usa so how should I go about it??

  36. Shashi kumar says:

    Hi sameer

    I am shashi …btech mechanical engineering ,presently working in a PSU with total experience of 5yrs ,i want to do mba from US University. recently appeared for GRE and scored 145V& 165Q awa 4.0. Which university should i choose for application? My academic scores are average.

  37. mayank says:

    dear sir,
    i have an experience of 7 years in engineering field, i am looking for Executive MBA from top B-school of US or UK. So I am little confused to take GRE or GMAT? and second is what will be the time period for that Executive MBA One year or Two years?
    Thanking you

  38. Mahmood says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I have a GRE score of 305(q-159,v-146). I am trying for MBA course in Fisher College of Business where the GRE score range is 300-324(Avg-314). Do i stand any chance and think of applying or retake GRE for a better score?

  39. Abhilash says:

    Hi
    Thanks for the data and insights, really helpful!
    I got 170(Quant) + 162(Verbal) in GRE in October 2014 and am looking to get into a top B-School in US/Canada. I have ~3 years of work experience. Could you please roughly evaluate my chances of getting a top B-School with my credentials and let me know. Any university names would greatly help me in getting the idea.

    Thanks!
    Best
    Abhilash Kandwal (India)

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