Using a bell shaped distribution, 95% of the scores should lie within 2 standard deviations (2* 2.1) of the mean (4.34).
The MBA admissions committees have developed a better understanding of what the score represents, now that the IR section has been out for a year. Admission committees can better compare how the score relates in comparison to an applicant’s other stats.
However, what does this mean for the applicants?
The admission offices at the top business schools are always flooded with qualified applicants who have high GMAT scores. Which ones stand out? You may ask.
Typically, in the case of top business schools, students with high GMAT Quant scores flood the admissions box. The sheer number of students in the Q48+ range – can curve the scoring so that the difference between ~2 quant questions can potentially drop scores beneath the 90th percentile. Fortunately enough, the admissions officer might actually prefer the Q48 student over the Q50 student if they knew the Q48 student has a stellar IR score while the Q50 student does not. This is not currently the way it is, but as IR becomes more and more accepted, such a scenario could be quite plausible.
Let’s take this scenario for example: The final admission seat is down between two possible candidates:
Candidate X: Q48 / IR 8
Candidate Y: Q50 / IR 5
Given this information, Candidate X might appear to be the stronger, more well-rounded candidate.
It should be interesting to note that the difference between GMAT scores and IR scores is quite apparent among Asian applicants. Chinese and Indian applicants who scored high on IR will more likely have an edge over the competition than will applicants from other countries.
What makes the IR so important for possible scholarships?
Scholarships are based upon a school’s desire to invest in a student. They want to find strong, hard working individuals who can process information and think on their feet. The IR section is actually designed, to assess these types of abilities. A solid performance in all sections of the GMAT - Quant, Verbal, AWA, and IR - will help you stand out for scholarship.
For example: GMAT Pill alumni (and now GMAT Pill mentor) James – registered an incredible GMAT score of 770 – followed with a perfect IR score (8/8) and a perfect AWA score (6/6). Jame’s accomplishments were so distinguished that he obtained a $93k MBA Scholarship from London Business School.
Like all recruiters, consultants covet graduates with high GMAT scores and GPAs. However, high IR scores are desirable as well.
At the test site, the administrators will tell you that the official score report will arrive in the mail within 20 days of the testing day. Well, actually, GMAC is telling us the score report will more likely arrive in about a week. On paper it's 20 days, but don’t be surprised when you receive a mail from GMAC much earlier than that.
The 800 score is currently made up of 2 components: Quant and Verbal.
GMAT Pill believes that simplifying everything into a single score is the appropriate decision. The admissions office can better make sense of the official score report, and the IR section will receive the recognition it deserves in the final 800 score. This final 800 score is the score that students find compatible enough to compare with one another. It is the score that top business school take into account during admission, etc
Although no promises have been made, there is always a possibility for adjustment.
Asian test takers seem to face the largest discrepancy, with eminent GMAT scores alongside inadequate IR scores.
What can we draw from this? If Asian applicants, the majority of whom are Chinese and Indian, are commonly receiving stellar GMAT scores but inadequate IR scores, then the Asians who score exceptionally well on BOTH the overall GMAT and the IR section will shine from the competition. MBA programs want individuals who stand out from their peers, and those who have obtained strong verbal/quant score AND a high IR score have done just that. While this is true for all applicants, it is even more pronounced for Asian test takers.
Although the accuracy of this conclusion is based on limited data, the stats compiled from the first year of IR scores has been made that compares total 800 score, AWA score, undergraduate GPA, and IR score to graduate GPA. It appears that the IR score best predicts graduate GPA among the other tests.
What do you mean?
The blue circle in the picture above reveals that among several test takers who scored a 650 (or higher), only a small percentage of them received a score of 1, 2, or 3 -- 2%, 3%, and 6%, respectively. Commonly the case, the admissions office will only look for applicants who received a GMAT score of 650 and above. Among those applicants, a few of them performed poorly on the IR section.
With that being said, Asian applicants who received a score of 650 or higher, should put in the extra time to do well on the IR section. Although scoring an 8 would be fantastic, it is not required. A strong score of 6 or 7 should be able to do the trick.
With only a year of information, the initial surveys reports MBAs that go into Consulting, Operations, and Finance have higher IR scores than the MBAs who go into human resources, marketing, or general management.
In the middle of a conference call with GMAC – it was announced that top consulting firms like McKinsey and Bain have taken interest in knowing an applicant’s IR scores.
How would that be possible?
The IR section was designed to assess the same, exact skills that consultants use on the job. Consultants, management consultants for example, need to understand what the overall goal is, and its blueprint. After crunching a series of numbers, a basic pattern must be found and steps need to be planned in order to obtain the objective.
Based on previous experience as a managing consultant at Booz & Company, I can confirm how essential IR skills are on the job. It’s not surprising that top consulting firms would want to know an applicant’s IR scores.
There’s no doubt that consulting firms would want students with high GPAs and high GMAT scores.
However, in the forthcoming future, it is very likely that top consulting firms will see IR scores in the same light as GPAs and GMAT scores. Applicants will likely be asked for BOTH their GMAT and their IR scores on their resumes.
Future management consultants, set on their goal, should absolutely put the work in now and study for the IR section.
The MBA admissions committee has developed a better understanding of what the IR score represents and how to compare it to an applicant’s other stats.
Be sure to remember some inside information about the IR section. Asian applicants experience a large discrepancy between their 800 GMAT score and their IR scores. Very few applicants perform outstanding on the overall score and perform miserably on the IR section (don’t be one of them). Demographic background can play a role with IR score importance.
Some test takers can receive a "good enough” IR score of at least 4 and get into the school of their choice.
Applicants who are aiming for a scholarship should try to score as high as possible in all categories - verbal, quant, AWA, and IR. As mentioned before, GMAT Pill alumni (and now GMAT Pill instructor) James received a full tuition MBA scholarship to London Business School, as a result of his excellent scores across the board.
Corporate recruiting, not just MBA admissions can be influenced by IR scores. High IR scores will definitely impress management consulting firms!
After the fall of 2013, the unofficial score report will carry your IR score. Debate has been stirred about whether or not there should be a single score of 800 consisting of 4 subdivisions - Quant/Verbal/AWA/IR. The GMAT community hopes to see this plan take fruition.
For more information about IR including sample questions, click here.