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Do I Need A 700 GMAT Score To Get Into A US Business School?

George Andrews, associate dean of degree programs at Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, answers your Applicant Question of the Week

Thu Feb 21 2019

It's time for another Applicant Question of the Week at BusinessBecause!

Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.

This week, the question comes from an anonymous BusinessBecause reader looking to the US for their graduate business education,

Their question is answered by George Andrews, associate dean of degree programs at the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business.

Applicant Question of the Week:

Dear BusinessBecause, 

I'm currently prepping for the GMAT and I'm worried about getting into a top US business school. Do I need 700+ on the GMAT to get into a business school in the US?

The Answer:

In theory, you do not need a...

ic GMAT score to get into an MBA program. The admissions process is multidimensional. We are looking to bring in a well-rounded class that reflects the world in which we live. We want individuals who bring something unique into the classroom; whether it be their background, their work experience, or their leadership qualities, there must be something that makes them an attractive candidate. 

So what purpose does the GMAT serve? Schools feel a responsibility to admit only those who will successfully complete the program—this is where the GMAT comes into play.

The GMAT is a great predictor of success in the program. It has been used for decades and there are significant longitudinal studies demonstrating that a higher GMAT score significantly increases the probability of success, as measured by grades, in the program.

For many schools, the GMAT serves not only as a decision tool but more importantly as a sorting tool. There is a top-ranked school on the West Coast that received over 7,700 applications to fill 419 spots with an average GMAT of 732. Even if 80% of the applicants were obvious declines, you would still have over 1,500 solid prospects.

So what do you do?  You sort by a set of criteria, one of which, due to the ease of measurement and use in rankings, is GMAT.

Now that I have mentioned rankings, let's discuss the darker side of GMAT and the significant escalation of GMAT scores at top programs. While it is true that it is an excellent predictive tool, it is also true that schools have an incentive to keep the incoming class average GMAT score high and rising. Ranking agencies strongly weigh the average GMAT score of the incoming class as an indicator of student body quality. 

What does this mean for you? You should look at the reported average GMAT score for the school to which you are applying; the farther you are below that GMAT score, the more you need to demonstrate the other reasons you should be considered for the program.

You will need to demonstrate that you are bringing some differentiating qualities mentioned above such as background or leadership. Because these qualities are more subjective, it is incumbent upon you to demonstrate them through the essays, interview, and letters of recommendation, as well as during every interaction with the admissions staff. 

To summarize, the GMAT is just one aspect of the tools used in the art of admissions. However, because it is easier to measure, has a robust correlation to success in the program, is used to sort admits, and is heavily weighted in the school rankings, scoring at or above the average GMAT of the school to which you are applying will significantly increase your chances a successful outcome.  

Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!


Applying to business school in Europe? Next week you'll get a chance to ask Cristina Sassot—director of full-time MBA and master's admissions at ESADE Business School in Spain—anything you'd like to know about applying to a business program.

Cristina has been working in admissions at ESADE for 10 years, and also has an MBA from the school, so she knows exactly what this top-ranked European business school is looking for in their applicants.

Got a question you'd love Cristina to answer? To be in with a chance of featuring next week, submit your question on our TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn pages, send us an email to, or simply post a comment below! 

Student Reviews

Esade EMBA




On Campus

Transformative Journey at ESADE Business School

My time at ESADE Business School has been beyond remarkable. From the moment of the application process, the staff has been super helpful and responsive on every single email! The faculty are highly engaging, the peers collaborative and the curriculum cutting-edge, encouraging me to push my own boundaries and broaden my understanding of business. With practical learning at its core, ESADE has provided me with crucial skills for success in the real world. Not only is this school an ideal place to develop yourself; it's also home to so many fantastic opportunities, friendships and growth. If you're ready for change and want to thrive in the business world then this is definitely the university for you!




On Campus

Esade review

As I am just starting off in September, I do not have any hands-on information about the education or the university itself. However, I can tell you about the experience I have had with the admin staff, which was always extremely positive. As I am a scholarship student, I had some hardships with reserving my place as I needed to wait for the result of my scholarship application, otherwise, I would not have been able to attend the university. They kindly offered me to hold my place without paying which was a big help for me. Additionally, any time I had problems with the IT system or any administrative task they would always help me in a day or two.




On Campus

Bachelor Business administration

ESADE University stands as a beacon of academic excellence and innovation. With its dynamic programs, world-class faculty, and vibrant campus culture, ESADE offers a transformative educational experience. From cutting-edge business education to a commitment to societal impact, ESADE surpasses expectations. It's a remarkable institution that nurtures tomorrow's leaders.




On Campus

Excellent education.

ESADE is a quality university, the professors are the best in the area and this is evident in the student's academic progress. Additionally, the university is responsible for providing opportunities to access the world of work. It is a university internationally recognized for its quality and excellence. It is located in the best neighborhood of Barcelona.




On Campus

Excellent teachers and classes and a superb international experience

If you are looking for a law specialization master's degree (LLM) in the non so traditional areas of law, and you are seeking for an international fully enriching experience, ESADE is your best choice. ESADE started as a business school so the MBA and other business degrees are their core. Nonetheless, law education and in particular the specialisation master's (international business law and intellectual property and ICT law) are also on the top Europe's LLM of their fields. They combine an excellent program, with the best teachers available in Barcelona and with a more than enough amount of resources to study and help the student to get initiated in their career field. Also, this is the best international experience out there; personally, I got to share a classroom with other 25 students, where only 6 of them were Spanish, the other 19 including myself were a mixture of different nationalities, especially from Latin American countries.




What an enriching experience!

The program was super complete and touched on all the key points I considered important in a Master of Law, Intellectual Property and Technology. In addition, I was able to take advantage of business, communication, leadership and other disciplines, so important in the training of a complete and multifaceted professional. It is also great that all teachers are lawyers, so they can practice the knowledge they teach us on a daily basis. In this way, they are able to transmit theoretical knowledge to us with a much more practical approach, super useful for our future. In this way, we are able to penetrate the network of contacts in our areas, which can be extremely beneficial for our career. I also believe that the University is really concerned with the students, in helping them in everything they need, which can be demonstrated, for example, in the current pandemic situation, since it has always tried to act in such a way as to harm the students as little as possible, providing the support and compensation that they considered fair. In conclusion, I would like to thank ESADE for providing me with one of the best experiences of my life, in which I have made friends for life, and from which I leave with excellent academic preparation, ready to face the challenges of a professional career.




The online platform and the involvment of students and teachers

The online platform is very agile to work and gives you great flexibility to follow the program. Secondly, I was surprised by the involvement of students and teachers. This has made the program very interesting with links to extensions of the agenda. Quite a good surprise. I would clearly recommend it.




Great class cohesion, superb study location, super professors

I loved the class cohesion with plenty of international students from all over the world. Great to have that mix during a practical business project to do with the local economy of the Costa Brava. Studying in Barcelona is simply amazing, and even though the university is not directly in the center, it is in a really nice part of the city with great views over the old town and the sea. I always enjoyed my walk from the metro station to the school. The professors were nice and motivated, and as classes were small, it allowed a very good learning atmosphere.




Amazing experience!

The professors are qualified, passionate, and dive deeply into the topics while always making class engaging. Hands-on experience with companies to solve real issues - offering a great opportunity to apply the learnings and gain more relevant experience. The study tours and minor class trips are also adding value to the course, along with many career and social events, which help create a good environment. Would highly recommend!