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GMAT Score Range For Top Business Schools Like Stanford & Harvard

Find out what the GMAT score range is for top business schools like Harvard and Stanford, and what GMAT score to aim for to get accepted

By  John Karageorge

Wed Sep 13 2023

The GMAT is one of the most important aspects of a business school application as it is a quality indicator for schools when measuring your suitability for an MBA program.

GMAT score ranges tell you what both the lowest and highest scoring students in an MBA class earned on their GMAT exam.

Like average GMAT scores, when applying to a top MBA program, understanding the range of GMAT scores that current students at your target school submitted—and were accepted for—will help you understand what GMAT score you should aim for.

Applying to business school can be expensive, so if your GMAT score is significantly below a school’s GMAT test score range, it may not be worth applying. 

By analyzing GMAT score ranges, you can determine which schools you have a higher chance of getting into, or where you may need to increase your score to get accepted.

GMAT score range for global top MBAs

*These business schools provided a median GMAT score. All scores are based on most recent class data. 

What GMAT score to aim for?

Total GMAT scores range from 200 to 800. While scores in the 500s are considered low, many of the world’s best business schools admit students with these GMAT scores.   

While in previous years, top business schools have accepted students with an 800 GMAT, accepted MBA students at the likes of Harvard Business School at Harvard University and Stanford Graduate School of Management at Stanford University scored a maximum of 790 this year.

Harvard also accepted students who scored as low as 540, which was the lowest accepted GMAT among the top 10. Columbia Business School, which topped the Financial Times MBA ranking this year, accepted at least one student with a GMAT score of 550. Spain’s IESE Business School accepted at least one score of 580. 

Stanford University, a school that is historically the hardest to get into worldwide, accepted students with scores as low as 630. 

There may be years where top universities such as Stanford don’t accept applicants with scores lower than 600, or years where accepted applicants score 800.  

Scoring within the Stanford GMAT range does not automatically mean you will be accepted. However, you should be aiming to score on the higher end or above the GMAT range if you want a better chance of being accepted into your target school.

While it's important to use the information GMAT ranges provide, it's also important to remember there are some limitations as to what can be learned.

What GMAT ranges do not tell you is the specific scenario that comes with each submitted score. For example, was the applicant who scored the lowest in the cohort also a straight A student in their undergraduate studies, who scored poorly on the GMAT because they were going through a difficult time?  

Likewise, was the applicant who scored the highest a C-student during their undergraduate studies who barely skated through business school admission due to their high GMAT score? 

READ: How I Got Into The MBA At Harvard Business School


Harvard vs Stanford GMAT range

Of course, different schools have different GMAT ranges. Harvard and Stanford accepted students who scored 600 as well as students who earned near perfect GMAT scores.

How could it be that these top business schools accept students who scored low on the GMAT? 

This is where the limitations of GMAT ranges comes into play. Maybe the student who scored a 540 at Harvard had a stellar GPA and was able to wow the admissions team during their interview. 

Maybe the person who scored a 790 at Stanford also had a poor GPA but an inspirational personal statement helped them with their admittance.

While your GMAT score is important, it’s not everything when it comes to applying to business school.

If you’re considering applying to MBA programs this year, download our free BusinessBecause MBA Application Guide

This article was first written by John Karageorge of MBA Insights and data is updated annually.