Top average GRE score for business schools is Stanford GSB

Stanford Graduate School of Business

In our article on GRE Percentile Rankings, we stated that a good GRE score is any score that gets you in to your target graduate or business program.

But how do you know what score is expected at those schools? In other words, what’s the average GRE score admitted at the top business schools?

Well, one answer is to consult each school’s website, where they often list expected score ranges in the description of their application requirements.

Alternatively, you can always contact the admissions office of your target school(s) by phone or e-mail and ask. Adcoms are usually pretty forthcoming with applicants — though they do get annoyed answering questions that can easily be found on their website, so be sure to check there first.

But wouldn’t it be easier if there were one location where you could see the data for all of the top schools?

Finally, there is!

Average GRE Scores – Top MBA Programs

Here is a table showing the average GRE scores for many of the top business schools as compiled by Poets & Quants. You can read their full analysis HERE.

School Verbal Score Quant Score Total AWA Score
 Stanford GSB  164  165  329  4.9
 Yale SOM 165 163 328  4.8
 Virginia (Darden) 164 162 326 4.7
 NYU (Stern) 163 161 324 4.6
 Georgia Tech (Scheller) 161 163 324 4.5
 Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 160 163 323 4.0
 Michigan (Ross) 161 161 322 5.0
 Dartmouth (Tuck) 161 159 320 4.7
 Cornell (Johnson) 161 159 320 4.2
 UCLA (Anderson) 159 161 320 4.2
 Minnesota (Carlson) 163 157 320 4.3
 Duke (Fuqua) 160 159 319 4.4
 Texas (McCombs) 160 159 319 N/A
 Wisconsin 160 158 318 4.5
 UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 159 158 317 4.3
 Washington (Foster) 159 158 317 4.4
 USC (Marshall) 158 158 316 4.3
 Iowa (Tippie) 154 162 316 N/A
 UC-Irvine (Merage) 155 161 316 4.0
 Georgia (Terry) 159 157 316 4.0
 UC-Davis 156 160 316 3.8
 Georgetown (McDonough) 158 157 315 4.0
 Washington (Olin) 158 157 315 4.1
 Penn State (Smeal) 159 156 315 5.0
 Rochester (Simon) 157 158 315 3.9
 Boston (Questrom) 158 157 315 N/A
 Illinois 157 155 315 4.0
 Indiana (Kelley) 158 156 314 4.1
 Rice (Jones) 157 157 314 4.0
 Vanderbilt (Owen) 158 156 314 4.0
 Rutgers 155 159 314 N/A
 Notre Dame (Mendoza) 157 156 313 4.2
 Ohio State (Fisher) 157 156 313 N/A
 Southern Methodist (Cox) 157 155 312 4.1
 Purdue (Krannert) 152 160 312 4.0
 Arizona State (Carey) 156 155 311 4.1
 Texas-Dallas (Jindal) 154 157 311 3.7
 Maryland (Smith) 155 155 310 3.9
 Michigan State (Broad) 154 155 309 4.0
 George Washington 156 153 309 4.1
 Texas A&M (Mays) 154 154 308 4.0
 Boston College (Carroll) 155 152 307 4.0
 Pittsburgh (Katz) 153 152 305 3.8

Three Insights From These Data

A big table of GRE scores like the one above is interesting to look at on its own, but what does it all mean?

As I look at these data, I have a few observations that I think are pretty fun to think about. The last one in particular presents a great opportunity for applicants, if I’m right. Check it out:

  1. First, I’m blown away by how many of the top MBA programs are on this list. A few short years ago, almost all of these schools only accepted the GMAT for admission. Now, the GRE is not only accepted, it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for applicants. In fact, 24 schools saw an increase in GRE admits from 2015 to 2016, and eight of those schools had more than 30% of their admits accepted with GRE scores — led by Boston University’s Questrom School of Business at 42%!
  2. Interestingly, a majority of schools expect higher verbal scores than quant scores. The exceptions are more tech-focused schools like Georgia Tech, where the quant/verbal split is 163/161, and Iowa, where the split is a very pronounced 162/154. One of the major differences between GRE and GMAT scoring, of course, is that the GRE gives separate scores for the quant and verbal sections, whereas the GMAT aggregates them into one score. As such, some business schools are pretty open about what they expect for each score (as opposed to just looking at the aggregate), so make sure to ask.
  3. Finally, several big-name business schools are conspicuously absent from this list — schools like Harvard Business School, Chicago-Booth, and Northwester’s Kellogg School of Management, among others. It’s not that these schools don’t accept the GRE, because they do. Rather, it’s that they’ve chosen not to report their average admitted GRE scores yet. This begs the question: Why not? My sense in talking with admissions adcoms and MBA admissions consultants is that these schools are trying to protect their rankings and insulate themselves from the repercussions of admitting students with lower GRE scores. Average GMAT scores are sort of the holy grail for MBA school rankings, but GRE scores haven’t been factored in as much yet. As such, schools like Harvard may feel that they have to keep their GMAT standards high so that the averages they publish on their website remain impressive, but they can relax a bit when it comes to GRE scores. If that’s true, then this presents a great opportunity for applicants to apply with slightly lower GRE scores and still have a decent chance of being admitted. As the percentage of students applying with the GRE continues to rise, this will all change. I expect that at some point in the near future, all schools will have to publish both GMAT and GRE scores to be factored in to their rankings. But for now, it’s definitely something for applicants to think about — and to consider taking advantage of.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you surprised by these average GRE scores? Are they higher/lower than you would expect? What does it all mean to you? Please leave your comments/questions below. I’d love to hear from you!