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GRE Scores for Business Schools

For decades, those who wanted to get their MBA from any respectable school in the country had one choice – the GMAT. However, in recent years, the ETS, the world’s largest testing service, has sought fiercely to change that. Now after a huge marketing push and an overhaul to their own graduate admissions test, the ETS has its GRE nipping at the heels of the GMAT for adcom acceptance. With purportedly over 1,000 MBA programs now accepting GRE scores for business school admissions, the GRE is slowly becoming considered a legitimate substitute for the GMAT in b-school applications. That means students who previously had no choice are now stuck weighing the GRE vs the GMAT. So when it comes to your decision, what GRE scores will you need to make the cut at your dream b-school?

ETS Intended business major GRE scores

First let’s start with the hard data from the ETS. Here’s a chart of the average scores of those intending to apply to business school with GRE scores.

Concentration Verbal Math
Business 150 152
Accounting 149 153
Banking and Finance 150 160
Business Admin 150 150
Other 149 152



Finance aside, if you check the score percentile ranking, all of these scores hover right around the median score of all GRE applicants – about 151 in both sections. So what does that tell us? Not much, other than typical b-school aspirant is about average with all other graduate applicants when it comes to the GRE.

Estimating GRE scores for MBA programs

Because most schools are reluctant to release average GRE scores for their accepted students (probably because they’re still figuring it out themselves), I’ve come up with a handy estimation. Check the chart below to see the combined GRE score ranges.

GMAT Percentile GRE Range
All 545.6 50th 300-314
Harvard 724 94th 326-330
Stanford 729 96th 328-332
Penn Wharton 718 94th 326-330
MIT Sloan 710 92nd 324-330
Top 10 717.6 94th 326-330
#11-25 691.5 84th 322-328
#25-50 666.3 84th 318-326
#51-100 621.1 69th 310-322


The problems of defining GRE scores for business programs

The problem that you encounter when trying to determine what GRE scores you’ll need when applying for MBA programs is that GMAT sections are combined into an overall score, while the GRE gives two separate scores for its sections (plus an AWA score). That means there’s a singular percentile score comparison isn’t really possible. Instead to come up with the ranges above, I used the GRE to GMAT score conversion chart and then found the least possible corresponding combined GRE scores and the greatest corresponding combined GRE scores.

GRE scores more varied than GMAT?

Since most MBA admissions committees are still pretty new at assessing GRE scores, there’s a lot of speculation that there’s quite a bit of variation in GRE scores compared to GMAT scores. Poets and Quants has pointed the discrepancy between scores here. Logically this makes sense considering their years of experience correlating GMAT scores with success in their programs. Without much data on a potential applicant’s success, it’s only logical that weight would be shifted elsewhere when considering the GRE. I foresee that as years pass, however, adcoms are going to get better and better assessing a candidate based on his or her GRE score, and that variation between GMAT and GRE will be minimized, just has been done on the undergrad level when comparing the SAT vs ACT. No matter what the discrepancy is, though, you should still pick the test that plays to your strengths. :)

About the Author

Chris Swimmer is an analyst at Magoosh who divides his time between marketing and research projects and helping folks out with their math hang ups while studying for the GRE and the GMAT. Follow him on Google+! And you can follow him @chrisrswimmer on Twitter.

23 Responses to GRE Scores for Business Schools

  1. Kevin November 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Hello! Quick question: I scored a 163Q and 167V; that places me in the range for the top 3 business schools, but I’m worried the lower Quant score is going to hurt me. Do you think that would detract from my application/recommend taking it again to try to pull it up a few points, or at this point is it not a detractor?
    Thank you!!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      Hey Kevin! I say once you reach that level, they’re looking at other points of your application. Of course it can’t hurt to have a higher score, but it likely won’t move the needle. :)

      Chris S

  2. mario November 4, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Hi Chris

    I have a question to make. Based on some GRE tests i have make, i believe i will score arround 150 on Verbal and arround 168 on Quantitative. I would like to apply for Phd finance at NYU and UCLA. Based on these scores do you think i have good chances to be accepted?

    Thanks
    Mario

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Hey Mario! Those scores put you in a competitive range for the program, but remember there’s a lot that goes into the decision beyond the score!

      Chris S

  3. Breakout October 26, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    So…when I took my GRE last May and put it into ETS’s converter, it showed a 700G MAT score. My GRE was 165 V and 159 Q and a 4.5 AWS. Now the ETS converter is showing a 660 GMAT. Any idea why that change? And how competitive I’d be for Columba or NYU?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer November 3, 2013 at 1:19 am #

      Hey! The change is likely because the ETS is still calibrating the conversion. The truth is that an exact comparison is quite difficult. As for competitiveness, it’s difficult to say exactly considering all of the factors that go into an application, especially for competitive programs like NYU and Columbia. I’d check around to find the typical profile of an accepted student and try to see where you stand there. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  4. Nikhil October 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    Hey Chris,

    I just gave my GRE and got a Q: 167 V: 165 Total:332 and want to apply for OB PhD programs, and have faculty members at Harvard Business School, Wharton, Yale SOM and Ross at Uni of Michigan doing research id be interested in. But i do not have any prior academic research experience, i have an econ under grad, an mba, work experience with Coca-Cola and J&J in mid to senior business management roles – all in India.

    What do you think are. Y chances at these schools, and what can i do to augment my application?

    Would be very grateful for any advice!

    Thank you
    N

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Hey Nikhil! I think the best you can do at this point is reach out to the professors doing the work you’re interested in. Check and see if there are any prerequisites you’d need before starting the program and let them know you’re interests. Make sure your SOP of shines as well. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  5. LowQHighV October 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Hi Chris.

    Thanks for this excellent post. I’ve subscribed to the Magoosh GRE product and I must say that the experience has been excellent!

    My Question: Should I redo my GRE?

    I plan to apply to H/S/W MBA programs in round 2 (early Jan). I took the GRE for the first time a couple of days ago and I got 166V and 165Q = 730 GMAT (ETS converter). I understand that 165Q = 47Q at GMAT = 70th percentile in Quant (even though its = 91st P in GRE), which is lower than the 80% GMAT quant ‘cutoff’ that top schools seem to have. I have gone through the entire Magoosh GRE Math questions. My Quant errors are largely careless mistakes under time pressure. I only did one GRE practise test before my revision and got 162V and 157Q.

    Some more relevant info: From India but grew up in Middle East and South East Asia. Undergrad in BSc. Economics from a top 5 school in the UK with a GPA of 3.4. I worked as a Management Consultant at a Big 4 Accounting firm in London (2 years) and then returned to India to start my own tech/finance startup (3 years). Raised Angel and Seed Funding, but it failed. I then co-founded a (small) Angel Fund with a family member and we have had good success (3 years). Total 8 years work ex. I want to go to biz school to get a brand name on my resume, build a global network, solidify my business foundations, and then return to India to take our Fund to the next level.

    Would love to know what you think.

    Thanks!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

      Hey! That’s a tough situation. Honestly the MBA programs are viewing the GRE is a bit uncertain at the moment. I’d say your scores are pretty incredible and schools don’t necessarily have “cutoffs” so much as they want to everyone on the high end before considering other aspects (which isn’t even true 100% of the time). I’d say retaking could help, but mostly just your ego. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  6. Sam October 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Hello Chris, I am a student from South Korea.

    I am considering applying for business (organizational behavior) phd program.
    I really wanna know GRE score range data for phd program in business but I can’t find
    it anywhere.
    1.Could you upload some of this data or places where to find it?
    2.My GRE score is
    V153 Q163 AWA 3.0
    Could you give me some advices where I can go?

    Thankyou very much.

    B-schools but am not quite sure which to choose. My GRE scores are Verbal 156, Quant 168 and Anal 4. Could you give me some suggestions?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      Hey Sam! Unfortunately there’s not a ton of data on these programs as they aren’t nearly as popular as their MBA counterparts. I’m a little confused because you stated two different GRE scores. The first one (153V, 163Q, 3 AWA) is probably on the very low end for verbal. MBA programs might not place as much emphasis on Verbal scores, but I’d imagine that a PhD in business would. As for where to apply, I really recommend finding professors who are doing the research you’re interested in and using that as a starting point. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  7. Ashley October 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I was hoping you could give me some advice… I chose to take the GRE over the GMAT because I’m stronger in Verbal than in Quant. I took the GRE twice:

    #1: Verbal 163, Quant 159, AWA 5.0
    #2: Verbal 162, Quant 161, AWA 5.0

    I’ve already submitted my Round 1 app to Stanford, and I have my Round 1 apps to NYU, Columbia, and Kellogg ready to go. The problem is that my GRE score is making me nervous… one because it’s a GRE score and not a GMAT score, and two because I think my Quant score is low for Top 10 schools. I’m wondering if you think it’s worth it to hold off on submitting my three remaining apps so that I can retake the GRE and hopefully nail a higher Quant score, then submit them during Round 2.

    Other than my GRE score, I feel I have an exceptionally strong application: Stanford undergrad, 3.4 GPA, solid recommendations, work experience in consulting that included managing project teams, international volunteer experience in Africa, cancer research and writing awards as an undergrad, leadership experience as a volleyball coach, personal statement on my disadvantaged background, etc. etc.

    What do you think?

    Thank you!!

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Hey Ashley! That’s a tough call. If you really feel like you’ve got the whole package together, then I would say that might just make up for somewhat low scores. At Stanford, competition is insane, though, so even people with fantastic stats and great scores get rejected. You have to really sell them on deserving a spot. :)

      Best,
      Chris S

  8. Laurie October 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Hello Chris,

    I am a student from China. I am considering applying for B-schools but am not quite sure which to choose. My GRE scores are Verbal 156, Quant 168 and Anal 4. Could you give me some suggestions?

    Best,

    Laurie

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer October 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      Hey Laurie! Those are pretty good scores! I definitely recommend checking out all of the programs in your range (see the table above) and figuring out which fits your interests the best. :)

      Good luck!
      Chris S

  9. C.V. September 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Hey there – I noticed that MIT Sloan posted the new GRE ranges for the 2013 class and the quant ranges from 162 – 170 and the verbal ranges from 152 – 167 – do these ranges validate the GMAT equivalencies posted here? I got a 163 quant and 166 verbal, so i fall within the 326 – 330 range you posted, but I’m a little concerned about my quant score falling on the low end (for such a quant focused school in general)

    Any thoughts?

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Hey CV! I’m guessing you grabbed the Financial focus numbers as I can’t seem to find overall class numbers? It seems like your scores fall within both my range and the range given by Sloan. I think the discrepancy is what I mentioned in the post – schools have a bit more variability in assessing the GRE scores. The verbal ranges are actually surprisingly low, but considering the international makeup of the class, I guess that’s not too surprising. I wouldn’t worry so much about the scores and focus on the rest of the application.

      Best,
      Chris S

  10. Asa September 3, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Hi there!

    I’d really appreciate some advice on how to report/evaluate my GRE-scores, which possibly is helpful for other students as well.

    GRE 1:
    Verbal 163, Quant 155, AWA 5,5

    GRE2:
    Verbal: 159, Quant 158, AWA 4 (hated one of the topics)

    I was really surprised about the verbal score the second time, whereas the Quant felt great, but I forgot about time towards the end; lost in calculations… (incredibly stupid).

    ——-

    I am applying for an MBA at Stanford… and I do realize that those scores aren’t good enough, and I will take the GRE again. The question is though; what if I mess up and don’t raise my scores a lot; would it be wise for me to report both GRE’s, and how would that be perceived; would I be considered at all? (Would have been somewhat fine with the results if it had gotten the “combined score” of Verbal 163, Quant 159 and AWA 5.5

    How do they view the scores when one reports several occasions?

    (The whole thing is of course quite silly as I’ve understood from ETS that the only validity between scores and future success is within quartiles; thus a 159 or a 164 is in reality no difference….)

    I would DEEPLY appreciate a reply!

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer September 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Hey Asa! The best advice I can give is to check with schools directly about how they view multiple score reports. It’s not quite as “embarrassing” as it may seem, since many students take the test multiple times. Just check and see if they consider your best aggregate, vs an individual test.

      Best,
      Chris S

  11. Chetan August 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    Thanks chris for this post ;)

  12. nadir August 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Chris
    I just took a practice test for GRE to assess where Im at and how much I need to study . It was the practice test that comes in the GRE Prep software. I got a 153 for verbal and 154 for quant. I really mismanaged time in this one.

    My question how many questions do you think I would need to get it right so that I score at least 125 in each section. Is there any way to tell?

    Also is my score good enough to assume that if I really work hard for the next 1 month (4 hours a day) I could perhaps achieve my target score

    • Chris Swimmer
      Chris Swimmer August 23, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Hey Nadir! I think you must have mistyped your goal score as 125 is an impossible score. Maybe you meant 165, in which case you can’t miss more than a handful of questions (though it really depends! the algorithm isn’t made public, unfortunately). I’d recommend checking out our study schedules to see which one fits you best: GRE Study Plans.

      Good luck!
      Chris S


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