Stanford Graduate School of Business GMAT Scores


Photo by Steve Castillo

So you want to go to business school at Stanford. As a company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, we get it. There’s sunshine (well, at least in Palo Alto), mild temperatures year-round, and most importantly, a vibrant, business-savvy, techie, cultural scene. And oh yeah, the #1 business school in the United States.*

Unfortunately, this hidden gem hasn’t failed to elude other would-be MBA applicants. Last year, Stanford Graduate School of Business received about 7355 applications for its approximately 400 spots. You’re prepping for the GMAT, so you know that means about 18 applicants for every seat.

So let’s cut to the chase. What GMAT scores do you need to get into Stanford? I wish there was a magic number I could give you, but the reality is, there is quite a range of GMAT scores in Stanford’s typical incoming class. The GMAT scores of the Class of 2016 at Stanford ranged from 550 to 790. (But you know who has an even bigger GMAT score range? His name starts with H and ends with -arvard.)

So this means I have some good news and bad news for you. You might want to have a seat for this.

The good news is that Stanford, just like its other top business school friends, is always willing to make a few exceptions for exceptional students (and if you want to read more of my thoughts on this, check out our Harvard GMAT Score post). So if you are bringing an incredible backstory, impressive work experience, or some beneficial diversity to the class, Stanford might be willing to overlook a lower GMAT score.

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The bad news is that you shouldn’t ever kid yourself into thinking that test scores aren’t an important part of your business school application or that very many applicants get into Stanford with scores in the 500s or 600s. Test scores are a VERY, VERY important part of your app. Average GMAT scores account for a significant percentage in the determination of the all-important U.S. News and World Report rankings, and dips and rises in GMAT scores of incoming classes are meticulously picked apart every year in media speculations about the competitiveness and strength of certain programs.

The magic number that is perhaps even more important to examine than GMAT ranges is the average GMAT score at Stanford, which was 732 for the Class of 2016. And that average is coming largely from students scoring in the 700s, pulled down a bit by a few dozen exceptions.

So let me break it down with some score ranges to better answer the question about the GMAT scores you need for your California dreams. (Note that while the ranges below are similar to my evaluation of Harvard’s GMAT scores, I’ve upped them a bit here based on both historical data and anecdotal evidence as well as because of the presumed pressure on Stanford to maintain its status in the rankings.)


Stanford GMAT Score Ranges

The safe zone: 750-800. If your scores are in this range, as long as your work experience, GPA, resume and recommendations are on track with the average Stanford hopeful, you have a good shot. Keep in mind, though, that even an 800 doesn’t guarantee admissions. Even in this range you need a dash of luck or some pull. You need to hope that you don’t turn an admissions officer off somehow or that there aren’t too many “yous” in the applicant pool.

The go-for-it zone: 710-750. You are definitely in range here for a chance at admissions, but other aspects of your application are going to need to also A. impress or B. help round out the diversity of the class.

The questionable zone: 660-710. Your application is likely going to face some serious extra scrutiny. You must have something to offer Stanford that no one else is bringing. You can expect that roughly only around 10% of admission offers are handed out to applicants in this range.

The shot-in-the-dark zone: 500-660. Again, those admitted in this range are the superstars; the individuals whom Stanford is willing to let impact its published score range or ranking because they are that outstanding. According to Stanford admissions, the lowest score ever admitted to the MBA program was around a 520 to 540. (At Harvard, it was a 480).

If your scores are in the “questionable” or “shot-in-the-dark” ranges, I highly recommend you do some serious GMAT prep or consider the GRE as an alternative, a test that is now well-accepted at Stanford. GMAT scores are a big deal at Stanford, so do everything you can to make yours as competitive as possible so the rest of your application can shine like the California sun.

*according to U.S. News and World Report 2016 business school rankings.


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Stanford GSB Class of 2016 Profile

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Chart data from Stanford Business School website

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5 Responses to Stanford Graduate School of Business GMAT Scores

  1. Pat September 16, 2018 at 3:28 am #

    Thanks Kristin, I love your articles, girl you are riding in some crazy sense of humor at a deadly speed. Keep it up!
    I know this is from 2 years ago though

  2. Glory September 10, 2016 at 8:31 am #


    I am Nigerian female and trying to get ready for the GMAT. I just took a free test this afternoon from Mahantanprep and I got 460. That’s a horrible score and considering that I want to apply to Stan for the second round in Jan, what do I need to do to move to a better Percentile and improve my chances of Admission. I

    Other stats about me, I currently work in a multinational based in Nigeria, I have a Masters degree from a UK school(Not very popular and an online degree). My undergrad was in HR and Undergrad GPA was 4.00/5.0 I volunteer in various capacities etc

    I need advice really, I started watching Magoosh videos last night and they seem really good. Problem is almost everything is premium and with the pressure on our currency, it’s hard to afford such services. I plan to take the test in November. What can I do that is both inexpensive and efficient and would move me up significantly?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

      Hi there,

      First of all, sorry to hear that you weren’t happy with your mock exam score. However, given that you’re just beginning your preparation, there is still much room for improvement. So, in the next few months, you’ll have to dedicate a lot of your time, hard work, and determination to your studies. Although you are correct that our Magoosh Premium account offers the most resources, we do also provide some free resources:

      Our GMAT Blog covers a range of GMAT topics and is frequently updated with new articles
      Our GMAT eBooks give an overview of the test as a whole, the IR section, and must-know Idioms
      Our GMAT Idiom Flashcard App will help you learn the 160 most important GMAT idioms and grammar rules
      Our GMAT Math Flashcard App will help you learn and review the most important GMAT math concepts

      However, I would still recommend utilizing a test prep (whether it is Magoosh or not) based on the score increase you are looking for. Using a test prep will give your studies more structure. If you haven’t already, I would suggest signing up for our free 1-week trial. In addition, as you study I would recommend using an error log (keeping track of the problems you get wrong, and why) so that you can analyze your problem areas for more focused study. You can also identify common mistakes you make, so that you can ensure that you won’t make them on test day. Remember, it’s about the quality of your studying, rather than the quantity.

  3. Tim October 14, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Kristin, I am planning to apply for Stanford GSB next year while I had a score of 710 (V37 Q49 AWA6 IR8) in my 2nd attempt for GMAT. I am a Chinese male by ethnicity and graduated with a business major (GPA 3.6 in 4-point system) in one of the top universities in Asia. I heard that the GMAT requirement for Chinese male is stricter given the applicant pool is quite competitive. Do you think it is neccessary for me to retake GMAT for the 3rd time to get a score above GSB average (730) or I should just spend more time to improve other aspects to make a more all-round application? Thanks!

    • Kristin Fracchia
      Kristin Fracchia October 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Tim, my suggestion would be do both. Since you are planning on applying next fall, you have plenty of time to work on your GMAT score (which is already competitive) and the rest of your application. That being said, you shouldn’t take the GMAT more than 3 times and ideally you don’t want your score to go down on the third attempt, so if you are going to take it a third time you need to make sure you think you can do better (and that 710 wasn’t the max you could achieve). So if when you got the 710, you had the reaction, “Whoa, that is better than I thought!” I would caution against taking it a third time without putting in a LOT of preparation. But if you had practice results that indicated you could score higher, definitely do some more preparation and take it again at a time when conditions will be ideal (low school, work, life stress). You can certainly apply to Stanford with your score, but you are right that competition is fierce. Getting your score above the average would allow for there not to be any questions about that aspect of your application. Regarding what else you can do, the best thing you can focus on doing in the next year is taking on leadership roles at work and developing good relationships with the people you would like to serve as your recommenders. Also, showing interest in Stanford. Make sure you are signed up for emails and take an active interest in any admissions events they offer; you can also try to make contacts with current Stanford students or instructors (but make sure you have real reasons for doing so; don’t pester them). Congrats on your GMAT score, GPA and goals! I am rooting for you!!

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