A 10 min read
The GMAT exam is a key requirement for anyone looking to secure a scholarship for a business school. While studying for the GMAT can be a challenge, aiming for a high GMAT score of 730 or higher can make a significant difference in terms of scholarship opportunities and admission to top business schools.
Business schools use the GMAT score as a way to assess an applicant’s academic ability and potential for success in the program. A high GMAT score not only helps to differentiate an applicant from other candidates but also demonstrates their commitment to academic excellence. Additionally, business schools use GMAT scores as a tool to determine scholarship awards. A higher GMAT score can lead to larger scholarship awards or even full-tuition scholarships. Therefore, it is essential for prospective business school students to understand the significance of the GMAT exam and strive for a high score to increase their chances of securing scholarships.
According to estimates, the incremental return on investment (ROI) for a score of 730 or higher compared to a score of 700 is over $500,000, making GMAT score one of the most valuable investments a business school applicant can make. In this article, we will discuss two compelling reasons why scoring high on the GMAT, especially 730 or higher, is crucial for securing scholarships.
A 730+ GMAT score can not only help you get into your desired business school, it significantly improves your chances of securing scholarships too. Kickstart your GMAT preparation by Signing up for our Free Trial! Our AI-driven online pre-course
Here is an outline of this article:
Reason 1- Getting into the top b schools itself requires a high GMAT score of 730+, let alone getting a scholarship.
Getting into the top business schools itself is a challenging feat, and a high GMAT score is a crucial component of your application. With the competition increasing every year, it has become more difficult to secure a spot in a prestigious MBA program. The schools want to ensure that they are admitting the best and the brightest students who will be able to handle the rigorous academic workload and contribute meaningfully to the school’s community.
Many top business schools now “require” a GMAT score of 700 or above, and the bar is only getting higher. Let us give you a few examples of some of the top b-schools in the US to demonstrate this. Take a look at the median GMAT scores of these schools in 2022(class of 2024) as compared to 2014:
|School name||Median score 2022||Median score 2014|
|Kellogg School of Management||729||713|
|MIT Sloan School of Management||730||713|
|Columbia Business School||729||716|
|UC Berkeley (Haas)||729||717|
As we can see from the comparison between 2014 and 2012, the median GMAT scores of some of the top business schools such as Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Tuck, Columbia, and Berkeley Haas have increased significantly over the years. In 2014, a GMAT score of 710 was considered good enough to get admission to one of the top business schools, such as Kellogg, but in 2022, the median score of Kellogg was 730, which means the competition has increased by a substantial margin. This trend has been similar for all other top b-schools including MIT Sloan, Yale SOM, Columbia Business School, and Berkeley Haas.
Moreover, the likes of Columbia Business school and MIT Sloan boast that 80 percent of their incoming class has a GMAT score of 700 or higher. In other words, to many students, these business schools indicate that you should not even bother to apply if you don’t have a GMAT score of 700 or higher.
Note: The likes of Harvard Business School and Stanford GSB are not on our list. These business schools already had higher median GMAT scores, touching 730 in 2014. So, you can imagine how good GMAT score you need in 2024, to be considered for an admit to their MBA programs
With the admission GMAT score already being so high, securing a scholarship in a top business school becomes even more challenging due to the tough competition and limited number of scholarships available. A high GMAT score can significantly increase your chances of receiving a scholarship, as many schools consider it as one of the primary criteria for awarding scholarships. It can help you stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of securing a scholarship to pursue your MBA degree at a top business school.
To add to this statistical evidence, let’s have a look at anecdotal examples of some e-GMATers:
Nishant: Rejected with 690 to full fellowships with 740
In his initial attempts at the GMAT, Nishant scored a 690, but unfortunately, his applications to several top business schools such as Tuck School of Business, Smeal College of Business – Penn State, Eli Broad College of Business, and Rotman School of Management were rejected.
Both Tuck and Smeal College explicitly stated that while they were impressed by his candidacy, his GMAT score was not up to their standards.
Determined to improve his chances of securing admission to a top business school, Nishant put in extra effort and took the GMAT again, scoring an impressive 740. As a result, he was awarded a full fellowship from Ohio Fischer, despite applying in the third round. Additionally, he received an admission offer from Columbia Business School, which is ranked similarly to Tuck School of Business.
It is apparent from Nishant’s experience that a higher GMAT score played a critical role in his success.
You can read about Nishant’s journey from a 570 score to a 740 score in the GMAT here: Nishant’s journey from a 570 score to a 740 score in the GMAT.
You can also watch the following video to know more about how Nishant managed to bring about such a significant improvement in his GMAT score:
Learn from the best and most reviewed company on gmatclub. Start with signing up for a free trial and get access to 10+ hours of video lesseons and 400+ questions.
Prawee: From no interview invites at 680 to full fellowship at 740
Prawee, much like Nishant, applied to various business schools with a GMAT score of 680. However, she did not receive any interview invites. In the same round of application, she decided to retake the GMAT, and after putting in extra effort, she improved her score to 740. She then sent her updated scores to all the business schools where she had already applied.
As a result of her improved GMAT score of 740, she received interview invites from several business schools within hours of sending her updated score.
Her journey culminated with her admission to Georgetown University McDonough School of Business with an $80K scholarship, an offer of $40k scholarship from UCLA Anderson, and an admission offer from Kellogg.
Prawee’s experience is a testament to the significant impact a GMAT score of 730+ can have on one’s chances of securing admission and scholarships in top business schools.
You can read about Prawee’s complete journey here: Prawee’s journey from 680 to 740 on GMAT.
You can also watch the following video to know more about how Prawee managed to bring such a significant improvement in her GMAT score:
Krishna: From all rejects with 680 to multiple full fellowships with 720
Krishna Kanth’s experience in applying to business schools with a GMAT score of 680 resulted in rejections from every school he applied to in rounds 1 and 2. However, after retaking the GMAT and scoring a 720, he applied in round 3 and received full fellowships from Georgia Tech, WP Carey, and Texas A&M. Ultimately, he accepted the offer from Georgia Tech.
Krishna received a full fellowship from Georgia Tech, WP Carey, and Texas A&M after improving his GMAT score from 680 to 720. He ended up accepting the offer from Georgia Tech.
Looking at the statistical and anecdotal evidence presented above, it is clear that a higher GMAT score is necessary for admission to top business schools. In the following analysis, we will explore how a high GMAT score, especially 730+ can increase your likelihood of receiving a merit-based scholarship.
Reason 2: A high GMAT score, especially 730+ increases your chances of getting a scholarship.
The amount of merit-based scholarships provided by US business schools has been increasing each year. In 2019, it was reported that they offered $350 million in such scholarships alone.
At e-GMAT, we have worked with over 45,000 business school aspirants, providing them with GMAT preparation assistance. According to our estimates, over 55% of the $350 million set aside for merit-based scholarships goes to approximately six thousand students who scored 730 or higher on their GMAT. This translates to an average of $40,000 per student. Additionally, we have found that students who score 710 or higher receive 80% of the total merit-based scholarship amount.
e-GMATers get $18 million worth of scholarships every year.
But how to business schools decide scholarship awards? We believe that the scholarship award depends on two factors:
- Your GMAT score
- Your performance in the interview
At e-GMAT, we strongly recommend that you score 20 points above the median GMAT score of your dream business school to increase your chances of getting a scholarship
We say that the GMAT is a crucial factor in securing scholarships as it serves as a measure of your academic aptitude and ability to handle the rigors of a business school program. Many merit-based scholarships list “excellent academic achievement” as a criteria for giving the scholarship and a high GMAT score can demonstrate your academic prowess to the school. Here are few examples of the merit-based scholarships that give importance to your academic prowess, which in turn includes your GMAT score:
- Forté Foundation scholarships to top business schools offers several fellowships for women pursuing MBA degrees, and one of their criteria is a strong academic background, which is often demonstrated through a high GMAT score.
- Consortium for Graduate Study in Management offers merit-based fellowships to students who have demonstrated academic excellence, and a high GMAT score is a key indicator of such excellence.
- Joseph Wharton fellowship is awarded to the students pursuing an MBA in Wharton, who have outstanding records of academic, personal, and professional achievements.
Jon Fuller, the former admission director at Ross, says, “Someone with a 770 GMAT is much more likely to get a financial award than someone with a 670 – it can be much more likely for that business school to want to ‘buy’ that high GMAT score.
Let us now demonstrate how much of a role a high GMAT score can play in getting into your dream business school and securing scholarships, with these real-life examples of successful e-GMATers:
Viktor Makula- A GMAT 770 scorer who received $142,000 in fellowship:
Viktor had a GMAT score of 770, and he received a full fellowship from Ross School of Business and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He received an amount of $142,000 in the form of a tuition waiver.
You can watch Viktor’s journey to a $142,000 in tuition fee waiver here:
Akansha Kapoor- A GMAT 750 scorer who received $180,000 worth of scholarships from M7 Business schools
Very few non IITians make it to M7 business schools and even fewer get scholarships. Akansha leveraged her non-conformist background to set herself apart and achieved this rare feat. She received $75K scholarship at Wharton, $80K at Kellogg, and $20K at INSEAD.
Watch her story where she highlights her 3 key strategies to secure a scholarship at an M7 business school:
Here are a few more examples of e-GMAT students who have received good scholarships because of their high GMAT scores:
- Anupama, a 750 scorer with 7+ years of work experience received $136,000 in scholarship from Harvard
- Aashta, a Kellogg admit scored 730 on the GMAT and secured a scholarship
- Shaarang, a 740 scorer received $250,000 worth of scholarships and secured an admit to UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
Achieving a high GMAT score is not only important for securing admission and scholarships to top business schools but also for enhancing career prospects, fostering personal growth and development, and mitigating the impact of a low GPA. Let’s delve into each of these aspects in more detail.
Why is a high GMAT score important?
- Advancing career prospects: Graduating from a top business school can lead to better job offers, higher starting salaries, and faster career growth. Employers often consider a candidate’s GMAT score as an indicator of their analytical and problem-solving skills, which are highly sought-after in the job market.
- Personal growth and development: The process of preparing for the GMAT requires honing essential skills such as time management, critical thinking, and perseverance. These skills extend beyond the exam and can significantly contribute to your personal and professional life. The rigorous preparation for the GMAT fosters self-discipline, enhances logical reasoning abilities, and equips you with valuable tools to approach problems systematically.
- Compensating for a low GPA: A high GMAT score can serve as a counterbalance to a low GPA by showcasing an applicant’s strong analytical and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in an MBA program. Admissions committees often recognize that a candidate’s undergraduate performance may not always be an accurate reflection of their current abilities and potential. By achieving an impressive GMAT score, applicants can demonstrate their commitment to academic excellence, their capacity to handle the rigors of a challenging business curriculum, and their readiness to thrive in a competitive academic environment. Consequently, a high GMAT score can help assuage concerns about a candidate’s low GPA and increase their chances of being admitted to a top-tier business school.
In conclusion, achieving a high GMAT score of 730 or above is essential for securing scholarships and gaining admission to top business schools. As the competition intensifies, these schools now “require” GMAT scores of 700 or higher, making a high score crucial for standing out among applicants. Securing a scholarship becomes even more challenging due to limited availability and fierce competition. The experiences of e-GMAT students demonstrate that a higher GMAT score significantly increases the chances of receiving scholarships. Therefore, investing additional effort to obtain a GMAT score of 730 or higher is highly recommended. By doing so, you not only enhance your prospects of gaining admission to prestigious business schools but also improve the likelihood of obtaining a scholarship. Consider this as a valuable investment in your future and seize the opportunity to distinguish yourself in a highly competitive landscape.
Are you planning to pursue MBA at top business schools? Let us help you conquer the first step of the process i.e., taking the GMAT. Take a free mock test to understand your baseline score and start your GMAT prep with our free trial. We are the most reviewed online GMAT Prep company with 2500+ reviews on GMATClub.