How do military MBA applicants score on the GMAT?
In this post we will analyze the GMAT scores of accepted military applicants at top business schools. Keep in mind that this applies to the aggregated data of MilitaryToBusiness clients, which may or may not perfectly represent the broader military application pool. Nonetheless, this data is based on experience of working with hundreds of military applicants over many years.
If you are taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, make sure to use a GRE to GMAT conversion to follow along.
The following is the average GMAT of accepted military applicants at top business schools, sorted from highest to lowest:
- The average (mean) GMAT at top 10 schools listed above as sorted by GMAT average score is 723.
- There is an incredibly tight banding in the 721-724 range for most of the top 10 programs.
- This further dispels the myth that a 700 is a "good GMAT score." A 700 GMAT is below average at a top 10 program. A 720 GMAT is mediocre by definition since that is the average.
- There is no significant difference between the high end of top 10 programs and the lower end of top 10 programs. With the exception of Stanford, they are all within 10 points of each other.
- There is no significant difference between the average broader overall school GMAT profile and those of military applicants. For example. Harvard published a median score of 730, whereas our accepted military applicants had an average of 729. Stanford published an average score of 732 and our successful military clients averaged 735. So basically what we see is neither an advantage or disadvantage when coming from the military, at least when it comes to GMAT.
- Some schools were a bit out of sync. For example, Berkeley had a military average GMAT score of 680 but reports 707 for its overall class average. Cornell has a military average GMAT score of 688 but reports 679 for its overall class profile. I would attribute this perhaps in part to a smaller sample size of data at those schools; there are just fewer military applicants at Cornell and Berkeley, at least among our client pool. As we continue to update our data, I would expect those averages to converge to the school's averages as well.
- Similar to overall GMAT, there is a tight banding of quant GMAT averages for accepted military applicants. All top 10 programs are within a 7 percentile range (72 - 79 percentile). The top 3 programs averaged 77 percentile while other schools averaged closer to 73 percentile. Still, not a huge difference.
- Emory was unusually low with 55 percentile, which may be due to a relatively smaller sample size, but clearly Emory's average scores will be less than top 10 programs as expected.
- Very little variation among the top 10 schools. They all average between 91-95 percentile on the GMAT verbal section. The difference between the lowest scored school (UT Austin) and the highest scoring school (Stanford) is a meager 7 percentile points.
I'll provide more analysis below:
The following graph shows the average accepted GMAT as well as the average rejected GMAT at what are traditionally considered the top 3 business schools. This is important because while business schools all publish their average accepted GMAT scores, we have never seen information about average rejected GMAT scores, until now.
Successful (mean) averages are in blue and rejected averages are in red.
What we see from these results is that the difference between the average accepted and the average rejected GMAT is not all that much. On average, just 14 points! This again reveals that a good GMAT score is essential but is definitely not sufficient.
The GMAT may not be an effective test of intelligence but it can at least be an effective test to see who has the commitment and will power to succeed at the test, which can be an incredible signal just by itself. And that's a lot of what business schools really are... signals. One can learn almost all the same business fundamentals at (random school X) as they can at Harvard, or even just by self-studying. However, Harvard sends a stronger market signal to employers because it means you have put in a career of performance and diligence into your work, which may be more important than the raw knowledge you possess.
So don't look at the GMAT only as a reflection of underlying skill sets but rather as a reflection of your commitment and work ethic. Put in the time and make sure you get the best possible score you can. It could change the trajectory of your entire career.