Dear Mentor:

How good a GMAT do I need for a top B-school?

I have done BE in Instrumentation. I have been working as a Software Engineer since last 2 years. I intend to do an MBA from schools like Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/Sloan etc. I have always been a good student and got 80% marks in my engineering graduation with gold medal. How much minimum GMAT [Graduate Management Aptitude Test] score do I need to get admission in any of these? Also let me know if any of these business schools offer professional evening MBA batches?

High Scorer, Delhi, India

Dear High Scorer:

We have written many relevant columns in the past, such as:

Admission requirements for MBA in the US vary across schools. The typical requirements include:
  • A 4-year Bachelor's degree. If the Bachelor's degree is of 3-year duration, completion of first year of Master's or a completed Master's degree is required.
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test), a standardized entrance exam
  • 3-5 years of work experience: Although often not stated as a requirement, it is implicit for the top-tier MBA schools. Schools beyond the top-tier do accept student with less or no experience.
  • Letter of recommendations
  • Personal essays
The average GMAT at the top MBA schools, such as mentioned by you, is around 700 and above out of 800. However, you must note at least two items: 1) averages can be misleading, and 2) the GMAT is only one input to the selection process. We have seen candidates with higher than 700 on the GMAT rejected by these schools and candidates with less than 700 on the GMAT offered admission by these schools. It is the assessment of your candidacy on all dimensions of the selection criteria that matters. Relative weighting on various dimensions of the criteria, used by individual schools, is proprietary.

Full-time MBA programs often hold classes during the day, and some courses are offered in the evening. As an international student, you are required to be full-time. Some schools do offer part-time programs for which the classes are held in the evening but, as an international student, this is irrelevant to you.

You may wish to read the iMahal guide on Studying in America and Canada for many issues relevant to your inquiry.

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