GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ : The B-School Application
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# GMAT low 700s vs. 750+

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GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2010, 19:04
Does anyone know whether admissions committees at the top schools place any extra value on GMAT scores of 750+ (99th percentile) vs low 700s (about 94th percentile)?

I did some quick research and here's some stats I pulled:

Harvard: Middle 50% of accepted students has GMAT scores in the range of 700-760

Stanford: Median is 730

Wharton “The average GMAT score is approximately 715"

It looks to me like there might be slight premium on scores that are 750+ and above, but only for the very top schools. Has anyone else studied this?
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 01:36
From personal experience, I'm going to say no. Saw many of my classmates with pretty average scores. The thing with GMAT is, everyone makes a big deal about it because it's the only directly comparable stat among applicants. In reality, GMAT is just like many things in life: A stellar score can't help you as much as you think, and a terrible score will definitely hurt you.

Limited upside, unlimited downside. Oh ya.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 04:24
It seems to me that a 750+ score only really helps you with scholarships at non-elite schools. Once you're over 720 or so, there doesn't seem to be much upside with the elites.

I could be wrong, but that's the impression I get.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 05:10
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Lets get started:

Total Applicants 4449 (provided in the document)
Total Enrolled 652 (provided in the document)
Enrollment rate 14.7% (calculated 652 / 4449 --- not an accept rate, but an enrollment rate)

Now lets look at the GMAT table in that PDF.

Of applicants who scored 640 or less, 9% enrolled, and they made up 20% of the applicants. Of those who scored, 650 to 690, 25% enrolled, of the total applicants they made up 28%. For 700-740, 49% enrolled, 41% of total apps had this score. Same kind of stuff for 750-800.

Based on the total applicants # (4449), and the total applicants %'s we can back into the number of applicants per score group.

< 640: 890 applicants
650-690: 1246 applicants
700-740: 1824 applicants
750-800: 489 applicants

Then, if there are 652 enrolled, and those who got a 640 make up 9%, then we'd expect 59 students from the < 640 group enrolled. Knowing kellogs YIELD (NOT selectivity) hovers around 57%, that means that we would expect for those under 640, that 103 offers were made, and 59 attended.

Do the same for the others:

640: 103 accepts
650-690: 286 accepts
700-740: 560 accepts
750-800: 183 accepts

Total accepts ~ 1132

So now we know this...

Out of the 890 applicants who applied with less than 640, 103 got accepted. Hence, if you fall into this bucket, your odds of acceptance are 11%.

Do this for the other numbers:

640: 103/890 = 12%
650-690: 286/1246 = 23%
700-740: 560/1824 = 31%
750-800: 183/489 = 37%

Voila! Anticipated accept odds by gmat level.

If anything, its more dramatic -- as one might well argue that yield is higher for the lower scores.

Sadly, this breaks down in 2010 -- the distribution of applications is completely shifted and heavily skewed to the higher ends, making it appear HARDER to get in with a higher GMAT score. What that implies is that there is a real yield thing at play here and that the above figures are probably overstating the odds at 640 and understating the odds at 750. Exactly what they are, who knows.

If you do the same thing with the 06 figures, you begin to see the shift that has occured in the last several years. Holding yield constant, the 2006 data (http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/adm ... res_06.pdf) yields:

<640: 16%
650-690: 33%
700-750: 29%
750+: 32%

If we instead assume a yield distribution as follows:

<640: 70%
650-700: 60%
700-750: 50%
750-800: 40%

(Which on a weighted average basis yields a similar yield around 55%)

We get:

<640: 13%
650-690: 31%
700-750: 33%
750+: 46%

Things then smell OK again.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 06:27
Great analysis, +1!
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 10:30
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Ah, the power of a Booth MBA with a calculator.

+1 rhyme.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2010, 03:49
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solid analysis rhyme. The most important part IMHO is the last bit you added about adjusting the yield distribution.

Quote:
If we instead assume a yield distribution as follows:

<640: 70%
650-700: 60%
700-750: 50%
750-800: 40%

I would argue that this plays the biggest effect here, since it forces adcom to make a total judgment call base on both their own historical data, as well as the current class at hand. At the top 5 or 10 bschools, the yield distribution is far more extreme. I would bet that accepted <640's have something like a 90% yield, maybe higher for the absolute top schools. Similarly, accepted 750-800's have a much lower yield (probably somewhere in the range of 10-30%), except for just a few schools like Harvard which tend to steal away a vast majority of the highest scores. Thus, adcom is forced to accept far fewer low scores since they know most will matriculate, and to extend far more offers to applicants in the highest brackets, since they know these applicants are easily steered away by competitor schools.

Of course, then you have to factor in that some schools like Stanford carefully fine tune their admissions process so that they are able to reject an overwhelming number of high-score applicants if they suspect the applicant will spurn an offer, thereby trying to make headlines about how many 750+'s they rejected

650-700 and 700-750 is probably going to be near what you estimated, anywhere from 35-65% each. And <640 is virtually guaranteed to yield enrollment. The trick comes completely in the upper tier, where it's a big guessing game for each school and yield probably varies a lot from year to year.

Given this, I would imagine that acceptance rates at the top 5 or so probably follow a pattern like this:

<640: <5%
650-690: 25%
700-750: 35%
750-800: 70%
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2010, 04:41
shorteverything wrote:
solid analysis rhyme. The most important part IMHO is the last bit you added about adjusting the yield distribution.

Quote:
If we instead assume a yield distribution as follows:

<640: 70%
650-700: 60%
700-750: 50%
750-800: 40%

I would argue that this plays the biggest effect here, since it forces adcom to make a total judgment call base on both their own historical data, as well as the current class at hand. At the top 5 or 10 bschools, the yield distribution is far more extreme. I would bet that accepted <640's have something like a 90% yield, maybe higher for the absolute top schools. Similarly, accepted 750-800's have a much lower yield (probably somewhere in the range of 10-30%), except for just a few schools like Harvard which tend to steal away a vast majority of the highest scores. Thus, adcom is forced to accept far fewer low scores since they know most will matriculate, and to extend far more offers to applicants in the highest brackets, since they know these applicants are easily steered away by competitor schools.

Quote:
shorteverything
Given this, I would imagine that acceptance rates at the top 5 or so probably follow a pattern like this:

<640: <5%
650-690: 25%
700-750: 35%
750-800: 70%

How come there is no correlation between these two and shorteverything says that the 2nd analysis is based on first. Confused.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2010, 06:19
Excellent Analysis as always Rhyme

I think you have to look at the mean of the student population. Given some schools are approaching 720 as the mean, I think a 700 now would not stand out at all, it's more of a check mark. So it is a small difference.

Your essay matters like 20X more than the gmat :D
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2010, 11:58
BlueRobin wrote:
How come there is no correlation between these two and shorteverything says that the 2nd analysis is based on first. Confused.

This is yield rate:

rhyme wrote:
If we instead assume a yield distribution as follows:

<640: 70%
650-700: 60%
700-750: 50%
750-800: 40%

And this is acceptance rate:

shorteverything wrote:
Given this, I would imagine that acceptance rates at the top 5 or so probably follow a pattern like this:

<640: <5%
650-690: 25%
700-750: 35%
750-800: 70%

The comparable acceptance rate distribution in rhyme's analysis is this:

rhyme wrote:
We get:

<640: 13%
650-690: 31%
700-750: 33%
750+: 46%

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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2010, 20:37
Great analysis above. I would also add that the incremental effort to boost your GMAT would be better served improving your application, essays, etc. More bang for your buck at this point.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2010, 23:37
merkin wrote:
Great analysis above. I would also add that the incremental effort to boost your GMAT would be better served improving your application, essays, etc. More bang for your buck at this point.

Agreed. It's more efficient to work on the other areas, which will lead to larger strides, than trying to increase your score a couple of notches higher.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2010, 19:15
Just to follow up on this topic - What is the quality of MBA programs that would give you a full scholarship for a 99th percentile score? Are they second-tier? Third-tier? Let me know of you have a specific example of a school.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2010, 08:23
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TheGmatTutor wrote:
Just to follow up on this topic - What is the quality of MBA programs that would give you a full scholarship for a 99th percentile score? Are they second-tier? Third-tier? Let me know of you have a specific example of a school.
I hate to admit this, but I have strong reasons to believe that Duke-Fuqua actually gives out merit scholarship based on GMAT scores. Probably since we are on the lower end of the GMAT scores for top schools. If you get accepted in regular decision (i.e. not waitlisted) and you scored 760 (99 percentile), you'll get a scholarship (from my observation that all the 760+ classmates I know got one). Some 750s also got a small scholarship, but it's a moving target.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2010, 23:42
I would think that the law of diminishing returns kicks in after a while. If you're not good enough for them at 730 then what makes you better at 750? GMAC says that scores can vary by as much as +/- 30 on any given day. Basically, if you're a 720 scorer you could go as high as 750 and as low as 690 just based on the variability involved. Even HBS Admissions Director Dee Leopold says that once you get over 700 you have "checked the box" for GMAT. 750+ seems to be the metaphorical cut line for scholarships and other forms of aid though.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2010, 05:30
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Based on what I have seen I believe that once you are in the 720+ level the score becomes somewhat moot. At that point its really your career and extra curricular activities that differentiate you from other applicants.

For example I bet you could get an 800 and still not get into HBS if you had crummy work history, zero management experience, and no history of volunteering.

You should probably easily get into a top 10 but the top 5 depend more on the others.

IMO.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2010, 05:36
Great inputs from everyone!
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2010, 21:01
Good analysis.
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2010, 22:31
correlation vs. causation
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Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+ [#permalink]

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05 Oct 2010, 11:18
gismb wrote:
correlation vs. causation

Agree. One that scores above 750 (or even above 700) is more likely to have prepared the exam very diligently. It could be argued that these students are also more diligent about the application process and present a better story. Dare I say that these "hard workers" have invested more time in their professional and extracurricular activities as well and just bring more to the table?

Of course, there are always exceptions and I agree that a good GMAT score is just a check mark in the eyes of the adcom. In the end, I think that schools use scholarships to entice high scorers (760+) to matriculate to help them in the rankings.
Re: GMAT low 700s vs. 750+   [#permalink] 05 Oct 2010, 11:18

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