A lot of folks are so focused on the score and getting a 7 handle. I think for most of the top schools, anything above a 680 is competitive. I got a 690 and recently graduated from Stanford business school. I also got into HBS. Please remember, it is not just about the gmat score.
While you have a point (the score is not everything), you need to remember many schools use the GMAT score to determine if the adcomm should take a second look at your application. The GMAT determines if your app stays on the table or immediately goes into the trash.
While people have gotten into top programs with a score <700, some people have been rejected from top programs with scores such as 780.
2009 Admit/Dings: 2009-profiles-w-admit-dings-results-no-discussion-62945.html
2010 Admit/Dings: 2010-profiles-w-admit-dings-results-no-discussion-78475-20.html
The GMAT is one piece, but it's a major piece to ensure your application is looked at, and a further piece used to differentiate applicants if needed.
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