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Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT?

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Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2017, 12:48
Long time lurker here. Was initially looking into MPP programs two years ago and took the GRE, but decided it wasn't what I was looking for and for a while now have felt business school is more of a fit, especially with recent responsibilities with work (more managaement focused than policy). My GRE score was 170 verbal (99 percentile), 165 quant (89 percentile), and 6 on writing (99 percentile). The GRE calculator to convert to GMAT puts that at a 760. Since business school is now my focus I'm debating whether it's worth it to take the GMAT.

A bit more about me- 3.8 GPA from large flagship state school, but not the UC, UT, Michigan, etc. tier. Strong campus leadership and involvement. Have a somewhat distinct resume so have edited some details but would call my work experience solid to strong and currently lead a small organization. Think my community involvement is strong and spans many years.

Career goals are related to HR and organization behavior, so consulting is likely a top contender for short term goals to see a lot of experiences and examples.

In terms of schools I am looking at Tuck, Anderson, Haas, Kellogg, Ross, and Stanford (will probably narrow it to 4 with Stanford and Kellogg being pretty much for sure if I apply). Haas I know prefers the GMAT, but that in itself would not lead me to take the GMAT. I would imagine all else being equal that a high GMAT score (maybe not even matching my GRE score but maybe 730-750) would appeal to a school because of how it can affect their average. I also was worried about GMAT scores being important to apply for consulting, but current students I've talked to said applicants were able to put their GRE score instead (though they couldn't speak to how it affected the job prospects).

While there is some personal time I can sacrifice to study for the GMAT, putting in the right effort to get a good score I think would likely involve some sacrifices at work, which would have an impact on my org and would be a hard to do right now. Not impossible but not ideal. So the question is really about ROI for taking the GMAT and having that score vs. GRE.

For the schools above would having a GMAT score equivalent to my GRE score make a noticeable or significant difference with my application? Is the GRE still too new to business school that I should hesitate at planning to consider consulting with just a GRE score? I think that I might actually have a better ability to study for the GMAT as I transition to school than right now currently running my organization, if GRE score would really hold me back with consulting but less so with applying.

Thanks for your time and thoughts!

Last edited by WestCoast08 on 21 Mar 2017, 14:27, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2017, 07:45
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I am not too sure whether a GRE score will impact your recruiting for a consulting career, but otherwise your GRE score is legitimate for an MBA. If B-schools are asking for it, they are accepting it. Moreover, you have an outstanding score. I agree that much fewer applicants apply with a GRE as compared to GMAT, but through my discussions with a multitude of applicants every year, I am aware that applicants are opening more and more to taking the GRE.

So, I believe you are done and dusted with GRE/ GMAT. Focus upon the other aspects of your application.
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New post 20 Mar 2017, 17:53
MBADecoder thanks so much for your reply and input! Helpful to hear your thoughts and think about next steps in the application process for me.

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2017, 21:28
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WestCoast08 wrote:
Long time lurker here. Was initially looking into MPP programs two years ago and took the GRE, but decided it wasn't what I was looking for and for a while now have felt business school is more of a fit, especially with recent responsibilities with work (more managaement focused than policy). My GRE score was 170 verbal (99 percentile), 165 quant (89 percentile), and 6 on writing (99 percentile). The GRE calculator to convert to GMAT puts that at a 760. Since business school is now my focus I'm debating whether it's worth it to take the GMAT.

A bit more about me- 3.8 GPA from large flagship state school, but not the UC, UT, Michigan, etc. tier. Strong campus leadership and involvement. Did one of the well-known service programs after college (ex. Teach For America, Peace Corps, NY Teaching Fellows) then worked on staff for the organization. Now lead a small community non-profit. Took it from volunteer board in its first year to now 6 full-time staff and 5 part-time. Feels half in the startup phase/half in the established org phase, but has a well known local presence. Has some good quantitative and qualitative metrics to speak to our impact. Community involvement includes Big Brothers Big Sisters for five years, helping run a Saturday and summer literacy program for last four years, and volunteering with a homeless organization for the last year. Will be 29 when applying (round 1 next fall). I'm a white male.

Career goals are around chief human resource officer/chief people officer and focusing on organizational culture and building high performing teams. So consulting is likely a top contender for short term goals to see a lot of experiences and examples.

In terms of schools I am looking at Tuck, Anderson, Haas, Kellogg, Ross, and Stanford (will probably narrow it to 4 with Stanford and Kellogg being pretty much for sure if I apply). Haas I know prefers the GMAT, but that in itself would not lead me to take the GMAT. I would imagine all else being equal that a high GMAT score (maybe not even matching my GRE score but maybe 730-750) would appeal to a school because of how it can affect their average. I also was worried about GMAT scores being important to apply for consulting, but current students I've talked to said applicants were able to put their GRE score instead (though they couldn't speak to how it affected the job prospects).

While there is some personal time I can sacrifice to study for the GMAT, putting in the right effort to get a good score I think would likely involve some sacrifices at work, which would have an impact on my org and would be a hard to do right now. Not impossible but not ideal. So the question is really about ROI for taking the GMAT and having that score vs. GRE.

For the schools above would having a GMAT score equivalent to my GRE score make a noticeable or significant difference with my application? Is the GRE still too new to business school that I should hesitate at planning to consider consulting with just a GRE score? I think that I might actually have a better ability to study for the GMAT as I transition to school than right now currently running my organization, if GRE score would really hold me back with consulting but less so with applying.

Thanks for your time and thoughts!


Hi WestCoast08 ,
If the business schools you wish to apply accept GRE scores , then you should be good . You have a fantastic GRE score - top 1 percentile and it is enough to convey the admission committee about your academic skills .
All the best for putting up a great application now!! :)
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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2017, 23:57
I am currently studying for the GMAT but this post has me interested. I hadn't considered the fact that I might do significantly better on the GRE compared to the GMAT and that it might be wise to take both tests and use the higher score depending on each school I apply to.

How common is it these days for applicants to take both? Is there that much difference in difficulty level that this would be an idea that could make sense?

I'm thinking it might be somewhat similar to the divide between the SAT and the ACT for undergrad. I took both and thought the ACT was much easier, and subsequently got a much higher score.

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2017, 00:12
mrkirby131 wrote:
I am currently studying for the GMAT but this post has me interested. I hadn't considered the fact that I might do significantly better on the GRE compared to the GMAT and that it might be wise to take both tests and use the higher score depending on each school I apply to.

How common is it these days for applicants to take both? Is there that much difference in difficulty level that this would be an idea that could make sense?

I'm thinking it might be somewhat similar to the divide between the SAT and the ACT for undergrad. I took both and thought the ACT was much easier, and subsequently got a much higher score.


Hi Mr. Kirby,

Thanks for your post and your perspective on the dual GMAT-GRE test.

GMAT and GRE are a little different in their formats, so you will land up studying differently for the two of them.

Is that worth the effort?

I doubt it very much.

Both the tests are a requirement for the application- and the b-schools are good with just one score. My opinion is that you stick with either of the two and put the effort to rock that one test. And then move on to profile building on other fronts of the application that hold just as much importance as the test scores.

Applicants land up retaking the GMAT/GRE if the scores are below par for the b-schools they are targeting. I'd suggest you think of taking the other test or retaking the first preference test at that time.
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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2017, 10:50
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Skywalker18 wrote:
WestCoast08 wrote:
Long time lurker here. Was initially looking into MPP programs two years ago and took the GRE, but decided it wasn't what I was looking for and for a while now have felt business school is more of a fit, especially with recent responsibilities with work (more managaement focused than policy). My GRE score was 170 verbal (99 percentile), 165 quant (89 percentile), and 6 on writing (99 percentile). The GRE calculator to convert to GMAT puts that at a 760. Since business school is now my focus I'm debating whether it's worth it to take the GMAT.
hi Skywalker18, I think that with the combo of your very high GRE and your strong GPA and the compelling story of why you want to focus on your current work and not GMAT study, I think you could be competitive at top programs as you present now. I think that if you wanted to spend some extra time now- it could be in helping select the right schools and also identifying some clear post MBA career goals- a target dream employer post MBA? This would help make sure your story presents in the most compelling way.
While sure if I had to say which is preferred for most schools it is the GMAT, but you are exactly the reason why MBA programs now accept the GRE. They wanted to broaden their reach to talented people LIKE YOU who first were considering other graduate programs and took the GRE. MBA programs want you to apply and I think you can be a strong candidate for R1 without taking GMAT this spring/summer. We would love to learn more about you and how we could help- to do that go to this link for a free consult:http://stratusadmissionscounseling.com/admissions/business-school-admissions-consulting-gmat-club-visitor/

A bit more about me- 3.8 GPA from large flagship state school, but not the UC, UT, Michigan, etc. tier. Strong campus leadership and involvement. Did one of the well-known service programs after college (ex. Teach For America, Peace Corps, NY Teaching Fellows) then worked on staff for the organization. Now lead a small community non-profit. Took it from volunteer board in its first year to now 6 full-time staff and 5 part-time. Feels half in the startup phase/half in the established org phase, but has a well known local presence. Has some good quantitative and qualitative metrics to speak to our impact. Community involvement includes Big Brothers Big Sisters for five years, helping run a Saturday and summer literacy program for last four years, and volunteering with a homeless organization for the last year. Will be 29 when applying (round 1 next fall). I'm a white male.

Career goals are around chief human resource officer/chief people officer and focusing on organizational culture and building high performing teams. So consulting is likely a top contender for short term goals to see a lot of experiences and examples.

In terms of schools I am looking at Tuck, Anderson, Haas, Kellogg, Ross, and Stanford (will probably narrow it to 4 with Stanford and Kellogg being pretty much for sure if I apply). Haas I know prefers the GMAT, but that in itself would not lead me to take the GMAT. I would imagine all else being equal that a high GMAT score (maybe not even matching my GRE score but maybe 730-750) would appeal to a school because of how it can affect their average. I also was worried about GMAT scores being important to apply for consulting, but current students I've talked to said applicants were able to put their GRE score instead (though they couldn't speak to how it affected the job prospects).

While there is some personal time I can sacrifice to study for the GMAT, putting in the right effort to get a good score I think would likely involve some sacrifices at work, which would have an impact on my org and would be a hard to do right now. Not impossible but not ideal. So the question is really about ROI for taking the GMAT and having that score vs. GRE.

For the schools above would having a GMAT score equivalent to my GRE score make a noticeable or significant difference with my application? Is the GRE still too new to business school that I should hesitate at planning to consider consulting with just a GRE score? I think that I might actually have a better ability to study for the GMAT as I transition to school than right now currently running my organization, if GRE score would really hold me back with consulting but less so with applying.

Thanks for your time and thoughts!


Hi WestCoast08 ,
If the business schools you wish to apply accept GRE scores , then you should be good . You have a fantastic GRE score - top 1 percentile and it is enough to convey the admission committee about your academic skills .
All the best for putting up a great application now!! :)

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2017, 12:58
MBADecoder - thanks for the straightforward advice, will focus exclusively on the GMAT

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2017, 14:23
mrkirby131 I would definitely echo focusing on one test. As someone who took the GRE and at various times have sat down to try and commit/invest in studying for the GMAT it's such a big time, mental, and emotional investment to do just one, plus you'd have to learn the tricks of the other. If after 2-3 times you just aren't hitting your target on the GMAT (and you really think you've adjusted your strategies and put in the right effort on the 2nd or 3rd test) and you have the time then maybe look at the GRE to see if it's a better fit. But otherwise stick to investing in the GMAT and then hopefully move on and spend that time on the other parts of the app

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 10:17
WestCoast08 wrote:
Long time lurker here. Was initially looking into MPP programs two years ago and took the GRE, but decided it wasn't what I was looking for and for a while now have felt business school is more of a fit, especially with recent responsibilities with work (more managaement focused than policy). My GRE score was 170 verbal (99 percentile), 165 quant (89 percentile), and 6 on writing (99 percentile). The GRE calculator to convert to GMAT puts that at a 760. Since business school is now my focus I'm debating whether it's worth it to take the GMAT.

A bit more about me- 3.8 GPA from large flagship state school, but not the UC, UT, Michigan, etc. tier. Strong campus leadership and involvement. Have a somewhat distinct resume so have edited some details but would call my work experience solid to strong and currently lead a small organization. Think my community involvement is strong and spans many years.

Career goals are related to HR and organization behavior, so consulting is likely a top contender for short term goals to see a lot of experiences and examples.

In terms of schools I am looking at Tuck, Anderson, Haas, Kellogg, Ross, and Stanford (will probably narrow it to 4 with Stanford and Kellogg being pretty much for sure if I apply). Haas I know prefers the GMAT, but that in itself would not lead me to take the GMAT. I would imagine all else being equal that a high GMAT score (maybe not even matching my GRE score but maybe 730-750) would appeal to a school because of how it can affect their average. I also was worried about GMAT scores being important to apply for consulting, but current students I've talked to said applicants were able to put their GRE score instead (though they couldn't speak to how it affected the job prospects).

While there is some personal time I can sacrifice to study for the GMAT, putting in the right effort to get a good score I think would likely involve some sacrifices at work, which would have an impact on my org and would be a hard to do right now. Not impossible but not ideal. So the question is really about ROI for taking the GMAT and having that score vs. GRE.

For the schools above would having a GMAT score equivalent to my GRE score make a noticeable or significant difference with my application? Is the GRE still too new to business school that I should hesitate at planning to consider consulting with just a GRE score? I think that I might actually have a better ability to study for the GMAT as I transition to school than right now currently running my organization, if GRE score would really hold me back with consulting but less so with applying.

Thanks for your time and thoughts!


GMAT 760 is an excellent score.
Based on reading different articles - don't dedicate to much time to GMAT/GRE
Other aspects like essays, application, interview are game changers

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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 16:33
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As long as you can confirm your target schools accept the GRE if you perform materially better then it would make sense to submit the GRE. Both tests are structured differently so it would make sense to focus on just one
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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2017, 09:26
Hi there - this is such a common debate, so I'll reiterate what we've heard from adcom and the former adcom on our team surrounding this topic. The GMAT was created for business school. So, that's still number one and it's what they are used to (eg. this is clear given that they convert your GRE score to a GMAT score as a basis). However, how they view your score after converting as compared to an actual GMAT score appears to be a little more case-by-case. Officially, most schools say it doesn't matter which one you submit, but the evaluation process is fairly subjective and the fact that the schools aren't publishing average GRE ranges gives me pause.

However, IF you cannot get a GMAT score that's in range for your target schools, then it's better to submit a higher-conversion GRE score than a lower GMAT score.

I would recommend you do the following: 1) Try the GMAT and see how you do; if your score isn't in range for your target schools then 2) stick with your GRE score (it's a great one!) You have plenty of time. Focus on getting tests, resume, recommenders etc nailed down over the next few months so that by the time the new applications / essay topics come out, you're ready to hit the ground running. Your test score is only one part of the application, so definitely don't spin your wheels on the decision.

Best of luck!
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Re: Apply with strong GRE score or take GMAT?   [#permalink] 10 Apr 2017, 09:26
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