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Gmat top 1% admissions

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Intern
Joined: 30 Jun 2008
Posts: 19
Location: East of Alaska

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16 Dec 2008, 17:32
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Hi Guys,

I was tooling around on the BWeek forums and came across the question 'Where do people who score in the top 1% end up?' I did a little bit of analysis (but I'm by no means a statistician), so I wanted to post it here and see if anyone had any thoughts on its validity. Anyways, here's the post and the (weak) file I built:

======================

I did some quick analysis using the BWeek rankings and middle 80% score ranges (meaning that the top 10% of the class gets above the middle 80%) as well as 2007 GMAT Takers (where I used 220,000 total tests taken, which is pretty close to the actual number, but probably a few thousand off). The results are as follows:

First, the GMAT: GMAC says that 21% of GMATS taken are by retesters, so I assumed that 12.5% of those who retook a test took it twice and that 8.5% took it three times. For simplicity's sake I didn't go any further. That gave me 194,000 takers, give or take a few hundred, which meant about 1,940 top 1%ers. (There are loads of other assumptions here, like the even distribution of people who got top 1% scores, but I won't belabor the point).

Secondly, I took a survey of schools' GMAT ranges using BWeek data (Booth, Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Tuck, Ross, Duke, LBS, INSEAD, and IMD), and assumed that for those schools whose ranges ended at 770, 12.5% of the class was in the top 1%, for those at 760, 10% was in the top 1%, and for those at 750, 8.5% was in the top 1%, which gave me 677 people with top 1% scores at the top schools, or, about 35% of the total yearly population. (I divided 2-year programs' student bodies by 2 in order to get percentage of yearly takers; i treated LBS and Columbia as 2-year programs).

How many of those people are test instructors? probably a relatively low percentage--once they get their credentials, it's difficult to tell them that the 770 they got two months ago isn't good enough and they need to take it again. More important would be the people who are taking it multiple times to develop test prep questions and scoring algorithms to reverse engineer the tests, but even then, i think a given individual is limited to 5 tests in a 12 month period.
Attachments

Top 1% Gmat.xls [16.5 KiB]

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16 Dec 2008, 18:00
Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing!
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16 Dec 2008, 18:09
nanodearokane wrote:
How many of those people are test instructors? probably a relatively low percentage--once they get their credentials, it's difficult to tell them that the 770 they got two months ago isn't good enough and they need to take it again. More important would be the people who are taking it multiple times to develop test prep questions and scoring algorithms to reverse engineer the tests, but even then, i think a given individual is limited to 5 tests in a 12 month period.

Good discussion. If I might add, one of my tutor takes the GMAT test at least twice a year to keep his knowledge refreshed.
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16 Dec 2008, 21:03
The only problem I have with this xls file is that it comes up to about 35% of the top 1% scorers in the top business schools you've selected. That seems low to me. I have no scientific basis for thinking that, but it just does seem low to me. How many people that score in the top 1% do you think we have on here? I could probably name 2 dozen just off the top of my head from being on here all the time.
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Joined: 17 Jan 2008
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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16 Dec 2008, 21:10
jallenmorris wrote:
The only problem I have with this xls file is that it comes up to about 35% of the top 1% scorers in the top business schools you've selected. That seems low to me. I have no scientific basis for thinking that, but it just does seem low to me. How many people that score in the top 1% do you think we have on here? I could probably name 2 dozen just off the top of my head from being on here all the time.

35% seemed low to me, too, but a 99th %ile GMAT doesn't automatically mean entry into a top-15 MBA (not saying that you're saying that, either). I bet the real number is higher than 35% but what I get from this is that a high GMAT doesn't have as large of an impact on your chances at a n UE/E school as people think.
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16 Dec 2008, 22:08
jallenmorris wrote:
The only problem I have with this xls file is that it comes up to about 35% of the top 1% scorers in the top business schools you've selected. That seems low to me. I have no scientific basis for thinking that, but it just does seem low to me. How many people that score in the top 1% do you think we have on here? I could probably name 2 dozen just off the top of my head from being on here all the time.

Jallenmorris, I don't have the sheet handy, but at the Kellogg information session I went to they listed both the GMAT range of their applicant pool as well as the GMAT range of their accepted students. Again, I don't have the numbers, but I calculated that my score (I'm in the top 1%) increased my chances from ~10% to ~33%, so 35% sounds exactly right.
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17 Dec 2008, 00:23
I have several problem with the spread sheet actually. (don't flame me, this is just my observations to help make it more accurate)

1. You went into depth of how you derived 1940, however the top 1% is actually of the total exams taken, so it should be 1% of 220,000 exams taken, so 220,000. (there is more than 1% of the population with a 99th percentile)

2. You used the full time enrollment at each school, which is 2 classes, however you're only using 1 year of exams. So your enrollment needs to 1 year acceptances and compared with 1 year GMAT totals.

3. You're stating that 10% of kellogg has 99th percentiles based on the 80% range of 660-760, however that means that AT LEAST 10%, you're not including the portion of the students are part of the middle 80% and recieved a 760. Given Kellogg's enrollment of 22% 750+, I would even guess that 14-18% are 99th percentiles. Much higher in other school I believe, since I think kellogg's emphasis on GMAT might be less than some of it's counterparts.

4. This is now an assumption, but I feel 35%acceptance rate is too low, I've seen the MonkBent analysis where 33% sounds likely, but that is to one school, I would think no matter how great a candidate, most candidate gets rejected at a school or two. So I think 35% at kellogg + xx% at chicago + XX% columbia should be closer to 65%. If you removed indians and chinese, it should be even higher.
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17 Dec 2008, 03:06
Many of the top 1% GMAT Scorers go to business PhD programs (eg. wharton's phd admission gmat average is 750, Columbia is i believe around 750ish ) and there were around 400 applicants to NYU stern phd program last year alone, with most applicants scoring really high on GMAT, otherwise they wouldn't bother applying.

In addition, MS in finance usually looks for even higher GMAT scores than for the MBA program at the same school. So here is more 99% percentile scorers go to somewhere else other than MBA.

Also, some of the top 60 MBA programs accept applicants with 99% percentile scores, believe it or not. I guess those high scorers seek scholarships from say UC Irvine or University of Pittsburgh or maybe University of Florida. (you get the idea ... )
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Joined: 30 Jun 2008
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17 Dec 2008, 04:52
GoBruins wrote:
I have several problem with the spread sheet actually. (don't flame me, this is just my observations to help make it more accurate)

1. You went into depth of how you derived 1940, however the top 1% is actually of the total exams taken, so it should be 1% of 220,000 exams taken, so 220,000. (there is more than 1% of the population with a 99th percentile)

2. You used the full time enrollment at each school, which is 2 classes, however you're only using 1 year of exams. So your enrollment needs to 1 year acceptances and compared with 1 year GMAT totals.

3. You're stating that 10% of kellogg has 99th percentiles based on the 80% range of 660-760, however that means that AT LEAST 10%, you're not including the portion of the students are part of the middle 80% and recieved a 760. Given Kellogg's enrollment of 22% 750+, I would even guess that 14-18% are 99th percentiles. Much higher in other school I believe, since I think kellogg's emphasis on GMAT might be less than some of it's counterparts.

4. This is now an assumption, but I feel 35%acceptance rate is too low, I've seen the MonkBent analysis where 33% sounds likely, but that is to one school, I would think no matter how great a candidate, most candidate gets rejected at a school or two. So I think 35% at kellogg + xx% at chicago + XX% columbia should be closer to 65%. If you removed indians and chinese, it should be even higher.

I agree that these are valid concerns, but in many cases, I tried to deal with them.

1. Since the schools are reporting the people at their programs, I had to get the number of discrete test takers to figure it out. Also, I assumed an even distribution of top 1% across the spectrum of retesters - since it's just as likely that someone retook to get a 99th percentile as took only once. (or at least, I don't have the skills to come up with an analysis saying that people who get 740 don't retest because their scores are high enough, but people who get 680 might retest and eventually get to 760. I agree that neither scenario is likely, so it's probably true that the number of people with high GMAT scores is greater than 1% of the population, but I can't make a strong argument for that either way.

2. I used enrollment over one year (total FT MBA Enrollment / 2) except in the cases of IMD and INSEAD - so i'm accounting for one year's worth of acceptances there.

3-4. I agree with you on both counts. I imagine that the range of scores at Kellogg is probably something like top 8% = 770+, top 9%-15% = 760, and so on. That would make the range 15% of a class at Kellogg, which would clearly make the population bigger. But I don't have any data to validate that, so I didn't build that in. I think this is definitely more of a 'worst-case' type of thing. The actual percentage of top scorers at top schools is probably much higher.

Of course, taking the next step to determine what that does for one's candidacy, we'd need to determine the degree of correlation vs. causation between high GMAT scores and achievement. Anyone have any thoughts?

Edit: I went back to the spreadsheet and added middle and high estimates. Those schools at the lower end of the spectrum didn't change much, because their percentage of top 1%ers is necessarily capped at 10. My middle and high estimates came out to 43.4% and 52.2% respectively, which seems pretty reasonable when you count in the people who take it and never go to school (GMAT tutors, for example), those that get mighty scholarships at schools like Tepper and Mendoza, those that do PhD programs, and those that drop the ball in some other way (major a-hole in the essays, for example). All-in-all, I would say that the prognosis is pretty good for those with super high scores who are willing to put in a lot of work.

Also, since I didn't mention it before, this doesn't include chances of acceptance at a school like Kellogg (I think somebody posted that on here a while ago), but rather the STUDENT BODY at any given school. Given the need to manage yield, I would say that this bodes pretty well for acceptance at top schools, since my analysis only covers those who accept offers--the percentage of 1%ers who are accepted to each school is probably comparatively higher.
Attachments

Top 1% Gmat v2.xls [18.5 KiB]

_________________

As a bathtub lined with white porcelain,
When the hot water gives out or goes tepid,
So is the slow cooling of our chivalrous passion,
O my much praised but-not-altogether-satisfactory lady.

-Ezra Pound

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17 Dec 2008, 07:15
I don't know the significance of this research, but all I know is that my MGMAT instructor scored 800 on the GMAT twice within 5 years.
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17 Dec 2008, 12:00
Slightly off-topic, but if there is a statistician here or someone who enjoys working with numbers, regressions, etc, we may have just the right GMAT project for you. Please PM me.
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17 Dec 2008, 12:16
sonibubu wrote:
I don't know the significance of this research, but all I know is that my MGMAT instructor scored 800 on the GMAT twice within 5 years.

Sonibubu, is your instructor this character?
http://www.perfectgmat.com/
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17 Dec 2008, 20:30
rjacobs wrote:
sonibubu wrote:
I don't know the significance of this research, but all I know is that my MGMAT instructor scored 800 on the GMAT twice within 5 years.

Sonibubu, is your instructor this character?
http://www.perfectgmat.com/

That's who I was thinking of too... but that guy charges \$10,000 for GMAT Prep.
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