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# Is 680 good enough?

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Intern
Joined: 19 Jun 2007
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19 Jun 2007, 04:07
I just got a 680 score in my GMAT exam. I felt I performed below what was within my reach, was aiming for 710-730.

Do you think it is worth giving it a second try, or is it not worth the time and the money?

I plan to apply to 5 top programs this fall, most likely, hbs, insead, lbs, columbia, wharton. Is a 680 score going to have a negative impact on my application?

I do not think that a 740+ score is within my reach in a reasonable amount of time, so the question really is if a score of say 720 is going to have a material impact compared to a 680.

Thanks

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19 Jun 2007, 04:26
Whether the score is good enough depends on a few other things about your profile like your background, which industry you worked, quality of work experience, which country you are from, your undergrad/grad GPA and a few other things. 680 is below the average gmat score of the schools you mention so you need to be well above average in other aspects to compensate for your below-average GMAT.

_________________

I believe its yogurt!

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19 Jun 2007, 05:56
Well, you have the time.

For the sake of pitching it up just 30 points I would question whether it is worth resitting for what would be a small uplift. Most readings on the topic would suggest that the GMAT score is seen to be a rough indicator within a +/- 20 point range anyway, so 710 is basically reinforcing the score with a different bit of luck quotient.

It's in the 80% range for all schools. I would probably stick if I were you and work on making the package you present outstanding with an adequate GMAT.

If you could prepare to shoot 740-750 (you would have to wait a month), I would maybe have a go as you do have the time.

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19 Jun 2007, 06:30
If you are a plain vanilla candidate to those Top 5 schools, then yes you need to shoot for 700+. A 680 will not preclude you from getting into many top schools, but for the Top 5 I would aim higher.

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19 Jun 2007, 06:32
Based on your number of posts, you are clearly a newcomer to this forum. I'd suggest you run a search in the archives using a similiar query: "is XXX score good enough?" You will be surprised how many times this topic has been exhausted, repeatedly, over the past few application cycles.

Happy hunting!

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19 Jun 2007, 06:37
A 680 might be enough, but if you really want to get into a top 5 school you should play it safe and work like crazy to get a higher score to maximize your chances. Top schools like Harvard are so hard to get into that applicants need every possible element in their favor. Obviously your undergrad GPA and work experience cannot be changed. The GMAT is one of the few elements that you can still improve. If you're really serious about a school like Harvard then I would try for the highest score you think you can get.

But as GMATT said, there are tons of other discussions with more detail around this floating in the archives.

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19 Jun 2007, 07:06
Thanks guys, this is already giving me some color.

gmatmba: here is my profile. maybe you can give me your view.

PROFESSIONAL
will have 4years of experience when starting the program:
- 2y in investment banking, where I worked in a front-office position and also wrote an educational book for the bank, 150pages long, that was published in 40'000 copies. Worked in both Zurich and London
- 2y in asset management business development, mainly related to hedge funds. Based in Zurich, partly working in London.

UNIVERSITY
Master Degree Level in Economics, studied in Switzerland. Graduated cum laude, thus not stellar, but not too bad either. Did one year exchange in Italy.

LANGUAGES
Fluent in 5 languages oral and written, good conversation level in 6th

PERSONAL
29y, will be 30 when starting programme. Born in Eastern Europe, raised in Switzerland.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR
Co-launched lifestyle magazine that tanked. Founded party series at university that was successfull. Helped launch a beverage company (ongoing). Last year, volunteered helping immigrants find jobs.

Thx!

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19 Jun 2007, 08:05
cnc2 wrote:
If you are a plain vanilla candidate to those Top 5 schools, then yes you need to shoot for 700+. A 680 will not preclude you from getting into many top schools, but for the Top 5 I would aim higher.

At HBS if you are plain vanilla you are out. Even with an 800 GMAT.

L.

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19 Jun 2007, 08:05
Given your experience, i'd say you have a shot at a top 5 with a 680, but if you're confident that you'll improve your gmat by 30+, go for it.

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19 Jun 2007, 08:22
lepium wrote:

At HBS if you are plain vanilla you are out. Even with an 800 GMAT.

L.

But with an 800 GMAT you are no longer plain vanilla. ooh, applications paradox.

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19 Jun 2007, 08:27
goingtobs09 wrote:
Thanks guys, this is already giving me some color.

gmatmba: here is my profile. maybe you can give me your view.

PROFESSIONAL
will have 4years of experience when starting the program:
- 2y in investment banking, where I worked in a front-office position and also wrote an educational book for the bank, 150pages long, that was published in 40'000 copies. Worked in both Zurich and London
- 2y in asset management business development, mainly related to hedge funds. Based in Zurich, partly working in London.

UNIVERSITY
Master Degree Level in Economics, studied in Switzerland. Graduated cum laude, thus not stellar, but not too bad either. Did one year exchange in Italy.

LANGUAGES
Fluent in 5 languages oral and written, good conversation level in 6th

PERSONAL
29y, will be 30 when starting programme. Born in Eastern Europe, raised in Switzerland.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR
Co-launched lifestyle magazine that tanked. Founded party series at university that was successfull. Helped launch a beverage company (ongoing). Last year, volunteered helping immigrants find jobs.

Thx!

Compared to 98% of the folks on this forum, you have a very impressive profile. For the top 5 schools, its still quite good, but probably somewhat more common. (I've met several PE / hedge fund / associate IB / etc people at the GSB)

Personally, if you want to maximize chances, retaking the GMAT for a 700+ can't hurt, but with a Cum Laude under your belt and a masters I don't think a 680 will be cause for concern. Somewhat ironically, and based solely on anecdotal evidence I have from this years app season, it appears the schools in the top 8-12 are actually more GMAT sensitive than those at the top. That makes sense in a backwards kind of way - those in that range are trying to make moves in rankings whereas those already at the top are somewhat more secure.

I'd also play up the entrepreneurial part of your history - failure or not - a willingness to take risks is a key element of almost any definition of "leadership" you can imagine - and you have clearly demonstrated that. If I had that history -- granted I know very little about your background -- I'd milk the !(@# out that story.

The international background and work experience is a positive as well. (BTW, I lived in Chesiers-Villars near Aigle, on the other side of Les Diablerets for 2 yeaars. If none of that is familiar, it's not too far from Montreux). Don't be afraid to leverage that.

Without knowing any more about you, I'd say that you have an impressive profile. Someone with your background should not have to dig too deep to find good quality examples of leadership, risk taking, teamwork, extracurriculars, etc.

If properly executed, you just might find yourself cherry picking where you go next year. Be forewarned however: Execution is absolutely critical.

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19 Jun 2007, 11:56
This is somewhat silly and I don't know how much adcoms think this way, but there definitely is something nice about being in the 7XX range. While statistically, a 690 and a 710 are basically the same thing, you definitely get more "oohs" out of the 710.

But maybe that's just among the applicant set.

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19 Jun 2007, 12:44
I definitely agree that 700 is a real psychological hurdle. If you're below 700, I believe your application will be looked at with a "something to prove" view. If you are over 700, you'll be viewed as "that's what we're looking for".

I know the results posted on this board are skewed because it is a test-prep site, but I cannot recall even a handful of people that made it into elite or ultra-elite schools in the past year with a sub-700 score.

The published ranges are generally 660-760 or something like that, other substantial factors seem to be in play for lower scores. Would you guys say that over 90% of those here at GMATclub admitted to elites & ultra-elites scored 700+?

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19 Jun 2007, 13:22
Good point pelihu..

Looking at:

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=40260

It does look like the vast majority were at or over 700.

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19 Jun 2007, 13:24
Get Johnny on a poll for that one, pelihu. I honestly think that if we get a full poll, it would be interesting to see.

I honestly think that low 7's / high 6's is nada. Above 740/750, you are offering a big kicker for them to weigh towards their own "special" candidates for whatever reason.

We are in the business of second-guessing here, and on BW and other places, applicants pay huge attention to the 700 barrier. If I were an adcom, I can imagine that a 780 solid candidate would immediate make me think of all the excellent-bar-GMAT candidates I had that I could let in without damaging that statistic (see lengthy most recent, and sadly possibly final blog post on the blog I link to on my sidebar)

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19 Jun 2007, 13:36
I think you have a very good chance at top5.
But just to be safe, I would pull up the GMAT to 7xx.

at the Top5, GMAT is only one of many things that they consider in the admission process.

Remember that Wharton alone rejected more than 20 800 scorers last season.

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19 Jun 2007, 13:38
I agree that from a test-taking, statistical standpoint that there is basically no difference between 690 & 710. It's within the margin of error. But I think it's worth looking at the (I believe mostly candid) reports available here.

Just to play Adcom for a moment, I think my train of thought would be something like this. We're a top 15 school, we need to maintain our average GMAT to keep up with the Jonses. That average GMAT has been moving up, but 700 or so should be fine. Here's the kicker - if I admit anyone below the average GMAT, he's going to have to bring something to the table elsewhere in the application.

Of course, everyone admitted to top schools had strong points throughout their applications, but I think there is some small break, psychological or not, at the 700 level. I'll also agree that for certain schools, a 750+ GMAT can be a strong positive for an application. As pointed out earlier in this thread, this is probably more true for schools ranked outside the top 5.

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19 Jun 2007, 16:06
pelihu wrote:
I agree that from a test-taking, statistical standpoint that there is basically no difference between 690 & 710. It's within the margin of error.

Well, the distributions overlap, but the scores are not exactly the same.

Basically:

690 = 690 +/- 30 points (i.e: true score between 660 and 720)
710 = 710 +/- 30 points (i.e.: true score between 680 and 740).

So while they overlap, and there's a chance that both test takers got the results (690&710) with the same true score (which they'll never know), they are not exactly equal scores.

That said, from the people I've met I can't honestly say that the guy who got into HBS with a 680 is significantly different than the guy with the 710 (the latter being me) in terms of overall package (thereby defying the notion that the 680 guy had something extra to overcome). Disclaimer: I could be wrong in evaluating the packages and the sample is way too small to be used as evidence, so the opposite could be true.

I also agree in speculating that a very high GMAT (750+) probably plays a more significant role in schools outside the ultra - elites than in schools in the ultra - elite cluster.

L.

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19 Jun 2007, 16:06
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# Is 680 good enough?

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