This post is not meant to refute or debunk all the other advice we’ve offered before:
If your GMAT score is within the 80% range of current students at your target school, you have a shot of getting an offer (based on all the other factors in your profile lining up). This is a true statement. We’re not going to change our tune on this.
But, Brave Supplicant, consider this:
If your GMAT score corresponds to the “average” GMAT score reported by the school — so, for Chicago Booth, your total score is, say, 710 (the average for the Booth class of 2012 is 715, but you know that GMAT overall scores are only reported in increments of 10). OK, so if your GMAT is right around the average for the school, you should be fine, right?
Well, theoretically, sure. If you want to be seen as “average.” But we don’t know many “average” candidates who get offers from these very best schools.
Schools look for overachievers. Heavy hitters. The big shots.
(Just don’t act like a big shot, or you’ll be coming away from the dance solo.)
Is “average” really going to cut it?
You probably should take a hard look at this — ESPECIALLY if you’re in the finance industry now (or you aspire to be). If you’re a finance guy*, it’s gonna be hard(er) for the bschool adcom at whatever F’ING AWESOME SCHOOL that you are slobbering over to be impressed by an “average” GMAT score.
Unless you did not-great on the verbal, which brought down your overall score, but your quant is >= 49. Then maybe you’re going to be OK. Though balanced scores are also appreciated. So maybe you should just shore up your verbal side and retest and get the overall score into the stratosphere. Since we know that you can!
* Call us sexist; but we’re really just reflecting reality. There are a helluva lot more finance guys than finance CHICKS trying for these top programs. It’s easier for the adcom to give a little leeway to a woman coming into their program. Yes, she still needs a superlative GMAT score, but she doesn’t need to be in the upper atmosphere of scores to stand out. Because there just aren’t that many other chicks to compare her to. So, yes, you finance GUYS have a little more to prove if your GMAT — esp the quant — is low. Sorry.