A recent survey published by Kaplan shows that 48% of 288 admissions committees surveyed claimed that a low GMAT or GRE score is the factor that contributes the most to a candidate’s rejection. The factor that came in second (33%) was a low GPA, and in third place (10%) was a lack of relevant work experience.

While admissions committees tend to minimize the importance of one single factor or another, and claim they consider the application as a whole, this survey conducted among the top U.S. programs proves that in reality, the GMAT score bears great weight in the decision to accept or reject a candidate.

The reasons for this emphasis are that these tests are considered objective measures of the candidate’s ability to cope with MBA studies, and the fact that the different MBA rankings have a strong basis on the average GMAT of the program’s class. In the 2012 class, the following are the top 10 U.S. programs based on students’ average GMAT scores:

Stanford 728
Harvard 724
Yale 722
MIT Sloan 718
Berkeley 718
Wharton 718
Tuck 716
NYU Stern 715
Chicago 715
Kellogg 714

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