In an effort to push up their overall MBA ranking, top US business schools are emphasizing the GMAT more than ever. That’s why we continue to see an upward average GMAT score for most of the top schools year-after-year. Perhaps this is good news for those of you who have conquered the test after months of diligent preparation. For those who have not yet conquered the GMAT, the list below can give you an indication of what you need to shoot for. Here are the top 10 business schools, ranked by highest average GMAT.

  1. Stanford University — Graduate School of Business
    Location: Palo Alto, California
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 417
    Average GMAT score: 737
  2. University of Pennsylvania — The Wharton School
    Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 851
    Average GMAT score: 730
  3. Harvard University — Harvard Business School
    Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 934
    Average GMAT score: 729
  4. Northwestern University — Kellogg School of Management
    Location: Evanston, Illinois
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 474
    Average GMAT score: 728
  5. University of Chicago — Booth School of Business
    Location: Chicago, Illinois
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 586
    Average GMAT score: 726
  6. Yale University (CT)
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 334
    Average GMAT score: 725
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Sloan School of Management
    Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 409
    Average GMAT score: 724
  8. Columbia University — Columbia Business School
    Location: New York, New York
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 558
    Average GMAT score: 720
  9. Dartmouth College — Tuck School of Business
    Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 285
    Average GMAT score: 717
  10. University of California at Berkeley — Haas School of Business
    Location: Berkeley, California
    Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2016): 252
    Average GMAT score: 717

Source: CEO World

What Else Matters?

The bad news is that even with a superlative GMAT score, you still need to market yourself well to grab an admission. The good news is that even with an average score you still might have other ways to sell yourself to the admissions committee. So what else matters in the admissions process, other than a high GMAT score?

The GMAT emphasizes your command of quantitative and language skills, and the rest of your application emphasizes things like your track record, your soft skills, your potential for leadership, and any unique expertise or accomplishments you have had in your career to date. You might choose to emphasize things like interdisciplinary communication skills, or deep expertise in a relevant area, like FinTech, Entrepreneurship, or Fashion, or Technology in the rest of your application.

Communicating your story in the right way – why this is the right time for you to pursue an MBA, why [school name] is the right school for you, and why you will be a wild success if given the opportunity to attend – is a highly complex challenge. At Transcend Admissions Consultants, we go out of our way to help prospective applicants think through all of these elements in depth, and prepare them to shine on their essays (as we have written in this article, and this article), letters of recommendation, and in interviews, and try to level the playing field by making this information accessible as possible.

If you have invested time, energy and attention into raising your GMAT score, it makes sense to take advantage of the runway you have built, and ensure that the rest of your application is just as strong as your test scores.

We have compiled a vast array of resources on our Admissions Blog to try and assist you in crafting the best possible application. If you find yourself wanting additional guidance on specific questions, in creating the perfect school selection strategy, or in crafting the narrative of your decision to pursue an MBA, we are always ready to discuss your options and assist however we can.