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'What is an ideal GMAT score?'

Last updated on: September 28, 2012 14:00 IST

'What is an ideal GMAT score?'

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In an online chat with readers on September 27, Vimal Gopinathan and Naveenan Ramachandran, experts, 4GMAT, addressed queries on how to crack the GMAT and offered advice on b-school admissions in India and abroad.

Administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), is a multiple-choice test held through the year. Performance in the GMAT is crucial for MBA admission abroad.

Besides some of the Indian Institutes of Management, the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai and XLRI, Jamshedpur also accept GMAT scores in India.

For those who missed the live chat, here's the unedited transcript:


JesseDavid asked, Hello , I had my Gmat scheduled in April but since then i postponed it twice and now i have my exam on 29th of October and my preparations are still not on the roll... Please suggest me how should i got about it ??

Naveenan answers, at 2012-09-27 15:47:05
Hi Jesse ... How are you measuring your preparation level .. Have you had a chance to identify your strengths and weaknesses using mock GMATs ... All you need is a project plan approach and you should be able to crack it in maximum of 3 months time ... All is not lost - you can get back at it ... Just give it your best in terms of time and effort - GMAT is an investment which could handsomely pay-off in terms of ranking of the college that you qualify for and scholarship that you could probably get ... All the best.
gmat asked, what is the significance of gmat? how does it help?

Naveenan answers,
HI ... Graduate Management Aptitude Test helps you get into the best management programs in the world ... Organizations like Tata also use the GMAT as a entry card into their widely respected TAS platform.
rahul asked, 1.suggest best study material for gmat . i'm a mech engr wid 9 yrs of work ex. hv completed 1yr ex mba in marketing and also have social work ex of 5 yrs..toefl 90...what should bemy gmat scoe to avail scholarship

Naveenan answers,
Hi Rahul ... You have a good profile (I assumed the social work-ex was full time) ... It all depends on the college that you are targeting .. If you are able to garner 730+, most of the colleges would be willing to extend a scholarship ... Start with the Official Review books (maths and verbal) - they are the best places to brush your basics. Thanks.
sameer asked, I have 7 yrs of IT experince.i want to go 4 executive mba.can u pls suggest me some good mba inst

Naveenan answers,
Hi Sameer ... Check out the PGPX programs of IIMs ... It is a good suit for people with so many years of experience. ISB's program could also be checked out - you might just have a little higher than the average experience at ISB. Also check out the program offered by XLRI for executives. You might also want to look up on courses at colleges outside India ... Depends on your preference on where you see yourself working 5 years from now.
am asked, Can you suggest what would be a good score to get into top20 colleges around the world with a handsome scholarship...

Naveenan answers,
Hi - The top 10 colleges around the world are, in general, not too keen to dole out scholarships ... The ones between 11 to 25 however do extend scholarships because they need the best brains to reach the top 10. They also look for an all round personality and somebody who has a plan on how he / she intends to use the MBA to get further in life / profession .. Work on all these items (in terms of application essays) ... Try to get upwards of 740 because the higher up you go the ranking, the tougher the competition is - especially considering the scholarship requirement (everybody hopes to get one!)
am asked, Where can i get good study materials for GMAT?

Naveenan answers,
Hi - OG (13th ed) gives a good set of questions from past GMAT examinations. If you want fundaes, you would want to look at the Math Reviews and Verbal Reviews published by the people who conduct the examination itself. Beyond those, there are a lot of material published by test prep companies which are good in their own niche areas.
am asked, Thanks Naveenan for your answer..can you also suggest any website where i can get a detailed list of top mba colleges under GMAT ?

Naveenan answers,
Hi ... Pls bookmark this link http://www.mba.com/schools-and-programs/programs-that-accept-the-gmat.aspx This is the official list and this list will get updated as and when GMAC coaxes newer schools to accept their scores.
am asked, what OG naveenan?

Naveenan answers,
OG stands for Official Guide for GMAT. This has been officially published by the people who conduct the examination (hence the name!) - check out this link for an exhaustive list http://www.mba.com/store/store-catalog.aspx
freemat asked, what's the fee for GMAT?

Vimal answers,
The fee for GMAT is $250
am asked, thanks a ton for all you answers..one last question..whats the average expense that would be incurred for a 2 year course in US and a 1 year executive in india?

Naveenan answers,
1 year program in India - A place like ISB sets you back by Rs25Lakhs. A place like Great Lakes by around half that amount. 2 year course in US - Be prepared for at least Rs50Lakhs - including living expenses and all. You would be able to cut corners in a lot of places and do it at an economical price. But, at the planning stage - you have to ask yourself if you will be able to stomach that kind of a budget (after including an educational loan).
am asked, thanks a ton for all you answers..one last question..whats the average expense that would be incurred for a 2 year course in US and a 1 year executive in india?

Vimal answers,
The expense for a 2 year US MBA program can range from $60000 to $120000, depending on the program. If you factor in the financial assistance extended by the universities, this figure may come down. In India, the expense for a 1 year program ranges from Rs. 12 lakh to Rs. 24 lakh. Indian programs arent exactly known for giving out fee waivers though.
fullycrack asked, how does GMAT help?

Naveenan answers,
Graduate Management Aptitude Test helps you get into the best management programs in the world ... Organizations like Tata also use the GMAT as a entry card into their widely respected TAS platform.
Bablu asked, what is minimum qualification to appear in GMAT?

Naveenan answers,
There is no such minimum qualification for GMAT (unlike in Indian examinations like CAT). You could get the exam even while you are in the final year of graduation (like GRE). It can be given a maximum of 5 times in a calendar year. There should be minimum 1 month gap b/w successive attempts.
Mahesh asked, What is the cost of MBA in US (mid level schools) & what are their score requirements?

Vimal answers,
Most mid-level US schools cost you between 30 and 50 lakh rupees, without taking into account the financial assistance you might get. Your GMAT score requirement depends on your profile to a large extent. That said, a score of 700 + would put you in contention for almost any mid-level school.
abhishek asked, hi i have around more than 2 years of experince in IT,i want to opt for an MBA in one of the best university in singapore...could you please help

Naveenan answers,
Hi ... You could look at the NUS, NTU, SMU options at Singapore. HKUST is also a good school but there are some mandatory Mandarin courses to take (which could actually be a good value addition). The avg at these places is above 680. Again it is only an average. With only 2 years of experience, you are at the lower side of that spectrum. You might want to get a very good GMAT score which is much above the school average. All the best.
Vinod asked, Please can you advise on the minimum requisite GMAT score for applying to the Fellow Program in Management (FPM) offered by the IIMs.
Vimal answers, Hi Vinod, Although there is no cut-off (like there is in CAT) for the FPM program, a score of 680 or above would put you in contention. The higher, the better.
Mahesh asked, I've no work experience and I'm in final year of BBA. I'm planning to pursue MBA next year. What can I do to improve my profile?

Naveenan answers,
Hi Mahesh - With no work experience, it is very tough to get into a very good college in US - try to get some work experience - at least two. If you do want to pursue immediately after college, you should be willing to slide down the rank list of colleges for getting an admit. Leadership positions in colleges and a good plan as to what you intend to do post MBA (with current actions backing your plan) will land you at a good place.
Mahesh asked, I've no work experience and I'm in final year of BBA. I'm planning to pursue MBA next year. What can I do to improve my profile?

Naveenan answers,
Hi Mahesh - With no work experience, it is very tough to get into a very good college in US - try to get some work experience - at least two. If you do want to pursue immediately after college, you should be willing to slide down the rank list of colleges for getting an admit. Leadership positions in colleges and a good plan as to what you intend to do post MBA (with current actions backing your plan) will land you at a good place.
Roopika asked, What are the best books for self-study GMAT, other than OG?

Vimal answers,
Hi Roopika, The OG gives you a good starting point. Please practice with questions of higher level of difficulty. These are usually found in the study material of test prep institutions. Also, do a lot of practice tests before your GMAT
shruthi asked, hi i have scored 660(v35 q47) on gmat and 112 in toefl. do you think i have a chance of getting into NUS singapore. i have a work experience of 3+ years.

Naveenan answers,
Hi - Good chance - provided you back it up with a very good essay. They do look at gender diversity and that improves your chances. Start working on the essays right away and not wait until the deadline!
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

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ZEN asked,
How important is GMAT score to pursue MBA in good college What is an ideal GMAt score for Indian IT male candidate with 4+ years work exp? Please throw some light on these

Naveenan answers,
Hi ... GMAT is the only way to indicate that you are ready to take the academic rigor of the program. That would also be the one common scale of comparison across all students who apply to the course. Hence, GMAT is a very important tool for getting into these colleges. Apparently, there is a good correlation b/w good performance in GMAT and the score in the 1st year of the graduate program. That is the reason why colleges also look at it keenly ... There is no "ideal" number. But, "Indian IT male with 4+ years experience" is the largest pool of candidates. To score in the top quartile of this pool, you are looking at a strong 750+ score.
amitberry asked, I have 5yrs of IT experience. I am planning to write GMAT for ISB Hyd'Bad, IIM or XLRI. Fee for all the executive course is 20lac+. Is it worth spending 20-25 lac? And what score should i target to get into these B-Schools?

Vimal answers,
Hi Amit, If you would like to live and work in India, the schools that you have mentioned are the best options you have. As a long term investment for your career, an MBA definitely makes a lot of sense. 20 L seems to be the current market rate! The GMAT score should be 700+ for you to have a good chance, although a lower score can also see you through.
joe asked, My experience is 13 years in semiconductor industry mostly in R&D side. It is good to go for GMAT?
Naveenan answers, Hi - Depends on what you want to do post the MBA program. If you do not have a good plan, it will show in the essays. So, even though you have a good research profile, it will not cut ice with the admission committees. If you do have a plan and if it is reachable only with a management education, it will definitely make sense to start with GMAT.
Vinod asked, Thanks for the response to my previous question Vimal. I am able to maintain high scores on QA and Verbal on mock tests, however, I am having a tough time with integrated reasoning.can you advise on how i can improve my score on IR.

Vimal answers,
The IR tests application of topics / concepts you have learnt in the Quant and CR sections. Focus on key areas such as averages, mean/median/mode, venn diagrams, inferences etc. Practice from the official pool of questions (given along with OG-13th Edn)
nrj asked, what is scope to get in ISB/NUS with 3Yrs exp and decent GMAT score?

Naveenan answers,
Hi - Good experience - Just the right to get into the colleges that you mentioned. "Decent" GMAT score - Yes, a 730+ will put you in the better quartile of applicants. Also, start working on the essays - at least you will have to cultivate that thought process. These selection processes are very profile driven. All the best!
rohit asked, hi I have been preparing for GMAT frm 1 month I face a difficulty in prep sometimes feel hard to apply concepts while seeing questions specially SC

Vimal answers,
Hi Rohit, The SC is a highly rule based area, so it is imperative that you learn all the rules and also learn to apply these rules - not only in GMAT questions, but also in day-to-day life. There are a lot of books which give you the rules of grammar most often tested on the GMAT. You can start with the basics, and then work your way through GMAT style questions from the OG etc. Please time yourself while you practice - an SC question should take you about 1 min on average.
nrj asked, Thanks for the Reply! Can you put some light how to Start working on essays? I have not joined any coaching classes and i am working with OEM in Operations profile. Will it help? and also too many job changes i.e 3 in 3 yrs effect getting into colleges?

Naveenan answers,
anytime! A differentiated work background always help in the diversity department. Have a good explanation as to why there have been 3 job changes - I am sure there must have been a genuine reason driving the changes. It will be useful, if at least one of these was a very short stint - it could be passed off as a genuine mistake. Start thinking about your strengths and weaknesses and why you enjoy the work that you do ... Try to take out insights and cull out instances where you traveled the extra mile ... Those instances will help you paint the picture about your profile. All the best!
rohit asked, I am thinking of doing MBA from Mc combs howz this school and having 2.5 years of workexperience only ....

Vimal answers,
Hi Rohit, McCombs is a very good B-school, and it is currently in the top 20 among US B-schools. You have less than average experience, so you should aim to score above average on the GMAT. A score of 720+ would be really good. Also, consider applying to a few other B-schools, and keep enough back-up options.
Krishh asked, What is the chance of getting into a good b-school abroad with a score of 690, 92 percentile?

Naveenan answers,
690 is definitely a good score. Depends on the ranking of college that you are applying to. Moreover, these profile dependent procedures always throw up surprises even with good GMAT scores. Now is the time you could start working on the profile / application essays and do an exceptional role in that department. All the best!
bobby asked, what things i pursue most to crack gmat . VA or Qa or Gk

Vimal answers,
The GMAT tests your concepts in Verbal Ability (Grammar, Reading and Critical Reasoning), and Quant. General Knowledge isnt tested on the GMAT.
ZEN asked, What are the Indian B-schools which would consider 700 as a competent GMAT score and consider the profile for further scrutiny. i.e. which will ensure the rest remains on the interview/GD. Thank you

Naveenan answers,
Hi ... SPJain, XLRI, Great Lakes Institute of Management, ISB (if you draft good essays) will consider this a competent score. Beyond that, a lot will rest on the interviews. Almost none of these involve GDs.
mleo asked, i want to know about gmat books which one is best and how much score is needed to get scholarship in europe schools

Vimal answers,
Hi, The 13th edition of the Official Guide is a good place to begin your preparation. In addition to doing your test prep, please also do several practice tests, as time management is equally important. 700+ would be a good score to apply to top European schools with. European schools do not give as much scholarship as b-schools in the US do, but you can still expect a small percentage of your tuition fee to be given as scholarship in certain B-schools.
GEMAT asked, Naveenanji..Your reply would be highly appreciated..any tips on how to think out of box for especially quant..

Naveenan answers,
Hi ... Let us start working on the areas where you would get most leverage. Number Properties. If you look at the way OG questions are classified, a huge percentage of questions originate from this zone. Work exclusively on it and make sure you are able to crack DS questions also in that area. It will improve your confidence and the expertise comes in useful in other areas too. In my mind, inequalities will be the next area to crack. Followed by Geometry. Even though Permutation, Probability are not asked often, getting comfortable with them provides much needed confidence. Once you get these things in place, things like speed, pipes, coordinate geometry, progressions etc. will fall in place. All the best!
pulkit asked, Is canada a good option for pursuing MBA...?? I have my gmat on oct 15.. I would like to know your opinion about canadian B schools???

Vimal answers,
Hi Pulkit, Canada has some very good B-schools. Living and working in Canada has its own advantages, in terms of good living standards, and relative ease of getting a PR. Queen's, Rotman, Richard Ivey, Schulich etc are some of the top options in Canada. Most of the deadlines will be in the Oct - Dec period, so you can comfortable apply to these schools. Please apply early, so that you can maximise your chances.
Prab asked, Hi, This being the first year of IR is it okay if I score very low in this section. My focus will be on quant & verbal only

Naveenan answers,
Hi - Dicey question! Do plan to do well in that section - If you do end up with only a 3 on 8, it is OK as - you rightly mentioned - this is just the first year of IR. I doubt if colleges will take IR based decisions even in next couple of years. Do focus on the 800 score though.
rohit asked, Can u help me with some institutes where i can apply as I am having arnd 2.5 yrs exp only i mean to say viable and good options for this work ex

Vimal answers,
If you are looking at options in North America, US-B schools outside the top 10 would be a good target. Remember that you will have 3 - 4 years at the time of joining the course. You can also look at B-school options in Singapore. NUS and NTU are probably the best options in Singapore.
sandeep asked, Any reference books for each section to do well in GMAT.Each Section like verbal,Quantitative spl. Do a good coaching is imperative for competitive score 730+.

Naveenan answers,
Hi ... Beyond the review books published by GMAC, also look books which will give you the basics. 9th and 10th class CBSE books serve very well for quants as, at the end of the day, GMAT does not test anything like logarithms or trigonometry - It is only basic algebra, number theorem, geometry and arithmetic that gets tested. You could very well get a competitive score on your own. Just stay motivated, do a lot of mock GMATs, analyze your mocks, work on your weakest areas unless they cease to your weakest and continuously keep at it till you reach your dream score. All the best.
GEMAT asked, Thanks a lot for your valuable inputs. It would be great if you could mention any good book any book of yours?

Naveenan answers,
Anytime! I am definitely biased here towards 4GMAT material! I do believe that the quantitative portion of our material helps clear up a lot of basic doubts and concepts. It has been written keeping in mind the candidate who sits in a Tier 2 or 3 city without access to a coaching class. check out 4GMAT.com on how to procure them.
Prab asked, At 41 what is my chance of getting into a regular MBA in the top 10 b school in the US with a score of 700+

Naveenan answers,
Hi - Fairly good chance - Traditionally, in the US, students do not do their MBA fresh out of college. Lot is going to depend on your reason for why you want to do the course at this stage. You would have 18+ years of experience - what is it that you want to achieve with this input, which you believe would not be possible without it. What is the STRONG need / urge to do the course now - at this stage. Get a good 500 word reason for this - with a 700+ score, definitely doable. All the best!
Frank asked, Hi, I have 6+ years of work ex. in finance and accounts. I want to get into Financial Consulting. Do you think an MBA from ISB can help me switch from F&A to Financial Consulting or should I look for some other B-Schools outside India. Can you please name a few?

Naveenan answers,
Yes - The switch that you are asking for is not a tall ask. Considering a typical request to move from IT to Investment Banking, what you are asking for is fairly straightforward. ISB would be able to help you achieve this switch. Ya - you might have to start with a not-so-big company at the beginning - but, it is not an impossible task. Colleges like NYU Stern outside India could definitely help you do the shift - but, they come with a price tag! All the best!
Rohit220391 asked, My graduation percentage was pretty bad,it was less than 50 per cent.If I score well in GMAT will that land me in a good college?else is there any decent college for me considering my graduation percentage?
Vimal answers, Hi Rohit, Most B-schools look at a combination of factors, including the GMAT score, work experience, application essays, UG / PG scores etc. If your UG scores are bad, you cannot do anything about it. You should start working on the other factors which are still in your control - your GMAT score and your application essays. A really good GMAT score offsets poor acads, to an extent. Apply to B-schools that are not very fussy about UG scores.
Naveenan answers, Hi - Depends on your number of years of experience. Depends on whether there have been situations in your work / achievements that offset the glitches. Depends on what your story is about the score being less than 50 per cent Yes - GMAT is definitely more important for you as it indicates that you are ready for the academic rigor. All the best!
Krishh asked, Hi, I am sure it'll be hard to answer all queries since you are bombarded with many: My Q again: "Is there a GMAT score inflation over the years?"

Naveenan answers,
Hi - there are two dimensions to this. GMAC maintains that a scaled score of 46 on 60 in 1992 is same as a 46 on 60 in 2012. However, due to the sheer quality of the talent pool, Yes - the 46 in 2012 will fetch you a lesser 800 score than the 46 in 1992. However, colleges have also been conscious of this fact. There have been instances where colleges have consciously tried to reduce their average GMAT score as they wanted to make it a profile based entrance process and not a sheer math/verbal process. I hope that answers your question.
Rohit220391 asked, Thank you for your reply Mr.Vimal.In that case it will be helpful if you can name some of such school.

Vimal answers,
Apply to B-schools outside the top 20 in the US. Look at Canadian B-schools. You can also consider doing an MBA from an Asian B-schools. NTU and NUS are known to be fussy about UG grades. But a good set of application essays, a good interview and a great GMAT score should put you in a strong position.
re asked, I have 15 years of IT/Consulting experience (8 years abroad) in leadership roles; is it worth taking a GMAT?

Naveenan answers,
The question to ask yourself will be "What do you hope to achieve using management education?" Is there something that you deeply WANT to achieve - that you will not be able to - based on your current qualification / expertise / experience. If the answer is "Not much" to this question - then it may not be worth taking the GMAT! If "yes", then "why...". All the best!
Naveenan says, Thanks to all the serious participants in the Chat. We hope you do the best with at GMAT and crack into the schools of your choice. We also thank Rediff for providing the platform. Look forward to doing another round of this in the near future. All the best! Naveenan (Mumbai) & Vimal (Bengaluru). 4GMAT.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


Tags: GMAT , ISB , MBA , Vimal , NUS

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