STEM background, GMAT threshold, and MBA admissions

Hello fellow chimps

I have a fairly ordinary question: What GMAT score to aim for as a white male if you want to have a realistic shot at HBS or Wharton.


  • 26YO Danish white male.

  • Medical doctor (graduated June 2021).

  • First generation academic. Received McKinsey's Achievement Award for Social Mobility in recognition hereof.

  • Masters GPA top 8%. Undergrad GPA top 8%. To clarify: Med school in Denmark is comprised of a bachelor's degree and a master's degree with separate rankings.

  • Extracurricular: Founded a student organization for med students with interest in business. Still exists today. 360+ members. Also took 4 courses in finance, economics and game theory.

  • Student jobs: 1 year at a top 10 pharma company, 15 hours/week. 1 full-time gap year doing research in said company's blockbuster drug. 2 years working in a biotech venture capital fund, 20 hours/week.

I see a lot of posts saying "Get above 700 and you're home safe". At the same time, there's a lot of talk about demographics, where white males have a harder time and should aim for 740+. At the same time, there's some talk about candidates with an alternative background might have an easier time getting and could make the cut with 720-730. 

Does anyone out there have any experience with applying to MBA programs with an alternative background / know anyone who has done so?

Comments (9)

Jan 19, 2022 - 3:28pm
hq_life, what's your opinion? Comment below:

not really. One of my friends had the average GMAT with a well padded CV - I wouldn't say great. He was rejected without an interview. Checkout and you will see individuals getting rejected even with above average GMAT. Doesn't give a full story on them, but gives an idea. It's all about your goals and your story. 

I am not sure - so someone more experienced may have to answer on your work experience. I don't know how your work experienced will be looked at, since its not full-time. Both of the experiences were part-time. Your goals could also be questioned because you are a recently graduated doctor and already looking for another degree <1 year. Why? 

  • 3
Jan 19, 2022 - 5:09pm
madmedic, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Oh my god. The GMAT scores of the rejected applicants paint a harrowing picture. I guess it's more important to have a solid story and CV than going above and beyond on the GMAT.

Most Helpful
Jan 19, 2022 - 3:22pm
GramReaper, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Are you planning on completing a residency program or just going straight to business school? The former would likely differentiate you further as a candidate since you could bring clinical experience (outside of student rotations) to your program.

Both programs you mentioned place a major emphasis on diversity, whether it's social, economic or experience related. Speaking from personal experience, I practiced for two years at a large AMC prior to applying to business school and found that experience made for more lively (and realistic) class discussions when discussing healthcare. (Additional background, the other healthcare providers in my cohort had anywhere from 2-6 years of clinical experience). Alternatively, your pharma experience could provide an interesting viewpoint for health economics, pricing and market access, etc.

A lot of these programs like to look at how your background can shape and strengthen the cohort as a whole so be prepared to discuss how your background will be able to do that.

Jan 19, 2022 - 3:30pm
madmedic, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm doing residency as we speak. Good point regarding diversity. The plan is to move into consulting afterwards. Interviewed at McKinsey recently and made it to the final round, but fumbled a banking case. They did however encourage me to apply again next year. I was thinking to apply to HBS and Wharton in 2023 and see if it sticks. If not, then again in 2024 when I have more experience.

Jan 19, 2022 - 5:35pm
GramReaper, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you don't mind me asking, why consulting? What's your end game? Are you thinking healthcare consulting in particular? The reason I ask is because you have a solid hard science background, which likely means you're both organized and process oriented. While you'd probably make a great consultant, you're background is also great for VC.

Jan 21, 2022 - 11:56am
madmedic, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not at all. Judging from the VC's I've spoken with, most of them prefer the candidate to have some consulting experience before going into VC. In general, I just enjoy the challenge the sake of it - rather an engaging career with progression than a 9-5.

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Jan 19, 2022 - 8:27pm

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