GMAT importance

I'm a current second year in a non-MBB consulting firm. I'm headed to a middle market PE firm ($2b+ in NYC) in a bit. I thought I'd take the GMAT before I start to just get it out of the way. I don't have a burning desire to go to b school if I can avoid it, but I thought I'd ask about how important it is and what score I might need to target given my profile.

Profile: Graduated with 4.0 / summa cum laude from top 10 target school with a hard science major. Have done a couple of years of consulting where I've generally specialized in one industry area, and am moving to a PE firm that specializes in that industry area. I think given the PE focus, I'm probably targeting H/S/W for recruiting oops out of the MBA. I'm a straight white guy, for what it's worth. I guess my hope is my industry focus and non-traditional course of study will help, but I'm curious how much GMAT is weighted vs the other aspects of my application, and what score I should target as a result.

Comments (17)

Dec 4, 2020 - 2:15am

GMAT still important at HSW. Given your finance background and non-URM status you'll probably want to shoot for a 720+ which I think nowadays is average for those schools.

I say this bc you will be compared with all the other straight white male finance candidates which, let's be honest folks, that accepted candidate pool and the straight Asian male finance accepted candidate pool will have, on average, the highest GMATs of accepted candidates.

You clearly have a strong profile so the above average GMAT score is just another check the box.

I bet you could probably get that score with 2-3 mos of 10-20 hrs a week of prep. I did more but my creds aren't as strong as yours - got a 740

Dec 4, 2020 - 5:40pm

for H/S you are really going to want a 740+ to be above average assuming given you are a white male from finance

Dec 10, 2020 - 12:01pm

Honestly if you can work in PE, you can get a 750+ on the GMAT.  Grades are so good and from a target school that they will probably give more of a pass but there is just no upside to risking it and not crushing the thing. It's not very hard if you put in the time

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Feb 8, 2021 - 6:39pm

Hey guys -- sorry to unearth this but I wanted to give you an update. I was able to swing a 740 on the GMAT. I'm happy with the score, but was getting 750-780 in my practice tests. Do you think it's worth retaking (maybe take another practice test or two beforehand), to see if I can nudge it up even a little higher to 750 or 760 or will the 740 make it a non-issue when applying to HSW?


I think of it within the context of all PE applicants, and I wonder if it'll be a little bit on the lower end. Thanks in advance for the help!

Feb 8, 2021 - 9:54pm

I agree with bumblebee. But at the same time - if you can get 750-760 without any issue i would do it this time around only. The reason I say this is because this year and possibly next year MBAs are seeing record levels of applications due to the economy and COVID. There is a lot of competition. While 740 is good, you dont want to regret later that 760 couldve done the job. If you can get it - go for it. 

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Feb 8, 2021 - 9:55pm

That's good to hear - I might try to take it again just to see if the second time around I can stumble my way into a 750+ but I'm hoping that at 740 it just becomes a "check the box" situation, and comes down more to interview and essay (which I feel I can reasonably do well on). 

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Feb 9, 2021 - 11:14am

Good to know -- yeah part of me doubts I can predictably pull off another 780 (that practice test felt like the starts aligned), but I do feel like a 750-760 could be reasonable. If I had my way, I probably would opt to not go to business school, but I suppose it's only $250 and maybe another 10-20 hours of time investment (for the test and keep the material refreshed before I take it).


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