Low GMAT Scores: NYU Stern’s Perspective

In my research into low GMAT scores and how MBA applicants should respond to them, I spoke with a couple of schools, NYU’s Stern School of Business and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Today’s post gives you a taste of NYU Stern’s perspective.

Isser Gallogly, Executive Director of MBA Admissions at NYU’s Stern School of Business, said NYU looks at everything in the application holistically. Gallogly calls the GMAT, “just one measure of the candidate’s academic potential.” As an admissions director, Gallogly said he’d prefer to be able to look at a proven track record over a one-time test. The logical next step for you, the candidate, given his statement, is to emphasize your academic record and/or professional experience, if it outshines your GMAT score.

What should you do if you think the GMAT doesn’t fully represent your potential? Gallogly of NYU Stern said the first thing to do is retake the test. He actually recommends scheduling two test dates. Stern takes the highest test score if the test is taken more than once. Hand-in-hand with that advice is the reminder to prepare early and thoroughly for the GMAT. Don’t leave it until the last minute; get it done before your essays and the rest of the application.

What shouldn’t you say on the MBA application regarding a low GMAT score? Gallogly suggests you should not talk about being a “poor test-taker” on the application, as that’s not making the best case that you can succeed academically.

As far as the nitty-gritty scoring of the GMAT as it relates to an application to Stern, Gallogly said people focus way too much on the average and not enough at the 80% range. Being a little bit below average is not a deal-breaker, Gallogly said. NYU’s average for Fall 2009 was a 717, and the 80% range was 680 to 760.

Next post: UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business on the GMAT.
Tune in to MBA Podcaster for the audio podcast later this month.

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  1. Lee the Gmat Coach says:

    The GMAT is an important part of the application process, but as Mr. Gallogly said, it isn't the ONLY thing! Students need to prepare effectively and efficiently for their GMAT, but that seems to be getting tougher and tougher to do with today's busy schedules. Some students take expensive on-line, and off-line, classes, but for many people, because of the personalized nature of the GMAT, those doesn't always work and give the student their desired score increases. Students who study themselves usually end up frustrated and wasting alot of time reading and working through a book. That's not good either.

    My advice, as a Professional GMAT Coach, would be for students to budget for their prep, understand their learning needs and desired score, and follow a proven study plan, such as we have at my company.

    Either way, don't neglect the test or it will come back to bite you! :)

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