BusinessWeek recently published an excellent article, GMAT: The MBA Job Seeker’s Best Friend,
exploring the impact of GMAT scores on post-MBA job prospects and the reality that some business school are encouraging accepted students to retake the GMAT to improve their chances of getting desired jobs.
What is the role of GMAT scores in job recruiting. Recruiters at certain elite strategy consulting firms and investment banks use the GMAT as an early-stage screening tool. BW makes clear that a high GMAT will not land a job offer, but a low GMAT could prevent you from getting that first interview at the most competitive banks and consulting firms. The article hints that 700 is the cut-off.
Steve, author of The 2012 MBA Applicant blog, shrewdly observes in The GMAT is becoming more important “So this is a heads up to all those who plan on ‘making it rain’ for the rest of their lives…you better have the GMAT score necessary to get into the club!”
He’s so right. Firm reliance on the GMAT score as a screening mechanism has another consequence, not discussed in the article. Because admissions offices in our tough economy are weighing post-MBA employability more heavily, they want to admit applicants with realistic goals. If you have a 680 GMAT and say you want to work for Goldman or McKinsey, then you may be perceived as unrealistic — particularly at programs with average GMATs at matriculation of over 700.
I have spoken with many admissions directors who would reject otherwise admissible applicants whom they deemed unrealistic. Others view applicants with a mismatch between their GMAT score and their goals as candidates who hadn’t done their homework and consequently are uninformed. In either case, the lack of information/realism seemed more damaging than the GMAT score itself.
When presenting your goals, be informed. Be real.