The GMAT and the Wharton MBA

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For as long as I can remember, the Wharton MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania has been ranked among the top five business schools. It's extremely popular, and their standards are as high as those of any other program in the country.

Wharton GMAT Stats

In the most recent BusinessWeek.com ranking, the Wharton full-time MBA comes in second behind the University of Chicago. The mean and median GMAT scores of admitted students are 712 and 710, respectively, and the middle 80% of GMAT scores lie between 660 and 760. (10% of admitted students are scoring 760 or higher? Wow!)

As is usually the case, there is plenty to be learned at Wharton's website. Not only do they have the usual complement of admissions pages discussing application requirements and the like, but they also feature an MBA Admissions Blog that appears to be updated regularly.

GMAT Scores and Splits

Most pertinent to the topic of this site are a few sentences on their FAQ page:

Our average GMAT score for recent entering classes is approximately 715, but the range of scores of admitted students is very broad. A high score does not guarantee anyone's acceptance, nor does a low score preclude it. There is no minimum score required. If you take the GMAT more than once, the Admissions Committee will evaluate your highest score. We do not average multiple GMAT scores.

There's not a lot of information here that is unique to Wharton (except for that 715), but all of it is worth remembering. Even at a top-tier school such as this one, a score in the 700-710 range is plenty good enough to get you in...if you are the type and quality of student they're looking for. You can score a 780 and still get rejected. It isn't worth the time to up your score from Wharton's 50th percentile to their 90th percentile, especially if you could exert the same effort to improve your application in other ways.

Anecdotally, it seems that Wharton looks closely at your quant/verbal split. More than any other school I'm familiar with, they value an even split (for instance, the benchmark 80/80, which usually translates into about a 700 overall), and they rarely admit students without reasonably strong (say, 65th or 70th percentile) quantitative scores. A 55/95 split may put you within Wharton's middle 80%, but it probably won't earn you serious consideration.

 

 

About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Math

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises!
Click to read more.