MBA blog

Lower GRE Scores Accepted By HBS?

Contrary to the commonly held belief, applicants to Harvard Business School can be admitted with a much lower GRE score than is required for accepted students with GMAT.

Recently, HBS has published information on its 2019 class. Unprecedentedly, this data has not only average GMAT results, but also GRE scores. According to the newly published class profile, the average GRE results are 164 (for both sections). Compared to the average GMAT results (730), it’s actually 20 points lower than that, as 164 in GRE means 710 in GMAT. At Stanford, the situation is the same: their medium GRE results are 164 (verbal) and 165 (quant).

According to Chad Losee, the chief of admissions at Harvard Business School, neither of the two tests has prevalence. He wrote in a post that HBS couldn’t care less which one of the tests candidates should submit to the school. This year, almost 12% of the new class submitted GRE scores, not GMAT. At some schools, like Wharton, this percentage is lower (9%), but at Stanford it makes 13%, and at MIT Sloan – 18%.

Which Test Do I Choose? The One That Shows My Strengths

Chad Losee advises future MBA students to choose the test that can show their qualities better. It should be the first stage of their application process.

Lower GRE results are accepted not only at Harvard, but is an already registered trend for business schools as a whole (according to Poets and Quants ). Being the very first time when Harvard has shown their students’ medium GRE scores, this discrepancy was unknown until 2017.

Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of, a consulting company for business school applicants, believes that each applicant should choose the test that reflects their strengths better. Still, the lower accepted scores for GRE might become an important point in the decision-making process of future applicants.

Job Experience More Important For HBS Than Academic Accomplishments?

However, Linda Abraham’s opinion is that HBS is probable to assign a bigger importance to job experience when making admissions decisions, as this year’s class GPA is 3.71 and GMAT is 730 – but some other schools give higher median GMAT scores.

As HBS’s GMAT scores didn’t move up from last year, and the GPA didn’t change as well (in spite of only 11% of applicants getting accepted), it may show that the school values professional experience more highly than any academic achievements.

Among other things that changed drastically in this year’s HBS class information are the following:

  • the school’s yield moved up from 90% to 91%;
  • lower percentage of female students: down to 42% from 43%;
  • no changes in the percentages of US citizens and international students enrolment;
  • number of African students went up from 12 to 16;
  • more students who studied economics or business in college increased by 4%, while STEM and humanities backgrounds shrunk by 5% each.

Learn more about the scores for top business schools on MBA25 event in Kyiv!

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