Candidate Q&A: A trade-off between experience & GMAT score

A question from a prospective MBA candidate: I’m concerned about my GMAT score.  I know there is a trade-off between work experience and GMAT and I’m trying to find the balance.  What would be the ideal experience in years that B-schools would consider for lower GMAT scores? Please let me know.

Admit Advantage:

I think you want to know about the balance between scores and work experience. The business school application is a balancing act. For those applicants that come in with less work experience, the GMAT and GPA become more important factors; for those that come in with more work experience, the GPA and GMAT become less important.

The average work experience for top business schools is around 4 to 5 years. For people who are coming in less than that, they will be well served to score better on their GMAT and have a stronger GPA. Obviously, quality of work experience makes a huge difference as well. Remember, for most schools, the GMAT is simply a proxy for how a candidate will be able to do given the rigors of b-school. A 770 is not necessarily all that much better than a 710 (although it doesn’t hurt) — both are indications that you will be able to do the work. To answer your question completely, there is no magic formula for what GMAT you need with a given work experience as all of these factors are considered in your application.

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