Stanford Graduate School of Business is considered by many to be the best business school in the world, and swaps the ranking of #1 with HBS or Wharton on any given day. With over 8,000 applicants per year and only about 1/10th of that number in the student body, it’s daunting to imagine them saying yes. If you happen to have a good-but-not-great GMAT score, you may struggle with your odds of admission at all. But is it even worth applying if you have a 650 or lower?
While it’s not common, students with low GMAT scores do get accepted to top schools. Stanford posts their GMAT range as 610-790, but this is the middle 50%-- the fat part of the Gaussian bell curve. Based upon posted statistics, it’s safe to say that fewer than 10% of the applicants to Stanford have GMATs under 650 and fewer than 8% of admitted applicants have scores below that mark. But that’s as much as a couple dozen folks hiding in the tails of the distribution. The question is, what characteristics must someone in the tails have?
Stanford is not a score-chaser.
They could literally fill their incoming class with perfect GMAT scorers—yes there are hundreds each year who put their name in the hat there. Stanford doesn’t need to pad their GMAT scores because, well, they’re Stanford. It just so happens that their average MBA candidate also has a really good GMAT score. But back to the ones that don’t. Suffice it to say, if you are admitted to Stanford with a 650 GMAT score, you are clearly bringing something to the table besides your score. While you don’t necessarily need to have developed a cure for cancer, or sold a patent to Apple or some other impossible achievement, you do have to impress them in some way that is uncommon.
Everybody thinks of themselves as uncommon, but you must be honest and ask yourself if your story is something that is truly going to stand out.
For everyone who thinks they meet this standard, there is someone else who is actually unique, but doesn’t realize it. The best way to test the waters is to talk to someone who has seen and heard from lots of b-school applicants. The most obvious way to do this is through a chat with an admissions consultant, but you may also know folks in your circle who have some knowledge about it. While it’s great to pay for good consulting service, you should never pay for a consultation. Much like going to see an attorney about a potential case, you should be able to have an initial talk with a consultant for free. Amerasia, for example will schedule a complimentary consultation via our website.
The bottom line is this: Will a 650 get you admitted? Yes indeed it can.
Can YOU get into Stanford with your 650? It all depends on the story behind the score. Focus on what you have achieved that is extraordinary and what you offer that is unique and different than the average Stanford applicant (keeping in mind the “average” GSB applicant is pretty impressive), and at least you will have the best shot with that 650 that you can possibly have.