So you have taken the GMAT and exceeded even your highest expectations, scoring at the very top of the scale. Congratulations! But please, do not assume that earning a score that high means you can relax with respect to the other components of your application. Every year, applicants who have scored 750 or even higher are rejected from their target business schools—even when their GMAT score falls within the top 10% of the schools’ range. And many of these candidates were rejected because of a fatal, but ultimately avoidable, mistake: they got overconfident and assumed their GMAT score alone would get them in.
“I joke sometimes that I relish nothing more than rejecting people that have a 780 on the GMAT, because they come with the 780 GMAT and think they’re golden, and they don’t have to worry about anything else on the application. Well, you do. There are all these other pieces of information that we ask for, and you have to make sure that you are strong across the board.” So said Jonathan Fuller, senior associate director of admissions at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, in a recent online chat. Ross—as well as every other business school—wants to learn a lot more about you than your GMAT score alone can convey. The MBA programs are interested in hearing about your ambitions, accomplishments, leadership skills, teamwork experience, perseverance, motivation, integrity, compassion … and the list goes on. Fundamentally, admissions committees need to be able to determine whether you will be a vital and contributing member of their community, and your GMAT score tells them only that you can do the work.
Heed our advice—even (or especially!) those of you with a 780—and commit yourself to the rest of your application with the same enthusiasm with which you approached the GMAT!