What does a 3.8 GPA + 670 GMAT score + four years of work experience + three years of community service equal? It could equal nothing, or it could equal a letter of admission. Knowing with absolute certainty is not possible, however, because admissions is not a science. After all, if it were, the admissions office would just do away with the entire time- and resource-consuming admissions process and use a simple formula. Why not make life that much simpler for everyone?
In some countries, simple tests are used to establish benchmarks—a candidate gets into a top MBA program with a score of X but not with Y. In the United States, some graduate programs have cutoffs for GRE scores or situations in which GMAT/LSAT scores and grades are definitive. Plainly put, no clear-cut criteria exist with top global MBA programs. Instead, the admissions committee reads a file holistically and seeks evidence of the applicant’s ability to contribute in class and perform at the highest levels post-graduation.
Although trying to reduce the MBA admissions process to a science can be tempting, doing so would be unwise. By listening to chatter on message boards or blogs about the “right GMAT score” or the “right amount of work experience” rather than keeping in mind that the process is holistic in nature—meaning that the admissions committees evaluate all criteria with no particular scorecard—you are wasting valuable time and energy. Simply be your best candidate and present your full story, rather than focusing on some stats.