MBA Interview Acceptance Rate by GMAT and GPA

The interview is a crucial component of the MBA admission process. All top full-time MBA programs interview applicants before admitting them. Generally the MBA admissions committee is looking for two things during the interview, that you fit the culture of the school and that you have the emotional intelligence to succeed at business school. I have already looked at MBA Interview acceptance rate by itself. However, I always wondered when applying to business school if all applicants are considered equal after they have been invited to interview or does the rest of the application, like the GMAT and GPA, still matter. It turns out that it matters at some schools and not at others.

MBA Interview Acceptance Rate: High vs. Low GMAT

MBA Interview Acceptance Rate by GMATThe graph above shows the average acceptance rate for applicants who were invited to interview, separated into GMAT below 720 and GMAT 720 and higher. Two thirds of the schools have a higher acceptance rate for applicants with high GMATs. This suggests that being invited to interview does not put everyone on an even playing field, other components of the application still matter. Booth, UNC, Stanford and Columbia have the largest disadvantage for applicants with low GMAT during interviews. At the other end of the spectrum, MIT, Tepper, Emory and McCombs all have a higher acceptance rate for applicants who were invited to interview but have a lower GMAT score. I don’t think that a lower GMAT actually helped these candidates, but that these schools consider the interview to be more important than other schools, which gives low GMAT applicants the opportunity to stand out.

MBA Interview Acceptance Rate: High vs. Low GPA

MBA Interview Acceptance Rate by GPA Business School AdmissionsUnlike GMAT, half the schools seem to care about GPA after interviewing candidates while the other half do not. Similar to the GMAT table, MIT, Tepper and McCombs have a higher acceptance rate for applicants with lower GPAs. The only exception is Emory, which still doesn’t have that much of a disadvantage for low GPA. GPA does not seem to be as important as GMAT to admissions committees after interviews given that the average disadvantage for low GMAT is -10% and the average disadvantage for low GPA is -1%.

Most of the schools cut applicants with low GPA and low GMAT before interviews. I excluded Tuck and Kellogg because they will interview all applicants who want to interview. So it is not fair to compare them to the other schools who have already cut applicants with low scores. I included their tables at the end of this article for reference.

My take away from this analysis is that some schools place a lower weight on interviews while other schools place a higher weight on interviews. If you are applying to Booth with a high GMAT and GPA then you probably don’t need to stress the interview too much. On the other hand if you have a low GPA and GMAT and are applying to Sloan, you should prepare as much as possible for your MIT MBA interview because they take their interviews much more seriously than other schools.

If you are preparing for business school interviews, check out my MBA interview preparation guide.

Kellogg and Tuck MBA interview Acceptance Rate by GMAT

MBA Interview Acceptance Rate by GMAT Tuck Kellogg

Kellogg and Tuck MBA interview Acceptance Rate by GPA

MBA Interview Acceptance Rate by GPA Tuck KelloggThe data for this article came from GMAT Club, one of the best websites for GMAT preparation.

6 thoughts on “MBA Interview Acceptance Rate by GMAT and GPA

  1. landerpr

    Stanford usually quotes a 50% acceptance rate for interviews. Any guess as to why both averages are much lower than 50%?

    1. Wayne Atwell Post author

      Hi landerpr,

      It is possible that Stanford’s actual acceptance rate for interviews is 50% and my sample size is biased. My data comes from GMAT Club and represents about 10% of the total applicants. It is also possible that Stanford doesn’t want to panic applicants too much so they tell them that the acceptance rate is higher than it actually is. Only Stanford knows the truth. It does seem that GMAT still matters after interviews but GPA does not.

  2. Bakhram

    MBA Data Guru, I’m curious how you verbalize those numbers? I mean, do you say, “provided that you got an invitation to interview with Booth; if your GMAT is 720 or higher, the probability of being admitted is 53%. Conversely, if it’s lower than 720, the probability is 34%”? In other words, are those percentages you quote conditional probabilities of admission by GMAT score buckets given interview invites?
    I am sure GMAT scores do play a role even after interviews (which is the point of this article, right?), but I think “Low GMAT Disadvantage” column, the way you calculated, better reflects schools’ average GMAT scores, and not so much acceptance “bias” after interview. I mean, when you take fixed yardstick of GMAT 720, your analysis is kind of bound to become a reflection of schools’ average GMAT scores. Booth has one of the highest, so naturally, having higher GMAT score is more important.
    I’d suggest to improve this analysis by using flexible yardstick of school’s Average GMAT Score. This should help to make a distinction between (a) having higher quality applicant pool per se and (b) the role GMAT scores play after interview.

    1. Data Guru Post author

      I hear your point and it generally makes sense but honestly most schools in the top 20 have a average GMAT that is somewhere around 720 give or take a few points so it is not going to make a huge difference. It is most likely the people who are 770 or 620 that are moving the needle on this not the 710 vs 730.


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