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
The 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
Unlike 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
Kellogg and Tuck MBA interview Acceptance Rate by GPA
The data for this article came from GMAT Club, one of the best websites for GMAT preparation.