Getting into Harvard University is a dream for many MBA aspirants. The GMAT cut-off score for Harvard is considered to be one of the most difficult cut-offs to meet. It is widely known  that getting into the university is a challenging and difficult process – in 2020, Harvard’s acceptance rate was just 9.9%.

If your goal is to secure a seat in the Harvard Business School, you need to have a well-rounded profile. If you are able to secure admission, The MBA program designed by Harvard can help you achieve your career goals and have a positive impact on your professional life for years to come. However, your GMAT score holds only 22% weightage in your application. So, keep in mind that scoring well on the GMAT is only one aspect of the ideal application to Harvard.

GMAT cut-off score for Harvard: A sneak peek!

If we take a look at the trend, the average GMAT score achieved by members of the class due to graduate from Harvard in the year 2022 is 730. So, does this mean that you need a minimum score of 730 to ensure selection to Harvard? No, that is not the case, because average scores can be highly misleading. Recently, students having a score in the range of 620 – 679 were able to secure admission to Harvard too.

You will be surprised to know that Harvard Business School has even admitted a few students whose GMAT scores lay in the range of 500 to 600. The accepted range of 620-790 that we commonly find on the Internet or hear through word of mouth is only one side of the story. Several students have been admitted who have not achieved a GMAT score in the range commonly believed to be ideal for Ivy League college applications. The admission statistics resemble a bell curve, where while a majority of admitted students scored 700 or more on their GMAT, several students also scored scores lower than 700.

What is a perfect GMAT Score for Harvard admission?

Below is a guide that will help you understand key facts about the GMAT cut-off score for Harvard:

  • Be in the safe zone of 750-800

If your GMAT score is in the range of 750-800, and your work experience is adequate, then you can consider yourself to be on the right track for Harvard. Other factors add credibility to your application, including overall GPA, resume, and quality of recommendations. You need to keep in mind that even a score of 800 cannot guarantee your admission to Harvard. Around 10% of students with this score are rejected each year. 

Having a good GMAT score will make your application more appealing. Once the desired score is attained, the next step is to prepare for the other essential components required for your application. Now is the time to polish your application, gather impressive letters of recommendation, and write a great essay. Begin interview preparations as soon as you know that your score lies in the required range, as chances are high that you will be able to proceed to the next stage of admission.

Quality tips on GMAT cut-off score to know where you stand:

Here are some pointers that will help you understand what areas of your application you should focus on. For some, it can be retaking the test, and for others, it can be working on other aspects like their application or interpersonal skills to stand out. 

Here are the different zones you might find yourself in after you get your GMAT score:

  • The go-for-it zone (690-740)

If your GMAT score is between 690-740, then there is a good chance that you will be invited for the next stage of the admission process. However, that’s just the beginning. Now you need to start working on the other aspects of your admission process. You can begin by preparing for the interview. Make sure you brush up on your interpersonal skills and your knowledge of current affairs. Ensure that your essay and letters of recommendation are impressive.

  • The questionable zone (650-690)

If you are an applicant whose GMAT score lies between 650-690, your application might face some extra scrutiny from the admissions committee. The trick here is to come up with something unique that others won’t have. Out of all applicants having a score below 690, only 10% are invited for an interview, and there is usually something exceptional about their applications or work experience.

  • The shock zone (450-650)

If you know someone who was given admission to Harvard even with a GMAT score below 480, then you must be aware that those are some extraordinary people or they have had challenging lives. There are very few candidates who are able to secure admission to Harvard with a score below 650, so if your score lies in this range, you should consider reattempting the GMAT and trying for a higher score.

Some final tips for making your application to Harvard University count

  • Do your research well. Make sure you know the recent trend in GMAT score cut-offs for Harvard before you start preparing for your GMAT exam, so you can set a goal for yourself.
  • Build your profile well, assess whether your existing work experience is enough for your application to Harvard, and if you can complete an internship or similar in your field of choice so as to add to your profile, consider doing that.
  • Write a great essay. Be authentic and concise.
  • Your letters of recommendation are an important part of your application. Request these at an appropriate time from former teachers at college or managers you have worked with in your present or former job, as it is likely that they will take longer to complete these than you anticipate.

Have faith in yourself and your application, and work hard to attain your desired score in the GMAT. Keep in mind that those who are able to secure admission to Harvard Business School likely envisioned it as a milestone in their professional career and worked hard to achieve it over an extended period of time. Hard and smart work on the GMAT and the other components of your application will go a long way, and significantly improve your chances of admission. You never know what clicks with the admissions committee, so remember that they are experienced professionals who are trained to spot a capable applicant. Do your best and trust yourself. Good luck!

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