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Harvard Business School Admissions Director on GMAT vs. GRE

dee_leopoldHarvard Business School (HBS) has stated publicly for some time that it accepts both the GMAT and the GRE and does not prefer one over the other. In a bid to be even more transparent on the issue, HBS Admissions Director Dee Leopold devoted a recent post on her Director’s Blog to the matter.

To substantiate the claim that the school is agnostic in terms of a preference between the two tests, Leopold chose to reveal exactly how many applicants submitted each type of test score, along with how many of those applicants were ultimately admitted and matriculated. While the vast majority of applicants opted to submit GMAT scores, the percentage of matriculating admits as compared to total applicants broken out by test were within close range.

Leopold did note one important change in the admissions process at HBS this year, which is that candidates will no longer have the option to submit both test scores. “We need to officially verify scores and prefer to do it for only one test per candidate,” Leopold wrote.

She also shed some light on how her team looks at test scores, be they from the GMAT or the GRE. “We care less about the overall score than we do about the components,” she wrote. “And we look at the subscores in the context of the candidate’s profile.”

What this means, she continued, is that the GMAT or GRE-Q score of an engineer with top grades who has been doing highly quantitative work on the job is of less consequence that that of an English major with no quantitative coursework or professional experience. The English major would be helped by a strong GMAT/GRE quant score because it would serve to show Leopold’s team that he or she will be able to handle the quant work at HBS.

“The corollary is true too: candidates who don’t have a background that demonstrates extensive practice in reading and writing may be helped by strong verbal subscores,” Leopold continued.

As a final reminder, Leopold adds that every candidate does need to submit either a GMAT or GRE score when he or she applies. “We don’t accept LSATs, MCATs, SATs or the fact that you had exceptional undergraduate grades,” she wrote. Unofficial scores are fine for the application, and official scores will be accepted after the deadline

Read Leopold’s complete post on GMAT/GRE.