Ideal GMAT Score for ISB (Secret Revealed!)

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You would agree that it is almost impossible to get anyone to answer this question:
 

What is the GMAT “cutoff” required for ISB?

 
There are varying answers:
 
Some people tell you not to apply with a sub-700 score.
 
While others tell you the story of their cousin who got in with a 640.
 
Worry not! In this in-depth article, you will find the answers to all your questions related to the GMAT scores required to successfully apply to ISB.
 
We will also look at the trend over the last 10 years, the highest and lowest scores at ISB during this period, and look at the mid 80% range of the students.
 
Take a peek into the differences in the GMAT scores at the Hyderabad campus, and the Mohali campus, and finally you will get a framework to apply to your specific profile.
 
We pulled out the data from the ISB website.
 
Some of it exists in ISB PGP class group
 
And for some historical data, we had to resort to some hacks (such as using wayback machine to look at the archived data).
 
We went all the way back to 2006 because we reckon that 10 years are about as much as you need.
 
 
Let’s get started!
 

1) What have the GMAT scores been at ISB?

 
Here is the average GMAT score at ISB over the last 10 years:
 

Average GMAT Score at ISB from 2007 to 2017

YearAverage GMAT score
2017707
2016704
2015700
2014711
2013711
2012710
2011712
2010709
2009716
2008714
2007707
2006706

 

Here are a couple of things you will notice straight away:
 
1) GMAT scores have 7 in the most significant bit. For the less technically inclined, what I meant was – you have scores in excess of 700 in all the 10 years 🙂
 
2) The highest average GMAT scores for any year was 2010 with a whopping 716. The lowest average GMAT score was in 2016 with the number just at the border of 700.
 
Let us look at the same data from a perspective of analysing the trend. This time we are changing it to Class of 2007 and Class of 2017.
 

 
Let’s be honest: there is no such trend.
 
But if you do want to read into it – you can perhaps see a spike around 2010 but the average scores are now back to what they were in 2007.
 
The biggest drop was for the ISB class of 2016 for which the number dropped from 711 to 700.
 
Takeaway: Though the class size at ISB has been increasing (just in 2012 the class size was 574, while this year around 812 students graduated), the average GMAT scores have consistently been hovering above the 700 mark.
 


 
Okay, so this is a lot of data thrown at you. What does this mean for you? Read on!
 
 

2) What GMAT score do I need for ISB?

 
If you are reading this article this far, it means that you are in one of the following categories:
 
1) You have taken the GMAT, and are not sure if your scores are enough.
 
2) You have not taken the GMAT, and are wondering how much would be enough.
 
 
Let us tackle the second category first.
 
If you have NOT taken the GMAT, go ahead and score as high as possible.
 
In our experience, there are fundamentally three things that ISB looks for:
 

1) Clarity of vision that shows you are a person who can get what you want.

 
In our opinion it is very, very important that you figure out what you want to do with your MBA degree.
 
If you have not seen the ISB essays for this year, do check the ISB essays 2017-18 now!
 
However, this is the part that really cannot SEPARATE you from the rest.
 
It is a hygiene factor: necessary but not sufficient.
 
 

2) History of excellence that tells them that you have the potential to lead.

 
This is stuff that cannot pretty much change.
 
You need to have taken interest in the world around you.
 
If you spent the entire summer goofing around, watching GOT, there’s not much hope.
 
 

3) Pedigree that is shown through GMAT, Undergrad institute, and Employer brand.

 
You wish you could have studied harder in the 12th to get into a better college – or have gotten a better rank.
 
You wish you could change your marks at college – (never knew inorganic chemistry mattered in life 🙂 ).
 
You wish a better performance in the campus interview would’ve gotten you that dream job.
 
 
Here is the deal:
 
You can stop wishing.
 
And start studying for the GMAT!
 
Now, let us look at the last bit of data: the mid 80% range.
 
What this means is, you stack all the students in order of their GMAT scores and remove the outliers.
 
Outliers are the extreme cases: say someone like an astronaut-turned-monk-turned-olympic-athlete got in with a 600 🙂 (<- just kidding!).   Interestingly this data is not available for the class of 2007, and again not published after 2015.    

Mid 80% Range for Years 2007 to 2016

 

YearAverage GMAT score
2007660-750
2008660-760
2009680-760
2010670-760
2011670-750
2012670-750
2013680-750

 

What can we interpret from this?
 
– You pretty much need to have a GMAT score above 670 if you are not an outlier. In other words, a 650 will be of no use if your profile is average.
 
– Getting a score around 750-760 will put you in the top 20% – not the top 2%. In other words, it is not a big deal if you have a 760 on the GMAT.
 
– In general, this data also means that if you are in an over-represented demographic such as IT or Finance, you need to make sure that you bulk up your GMAT scores.
 
Read how one of our students teamed his 750 GMAT score with his profile to impress the Ad-com members at ISB.
 


 
 

3) What else can we interpret about GMAT scores needed for ISB?

 
Let us try to see if we can get some more juice.
 
Good news is that we did get data for the GMAT Score range. More importantly, we got the comparison between the ISB Hyderabad GMAT scores and ISB Mohali GMAT Scores.
 
Bad news is that we did not get data for all years.
 

GMAT Range for ISB for the Class of 2007 to the Class of 2017

YearGMAT Range @ ISB Hyderabad CampusGMAT Range @ ISB Mohali Campus
2007600-780NA
2008600-780NA
2009NA
2010600-780NA
2011NA
2012NA
2013NA
2014NA
2015NA
2016600-760610-760
2017600-770590-770

 

– = Data was not found on the ISB website
 
NA = Not Applicable as the first graduating class of ISB Mohali campus was in 2016
 
 
Here are some interesting observations from this trend:
 

1) What is the lowest score ever at ISB?

 
The lowest GMAT score EVER was 590, scored in 2016 by someone who got into ISB Mohali campus.
 
Except for that, the lowest score seems to be 600.
 
So, if you have a GMAT score lower than 600, don’t even think about applying to ISB
 

2) Is there a difference in GMAT Scores at the Hyderabad and Mohali campuses?

 
There is almost ZERO variation in the scores for the last two years. This pretty much means that there is no difference in the two campuses as far as GMAT Scores are concerned.
 
 

3) What is the highest score at ISB?

 
Let’s admit it: this is more of a voyeuristic question 😃
 
The highest score ever at ISB was a 780.
 
However, interestingly in the last few years the highest hasn’t been more than 770.
 
 

4) Can I apply to ISB with a sub-650?

 
As we mentioned above, with an average profile, try to shoot for a higher than 650 score.
 
So what if you have a 620? Or a 650? Should you use the application money to buy beer instead?
 
Our advice – you have a fighting chance, provided you are a diverse candidate.
 
Otherwise, as we said above, build your GMAT muscle.
 
You might want to read how one of our students from a non-IT background made it to ISB with a 670 on the GMAT.
 


 
Okay, so with that said, you have enough to think about your own GMAT scores for ISB.
 
Did you like this in-depth article?
 
If yes, let us know in the comments below.
 
We can even skim through and predict your chances at ISB with your GMAT scores (and profile).
 
Get your Profile Evaluated!