A low Quant score in GMAT/ GRE can hurt you more than a low Verbal score can.
It’s not difficult to see, why.
(Note: Admission policies of schools and guidelines for standardized tests can change. Refer to their website for the most updated information.)
Why schools prefer high Quant score?
An MBA program is unapologetically quant-heavy. Courses in finance, economics, and even marketing require foundation in algebra, calculus, and statistics, without which you’re likely to lag behind. Although case studies, a common method of instruction at B-schools, look innocuous and verbose in the first glance, they often require serious manipulations with numbers. And as the curriculum moves to electives in the second half of the program, quant-focus becomes even more accentuated.
So, if you aren’t comfortable in math, you may struggle in the fast-paced MBA curriculum, which leaves little time to work on things as basic as math. Therefore, B-schools assess your proficiency in math as an insurance against your possible struggle in their curriculum.
Dee Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid at HBS, emphasizes this point:
Dawna Clarke, admissions director at Tuck, reiterates the same point:
Haas, in its admission requirements:
Many schools also recommend foundational courses in Math for you to be better prepared for the MBA curriculum. Wharton, for example recommends:
What do I do if I’ve a low Quant score and/or less exposure to math?
You’ve to balance it out.
In her blog on 25th August 2014 Dee Leopold talked about how HBS interprets test scores:
If your Quant score is low (say, 70 percentile or less), you need to compensate it with other evidences of proficiency in math – good grades in math courses in undergrad/ grad, a degree that is quantitative in nature (engineering, for example), or exposure to quantitative analysis in your profession. Most of it can be directly inferred from your resume, but if you think it may not be, then feel free to explain the evidence in optional essay.
And vice versa: if your undergrad/ grad courses didn’t have much of math or you fared poorly in them, then you need to balance it out by scoring well in the Quant section of GMAT/ GRE.
Other posts you may find relevant:
- International MBA Applicants Must Look at This Recruitment Data in Their Target Schools
- How B-Schools Detect Plagiarism? And How You May Unknowingly Plagiarise?
Your proficiency in math is particularly important to B-schools. Although the Quant score is an important determinant of your proficiency in math, the schools look for other evidences (such as pre-MBA academic work and professional career) as well.
If your Quant score is poor and if other factors too aren’t favourable, then it’s better to retake the test or enroll in few quant-heavy courses in subjects such as calculus, statistics, accounting, and finance at an accredited university. And, needless to say, perform well.
Bottom-line: if you don’t have a decent background in math, try getting at least 80% percentile in Quant. The higher, the better.