As a longtime GMAT tutor, I can’t exaggerate enough how many times I’ve heard this question. The answer is, of course, the two most commonly used words in a business school classroom: It depends…
Business school admissions officers are interested in just one thing: whether or not your “story” makes sense for their school. Your GMAT score is just one part of an overall story.
The best business schools look for candidates with a solid combination of analytical skills and people/communication skills. The Quantitative and Verbal sections, respectively, are numeric assessments of your aptitude in each of these two areas.
So to expand on “it depends,” the Quantitative section is more important for people whose analytical skills do not come through from their work experience and prior education.
A business school hopeful with numerous editorial credits in the New York Times won’t necessarily wow admissions boards by getting in the 99th percentile in the Verbal section. However, that same candidate can virtually guarantee acceptance into any business school he or she chooses with a 99th percentile in the Quantitative section.
In turn, the Verbal section is more important for candidates with proven excellence in math and science.
Business schools are flush with engineers and foreign students who hardly studied for the Quantitative section but toiled to learn the subtleties of English idioms. Indeed, some of the most brilliant young professionals globally have been rejected by the world’s best business schools despite their overqualification for the analytical aspects of business school.
The key takeaway of this post brings us far away from the initial question.
Think of your application as a story, and the GMAT as a singular – albeit crucial – component of that story.
In just a few minutes’ time, will the business school admissions officer think of you as both analytical and effective at communication? If you as a candidate can get an A+ in both of these boxes, you will have the pick of the litter out of the best MBA programs. If not, you can make a big statement in your “weak area” by knocking the relevant section of the GMAT out of the park!