5 things about GRE score for ISB
Okay now that ISB has announced that it will be taking both the GRE scores along with the GMAT scores, you are probably wondering which test to take?
Or maybe you have taken the GMAT, and not scored too high. And our article on GMAT scores for ISB has put you off ( To add to the confusion, the ISB website does not show any special preference for either of the tests: ISB Faqs Don’t worry: we will pull you out of your misery!
In this blog, we will look at a few factors that you need to consider while deciding between which test to take to apply to ISB.
1) Why did ISB suddenly start taking GRE scores?
TL;DR response: Because it wants to increase the applicant pool.
Seriously! Why did ISB start taking GRE? Why suddenly in 2016? The answer to this lies in what has been happening at ISB over the last many years. In 2006, if you graduated from ISB, it meant you studied in the Hyderabad campus, and graduated in a batch that had a strength of 345.
Cut to 2016, if you got admitted to ISB, it could mean you might either be in Hyderabad or in Mohali. What’s more is you perhaps are going to graduate with 908 others next year! That is a whopping 163% But cut ISB some slack. For any college to reach a critical mass, they need to start serving more students. Like a factory, it would make no business sense, if the machines (in this case, the buildings, the teaching staff, and the support staff) remain underutilized. However, as with any world class MBA that has a large class size (Harvard took in 935 people last year), ISB also worries about the acceptance rate.
Acceptance rate = Number of people who are offered / Number of applicants to the program X 100
Now, if you think about it, the lower the acceptance rate, the better it is for the prestige of the school. However, if my numerator keeps increasing then my acceptance rate would balloon up. One way to fix this is to decrease the denominator. This means you get more applicants to the ISB program. Wait! Let me correct myself. This means you get more QUALITY applicants to the ISB program. However, as the GMAT is taken by roughly around 25,000 people in India, the total addressable market (TAM) remains limited.
So ISB decided to increase the pool of quality applicants by opening GRE. Now GRE is taken by about a lakh students in India. That is a huge number. A number that is enough to ensure a larger pool of quality applicants. Just so you know, GRE is accepted by most top B-Schools around the world.
2) What is the minimum GRE cut-off required at ISB?
TL;DR answer: 310 with a huge bunch of caveats. Firstly, let me clear this misconception.
There is no cut-off but if you do want to hold a knife to my neck and ask me for a number, I would say 600 for reasons articulated in the article mentioned about GMAT cut-off for ISB. So by the same token what would be the GRE scores cut-off at ISB? If you use the GRE to GMAT comparison tool available at the ETS website.
You will see that a score of Q163 and a V148 would give you a total score of 315 that is equivalent of a 600 on the GMAT. This roughly translates to a Q44 V25 score on the GMAT. My only issue with this comparison is that it isn’t really an apples to apples comparison. If you think about it, the average Amit who takes the GRE is a lot younger and less experienced and focused than the average Ajay who takes the GMAT. However, I don’t think ISB would be looking at this fact.
So, yea if you hold a gun to my head, I would reckon the GRE “cutoff” at ISB would be around 310. But as we say, the 3 things about MBA applications: Profile, Profile, Profile!!
3) How will ISB compare GRE applicants with GMAT applicants?
TL;DR response: It won’t compare.
Okay so if you have taken the GRE and scored well then it obviously means you are / were looking at other programs. Maybe you want to keep your options for an MS open, while taking a shot at the ISB YLP or ISB EEO programs. Or maybe you took the GRE while you were in college without having a clue. But now you want to use it to apply to ISB. Whatever the reason be: Don’t worry! ISB is really looking for sharp folks who can think clearly.
GMAT or GRE is not going to stand in between you and ISB. Chances are if you apply with a similar GMAT score then your chances of selection (or rejection) remain pretty much the same. Put yourself in the shoes of the ISB Admissions committee. They have a predicament. They have no clue how to interpret these clumsy GRE scores because there is no precedent.
They cannot tell themselves “Oh! I remember this smart guy last year who had a GRE 320, and who made it to the Dean’s List”. So they are probably going to wing it. Chances are – they are reading this article to figure out if they can get some juice. So, if you have a GRE score, go ahead and apply! There is more to the application than the test you take.
4) Should I prepare for the GRE or the GMAT?
TL;DR response: GMAT Though CrackVerbal runs both GMAT and GRE programs, I would have to say GMAT. There are 2 good reasons for me to say this:
1. As mentioned earlier, ISB perhaps has not yet figured out what to do with GRE. So you can risk applying – HOPING they know what to do with your score. OR apply using a good solid 3-digit GMAT score that starts with 7.
2.Taking the GMAT would allow you to apply to a lot of other B-school programs around the world. Though other schools also take GRE, they are in the same boat with ISB when it comes to figuring out what to do with the GRE scores. Studying for either of the tests should take you a good 2-3 months. The sections are also mostly common – analytical writing, verbal, and quantitative. Here is the GMAT test structure, incase you haven’t seen it: And here is the GRE test structure for you: So, to reiterate, if you have not taken the test, and are ambivalent then take the GMAT. However, if you have a good reason to take the GRE (such as, if you are applying to any MS program in the US) then by all means take that test. Read point #3 above.
5) Should I take the GRE if my GMAT scores are low-ish?
TL;DR response: Yes
Before getting any further, let me give you some food for thought: What makes you think that if you have a low score on the GMAT, then you would do any better on the GRE? So, I would suggest you don’t look at taking the GRE as an escape route. At the end of the day, you still need to be smart and focussed to crack either of the tests.
Having said that, if for some reason, a higher score on the GMAT is eluding you, you should definitely have a look at the GRE. When it comes to Verbal, both the GMAT and the GRE test you on the essential skill of comprehension. However, the GRE also puts a lot of emphasis on vocabulary, while the GMAT tests you on the rules of grammar. So if you think you can learn about 2000+ new words using various techniques such as mnemonics then GRE sentence equivalence and text completion questions maybe the panacea you are seeking.
When it comes to Quant, pretty much both tests have the usual suspects: Arithmetic, Algebra, and Geometry. Here, the difference is in the type of questions asked. For example, the GRE has quantitative comparison, while the GMAT has data sufficiency. Having said that, I think the biggest difference could be the way the algorithm works. So despite what people say, it might just be easier for you to score higher on the GRE (higher than the equivalent score on the GMAT).
So, you can go ahead & hide your GMAT sins and apply with your freshly minted GRE scores!
So, hopefully this article helped you decide on what to do with GRE scores at ISB. If you found it useful, and would like to pick my brains on your chances at ISB with GRE, then go ahead and leave your queries in the comment below. I’d love to give my 2 cents on what I feel the gatekeepers at ISB would see when they look at your profile.