Singapore MBA Straight Talk: The GMAT

last updated: January 2023

In our “Straight Talk” series, we go beyond schools’ marketing campaigns and give straight answers to MBA applicants’ most pressing questions.

NUS MBA, Nanyang MBA and SMU MBA programs all require the GMAT – the standardized test used to measure an MBA applicant’s verbal, mathematical, analytical and writing skills.  Taking the GMAT is one of the most intimidating and misunderstood parts of the MBA application process.

Having managed admissions for the SMU MBA program for 3 years, I can give you an insider’s look into how MBA programs view and use your GMAT score.

How important is the GMAT score? 

The short answer? Very important.

Admissions officers use this score – along with your undergraduate academic performance – to ensure you can get through an intense graduate level course load.  Since the quality and rigor of universities and degrees awarded vary tremendously, the GMAT score gives admissions officers a universal reference to predict candidates’ academic performance.

Think of it this way: your GMAT score is critical to getting you IN the door.  The rest of your application gets you THROUGH the door.

If your score is significantly lower (> 60 points) than the program average, you must be exceptional in some other way (personal background, work and/or educational history) to get in.  The admissions committee is making an exception for you because your contribution to the program will outweigh any potential academic struggles.

What score must I get to gain admission?

In general, applicants should aim for scores higher than the program average.  As of January 2023, this was 670 for NUS, 670 for NTU and 660 for SMU.

NUS and NTU have openly said applicants should target above 600.  Although SMU says there is no minimum GMAT score, applicants should aim for at least a 600.

Unless you come from an extremely competitive applicant pool (i.e. Indian Male in IT), Singapore MBA programs will have to look at your application if you score close to the programs’ average GMAT scores.  The higher your score – especially relative to the class average – the better.

For those with weak undergraduate GPAs, a high GMAT score can help bolster your academic credentials.

Is it important for me to score high on the verbal section? Quantitative section? Analytical writing section?

Admission officers will also be looking for balance throughout your scores, preferably that you scored higher than the 70th percentile in your verbal, quantitative and writing sections.  They want to make sure you have the reading and writing skills necessary for graduate level coursework, and the quantitative skills to get through computationally heavy courses such as statistics, accounting and finance.

If English is not your first language and/or the English in your application appears suspect, your verbal and writing scores will be more carefully scrutinized.

If you majored in the humanities, arts or social sciences, performed poorly in math / quantitative classes in university, or have limited professional exposure to finance and accounting, your quantitative score will be more closely scrutinized.

When should I take the GMAT?

First, when you are prepared.  Second, as soon as possible.

The earlier you take the GMAT the more time you give yourself to take it again, should you need to.  Taking the GMAT for a second or third time impresses admissions officers because it shows your willingness to work hard to improve your score.  Of course, your math or verbal scores dropping precipitously will sound off alarm bells.  Be sure that you can come close to or improve upon your original score.

Should I retake the GMAT?

You should retake your GMAT if:

  • You know you can score better.
  • The admissions office asks you to retake the exam.
  • You’re a non-native English speaker and you score poorly on the verbal and writing sections.
  • You have little to no quantitative background academically or professionally, and score poorly on the math section.

Other GMAT points of interest:

  • Average GMAT scores tend to decline with age.   Younger candidates are expected to score higher on their GMAT scores.
  • Those looking to break into management consulting post-MBA should definitely shoot for GMAT scores above 700 and higher IR scores.
  • Admissions officers can see your entire GMAT testing history – how many times you have taken the test and a detailed breakdown of your scores.

216 Replies to “Singapore MBA Straight Talk: The GMAT”

  1. Hi Darren,

    I refer to your response “Should I retake the GMAT? >> The admissions office asks you to retake the exam.”

    In which point of the application process will the admissions office do so?

    The reason I am asking is because I am intending to apply to NUS MBA as a part time student but I am not sure if my unexpected 590 (Q44, V27) GMAT score will even bring me to the interview stage.

    A snippet of my credentials –
    Education: BEng (NTU, 2nd Upper), MSc (NTU), MEng (MIT)
    Current industry experience: 2.25 years in Aerospace company
    No. of potential referees: 3

    Look forward to your response

    1. Hi John,

      The admissions office would ask you to retake the GMAT if they like your profile but feel you have a subpar GMAT score. This could happen after you submit your application, or even after an admissions interview.

      It sounds like you have a strong academic background, especially with your Masters degrees from NTU and MIT. However, your GMAT score is well below NUS’ average and your verbal score is low which which might cause some concern.

      You might get an interview with your current score but you would improve your chances of an interview (and acceptance) greatly by retaking the GMAT and scoring in the mid 600s.

      I will message you privately to answer any other questions you might have.

      – Darren

  2. Hi Darren,

    I intend to apply for SMU MBA (PART-TIME) program, Could you give your comment whether should I apply or not based on my profile.

    Age : 34 Male with 10years experience in Semiconductor Industry. (Currently Cheif Engieer in a MNC)
    Highest Degree : M.S Electrical from Sweden (Full time) GPA 3.2
    Bachelors Degree : B.E Electronics (Top 4% in University)
    Project management Professional (PMP)
    GMAT : 520 (M-39,V23)
    2 International paper publications.

    Look forward to your response.


    1. Hi Ali,

      Your work experience and educational background seem strong, but I would encourage you to retake the GMAT if you can. A 520 score is low for SMU.

      Best, Darren

  3. Hi!

    I recently gave the GMAT and scored a 620. I have had two years of work experience with a startup social enteprise and currently work as the marketing manager there. I have a good GPA from college (i did my BBA in India) and have been a very active student.

    I would like to know if I stand a chance with my score of 620?

    Thank you and looking forward to your response!

    1. Hi Mitra,

      You are in a very competitive applicant pool, and have less working experience than average at NUS, NTU, etc. As you only have 2 years of working experience, adcoms will expect a higher GMAT score. I would encourage you to take it again to give yourself a much better chance. Younger candidates can get in, but usually they have outstanding work experience and/or very high GMAT scores.


  4. Hi Darren,

    Useful insights here.

    “Those looking to break into management consulting post-MBA should definitely shoot for GMAT scores above 700.”

    Does it stand hard and fast. I’d be joining one of the school’s mentioned above and targetting consultancy. But i’m not in 700+ region at GMAT. Do companies that recruit students from these colleges check on their GMAT scores?

    1. Hi Aka,

      The top-tier management consulting firms will definitely use GMAT scores as a screening mechanism for interviewing candidates from SMU, NTU and NUS. That minimum score used to be 700 when I was at SMU, but could be different now.


      1. stressed that GMAT scores are not to be used for selecting job applicants.

        I scored a 590 for GMAT but got offers from both NUS and Nanyang MBA. Now I am doing the NUS MBA programme. Prior to MBA, I have 2 Masters degrees, one of which from a renowned university. Currently I have only 3 years work experience.

        I think there is a compulsive, myopic attitude towards GMAT scores. I have friends who make it into KPMG consulting and McKinsey Co. without an MBA. An MBA is just another certificate. What matters is your dedication and focus to bring you up the next rung in your career ladder!

        Happy MBA hunting.

        (P.S. My profile can be found in the top most post of this blog page)

  5. Dear Darren,

    I have a question pertaining to GMAT score required and placements after completion of an MBA at NUS.
    a)What score wil catapultme into the top program?
    b)Placements/weighted salary after MBA.

    1)Bachelors in Chemical Engineering(First class with Distinction).
    2) 2 years work experience in Oil&Gas EPC business

  6. Hi!

    I have a GMAT score of 630 (Q:46,V:31), IELTS Score of 8. I have 7+years (will be 8+ in Jul ’13) of work experience with 6+ years in Project Management (Industrial Projects) with SIEMENS india. Role: Project Manager. Want to focus on Strategy during MBA program and shift to Consulting post-MBA.

    I would like to know if I stand a chance with my GMAT score of 630?

    Thank you and looking forward to your response!

        1. Hi Arvind,

          I know you are only leaving a comment on my blog, but be sure to always write “you” and not “u” in your correspondence with any target school – including inquiry emails. These little things make a big impression!

          You definitely have a chance. A lot will depend on how valuable they see your 6 years of work experience. What projects did you accomplish? Were you on an accelerated career track? Do you have international exposure? Were you managing other people? However, it will be tough to get in with a 630, especially with consulting as your career goal.

  7. Hi,

    I’m from Pakistan. I scored 710 in GMAT. Then I did my MBA from the best university in Pakistan. But job opportunities are very limited here so I am looking to expand my opportunities beyond the borders and for that I am thinking about getting another MBA degree from an international business school like NUS. What do you recommend?

    Also, although I spent 5 years working, for about 3.5 years I was my own boss in an IT company and now I’m working at a MNC for last 1.5 years. So do you think I’ll be able to secure a reasonable job in Singapore or in the region after MBA from NUS?

    My GMAT score is still valid.

    Thanks and Regards.

    1. Hi Bilal,

      Your academic and work background both seem quite strong. You could definitely secure a reasonable job in Singapore post-MBA; a lot would depend on your entrepreneurship background / skills, which MNC you worked for and of course, which type of companies and roles you are targeting. I would be happy to give you a more in depth evaluation if you send me your resume at

  8. Hi Darren,

    I have scored 660 in GMAT (V 31, Q 49, AWA – 6.0). I have 8 years of work experience at the biggest Indian IT company. I am working there as project manager/ team lead since last 5 years. I also have an overseas experience (for 3 years), where I worked as a team lead(software section) in a USA’s leading automobile company.
    Please let me know if I stand a chance to get admitted at NUS. My goal is to move to consulting after MBA.

    1. Hi Suvo,

      You definitely have a chance. Your overseas and management experience will certainly help your chances; be sure to emphasize those. Given your higher than average work experience, be sure to demonstrate a well-considered and achievable career plan during / post-MBA. If you would like a more in-depth assessment, please send your resume to

  9. Hi Darren,

    I scored a 630(Q:45,V:32,A:4,IR:6) on GMAT. This is my second attempt. (Previously i scored 590). I am aspiring to pursue an MBA from NUS/NTU. I have a gpa of 8.66/10 from my under graduation . I am confident of an IELTS score about 8. I am just starting my career as a software engineer in a reputed MNC and am planning to work for three years before applying. It would be kind of you if you could let me know a few potential things that i should work on to make my application stronger. Would you suggest taking the GMAT again? how would the universities view multiple GMAT attempts ? What else they expect from a candidate during his days as an employee. I would like to know these details so that i could improve my chances before applying.

    Thank you and regards

    1. Hi Kumar,

      Great to hear you’re thinking about your candidacy 3 years in advance! If you think you can score 650 or above, I would encourage you retake the GMAT again – of course, the higher the score, the better. MBA programs will respect your multiple GMAT attempts, especially if you keep improving your score; this will show your determination in improving your candidacy. Just a side note: please know that when a MBA program receives your GMAT score report, they will be able to see your entire test and score history.

      The first way to strengthen your application is to perform admirably at work, win the respect of your boss and colleagues (recommendations), and grow in responsibility. Also, as you are from a very competitive applicant pool, I would encourage you to pursue leadership activities outside of work – this will give you an opportunity to both differentiate yourself and demonstrate community impact. Pursue hobbies / causes that truly interest you and allow you to improve your business and leadership skills.


      1. Hi Darren,

        Thank you very much for giving me an insight about how multiple GMAT attempts are considered. I think i could score above 650 and i would surely work on it as per your advice. I would surely try to pursue some activities outside my work so that i could differentiate myself from the pool of applicants.


  10. Hi Darren,

    I have not taken the gmat but i do have a GRE score of 325 i also have 3 yrs of work experience as a software engineer. I would like to know if GRE is accepted for SMU/NUS/NTU mba and if so what would be the average score.


    1. Hi Prashanth,

      NUS does not accept the GRE; SMU does. NTU only accepts the GRE if your country does not have a GMAT testing center. I doubt many applicants submit GRE scores. I would recommend that you look at the school’s FAQ admissions pages to learn more.

  11. Hi Darren,

    I am a Singapore MBA aspirant and am applying to all 3 major schools – NUS, NTU & SMU.

    Below is my profile followed by a few questions:

    (Thanks a million in advance (: )

    Name: Vaibhav Jain
    Age: 25
    Undergrad: Bachelor of Management Studies from Mumbai University. (65% – 1st Class)
    Current GMAT Score: 660
    Work Exp: 5 years 4 months

    My experience ranges in marketing and advertising with my most recent employment being with Rediffusion-Wunderman, Mumbai as an Account Supervisor. At Wunderman, I have worked with clients such as Birla Sun Life Insurance, HomeTown – Future Group, TATA, Kingfisher, Ambuja Cement. Key Exposure areas across my career: Marketing, Branding, Digital & Direct Marketing, CRM. Been working with a team of four account executives and have several national campaign successes to our credit.

    I have worked on the agency and client side both and my immediate goal post MBA is to work in a luxury, consumer or tech brand – in a marketing/brand management related role. I don’t intend to come back to India.

    Extra-Curricular: I am a certified clinical hypnotherapist and take clients over weekend. Part-time therapy work gives me immense joy. My spiritual interests led to me conducting meditation sessions in office. I’ve recently sold 2 of my paintings and am exploring that further. I have been a volunteer with the Art of Living foundation for over a year.

    With little over 5yrs in my kitty, I have recently quit my job and am going to Thailand for a month to volunteer with an NGO named ISARA (something I have always wanted to do – travel & volunteer – and it made most sense to get a break like this before an MBA)

    I want to go for a 1 year or max. an 18 month program. ‘Baffled’ is the word when it comes to deciding about institutes.
    Questions: Based on my profile, which I think is relatively non-conventional, are my choices realistic? Would I have good chances to be accepted in NUS, NTU or SMU?

    I look forward to your response.

    Thank you so much once again!

  12. Hi Kumar,

    I’ll be giving my GMAT in a month and though i am aware of the importance of the scores, I wanted to know the importance of references. Further, how many references would be required and do all have to be from work. I shall be trying for the full time mba programs in NUS and SMU. Thanks a ton.


    1. Hi Shatrujit,

      Both NUS and SMU require 2 recommendations, and the admissions committee would definitely prefer work references over academic ones. Be sure to check each school’s respective admissions requirement page. Recommendations are a very important part of your application, and are used to determine whether you can handle program academically, whether you have leadership & management potential, and to get a better picture of your strengths, weaknesses and character. They also serve a corroborative function – does the recommender’s description of you match your self-­description? Finally, they are a signal of how enthusiastic people (you’ve worked with) are to recommend you.

  13. Hi Darren,

    Thank you for the response. I guess I’m no longer applying for undergrad so does seem logical for professional recommendations. I have 5 years of work experience and over that period have worked with 3 different organisations. Academics is not my forte however, service has been. It’s a conventional thought but I do feel that if I want to get ahead then just sticking around wont get me there. Which is why I plan to pursue mba. I just wanted to know that since my grades were not top notch, would that drastically hinder my chances? Thank you once again.


    1. Given your length of work experience, mediocre grades will not drastically hinder your chances if you perform well on the GMAT,

  14. Hi

    I have completed MBA(pharm.) and will complete my 2 year of work experience in Brand management by June 2013.

    I appeared for GMAT and got 570 score (quant -47 , verbal -22). Although I am confident to have score above 650 in next month attempt, Deadline for NUS scholarship ends today.

    Should I apply to NUS at such low score(for with scholarship)? and apply to NUS again in march end with improved score(for without scholarship)?

    Is it ok to apply 2 times?

    1. Hi Achal,

      When I was at SMU, we did not accept applications from candidates who already had MBAs. I would check with the NUS MBA admissions office to make sure they accept applications from candidates with MBAs.

  15. Hi,

    Please refer below for my high level profile summary, I would like your thoughts on my profile competitiveness for NUS/NTU. Also I am looking for a good comparison between NTU & NSU, wondering if you can provide any insights or sources.

    My GMAT is 630 (Q48, V28, AWA:6); I’m a Commerce graduate, B.Com (Hons) Accountancy & Business Statistics major, from Rajasthan University, India. Currently working with JP Morgan Investment bank Operations for 7+ years, have had different profiles, from the analyst, processing securities trades related transactions to process manager, leading teams, migrating business process from UK to India, and project manager leading Global, multi-million projects. I lead the change management team which is responsible for driving and leading process automation for the business, an internal consulting role. I’ve have had a 2 yrs stint in JP Morgan UK as part of firm’s Corporate Development Program which further enhanced my experience as a client service analyst and people manager leading a very diverse set of individuals. I believe my work experience with strong track record of professional achievements is my key strength. I’m keen on studying Strategy, Finance and few aspects of General Management and getting into consulting firm post MBA.

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    1. Hi Tans,

      The Nanyang MBA will be changing to a 12-month program starting Fall 2013, with a focus on cross-cultural leadership, Asia business, and real-world industry relevance. Here’s a document that compares the 3 local varsities (NUS, Nanyang, SMU) –

      Both programs have solid reputations regionally, are highly ranked, and offer great exchange opportunities. You might select one over the other based on 1) whether you want to study for 12 months or 17 months 2) your intended area of concentration 3) reputation of school in your target geography of work (in Singapore, they are roughly the same). I know a number of NUS graduates move into consulting post-MBA, but if you are targeting the big name management consulting firms you will definitely need to improve your GMAT score – absolute minimum would be 700.

  16. Hey,
    I am preparing for gmat right now. What I would like to know is if I do manage to score 700+, having just 1 yr work-ex, what are my chances to get into NUS or SMU? Or, do you suggest me to first get a good score and then work for another year or so and go ahead with that score?

    1. Hi Badshah,

      Both NUS and SMU require an absolute minimum of 2 years work experience before starting the program. Definitely make sure you have the minimum work experience required to apply, even if you have a sky high GMAT.

      1. Sir, continuing from our earlier discussion,so it doesnt make a difference if my gmat score is 2-3 yrs old. Right? So, I can give it now and then work for a couple of years and then use that gmat score to get through NUS and SMU?

        1. Hi Badshah,

          Your GMAT score will be valid for 5 years – you must apply to business school within 5 years of taking your GMAT. Adcoms will not care whether your score is 1-month, 1-year or 4-years old.

  17. Hi Darren,

    I’m starting my MS finance mid of this year in a local university outside of Singapore, but I plan to apply for SMU’s MAF (applied finance) next year. However, if I pass SMU, I plan to take a leave of absence in MSF in favor of SMU’s MAF.

    Do you think this has an impact to my application and admission to SMU? What do you advise should I do?

    Thanks a lot.

  18. I have a 580 GMAT score and I have given GMAT in all 3 times 1st Attempt March 2008 Score – 510 ,2nd attempt July 2012 score -540,3rd attempt March 2013 Score -580 and a 10 years of IT Industry experience (7 years IBM ,3 years Capgemini) , I have worked in US ,Dubai and India .
    I am Masters in Computer Science .
    I am 33 years old.
    I have handled team size of 40 .
    I want to apply for
    1)Nanyang Business School
    2)National University Of Singapore

    Do I stand a chance , what other schools will you advice with this score .

    1. Hi Vishal,

      Do you think you can break 600 and score near 650? If so, I would definitely take the test again. It will be hard to get on the radar of NUS and Nanyang with a 580 score, no matter how outstanding your experience is.

      1. Thanks Darren

        Can you please advise on EMBA’s like from LBS,Nanyang,NUS-Anderson etc. since I already have 10+ years experience .
        If I compare 1 year full time MBA and EMBA which one should I go for. Since for EMBA I would not need GMAT , I understand there are no placements afte EMBA ,but eventually through networking I guess one break through a required job.

  19. Hi Darren,
    I recently gave my GMAT and scored 680. I have a 5 years of experience in IT in India including 1 year of international experience in UK. Is this profile competetive enough for consideration by colleges like SMU or NUS? I know I fall under the dreaded IT Male Indian Pool.

  20. Hi Darren,
    I recently appeared for my gmat exam & my score is 600. I have done my Masters in English from India & had been a primary teacher in a government school in Delhi,India for last 14 years.Thinking of a carrer switch, Please let me know if I stand a chance to get admitted at NUS/SMU/NTU. My goal is to move to finance or Marketing after MBA.
    Rinki Chawla

    1. Hi Rinki,

      It will be tough to get into NUS/SMU/NTU given your profile. To give yourself the best chance, you will need to demonstrate what finance, marketing, or business skills and experience you have that would allow you to transition to a finance and marketing role in Singapore (I am assuming you want to work in Singapore). Do you have any experience marketing at your school? What finance-related or investing-related activities have you done after teaching? As you are well above the average age and work experience of these programs, you need to have a laser-focused and realistic career switch plan – there will be concerns of placing an older student without prior work experience. Finally, given your non-business background you need to get a much better score on your GMAT to stand a chance.

  21. Hello Darren,
    I have wriiten the gmat and scored a 660( q49, v 31) . I am a Indian Male Engineer , Non IT back ground. I have 3 years of experience in manufacturing , primarily in quality and i wish to pursue a career in operations post mba. can you please rate my profile for admission at NUS,NTU

  22. Hi Darren,

    I have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science (aggregate is 75%) and nearly 4 years of work experience in the IT industry. My GMAT score is 600 (yeah quite sub-par). But I have a strong performance record with my current employer and many extra curricular activities to highlight. A few of these are highly critical and involve some managerial work. I can even manage good recommendations from my current Project Manager and Client Delivery Manager (based in the UK). Do you think my work record could possibly outweigh my poor GMAT score ? Do you think I could stand a chance in NUS, SMU or NTU ? Please advise. Thanks in advance.


    1. Hi Vck, I think you answered your own question: “sub par.” You don’t want to give any indication to these schools that you could be an academic liability. If you don’t retake the GMAT, the schools will interpret this to mean you feel this is the best score you can get OR you feel you can get a better score but just don’t want to put in the extra effort. I would encourage you to retake the GMAT to vastly improve your chances.

  23. Hi Darren,

    Went through the discussion in the page ,thanks to you for providing your suggestions to all.
    I have a query regarding the scholarship which NTU provides to INDIAN ,can you please tell into which category INDIANS can apply for the scholarship,to what percentage they can get the scholarship and in brief the criteria for the same.

    Thanks in advance.

  24. Dear Darren ,

    I am Singapore citizen currently running my own start up in Packaging and automation in Mumbai for the past 3 Years . I have completed my Mech Engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology with an average GPA of 2.8 . I scored 680 on GMAT . I have also worked for 3 years in US for an automation company . Do you think I stand a good chance for INSEAD , NUS and NTU MBA schools ?

  25. Hi Darren,

    My GMAT score is 640 (Q47, V29). I have a working experience of 6 years in the IT industry (Accenture, India). I am a SAP consultant and an acting Team Leader in the organization and manage a team of 20 members.
    I have done BSC Computer Science also have a good academic records.

    Please suggest if I a chance of getting admission in SMU, NUS and Nanyang.


    1. Hi Ranjan, given your below average GMAT score, you’ll have to show quality work accomplishments and leadership potential to stand a chance. A lot will depend on how well thought through your post-MBA career plan is. You’ll also need to paint a picture in the adcoms mind about how you will be a contributing member of the class. Your management experience will be a big plus.

  26. Hi Darren,

    1. My GMAT score is 710(Q89, V75). I have 3 years wrk exp in Oil and Gas Major in India. I have completed B.E (Mechanical) from BITS PILANI.

    2. I was a university level cricket player and into few other extra curricular activities. I am also associated with a non profit service oriented organisation.

    What chances do I have at NUS, NTU ?

    1. Your GMAT score and academic background will get you noticed by NUS and NTU. Your chances will depend on your workplace impact, how well you communicate your career plan and the ways you will contribute to the student communities of those schools.

  27. Hi Darren
    1. My GMAT score is 680.
    2. I have done + from IIT, Kanpur, India, in Civil Engineering.
    3. Working in one of the top Public Sectors (Power) as assistant manager from 2011 till date. (Complete 3 years before August 2014).
    4. Want to apply in NUS, NTU and SMU. What are my chances? How can I improve my chances?


  28. Hi Darren,

    My GMAT score is 630(Q48, V28). I have 3years of work exp in technical support. I completed B.E (Electronics) from India. Was sent onsite (London) by my previous company for work for 6months. Currently working for a US based ecommerce company.
    My cgpa is 2.9 and I was a very active student in college.

    Do I stand a chance in a good college in the US?

    1. Hi Cheena, It will be tough given that many candidates have a similar background as you and you have a below average GMAT score.

  29. Hi Darren,

    My GMAT score is 640 (49Q, 28V). I will be re taking the GMAT shortly.
    I have 2+ years of experience in manufacturing. I intend to join in fall 2014 by which I’d have 3 years of work Exp
    A CPGA of 7.92/10 from an NIT.

    How good are my chances at NUS/NTU/SMU with this current profile? I will be trying for a 700+ in my second attempt at GMAT

    1. Hi Sudarshan, it will be tough to get in with a 640, especially given your background from NIT. Assuming you score 700+ on your GMAT, you’ll need to come up with a rock solid (and achievable!) post-MBA career plan and also demonstrate to the adcoms that you have quality work experience to share with your classmates (as your work experience will be shorter than most). Good luck on your GMAT retake!

      1. Hi Darren,

        I got 730 on my second attempt. I have a credible post MBA career plan. I also have an appreciable quality of work ex. What I’d like to know if any background in social service is a necessity for an application?

        1. Hi Sudarshan, congratulations on your much improved score! Social or community service is not a necessity. The adcom will be looking for signals that you’ve made an impact on those around you – this could be at the workplace or at home or with friends.

  30. Hi Darren,

    My GMAT score is 690 (Q46, V38). I have 2.6 years of work exp in the risk advisory services of a big 4 in India-Mumbai . I completed B.E (Electronics and Communication) from India. Have worked extensively in automotive(with some of the biggest names) and pharma sector. I have also worked on a couple of government projects(MNREGA..flagship project of Indian government)

    Also awarded in my organization for exceptional performance.I am an active member of CSR group of my company and a volunteer in local NGO fighting for girl child’s rights.I help this NGO , getting in contact with corporates and help in other fund raising activities.

    Acads : 70% (8 semesters)

    What are my chances of getting through NUS and NBS?

    1. Hi Raman, it sounds like you have a solid profile. Honestly, it’s tough to assess your chances. A lot will depend on the quality of your essays, career goals, and recommendations – not to mention your competition the round you apply – to secure an interview. With a 690 GMAT, you’re in the grey zone and need to communicate effectively what value and experience you will bring to each program.

  31. Hi Darren,

    I am an Indian male, have a GMAT score of 640 and 6+ years work experience in the business research and analytics domain. I want to evaluate my chances of getting selected at NTU or NUS. I was targeting a score of around 700, however, managed 640. I am skeptical if I have the time and energy to give GMAT again.

    Further details on my profile: I have completed B.E. (Bachelor of Engineering) from a reputed college in India. While my percentage at my course was in the 70-75% range, I was among the top 5 students. While I do not have too much of extra curricular to highlight, I can talk about some some initiatives that I have led at work. I am passionate about a few hobbies, however, have not transalted them in a manner to highlight effectively in my applications.

    I am keen to understand the chances of my profile and your suggestions on how this can be improved further.


    1. Hi Pal, it will be difficult to get in with a 640 as that score is below each school’s average GMAT AND you’re coming from the most competitive demographic (Indian / Male / IT). I would encourage you to retake the exam to give yourself the best chance of securing an interview.

  32. Hi Darren

    I scored a 640 on GMAT and wanted to check with you if I should apply to NUS.

    I have a work experience with Citibank for more than 6 years

    Look forward to your reply

    1. Hi Jas, it’s hard to assess your plan without knowing more about you. You can tell me more about yourself at the ‘consultation link’ above.

  33. Dear Darren,

    I scored 600 (V-28, Q-45).
    I am PMP certified from PMI, USA. I have 8 yrs of Project Management experience. I m involved in Energy & Power Plant Projects. I have been managing teams of 7-9 people. I got 2 levels of promotion last year.

    What are my chances to get into a good MBA program anywhere in South East Asia? Though, Finance, Economics or Business Analytics are my priorities, I know I may have to sacrifice on my subject choices.

    Vijay Pratap Singh

    1. Hi Vijay, your priority should be to first raise your GMAT score, at least for the top programs in Singapore (NUS, NTU, SMU). Unless you have exceptional business accomplishments that score won’t cut it. You might also consider programs in Thailand (Sasin, AIT) or Philipines (AIM). Be sure to tie your post-MBA career goals to your work experience. Sounds like you have strong management experience.

  34. Hi Darren,

    I work as a senior research analyst managing a team of 8-9 people to run a book of approximately $2 million. I am involved in equity and currency derivatives and have more than 4.5 years experience in my current job. I recently gave the GMAT and got a 600.
    Would it be a good idea to apply with this score considering its very important for me to apply for the Sep 2014 batch. I am targeting NUS. Please help


    Karan Sharma

  35. Hi Darren,

    I am 24 years old and will complete my PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management) in Marketing in 6 months from a Top 10 B School in Mumbai, India.
    I have a work ex of 2 years in Digital Advertising (as a Business Developer) and have managed a team of 6 members.

    I have scored 77% in my graduation (have completed my BMS- Bachelor of Management Studies).

    I have also done my Masters in Commerce with a first class.

    I am looking to expand my opportunities and for that I am thinking about getting an MBA degree in Marketing from an international business school in Singapore.

    Would it be possible for me to apply for a one year MBA program as I would also have a PDGM. Also could you please advise the GMAT score that I should target and if I should work for another year before applying.

    Look forward to your response

    Thanks and Regards,

    1. Hi Ranveer,
      Yes, you can still apply for a one-year MBA with both your post graduate degrees. However, the admissions committee will want to know why you are pursuing a third masters degree. What can an MBA in Singapore give you that is essential for your career? Given your background, I would target a 700+ score on the GMAT. All 3 Singapore varsities value the quality of your work experience – and the average work experience usually hovers around 5 years. If you feel you have some big projects this coming year I would wait another year before applying.

  36. Hi Darren,
    I appeared for GMAT and got 580 score (quant -42 , verbal -28). Although I am confident to score above 600 in next month’s attempt, Deadline for some schools accepting scores around 580 is in the end of this month.
    So if I apply to these schools now with 580 score and then after taking next attempt in next month apply to NUS and NTU, SMU with the new score, would my application with 580 score be considered a valid application? As I will be taking the second attempt next month.
    Looking forward for your response.


    1. Hi Tejas, great to hear you will be retaking your GMAT. If I understand your question correctly, you will first apply to NUS/NTU/SMU with your 580 score and then submit your higher score next month right? I would encourage you to retake the GMAT and then apply to those schools with your higher score. You can apply now and inform the admissions committees about the score you get next month – this is valid. However, it will be tough for you to get an interview at those schools with a 580.

  37. Hi Darren,

    I appeared for GMAT and got a score of 620[47Q/27V]. I have a work experience of 5 years in IT industry. During the 5 years of work experience i have worked with US based clients and even traveled to US for work. I have bagged multiple accolades/certificates and appreciations from the clients and my own company for the quality of work delivered.

    On a personal front i have an appetite for exploring varied cultures and have traveled across UK, Singapore, US, Malaysia and Thailand for the same.

    I had an undergraduate score of 8.64/10. I had founded an NGO during my college days which is active till date. I am also an active participant in Corporate Community Service programs.

    Please let me know my chances of getting through the MBA programs in NUS/NTU/SMU.

    Thanks and Regards,

    1. Hi Swati, a 620 is not going to cut it given your background – there are too many candidates with similar professional experience applying to your target schools with much higher GMAT scores.

  38. Sir, I did B.E. IN Civil Engg, M.Tech in Water Resources Engg. & Ph.D in Civil Engg.I am having more tahn 15 years teaching Experience. I want to go for Executive MBA. How much GMAT Score is required for SMU and NTU.
    Please guide me.

  39. Hi Darren,

    I have given GMAT twice. GMAT I attempt ( 590, Quant-49, Verbal-23, AWA-4.5, IR-3 ) and in the second attempt ( 660, Quant-50 , Verbal-28, AWA-5, IR-7 )
    I did my B Tech in National institute of Technology and got 8.15/10 CGPA. I have 3 years Experience, 1.5 years as Front Line Entrepreneur in Trident Ltd, a world class group mainly for Textile products. And 1.5 years as an Entrepreneur. I have got my own business running with around 10 employees working. Want to take the same to a global level with some international experience. So want to pursue my Global MBA program in NUS,NTU or SMU. Can you please specify whether there are chances for me to get in to the School with this GMAT Score.

    1. Hi Jeykumar, you are in the gray zone with your 660 GMAT. The schools will be interested in your entrepreneurial experience, results, and character – a lot will depend on your results and story. I would encourage to retake the GMAT if you think you can score 700+.

      1. Hi Darren.

        Thanks for the reply. I have planned to take my TOEFL next week. So if I get a Score above 100 will that help the GMAT score drawback or still I have to rewrite the GMAT.

  40. Hi Darren,

    I want your advice on my candidature.

    I am Chartered Accountant from India. 31 years. I have more than 8 years of experience, primarily into finance. I have been with a global Investment bank for 4 years – 2 years in India & 2 years in New York. Post this, I have roughly 4 years of start-up experience.

    I intend to apply to NUS & NTU. My gmat is 640 (Q48/V28/IR7/AWA5). This is my second attempt. Earlier was 580.

    Given my below average gmat & not-that-great-extra curricular please, what do you feel are my chances of getting in to these schools. Post MBA, I plan to work in corporate finance in Asia (leverage fund raising, M&A experience, start-up experience & mba degree)

  41. Hi Darren,
    I have scored 690 in my second attempt of GMAT. I have done engineering from India. I am aspiring for NUS, SMU and NTU. I have almost 4 years of experience with one year international experience abroad. I am currently working in a IT company from India. What chances do I have ?

    1. Hi Ankit, without knowing the quality of your work experience and career goals, I’d say you’re in the gray zone with a 690 GMAT and 4 years of IT experience. There will be many candidates applying to your target schools with similar backgrounds.

  42. Hi Darren,
    Hope you are doing good 🙂

    I need your help to understand if I stand a chance in making to Nanyang Business School, NUS and INSEAD.
    Also do you think I need to retake my GMAT?

    GMAT: 700
    Academic background: Economics hons from Delhi University – 68% (first division); stood first in the first year university exams in college.
    10th: 91%; 12th: 86% (Science with Economics)

    Work experience: 3 years in market research industry as qualitative researcher. Worked with The Nielsen company (Delhi, Mumbai) and TNS India (Mumbai).
    Worked across categories such as FMCG (HUL, Nivea), Automobiles (Honda, Volkswagen, Mahindra&Mahindra, Tata Motors), Education (IIM-L), Food and beverages (Tata global beverages, Starbucks), Media (Dish TV)

    Currently interning with center for WTO studies.

    Thank you!

  43. Hi
    I gave my gmat today with a score of 620. I am a chartered accounted by profession based in India. I am a commerce graduate. I have around 5 years of experience. 1.5 years in Ernst and Young in the assurance department. Currently working with Dow Chemicals ( us based fortune 30 company) as a finance manager with around 7 subordinates. Myacademic qualifications are good( scores above 80%). Also I have an all India rank in ca final

  44. Hi,
    I would complete 2 years of work experience in Jun 2014 from a US company. GMAT score of 730 and decent acads. Part of various NGOS and many extra-circular activities. Have leadership experience in current organisation. Could you please tell me my chance at NTU and NUS.

    1. Hi Neha, there’s no way I can assess your chances with just that information. You have a very strong GMAT, but Singapore b-schools will want to know much more about your experience, personality, career goals and leadership potential. You definitely have a chance!

  45. Hi Darren ,

    I need your help to understand if I stand a chance in making to NUS or Nanyang Business School with my current GMAT Score : 700
    Academic background: Engineering : 70% (first division);
    10th: 76%; 12th: 64% (Science, Computers)

    Work Ex : 4 Yrs Experience as an ERP professional in IT MNC.
    Active involvement in Social Service , Politics and Sports.

    Thanks & Regards,

  46. Hi Darren,
    I’m currently pursuing in India. Is it possible to apply for MBA in NUS through GRE and if yes how much GRE score is required and a minimum work experience ?

    Thank you.

  47. Hi Daniel,

    My profile:

    Work Ex: 32 months (14 months in strategy consulting Integreon Group, 18 months in accounting with EY)
    GMAT: 680
    Undergrad: 52%

    My undergrad scores are a major problem in securing admissions to good colleges. Is there any aspect of my profile that I can improve further to counter my Under Grad scores. Or is NUS/NTU MBA a distant dream?

    1. Generally, you can counter a poor GPA through a great GMAT score (700+), earning tough qualifications (i.e. CFA) and strong essays and recommendations. Your consulting and accounting background will be a plus, but the adcoms will want assurances you won’t have problems academically.

  48. Hi Darren,

    Hope all is well.

    I am about to give the GMAT next month. My question is regarding my eligibility with respect to work experience.

    I have earned a M.Tech in Biotechnology from India and I was hired one of the largest pharmaceutical companies through a campus placement event. The role was however a Sales Executive- Trainee. I worked there for 7 months and then moved on to join a global consulting firm as an Analyst in their Healthcare practice. I have been here since 1.2 years now. This brings me to my question. Will NUS/SMU/NTU consider the initial work ex of 7 months as relevant even though the designation was a Sales Trainee?

    I will be applying this year to these schools later this year and will cross 2 years of work ex mid of 2014 (if the above stint at the pharmaceutical firm is considered valid.) Let me know what you think.

    Your opinion would be invaluable.

    Many thanks,

    1. Ashwin, was your sales executive trainee position full-time? If so, the 7 months should count towards your work experience.

      1. Hi Darren,

        Many thanks for your response. Yes, it was a full time position.

        Feeling reassured!

        Many thanks. Will stay in touch.

        Warm Regards,
        Ashwin Sirse

  49. Please help understand I stand a chance in making to NUS or Nanyang Business School with my current GMAT Score : 700
    Academic background: Engineering : 70% (first division);
    10th: 76%; 12th: 64% (Science, Computers)
    Work Ex : 4 Yrs Experience as an ERP professional in IT MNC.
    Active involvement in Social Service , Politics and Sports.
    Thanks & Regards,

    1. Hi Vishal, you are definitely in the running with that background; now your career goals, leadership potential, and interpersonal skills will be what will set you apart. These qualities will be assessed in your application and interview.

  50. Hello Darren,

    I intend to apply for a full time MBA in 2-3 years with SMU,NTU & NUS, would like to seek your advice on my chances of getting an interview and getting accepted.

    Age i will be in 3 years: 30
    Current Job: Relationship Manager for 2 years with a local bank selling and providing advisory on Equities, Bonds, Currencies, REITS, UTs, Structured Products.etc
    Academic qualification : BCom from UWA, Perth with Weighted Average Mark of 66%. (65% is the average WAM)
    GMAT : 630 (Q-45,V32)

    Personally i feel my academic results aren’t as strong comparatively and i am wondering if my GMAT of 630 is good enough to get me noticed. My work experience might not be adequate as well. Please let me know what do you think.

    Sincerest Regards,

  51. HI I gave GMAT and scored 640 . I am working professional (indian IT male) with experience of 3 years and 8 months .I was invited for the onsite visit for the two weeks to switzerland and currently i am the team lead for a year.

    i got 74.5% in graduation.
    i have taken few initiative at the work place which helps to reduce operational costs of the organisation and helps associates too.
    i somewhat into social works too.
    at college level too i was an active student , winning a number of prizes in technical projects and was the main organiser of the various events conducted at the college.

    Please evaluate my profile and suggest me further course of action.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Akshit, while I don’t know your whole story, your profile upon first glance seems average. As I’m sure you know, there are many Indian / IT / Male MBA applicants. First you’ll need to improve your GMAT score (ideally to 700+) to stand a better chance at the Singapore universities. Then, you’ll need to show those schools career progression, a track record of impact, and a clear career plan that is congruent with your past experiences. The schools will also be looking for “personal qualities” – like your communication skills, leadership and teamwork abilities. Good luck!

  52. Hi,

    Thank you for all your help. I have two years of work experience and I am planning on writing my GMAT. For me, when I was younger I messed up at University. My GPA is quite low (2.5) from McGill (B.Comm). Would it be feasible to make it up by getting a high GMAT score, or would it make no sense to apply since my GPA wouldn’t make the cut, even if I scored high on my GMAT.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Alim, yes you can make up for your low undergraduate GPA and demonstrate your academic aptitude by scoring high on the GMAT. I would target 700+ (and hopefully higher) to alleviate any concerns adcoms might have about your academic performance. You can also use your recommendations and optional essay / application data to show you have the focus and ability to get through an intense MBA program.

  53. Hi Darren,

    I graduated from university with pass degree in Economics and Finance. I have failed some modules repeatedly(they show in my transcript) but still managed a pass degree.

    My GMAT score is 680.

    I have 3 years of work experience and I was promoted to manager in a supply chain company recently within a year of joining the company. I am dealing with supply chain management within the ASEAN region.

    What are my chances in applying for SMU, NTU or NUS MBA?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Gan, what university did you go to? Failing modules repeatedly will definitely raise red flags, especially if they were quantitative-type courses. It’s good that you scored well on the GMAT – that will help. You could also use recommendations and your optional essay to alleviate concerns about your academic aptitude. Perhaps you could give me a more detailed breakdown here:

  54. Hello,
    I am planning to pursue my MBA in international Bussiness from Singapore.
    Age 23
    Total Experience: 2 Years in International BPO Sector with Adobe Process & 9 months in Real Estates.
    Educational Background: Graduation (BBA) with 64%
    Certifications: French A1 and A2 cerified by Alliance Francaise. And now pursuing B2
    Gmat Score: 700
    I am seeking admission in top management college in Singapore.
    After looking at my profile is it possible to get admission in Top University.
    And if possible which all universities you recommend.

    1. Hi, you have the minimum work experience and GMAT to apply, but you might want to work 1-2 more years to get some more work accomplishments under your belt, and to help differentiate you form other candidates like you. Singapore adcoms will want to see a track record of progression and impact inside and outside your workplace.

  55. Hi Darren,
    I will be applying for NUS and Nanyang flagship mba programess (starting in august 2015). As of now i have 8 months of work experience but will complete 2 years by july 2015. I am working at J P Morgan as a Technology Analyst( application developer). In this role I have worked on a critical payments related application and have just started work on a new project. I have completed Engineering in IT from a college in Mumbai University and my aggregate marks are 63 %. I have scored 680 in GMAT. Planning to apply by august 2014. I will also be appearing for the oracle java certification exam which I am reasonably confident of clearing. Will this be a good enough profile or should I give GMAT again or wait for another year before applying? If not NUS/Nanyang could you recommend any other top b-school in US/Europe/Asia(not india since i will be giving all the exams in india anyway)

    1. Forgot to mention I was part of many extra curricular activities during my engineering and also know the french language. One bad thing is I had failed during one of the papers in engineering and cleared it in the next semester.

    2. Hi Aniket, I would wait another year and use that year to progress at JP Morgan and seek opportunities outside work to make an impact. Unfortunately there are a lot of developers applying who are just like you (professionally) so you need to differentiate yourself in other ways. Assuming you want to move into a business role post-MBA, can you demonstrate your business acumen at JP Morgan or in other parts of your life?

  56. Hi Darren,

    I scored a 650 in my GMAT last year. I have got 6+ yrs of work experience in IT sector.

    I scored 85% in my Undergraduation(B.E.) from Anna University. I participate in CSR activities through my organization as much as possible. Even though I work in a global team with international presence, I don’t have specific travel experience abroad.

    Being an Indian, Female, with IT background, Please let me know the chances of getting into NTU, NUS and SMU.

    Thanks in Advance.

    1. Hi DR, you’ll definitely be on their radar screens but it’s hard to say without knowing the extent of your work experience. As you have 6 years of experience, all 3 schools will be looking to see your track record of impact and progression there through your CV, recommendations, essays and then interview.

      1. Darren,

        Thanks for your quick response.

        I am planning to apply for NTU MBA 2014.

        I have a query regarding the referral documents. Is it fine if we get both the references from current employer as I am unable to reach my supervisor in my previous company? one from my immediate supervisor and another from my delivery lead who is a level above my supervisor.

        Thanks in advance.

        1. Hi, it is technically okay to get both recommendations from your current employer – if you do so, be sure that they can speak to different dimensions of you. If the recommendations from your boss and your boss’ boss are very similar, you are a) wasting valuable application “real estate” to showcase your profile and b) could raise questions about why you didn’t submit a recommendation from your previous direct supervisor.

  57. Hi Darren,

    I have my GMAT on 12th July 2014 and i am looking to apply in NUS/NTU/SMU. Right now I have 1 year of experience but by july 2015 i will have full 2 year experience. I expect by score to be somewhere around 690-710. Can you please tell me if i am eligible to apply this year having considering that by the time i join, I will have 2 year work experience.


    1. Hi Murtaza, you are eligible to apply as long as you have 2 years of full-time work experience by the time you matriculate.

      1. Darren,

        Thanks for the quick response. I gave my GMAT today and scored 650 (Q47 V33). Below is my brief profile:

        Gmat score: 650 (Q47 V33 IR 7)
        Graduation: 2013 IT with 9.06 CGPA
        12th -88.6%
        10th -84.3%

        Work experience: july 2013-present in SapientNitro. Won award for outstanding contribution to the team. Award titles “You make a Difference”. My 2 years will get completed on 31st May 2015.

        Published a science paper in an international journal and was awarded the best paper award in the conference. Conference was held in Singapore.

        I am looking forward to apply for 2015 batch in NUS/NTU/SMU. Can you tell me what are my chances?

  58. I am an Indian Army officer who’s taken voluntary retirement after 20 years military service. I am a MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies (Madras University) and MSc in Weapons Technology(Pune University). In addition, I am a certified Project Management Professional from PMI, USA and have a GRE score of Verbal 160 and Quant 162. What are my prospects of MBA admission in Singapore?

    1. Hi Abraham, if you have over 20 years of working experience, you might be a bit old for an MBA degree. Perhaps you should look into EMBA degrees in Singapore.

  59. Hi Darren,

    I will be sitting for my GMAT on 2nd August and would look to make an application to NUS/NTU soon thereafter. My profile is summarised as below:

    Graduation: Bachelor in Management Studies (University of Mumbai) – 74%
    Class XII – 73%
    Class X – 87%

    Work Experience: 2 years (3 years by July 2015)
    Currently employed with PwC India in the Corporate Finance & Investment Banking Team. Promoted to Senior Analyst in April 2014. My work is sector-agnostic and I have experience of working through the entire deal cycle.
    I am also appearing for the Certificate in Corporate Finance provided by ICEAW.

    Extracurriculars: I founded and served as the President of the Rotaract Club of Mumbai Greencity in 2010-2011. Led a team of 100 volunteers to undertake several community service and professional development projects. I was an active member of the Rotaract Movement for 5 years and am still involved at an advisory level.

    It would be of great help if you can advise if I should make an application to NUS/NTU with the profile as mentioned above.


  60. Hi Darren,

    This is my Academic Profile:
    CSc and Engineering-7.39/10.

    I wish to do an MBA from Singapore
    This December I shall finish 3 years in Accenture. My primary skill is Oracle SCM.
    I still haven’t written my GMAT. Do you think do I stand a chance with this academic background for NTU/NUS/SMU? What GMAT score would give me a chance to compete? Please really need your suggestions here as Academics have always been a disadvantage for me.
    Thanks in Advance

    1. Hi Prince, definitely target 700+ to give yourself the best chance. Don’t underestimate your career skills/performance and goals in your application as well.

      1. Thanks for the reply Darren and one more question. What are the deadlines usually for NTU/NUS/SMU admissions? When is the last month to apply?

  61. Hi Darren,

    I am a CA ( Chatered Accountant) and a graduate in commerce from India. The CA course requires the students to have 3yrs of Articleship. I have completed two years with International firm named Deloitte and one year of Industrial Training with a Supermarket Giant. Currently working in a CA firm from one and a half year. Do you think I stand fair chances for MBA in Singapore? Will my Articleship and training be counted as work experience?
    I am also trained for a year in Kathak( Ancient traditional Indian Dance form). If this counts as extra curricular activity.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Vishaka, when I was at SMU we were looking for 2 years of full-time work experience after your degree. I would contact each business school individually to see if this has changed.

      1. Hi Darren,

        Thank you so much for responding. Currently working. Planning to apply next year. It will be about 2.5 years of work experience by then. Do you have any suggestions if anything else has to be worked upon except for work experience?

  62. Hi Darren,

    My academic profile is:
    Undergraduation: B.Tech with GPA of 8.6/10
    GMAT Score: 680(Q:48, V:35, IR: 6)
    Cuurently Working one of India’s largest IT company. (Work Experience as on August 27,2014 : 1 year)
    X: 92.6%
    XII: 81%

    I am aiming at NUS (MBA), NTU (MBA) as well as NUS (MFE).
    Do you think do I stand a chance with this academic background for NTU/NUS? I have a few extra-curricular achievements as well, and I was also a member of AIESEC.

    1. Hi, you need to have at least 2 years of full-time work experience before you apply. Your GMAT score will also be important.

      1. Hi, I will have 2 years of Work Experience by fall 2015. Can I apply with a GMAT score of 680 to NTU/NUS/SMU??

  63. Thanks for the reply Darren and one more question. What are the deadlines usually for NTU/NUS/SMU admissions? When is the last month to apply?

  64. Hi Darren,

    I am working with a US based IT Product ,Research and Development Organisation in India.I appeared for GMAT last year and scored a 660. I have a total of 5 years of Work experience. I have been delivering projects but it being an R&D setup ,my contribution is mainly technical in nature. However i have closely interacted with teams across various geographies to mitigate risks and clear blockages for successful delivery.

    I would also like to point out that i scored a 2.8 in AWA (which is think is pretty low) but a 7/8 in Integrated reasoning. I am targetting NUS and NTU. Please suggest if writing GMAT again would be worthwhile or should i go ahead with the current set of scores.

    Thanks in Advance,

    1. Hi Rachit, I’d encourage you to retake the GMAT if you think you can score 700+. 700+ is a good target for those with Indian / male / IT backgrounds.

  65. Hi Darren,

    I have a GRE score of 306, 149-verbal and 157-quants. I have 68% in Bachelors of Management studies (BMS) I have completed 2 levels of CFA and will be taking level 3 in june. I have 3 and 8 months of work-ex in my family business in defense and aerospace sector where i have been working as the Assistant Vice-president. I have worked on 2 M&A deals and getting 2 of my companies internationally listed where i have been actively involved. I have also headed PE investment for the company, where i have raised debt and equity capital for the company. Besides finance i also have played a role in production and sales for my company. My goal is to return back to my family business. Besides i am also actively involved in community service since the last 2 years. As far as my Extra-curricular activity is concerned i have played basketball for club for 3yrs and been an active member in organizing All India Basketball Tournament.How do you see my chances to get into SMU MBA as well MAF program?

    1. Hi Mihir, your GRE translates to a 540 which is too low. It sounds like you have outstanding work experience. It’ll be tough to get into the MBA program with this score; MAF maybe? If I were you I’d retake the GRE or GMAT and target 650+ to demonstrate your academic aptitude.

  66. Hi, Darren.
    I am writing to ask you how much GMAT score I need to get offer of admission from NUS Business school.

    This is my short Infos & background
    Age of 30 next year
    South Korea nationality
    B.S at Hanyang Univ. in Korea(Life science majored)
    GPA : 89.6/100 undergraduate
    4 year experience of sales position in MNC(pharmaceutical field)

    **I do not have GMAT score.

    Looking forward to your comment.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jinky, we’re in touch through email but for the benefit of everyone else, I’d recommend that you target the program average (670+) to maximize your chances.

  67. Hi Darren.

    Could you please let me know if I am being realistic about my chances at NUS/NTU:

    Profile –
    Gender – Female
    Country – India
    GMAT 670 (48Q and 34V). 7 on IR.
    Education –
    High school – 93% with a specialisation in commerce (finance).
    Graduation – Bachelor of Commerce
    Professional degree – Chartered Accountant (cleared all exams in the first attempt).

    Experience –
    1) 3.5 years with a big 4 consulting company as part of my CA articleship in audit
    2) 2 years in M&A in another big 4 consulting Company. Worked on quite a few international deals in my 2nd job.
    Of the total workex mentioned above, only 4 years will be counted (from my graduation date) since I started working at the age of 17.

    Activities – Leader of CSR club at my company, volunteer at a local NGO to teach at weekends and had also volunteered for 2 months full time after my graduation. Won medals and awards for academic achievements at high school level.

    Is it worth giving a shot for the schools mentioned above? Please let me know if I’m being realistic here.

    1. Hi SB, it sounds like you have some interesting work experience and you definitely have a shot at your target schools. Please note both schools require a minimum 2 years of Full-time work experience post-university graduation (it looks like you’ve done that).

  68. Hi,

    I have a 710 score on GMAT
    4+ years of work ex in project management for a steel behemoth in india at a mining location
    9.07 btech cgpa
    xii:75 x:86
    Post MBA:supply chain management
    Chances at NUS,NTU,SMU?why does SMU not feature in global rankings like FT and economist?

    1. You sound solid – a lot will depend on the strength of your work experience and how those skills & experiences relate to your post MBA goals. Do you have a good idea of what type of jobs you’ll target post-MBA? The FT requires that schools be running for a certain number of years before entering the rankings; the SMU MBA started in 2009.

  69. Hi Darren,

    I am an Indian IT professional
    Below is my profile :
    GMAT Score – 660. I scored particularly low in essay(2.9)
    CGPA: 8.01/10
    Achievements :
    1.Awarded technical excellence award in my current Job
    2.Awarded best project at inter department competition for my final Year project at Bachelor of Engineering
    3.Awarded a peer-to-peer recognition award twice.

    Current work profile : Work as a software engineer leading a team of 3 members. I handle project management for a particular module as well .

    Chances at NUS,NTU & SMU? Should i take GMAT again?If not, where do i stand a better chance of admission amongst these three. Thanks in advance

    1. How did you score 2.9 on your essay? Indian / Male / IT candidates should target 700+ to improve chances of securing an interview.

  70. Hi Darren,

    Quick profile rundown of myself; turn 33 come 2015, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from University of Queensland in Business Management, majoring in Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations. Fared averagely.

    Alas came back to Singapore only to succumb to the allure of the banking industry and its above average starting salary and other perks (non HR role).

    Blink of an eye and 5 years have passed within the (same) Private Banking in a support role. Another year (to date) in Asset Management (operations) via internal mobility.

    What are my odds at a shot with SMU MBA (assuming I even nail the GMAT)?

    Quantitative study is not exactly my forte yet I do aspire a role that’s of a consultative nature.

    Much appreciated!

    1. Hi Jenson, I’ve reached out to you via email. It’s tough to assess your chances without seeing your CV. Look forward to hearing from you!

  71. Hi,

    I got a 2nd lower engineering degree from NTU and a minor in business. Moreover, I am going to sit the SQP exam soon. Is 2nd Upper a strict cut off? Do I still qualify for consideration?

    Any input will be greatly appreciated before i plan to attempt GMAT in near future.


    1. Hi Cheryl, not too sure what the SQP exam is, but there is no strict cut off in terms of GPA. Sure, the top schools would prefer to see strong academic performance, but if you score well on your GMAT, you can alleviate concerns adcoms might have about your academic aptitude. You definitely still qualify for consideration.

  72. Hi,
    I am Indian/Female , with 3 years work exp, out of which 2 years are in family run business. My GMAT score is 640 and CGPA-9.04/10 from an Indian university. Could you please help me to weigh my chances of getting in NUS/NTU MBA program.

    1. What university did you attend? What have you been able to accomplish in your family business? What are your career goals? How strong are your communication skills? These are all factors that will determine your chances. It sounds like you’ve met the basic requirements. If you think you can score close to or above 700, I would consider retaking the GMAT, especially if your undergrad university is not well known.

  73. Hi Darren,

    I appeared for GMAT 15days back and scored 700 in my first attempt. I have a Bachelors and masters degree in Industrial engineering and management, both from IIT Kharagpur, India(GPA-7.51/10). I worked with ZS Associates for nearly two and a half years. There I worked with clients across globe from pharmaceutical industry in the role of an analyst. I got promoted to the level of Associate Consultant after two years, one of the fastest among the peers. I will now be joing BCG at the role of Knowledge Analyst. Please tell me my chances of making it to NUS/NTU/SMU MBA.

    1. It sounds like you have strong educational and work experience – you should be able to get an interview at all 3 schools. Then it’s up to you to impress the adcoms with your communication skills, maturity and personality. I’d give it a shot!

  74. Hi,

    I am a canadian citizen with experience in the consumer goods companies such as Kraft, Cadbury, Lindt. I took the GRE and scored a 307 in total. I have a masters degree from Canada (McGill University) and have close to 7 years of work ex in roles encompassing sales strategy and Marketing. I know that my weak link is my GRE score equivalent to a 590 GMAT, But I am hoping that a masters degree, a good (3.8)undergrad GPA and profile not in the typical candidate pool (canadian, consumer goods experience and background) will negate that. Please let me know what are my chances with my profile. Thanks.

  75. It would be great if you can share your feedback on my profile. I have a GMAT score of 650 (Quantitative – 44 and Verbal -35) scored 5.5 on Essay. I am aiming for NUS MBA program.

    I am 26 yrs old, female, Indian. I have 4 and half yrs work experience in a reputed IT firm as a IT Business Analyst. i manage a small team. I have excellent recommendations from supervisors. I have been actively involved in social service initiatives through the company I work for. I have few other extra curricular activities under my belt and i’m currently working on leading a community service initiative through the company I am working for.

    Could you please let me know what are my chances for 2015 batch. Thanks!

    1. Hi Vidya, you sound solid. The only problem is there are a lot of other candidates from India with similar “stats” applying to NUS. Can you raise your GMAT score to 700+ to give yourself an edge? Great to hear that you have excellent recs – that will help. As there are many IT Analysts applying, I would focus on the perspectives and experiences you have outside that domain (social services, etc) that you could contribute. Also be sure to research your career goals! Best, D

  76. hey would be great if u can provide feedback on my profile.
    gmat score 620 will be giving it again.
    age 29 yrs
    class X 89%
    class XII 88%
    engineering graduate from top ranked university in india with a percentage of 63%
    then did mba in banking and insurance from a top tier university. was university topper
    worked for private investment bank for 7 months
    now currently have close to 3 yrs of experience of working at a senior position in india’s leading public sector bank ,listed in fortune 500 company.
    i want to apply to nus ntu and smu.

    could you let me know my chances for 2015 batch

  77. Hi Darren,

    I’m an applicant from India.
    Work ex: 30 months
    Undergraduate: 9.0/10 (Computer Science)

    Worked at one of the BIG4 consulting firms in the technology consulting area.
    Decent amount of extra-curriculars and social service as well.

    What are the chances of an admit if the interview goes well.

    1. Hi Kramer, if you get an interview and it goes well, you’ll have really good chances. 😉 Good luck with NTU!

      1. Thanks for the response Darren! I did get an interview call, and it’s in a couple of days. Any pointers on the NTU interview?

  78. Hi Darren,
    Please ignore my last message.
    I have a sales experience of 11.5 years, of which 5 years are with a multi-national spirits giant and I am the state head for the North East india region. My education consists of a Bachelor in Commerce and correspondence MBA. i am interested in Nanyang and NUS MBA. However, my GRE score is 293. Do I need to re-take the GRE to improve my chances with Nanyang or NUS?
    Thank you.

      1. Thank you for the reply Darren. It really helped. I am going to take the GRE again. But, there is one more thing I wanted to know. Does your career trajectory and achievement cover for a somewhat less GRE score and academic history. What I am asking is I do have a few real good career highlights like winning employee of the years, exemplary awards, rapid promotions and being the youngest manager for Bacardi in the country? Does that earn me any leniency in the GRE score required from me?

        1. Yes, having impressive career accomplishments and progression can definitely round out your profile – and is especially important as an ‘older’ candidate. However because schools like NUS, NTU and SMU receive so many applications from Indian applicants, GMAT / GRE scores are relatively more important as the competition from that applicant group is high.

  79. Hi Darren,

    I have a GMAT score of 630 and 3 years work experience in a family business. Would that put me in a good position for part time SMU MBA Program. In short, is there a differences in requirements between a full time and a part time MBA program for SMU?

    1. Hi Jia Yang, 630 is a little low for SMU but I would definitely still apply for the part-time MBA program. In general, SMU expects higher GMAT scores for Full-time program applicants. That said, the admissions staff will want to make sure you have the academic aptitude to get through an accelerated part-time program i.e. are you really low in either the verbal or quantitative sections? If so, they might ask you to retake. Unless you feel you can score significantly higher, I’d go ahead and apply.

  80. NUS, Nanyang count years of experience from the date of application or till the date of joining??
    I am 26 year old Indian ,MS in Mechanical Engineering
    I have done my masters from Germany in Production Engineering.
    Currently I have 1 year of experience ,I am planning to gain 2 more years of experience and then apply for MBA.My GMAT score is 720.I am currently working in India for a German automotive company.
    V.good acads so far and decent proffessional career.Hopefully would clear CFA level 1 exam this year.Working with an NGO and German language business fluency.
    How good are my chances??

    1. NUS and Nanyang count years of experience till the date of joining. You have a solid GMAT score and your international experience and CFA should help as well. I would definitely apply.

  81. Hi,

    Thanks in advance for your an engineering graduate with 2 years of experience in IT. i saw GRE scores being accepted by NUS, from where am planning to do MBA… can you provide details on GRE scores required…. i have managed my team at various project deployments… i need your inputs of how i am supposed to differentiate from the looking at 2016 admissions…

  82. Hi Darren,
    I have 6 years of work experience in software engineering and research. I am from India and am currently working in Singapore since a year. I have a GRE score with a GMAT equivalent of 620. I plan to apply to NUS and NTU part time MBA 2015. How important is the GMAT scores for part time MBA ? Should I consider giving the GMAT again ?

    1. GMAT scores are still important for the part-time program (albeit less important than for the Full-time program). Given that many Indian male engineers apply to Singapore b-schools, I would encourage you to retake and target above NUS / NTU’s average GMAT.

      1. Hi Darren,
        Thanks for your input. I am trying to seek the statistics on the number of part time MBA applicants (as compared to full time). Would you know where I can find that ?

  83. Hi Darren,

    I am a local applicant and intend to apply for the full time MBA program.

    GMAT:660 (Q45 V36)
    Work experience after graduation: 35 months (at one of the big 4s)
    GPA: 5.55/7.0 (Computer Science)

    Do I stand a chance in getting admitted into SMU, NUS, or NTU?

  84. Hello darren,
    glad to knw that you’re helping a lot of mba aspirants..however,i would like to knw about phd finance in nanyang business school..i would love to kbow about the required gmat score..and as nus and ntu mba grads keep on talking abt placements,is it the same for post graduates ?? I have completed ACCA and CAT..i also have a bachelors degree in applied accounting. I have 4 yrs of experience ( 6 mnths in dubai, 1 yr in qatar, the rest in my hone country )…i have nt appeared for gmat yet..thus would like to ask abt the average score for post graduate level…

  85. Hi, I have scored 322 in GRE(Q-157, V-168) , AWA-4. Have 2 yrs of work experience as a QA in an investment bank in India.
    71.5%-BE Eng average

    What are the chances of me getting into NUS for MBA in Fin.?
    Also should I give the GMAT? Appeared for GRE in 2011

  86. Hi Darren,

    I recently applied to NUS and got interview call. My interview is on 3rd Dec at Bangalore, India. Can you please provide me any useful information regarding interview?

    Brief about myself:

    Indian IT Male

    GMAT 1. 650 2.710

    TOEFL 108

    Job Profile:
    Software Developer, currently working with an startup.
    Work Ex 3 years with onsite projects in Dubai and Mauritania, Africa.

    Academics: CGPA 9.06 (B.TECH IT VIT University)

    Target Course: Strategy and Management
    Target Profile : Consulting Analyst

  87. Hi Darren ,

    I have GMAT score 650 ( Q49 ,V29 ,IR 6 ) in my last attempt .Before that, i gave GMAT two times and scores were 520 and 550 in first and second attempt respectively.

    work experience: Total 10 years of work experience in telecom Industry, including recent 6 years at BlackBerry Singapore Pte Ltd and first 4 years with Nokia Siemens Networks and relaince communication ltd ,India.
    At BlackBerry, I worked as Carrier Technical Manager and Quality Manager .Both these roles were Regional and worked with SEA ,India and Japan telecom service providers .

    Undergraduate details: I am B.E. ( Electronics and Telecom ) with GPA 3.6 from India.

    I want to apply for NUS MBA part time .Is my GMAT score ok for this course? I am worried about my low Verbal score more .

    1. Hi Jyoti, you’re within range for the PT program, so I’d give it a shot. They might suggest / hint that you should retake the GMAT during the application process, and in that case, you should definitely jump and do so. Best, Darren

  88. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for writing this post and diligently responding to the thread. I have one question re what you wrote: “Unless you come from an extremely competitive applicant pool (i.e. Indian Male in IT), Singapore MBA programs will have to look at your application if you score close to the programs’ average GMAT scores. The higher your score – especially relative to the class average – the better.”

    May I consult you what this means and why it should matter? I came across similar takes on how coming from a huge pool of GMAT takers or regions with higher GMAT scores “matter”. Will our scores/percentiles be pitched against the global average or where we actually sit for the test?

    Thanks in advance for your answers, if you do get to this 🙂

    1. Hi Mei, thanks for your question. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on where you’re from – your scores/percentiles will often be compared against both the school’s GMAT average and your peer group. Think of it from an admissions officer perspective. We are all trying to put together a diverse class – nationality, educational background, professional background, goals, personality. Why? So that MBA students will have a dynamic learning experience and network. If admissions officers went strictly with GMAT scores, some lower-ranked programs might have over 75%+ Indian candidates. Would you want an MBA with 1-2 nationalities dominating the class? And would you want classmates based solely on their GMAT scores? This is the art of putting together a class, which is why admissions officers always say they evaluate you “holistically.” Check out this podcast with 3 other Admissions Directors discussing how they look at your GMAT. Good luck!

  89. Hi Darren!

    I recently gave the GMAT and scored a 700.

    I have had a year of work experience with ZS Associate.
    After that, I worked for 2 years for my own start-up which eventually failed. (Does this count as an experience?)

    I have a GPA of 3.5 from college (I did my B.Tech in India) and have been a very active student.

    I would like to know if I stand a chance with 3.5 GPA and a start-up?

    Thank you and looking forward to your response!

    Ms. Riju Goyal

    1. Hi Riju, yes your start-up experience definitely counts as experience. Your background and stats seem solid – I think you have a chance and I’d give it a go. Best, Darren

      1. Hi Darren,

        Please evaluate my profile for NUS and NTU.

        A snapshot of my background:

        Qualifications: B.Tech from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi, and MBA from top 15 B School in India, CFA Level 3 Candidate.

        Work Experience: ~5 years experience, currently working as Analyst in back end Investment Banking at an American Investment Bank (catering to APAC region) for the past 2.5 years, earlier worked in a manufacturing firm for 10 months, and before MBA worked with an Indian IT Company for 18 months.

        GMAT: 750 (Q50, V41)

        Social exp: community Volunteer at my current company and during my first MBA.

        Also, one of the most important factors in my decision for school would be amount of scholarship offered. Based on my profile can I get a good scholarship?

        Thank you in advance.

        1. Hi AJ, it sounds like you have a strong profile and 750 is an outstanding GMAT score for NUS & NTU. I’d encourage you to apply and see where the chips fall in terms of scholarships. Honestly, it’s very difficult to predict. Your score & background should put you in the running, but your award (if any) will depend on who else is applying your year and your round. Hope this helps. Best, Darren

  90. Hi Darren,

    I recently scored 630(Q49,V24) in GMAT exam.
    My work experience is 9 years in Oil & Gas industry in India and currently working with one of the major MNC in this sector ‘ TechnipFMC’.
    some of executed projects are international as well.
    And I did B.Tech in Mechanical engineering from a good ranked college in India.
    My academics figures are on average side.
    I am targeting to NUS, NTU & SMU Singapore for MBA.
    Need suggestion to proceed for application.
    Thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Piyush, I’d encourage you to retake the GMAT and target closer to 700, especially if your academic marks are average. Best, Darren

  91. Hii Darren, Hope you are doing well.

    Request you to please evaluate my profile for NUS and NTU.

    A snapshot of my background:

    Qualifications: B.Tech in Production Engineering from Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune, with a GPA of 3.

    Work Experience: ~5 years of work experience in Industrial product sales, Auto component sales in an MNC company.

    GMAT Score: 690

    Extra Curricular – I was Marketing Head of National Annual Technical Fest in college.

    Working with an local NGO named “MAD” wherein, we spare a 2 hours on weekend to educate poor children’s .

    Thanks for all your kind advise in advance

    1. Hi Raj, 690 will be average or slightly below average for your demographic for NUS/NTU. I think it’s worth a shot. If you think you can score 30+ points higher on your GMAT, I’d go for it. Also be sure to propose well-researched and attainable career goals – this will be important so schools feel they can help you. Good luck!

  92. Hello Darren,
    I gave GMAT third time and scored 700.
    Qualifications: B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Pune University with GPA 2.9-3.2. (have first class on my degree certificate)
    Work Experience: 3+ years of work-Ex in leading CAD-software industry/PLM Industry.

    2-Internships, of 6 months each, at leading Indian Manufacturing firm.

    leader for national level event (SAE-BAJA) during graduation
    Involved in CSR activities.


    Thank You in advance!

    1. I’d apply to all 3 and see where the chips fall! If you have well-researched career goals, I think you should land an interview with at least one of your targets. Good luck!

  93. Hello Darren,

    I am a Singapore PR. I have a GMAT score of 730 and 4years experience in a social enterprise as a manager. But my NUS engineering GPA score is very low. Will I have a chance of securing NUS / NTU MBA?
    Is there more chance if I apply for the part-time or the full-time.?

    1. Hi Varadh, it sounds like you have a strong profile. If you’re already working in Singapore and don’t want to make a major career change immediately after getting your degree, I’d encourage you to target part-time MBA options where I think you’ll have better chances.

  94. Hi Darren, Hope you are doing well.

    Request you to please evaluate my profile for NUS and NTU. Apologies in advance for a long post 🙂

    Qualification: Chartered Accountant from Institute of Chartered Accountant of India and a degree in Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com).

    Work experience: Total 2.5 years, around 1 year in Accenture and currently working with Cummins India Limited.
    In Accenture, I was responsible to handle the financials for various contracts and that included- ensuring compliance to US GAAP, comparison of actual vs forecast, preparation of financials packages on monthly basis to review the performance of each contract, compliance and documentation with Internal controls for eligible contracts etc.

    After that I joined Cummis India Ltd. Presently I am in the PFR (Planning, Forecasting and Reporting) team of the Power System business of Cummins. I am responsible for all the Global reporting that happens. Also I am involved in the board meeting submissions apart from the monthly reporting that happens. We present the financials to the senior management for their review and also provide the reasons for variations and our suggestions to them. This role also gives me the opportunity to interact with nearly each department as I also prepare the financials for the future (3,5 years) based on the forecast of each department which goes to the top management for their review. Recently, in absence of my manager (due to paternity leave) and other colleagues (they left during the same time), I was the sole person handling all the activities of the PFR for full Jan 2018. This got me the opportunity to push myself and showcase my leadership qualities.

    I love playing badminton and have participated in various district tournaments. I was awarded the best student award at the time of my farewell in my school. I was given a certificate of appreciation during my stint with Accenture and was also recognized by my global counter parts and business head here in Cummins. I also participate in the activities that our company organize for social cause. I also do some social activities in my personal capacity.

    I appeared for GMAT in Dec 2017 and got 640. I cancelled that score and will be appearing on 10th March again aiming to score above 680 to apply in round 3.

    Thanks in advance for your valuable advice.

    1. Hi Aditya, it’s tough to evaluate your profile without a career goal, but given your experience, I’d encourage you to target a 700+ GMAT to give yourself the best chance of landing an interview with NUS/NTU. Be sure to propose authentic and well-researched career goals too.

  95. Hi Darren, Hope you are doing great.

    I would like you to assess my profile

    Here are some of the facts about me

    Nationality : Indian
    GMAT – 640 (V27, Q50) AWA 5.0
    Target School – NUS, Singapore
    Bachelors in Computer science from VIT Vellore india – GPA : 4.0/4.0
    Master in Computer science from NYU, New York, USA – GPA : 3.49/4.0
    Work Ex : 3.5 yr in USA , currently working in ADP from past 2 year as acting team lead
    Leadership :
    1. Successfully mentored 150+ graduate students in designing and developing their projects (2014)
    2. Lead the NYU school of engineering team in NYU all university games (2015)
    3. Conducted team outing (including- Budget management) at eClinical Works and ADP
    4.Held position of Organizing Committee Commissioner in Graduate school council at NYU (2014-2015)
    5.Mentored poor orphan kids for a year (2010-2011) in non profit and non-government organization – Make a Difference
    6. Selected as best student by Hindustan times for guiding school students about their future (2012) and was telecasted in media

  96. Darren,

    Request for you to evaluate my credentials for Singapore MBA programs.

    Current GMAT is 600 but I am taking again soon

    I graduated from one of the United States Military Academies and have a BS in Systems Engineering that is accredited and hold a Maritime License as Chief Engineer for and size ship.

    I have 10 years of work experience ranging from being the facilities engineer on ships and oil drilling platforms to now working as the maintenance and repair manager for multiple large scale ships.


    1. Hi Trevor, you have met the educational, experience, and GMAT requirements to apply for the top Singapore MBA programs. A higher GMAT will certainly help!

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