University of Tennessee

UT’s Haslam MBA Leads Country in GMAT Score Increase

January 24, 2020

The Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is leading the country in rising GMAT scores. Recently ranked 49th in its top 100 U.S. MBA programs ranking and 25th among public institutions by Poets&Quants, much of the college’s leap comes from the trajectory of its graduate admissions exam scores.

Marc Ethier, Poets&Quants’s managing editor, has taken a deeper look into the numbers behind the publication’s rating system, which highlights Haslam’s third year of overall upward movement on the list, having gone from 56 in 2017 to 49 in 2019. The research, published in the article, “Average GMAT Scores At The Top 50 B-Schools,” reveals one development in particular that may have contributed to Haslam’s recent gains. 

As Ethier notes, several colleges in the rankings have improved their average GMAT scores over the last five years, but, he writes, “none beats the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, one of two newcomers to the top 50, whose Haslam College of Business has jumped an incredible 41 points, to 657.”

That rise marks the biggest gain in average GMAT of any school in the ranking, which makes the Haslam MBA program the leader in average GMAT score increase among Poets&Quants’ Top U.S. MBA programs between 2014 and 2019. 

Bruce Behn, associate dean for Graduate and Executive Education, says that many factors came together to contribute to the college’s notable GMAT increase.

“Our program directors place a strong emphasis each year on the overall quality of students coming into Haslam’s graduate programs,” Behn says. “Increased scholarship support for full-time MBA students was particularly critical in this rise in GMAT score, as well as the personal attention and continuous outreach by many graduate and executive education faculty and staff members.”

Behn hopes these efforts will allow the college to continue to recruit and retain outstanding graduate students for all of its programs.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist (865-974-3589,