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Ask Aringo - if your GMAT is below 720

This topic has 114 expert replies and 223 member replies
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supermario Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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14 Feb 2012
Posted:
17 messages
Upvotes:
2
Post Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:21 am
Thanks again Brian!

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nyc2013 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
03 May 2012
Posted:
1 messages
Top Reply
Post Thu May 03, 2012 2:56 pm
Hi Brian,

Thank you for your insights in advance.

Female
GMAT 660 (44Q 37V 5.5AWA) (planning on retaking)
Undergrad GPA: 3.7 (cum laude from Ivy)
Double major in Econ and Neuroscience

Work Experience (@ matriculation):
2 year Investment Banking @ top 5
3 year at boutique PE shop (small team, more responsibility)

Schools (ranked from most desired):
1. Stanford
2. HBS
3. MIT
4. Tuck?
5. Darden?

Reason for B-school: Looking to move into entrepreneurial / VC funds.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a list of schools to apply, what a "safety school" means and how to stand out amongst the sea of 2+2 finance applicants.

Thank you so much!

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vkc911 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
16 Mar 2012
Posted:
8 messages
Test Date:
16 April, 2012
GMAT Score:
700
Top Reply
Post Tue May 01, 2012 9:01 pm
Thank you for your valuable suggestions Aringo. I shall try to incorporate them into my Essay and Recommendations.

I will want to ask you a question! How can I improve my profile to make myself a strong applicant at Kellogg and Boot as I look forward to bag an admission in top notch b-school?

Kindly suggest.

_________________
Cheers,
kc

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nyc2013 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
03 May 2012
Posted:
1 messages
Post Thu May 03, 2012 2:56 pm
Hi Brian,

Thank you for your insights in advance.

Female
GMAT 660 (44Q 37V 5.5AWA) (planning on retaking)
Undergrad GPA: 3.7 (cum laude from Ivy)
Double major in Econ and Neuroscience

Work Experience (@ matriculation):
2 year Investment Banking @ top 5
3 year at boutique PE shop (small team, more responsibility)

Schools (ranked from most desired):
1. Stanford
2. HBS
3. MIT
4. Tuck?
5. Darden?

Reason for B-school: Looking to move into entrepreneurial / VC funds.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a list of schools to apply, what a "safety school" means and how to stand out amongst the sea of 2+2 finance applicants.

Thank you so much!

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vkc911 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
16 Mar 2012
Posted:
8 messages
Test Date:
16 April, 2012
GMAT Score:
700
Post Tue May 01, 2012 9:01 pm
Thank you for your valuable suggestions Aringo. I shall try to incorporate them into my Essay and Recommendations.

I will want to ask you a question! How can I improve my profile to make myself a strong applicant at Kellogg and Boot as I look forward to bag an admission in top notch b-school?

Kindly suggest.

_________________
Cheers,
kc

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BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jul 2011
Posted:
40 messages
Upvotes:
5
Post Thu May 10, 2012 1:48 pm
Quote:
Howdy!

I took the GMAT last week after 2 months of preparation.
Score: 700 (90 percentile)
Quant 48 (80 percentile)
Verbal 38 (83 percentile)

I’m considering applying to part-time programs (Haas-Berkeley, Anderson-UCLA) and maybe (Booth-Chicago, Stern-NYU) I’m not very sure about the latter because I live in San Francisco and flying out to Chi-town/NY every weekend might not be very practical.

I was wondering if I have any realistic chance of getting into these elite schools. Should I consider retaking the GMAT? In the few prep tests I had taken (GMAT Prep, MGMAT), I had scored 730, 720 and 690 (MGMAT 1st test), 730

I’m asking because I’m part of the over-represented pool. Here are the details:

- Software professional in the Silicon Valley with 5 years of experience.
- Ethnically Indian (male/28)
- Undergraduate GPA - First Class from Bombay University - approx 3.75/4.00 GPA if converted (I'm not very sure about the conversion)
- Masters Degree in CS from a reputed school in California. GPA 3.85/4.00
- I’ve been doing well at work (at a reputed tech company ) and can get good (hopefully) recommendation letters from my manager and the director (who’s a Haas part-time alumnus) of the department.
I think mine would be an average profile for Haas/Anderson.

I plan to apply to part time programs for the Fall 2013 class.

Let me know if you think I have a chance or if retaking is the best option. I understand that the GMAT score is just one criterion and the Admission Committee looks into other criteria like work experience, extracurricular activities, recommendations, essays, etc. as well. The reason I’m asking specifically about the GMAT is that from the few posts that I’ve perused through in these forums, I’ve figured that an applicant with my background should ideally have a higher score to stand out from the rest of the pool.

Thanks!
-Rohit
Rohit,

Thank you for your profile submission. Please keep in mind that while Aringo advises candidates who are interested in part-time MBA programs, we are less able to give a precise estimate for chances at these programs. The volume of applicants to these programs is much lower than that for full-time, but they are generally slightly less competitive to gain entry to relative to full-time programs. As such, I would caution you in comparing your candidacy against the profiles of applicants to full-time MBA programs.

One item I would ask you to ask yourself is this - if you are truly not willing or able to travel across the country to a program like NYU Stern, then I would highly encourage you to not apply to such a program. Flying to Chicago is still quite a trek from San Francisco but much less of one vs. flying to New York - because of this I might encourage you to consider the part-time program at Kellogg instead of that at Stern.

Your profile, based on the information you presented, would in our experience put you as a competitive candidate at Haas and strong at Anderson in the full-time programs. So, while you could re-take the GMAT, I would perhaps comment that you may just want to research these part-time programs to make sure that you are familiar with them and so that you can prepare a well-rounded application. Having an alum of Haas as a recommender will, all things equal, help you somewhat with your candidacy - so long as that recommender knows you well and can speak to your strengths and developmental priorities.

Best of luck,
Brian

_________________

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Thanked by: rohit.bizschool
BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jul 2011
Posted:
40 messages
Upvotes:
5
Post Thu May 10, 2012 1:23 pm
Quote:
Hi Brian,

Thank you for your insights in advance.

Female
GMAT 660 (44Q 37V 5.5AWA) (planning on retaking)
Undergrad GPA: 3.7 (cum laude from Ivy)
Double major in Econ and Neuroscience

Work Experience (@ matriculation):
2 year Investment Banking @ top 5
3 year at boutique PE shop (small team, more responsibility)

Schools (ranked from most desired):
1. Stanford
2. HBS
3. MIT
4. Tuck?
5. Darden?

Reason for B-school: Looking to move into entrepreneurial / VC funds.

I'm having a hard time coming up with a list of schools to apply, what a "safety school" means and how to stand out amongst the sea of 2+2 finance applicants.

Thank you so much!

nyc2013,

Thank you for your profile submission. On the basis of the information as presented and under the assumption of strong essays and recommendations and a GMAT score of 660, our experience indicates you would be between a stretch and competitive candidate at HBS and Stanford, competitive at MIT Sloan, and strong at Tuck and Darden.

With respect to your questions:

We typically don't believe in the use of the word/phrase "safety school." We instead encourage applicants to apply to a mix of programs that would provide them with a meaningful chance at admission and to which the applicant would attend if accepted (to just that one program). If an applicant applies to a school but has no intention of actually attending if that were the only program where he/she was accepted, to us that seems like a huge waste of time, money, and effort.

Given your current profile, I would encourage you to consider applying to programs in the top 10 such as Booth, Kellogg, Columbia (not necessarily all of them, perhaps 1 or 2) - right now you have a bit of a gap between Stanford and HBS with Darden and Tuck from a ranking standpoint in your list.

In terms of differentiating oneself from your peers in the investment banking and private equity background, there are any number of factors that we have observed candidates focus on in the past:
- Extracurricular activities/focus, and individual interests. You do not mention anything specifically here, but by all means give some thought to showing your personality and personal interests a bit in your application.
- Future career plans (so long as they are a natural progression from your prior work history). It's not uncommon (or 'wrong') for finance applicants to indicate that they are interested in PE or VC, but keep in mind that doing so is not going to be much of a differentiator.
- Coming across (literally) as being an engaging personality. In our experience, some finance candidates can come across as a bit too arrogant at times, which hurts at programs like Kellogg, Ross, Fuqua, and Tuck where culture and fit count (a lot).

Additionally, it absolutely helps that you are a female. I do not need to tell you that the finance industry is fairly male-dominated, and business schools are keen to admit high-perfoming women from finance backgrounds.

Your GMAT is potentially your weakest profile aspect. Since the balance of your profile is so strong, you don't necessarily have to re-take it, but if you could improve it some it would help your candidacy.

Best of luck,

_________________

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BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jul 2011
Posted:
40 messages
Upvotes:
5
Post Thu May 10, 2012 11:18 am
Quote:
Thank you for your valuable suggestions Aringo. I shall try to incorporate them into my Essay and Recommendations.

I will want to ask you a question! How can I improve my profile to make myself a strong applicant at Kellogg and Boot as I look forward to bag an admission in top notch b-school?

Kindly suggest.
vkc911,

Thank you for your follow-up question. In the review of your profile we provided a number of specific recommendations, so without knowing more about your background with a full resume and more of an in-depth discussion, I don't have any more concrete items for you.

In general, we tell candidates:

- To get promoted at work (preferably more than once)
- To accumulate impressive achievements at work (especially leadership-oriented)
- To try to get to a situation where you manage people - preferably regular direct reports (and if that's not possible, then on a project or in a matrix)
- To boost your community contribution (preferably in a leadership-oriented context)
- To consider initiating/co-founding/setting up a project/department/organization (either at work, or outside of work) and making it successful
- To mark a few potential recommenders and deepen/strengthen your relationship with them
- To consider whether it's possible for you to get an MS (or other degree) with distinction/excellence in order to counter your undergrad GPA, if appropriate (the contribution of such effort to your admission chances will be small to medium - consider if it's worth the investment of time and money)

Best of luck,

_________________

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rohit.bizschool Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
09 May 2012
Posted:
21 messages
Post Wed May 09, 2012 9:55 pm
Howdy!

I took the GMAT last week after 2 months of preparation.
Score: 700 (90 percentile)
Quant 48 (80 percentile)
Verbal 38 (83 percentile)

I’m considering applying to part-time programs (Haas-Berkeley, Anderson-UCLA) and maybe (Booth-Chicago, Stern-NYU) I’m not very sure about the latter because I live in San Francisco and flying out to Chi-town/NY every weekend might not be very practical.

I was wondering if I have any realistic chance of getting into these elite schools. Should I consider retaking the GMAT? In the few prep tests I had taken (GMAT Prep, MGMAT), I had scored 730, 720 and 690 (MGMAT 1st test), 730

I’m asking because I’m part of the over-represented pool. Here are the details:

- Software professional in the Silicon Valley with 5 years of experience.
- Ethnically Indian (male/28)
- Undergraduate GPA - First Class from Bombay University - approx 3.75/4.00 GPA if converted (I'm not very sure about the conversion)
- Masters Degree in CS from a reputed school in California. GPA 3.85/4.00
- I’ve been doing well at work (at a reputed tech company ) and can get good (hopefully) recommendation letters from my manager and the director (who’s a Haas part-time alumnus) of the department.
I think mine would be an average profile for Haas/Anderson.

I plan to apply to part time programs for the Fall 2013 class.

Let me know if you think I have a chance or if retaking is the best option. I understand that the GMAT score is just one criterion and the Admission Committee looks into other criteria like work experience, extracurricular activities, recommendations, essays, etc. as well. The reason I’m asking specifically about the GMAT is that from the few posts that I’ve perused through in these forums, I’ve figured that an applicant with my background should ideally have a higher score to stand out from the rest of the pool.

Thanks!
-Rohit

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BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jul 2011
Posted:
40 messages
Upvotes:
5
Post Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:38 pm
Quote:
Dear Brian,

I will want to apply for the MBA programs commencing in Fall 2013. Below is my detailed profile:

Acads:
-B.E. (Electronics &Communication) with 82.1% from Anna University
-GMAT: 700 (QA: 50, VA:34, AWA:5)

Work Experience:
-Working as Test Engineer in Infosys Limited since Oct'09
-Within 6 months into production, I was sent to Melbourne, along with few experienced colleagues, to work with the new Client to build rapport & trust and to secure long-term business commitment. Worked there for 8 months. Was given an opportunity to lead a team of 4. Had impressed Client with the leadership and technical work. Awarded Best Performance for the Quarter, by the client.
Worked with multi-cultured people. Was influential in decision-making on various aspects of the applications when working with the Business and Development
- At Offshore(India), lead a team of 8. Completed the testing of application under time and resource constraints. Bagged an internal award for Best Performance in the Quarter. On the company's role, I'm not a Team Lead as the promotions are policy driven and not performance driven.

Extra-Curricular:
- Lead Organizer of the Cultural and Technical fest. Was involved in Planning, Strategizing, Procurement, Resource allocation and Overall event management.
-Had organized the Industrial Visits for the Department in different semesters
-Had taken the initiative to work with Counseling Cell to support the fellow students in need of support
-Was part of the Blood Donation drive in the college and at Infosys
-Served as an Administrator of various clubs in Infosys (such as SLR Photography Club, Lenz Club) out of my interest in photography
-Played a active role in Sneham, a social welfare club at Infosys that supports underprivileged children around Chennai, India
-Out of my passion to travel and explore new places, I had planned and organized tours across Australia for self and fellow colleagues.
- I actively trade in Stock Markets, offer valuable suggestions to my peers, analyze the markets on a daily basis. I have made losses in intra-day trading and deliveries after which I spent time understanding the basic market fundamentals, the importance of right stock selection to maximize returns and identify the right time to make a buy/sell.

Why MBA?
Career and industry shift. I want to study marketing and work in manufacturing/consumer goods/pharmaceuticals industry with a long term goal of being an entrepreneur and cater to the industrial customers and individual consumers in an arbor scent approach. My strength is in analyzing people, their psychology and getting them convinced of my thoughts and ideas, which I feel is vital in Marketing apart from market analysis.

Schools short-listed based on my Research:
1. University of Chicago: Booth
2. University of California at Berkley: Haas
3. Duke University: Fuqua
4. Northwestern University: Kellogg
5. NYU: Stern
6. Dartmouth College: Tuck
7. Cornell University: Johnson
8. University of Michigan: Ross
9. UCLA: Anderson
10. Carnegie Mellon: Tepper

I look forward to valuable suggestions/advice with reference to my profile, the school selection and my profile’s sufficiency to the MBA programs.

Cheers,
kc
kc,

Thank you for your profile submission. On the basis of the information as presented and under the assumption of strong essays and recommendations and a GMAT score of 700, our experience indicates that you would be between a stretch and competitive candidate (closer to stretch) at Kellogg and Booth, between stretch and competitive (closer to competitive) at Haas, competitive at Stern, Tuck and Ross, between competitive and strong (closer to competitive) at Fuqua, and strong at Cornell, Anderson, and Tepper.

Like you, I was an engineer with a 700 GMAT when I applied to MBA programs, and had a higher quantitative GMAT split relative to my verbal split. In your essays, make sure to focus on stories that describe your leadership skills, persuasions skills, presentation skills, and negotiation abilities. This is because with a strong undergraduate GPA and a good quant split, it is assumed that you are a good analyst. I like how you describe that you have a strength in analyzing people and their psychology, and you in particular how you link this to your interest in a future career in marketing. One recommendation on this topic would be to use one of your essays to elaborate on how you utilized this skill to explain how you analyzed colleagues and/or clients to understand how to approach them in the right way. This will help to convince the ad coms that you truly have this ability.

Regarding your work experience, I do find it somewhat unusual that you were given leadership / supervisory responsibilities over 4 and 8 colleagues, respectively, without receiving a promotion yet. Some companies do not promote engineers very quickly, so this is a valid topic that you can highlight in your application. However, if you were in charge of a cross-functional team (without direct reporting responsibility), you would want to mention this. It's still counted as 'leadership' if you lead these kinds of teams, although you get somewhat less 'credit' for this kind of situation. Your international work experience and positive feedback (along with your awards) will all help you with your application.

You seem to be an inquisitive person and a self-starter, which are important traits to convey in an MBA application. The one piece I would say around your extracurricular activities is to prioritize which of those that you list are the ones you are most proud of. I would then highlight these the most on your resume. It is great to have a variety of examples of leadership, but you do want to be able to speak (in depth) to a few bigger extracurricular accomplishments and roles.

Relative to your interest in a career in marketing, the schools you list are among the strongest in this field. And you have chosen a good mix of programs relative to their ranking.

Keep in mind that, as a (presumably male) Indian engineer, you are in a very competitive cohort. As such, it will be that much more important to put all your accomplishments into perspective. Try to provide a class graduation percentile in your resume, and also mention your performance ratings at Infosys (assuming you have performed well relative to your cohort).

Best of luck,

_________________

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BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jul 2011
Posted:
40 messages
Upvotes:
5
Post Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:07 pm
Quote:
Hi Brian,

I have a question regarding low GMAT score - my first test was bad and I'm sure I can improve. I know that when submitting the score report to the school they see all my past scores, so my question is if I should cancel the low GMAT score so it would not hurt me if I score much higher later on? do I have anything to lose if I do that?
prnd7748,

Thank you for your question. Some schools (such as INSEAD) take a look at the lower scores. Therefore, if you're convinced that the score is low and that you can get a better score (or had a better score) it may behoove your candidacy not to report that score.

Best of luck,

_________________

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vkc911 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
16 Mar 2012
Posted:
8 messages
Test Date:
16 April, 2012
GMAT Score:
700
Post Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:39 pm
Dear Brian,

I will want to apply for the MBA programs commencing in Fall 2013. Below is my detailed profile:

Acads:
-B.E. (Electronics &Communication) with 82.1% from Anna University
-GMAT: 700 (QA: 50, VA:34, AWA:5)

Work Experience:
-Working as Test Engineer in Infosys Limited since Oct'09
-Within 6 months into production, I was sent to Melbourne, along with few experienced colleagues, to work with the new Client to build rapport & trust and to secure long-term business commitment. Worked there for 8 months. Was given an opportunity to lead a team of 4. Had impressed Client with the leadership and technical work. Awarded Best Performance for the Quarter, by the client.
Worked with multi-cultured people. Was influential in decision-making on various aspects of the applications when working with the Business and Development
- At Offshore(India), lead a team of 8. Completed the testing of application under time and resource constraints. Bagged an internal award for Best Performance in the Quarter. On the company's role, I'm not a Team Lead as the promotions are policy driven and not performance driven.

Extra-Curricular:
- Lead Organizer of the Cultural and Technical fest. Was involved in Planning, Strategizing, Procurement, Resource allocation and Overall event management.
-Had organized the Industrial Visits for the Department in different semesters
-Had taken the initiative to work with Counseling Cell to support the fellow students in need of support
-Was part of the Blood Donation drive in the college and at Infosys
-Served as an Administrator of various clubs in Infosys (such as SLR Photography Club, Lenz Club) out of my interest in photography
-Played a active role in Sneham, a social welfare club at Infosys that supports underprivileged children around Chennai, India
-Out of my passion to travel and explore new places, I had planned and organized tours across Australia for self and fellow colleagues.
- I actively trade in Stock Markets, offer valuable suggestions to my peers, analyze the markets on a daily basis. I have made losses in intra-day trading and deliveries after which I spent time understanding the basic market fundamentals, the importance of right stock selection to maximize returns and identify the right time to make a buy/sell.

Why MBA?
Career and industry shift. I want to study marketing and work in manufacturing/consumer goods/pharmaceuticals industry with a long term goal of being an entrepreneur and cater to the industrial customers and individual consumers in an arbor scent approach. My strength is in analyzing people, their psychology and getting them convinced of my thoughts and ideas, which I feel is vital in Marketing apart from market analysis.

Schools short-listed based on my Research:
1. University of Chicago: Booth
2. University of California at Berkley: Haas
3. Duke University: Fuqua
4. Northwestern University: Kellogg
5. NYU: Stern
6. Dartmouth College: Tuck
7. Cornell University: Johnson
8. University of Michigan: Ross
9. UCLA: Anderson
10. Carnegie Mellon: Tepper

I look forward to valuable suggestions/advice with reference to my profile, the school selection and my profile’s sufficiency to the MBA programs.

Cheers,
kc

_________________
Cheers,
kc

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prnd7748 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
22 Apr 2012
Posted:
13 messages
Upvotes:
2
Post Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:22 am
Hi Brian,

I have a question regarding low GMAT score - my first test was bad and I'm sure I can improve. I know that when submitting the score report to the school they see all my past scores, so my question is if I should cancel the low GMAT score so it would not hurt me if I score much higher later on? do I have anything to lose if I do that?

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BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jul 2011
Posted:
40 messages
Upvotes:
5
Post Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:07 am
Quote:
Hi Brian.

I know I don't qualify to post here based on my GMAT score but after reading your replies I could not stop myself.

I am an Indian working in IT industry. My profile details are enlisted below. Requesting you to please advise if the below mentioned schools are far of my reach or I have a shot.
Age - 26 years
Nationality - Indian
GMAT - 730 (QUANT - 49 , ENGLISH - 40 , AWA 4/6)
Undergraduate GPA - 7.75/10
TOEFL - 107/120 (Only 25 in the writing section)
Education -
Work Experience - 42 months at Tata Consultancy Services. Worked on Payments module of a Core banking software and payment systems of 3 different countries spread across two continents. Handled significant responsibilities within 2 years which include co-ordination among teams of different applications spread across various geographies , supervision of off-shore software testing related activities , knowledge impartment and guidance in payment systems to a team of six associates.
Certifications -
Certified Financial Planner conducted by FPSB , India
Certification in Basics of Financial Markets conducted by National Stock Exchange India
Certification in Basics of Commercial Banking conducted by National Stock Exchange India
Extracurriculars - Not much to write about apart from successfully completing the 14 km Bangalore Marathon , 2011
My target B-Schools are
US - UCLA: Anderson , Vanderbilt University:Owen , Emory University: Goizueta , Indiana University: Kelley , Texas A&M : Mays , Washington University at St. Louis : Olin

Canada - York University:Schulich , Queen School of Business , University of British Columbia:Sauder

I had hoped that my low AWA will be compensated a bit with my TOEFL score but unfortunately that didn't happen. I am planning to appear for TOEFL again
Requesting you to please rate my chances in the above mentioned schools.

Thanks and Regards
Gaurav
Gaurav,

Thank you for your profile submission. On the basis of the information as presented and under the assumption of strong essays (more on this below) and recommendations and a GMAT score of 730, our experience indicates you would be competitive at Anderson, and strong at Emory, Olin, Schulich, and Queen's. I would have somewhat less ability to provide your chances at Kelley, Texas A&M, British Columbia, and Vanderbilt, but you would likely be strong there as well given the fact that these are generally a bit less competitive than the others you listed. You might try removing a few of your current consideration schools (since many of them are ranked around each other) and try Ross and/or Fuqua as a stretch application.

As you point out, right now the challenge with your profile is on the verbal/communication side. With a TOEFL score below the average for most top 10 programs (usually about 110), a lower verbal GMAT split, and a 4/6 on the AWA, you will need to try to work on improving here in a few ways. I would not personally be too concerned with a 4 on the AWA out of all 3 of these metrics, as in our experience schools do not look at this too much unless the score is really low. The more important one to consider is the TOEFL score. Having said that, the most important aspect is going to be how you present yourself and how you communicate in your essays.

Additionally, there are a few items that you did not explicitly mention that will be helpful to point out (if true) in your resume and applications. First, we always recommend that students put their graduation percentile (and not just the GPA) on your resume. Second, it's not entirely clear to me if you're currently directly managing six colleagues - if this is indeed the case, by all means it is critical to point this out. Additionally, since you are working in a large organization like Tata, it's very important to point out how fast you are progressing in the organization relative to your peer group (the class of colleagues that started in the same year as you). Make any promotions very clear on the resume - it's great to have an increase in responsibility but a promotion counts for more in the eyes of the admissions committees.

Best of luck,

_________________

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BrianW@Aringo Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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19 Jul 2011
Posted:
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Upvotes:
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Post Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:42 am
Quote:
Dear Brian,

I am currently a US Marine 1st Lieutenant (Selected for promotion to Captain) deployed in Afghanistan. I am working on applications to Kellogg, Booth, Darden, Fuqua, and Anderson. I may also potentially throw a few darts at HBS, Columbia, and Haas if I have the time and resources and it doesn't regrade the overall quality of my other applications. To be perfectly honest, Kellogg is my dream school (since I am an Illinois native, and it seems like a better fit than Booth), and I'm pretty much willing to do as much as it takes to get in. However, I would be fairly content with a school such as Darden or Fuqua.

I took the GMAT several months ago, and scored a 730 (47Q 42V), and I am pondering a retake due to my subpar performance at the University of Illinois, where I graduated in 2009 with a 2.84 GPA in Political Science (a combination of wrong priorities and knowing that I was going to be a Marine Officer anyway.)

Work experience wise, I have leadership experience as the Assistant Officer in Charge of a section of 40 Marines, and I am currently leading a diverse team of 7 Afghan-American linguists and 2 US Army soldiers. I am currently performing very well, and believe I can acquire a very strong recommendation letter from my immediate boss, who is a British Royal Air Force Squadron Leader (Coalition Command). In addition, I have a diverse, multicultural background, having grown up in South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States. I speak Mandarin Chinese fluently and have proficiency in French.

I have engaged in volunteer projects such as leading my team of Marines on Habitat for Humanity trips, and volunteering as a tutor for homeless children at a local shelter. In addition, I am taking a Calculus course at Berkeley-extension in an effort to augment my quantitative credentials.

Can you provide me with sight picture of how many prospects look at each of the schools I mentioned? I understand HBS and Wharton are "slim to none", but what about the other schools, especially in light of my very subpar GPA?

Is there anything else I can do to mitigate that weakness beyond what I'm doing now, taking courses and perhaps increasing my GMAT score?

Thank you so much, I would be deeply grateful for any feedback.
sunman,

Thank you for your profile submission. On the basis of the information as presented and under the assumption of strong essays and recommendations and a GMAT score of 730, our experience indicates you would be a stretch candidate at HBS, between stretch and competitive (closer to stretch) at Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia, between stretch and competitive (closer to competitive) at Haas, and strong at Darden, Fuqua, and Anderson.

You are doing a lot of proactive and smart things to try to make up for your lower GPA as an undergraduate. The fact that you are taking a calculus course through a tough school is great - try to get an 'A' in this course if possible. In your applications, it's ok to say that you were not a serious student in undergrad - just own it and don't make a lot of excuses. If you had a higher GPA as an upperclassman, mention this point. If you believe that you would have a reasonable chance at achieving a higher GMAT score than 730 with a retake, it would help your chances if you improved by 20-30 points at Kellogg, Booth, and Columbia. In our experience, these programs will allow a lower GPA if there is a pretty strong GMAT to accompany it.

Clearly, you are aided by the fact that you have performed well as a United States Marine. When you talk about your promotion, mention how difficult or competitive this is to attain. Most schools know what the progression looks like for military personnel, but you may have students reading your applications that may be less familiar with this at some schools. Your multicultural background is a plus, but moreso if you can weave this into some of your essays/stories.

In my opinion, your 'application credentials' on paper are well thought-out. Now it seems like it would make sense for you to narrow down your list a bit from perhaps 7-8 schools in consideration down to 4-5, especially if you're considering doing a GMAT re-take. I would say it may be challenging for you as a Marine to handle that many applications plus a GMAT re-take. For military applicants, it's important to think about what you want to say in your essays regarding your future career goals and what skills you'll bring to the table. I would advise you to reach out to the military clubs at your schools of interest (they are all very active), as they are a great resource.

Best of luck,

_________________

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