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Profile Evaluation: 670 GMAT, which MBA programs?

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mnyc86 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Profile Evaluation: 670 GMAT, which MBA programs? Post Tue May 24, 2011 3:47 pm
Hi everyone,

I wanted to gauge my prospects for admission to a top 15 MBA programs with below average GMAT scores (670, 40Q 42V) and (660, 41Q, 40V). 6.0 AWA both times and I hold a GPA around 3.5 and graduated magna cum laude with distinction from a top 50 UG in a liberal arts major.

I held a job at an investment firm in a client facing role (with excellent references) for two years following college. I left that role and I currently hold a job at a small company (under 50 employees). I took the new job (I would prefer not to disclose the company name) because I saw an opportunity to change the organization and bring it back to high profitability (20+ year old company suffering a decline in market share).At this company, I was given a management role after creating a company turnaround business plan for the CEO. I helped change the company business model and helped increase its profits by over 5 five fold in one year with better prospects in the upcoming years. I will have EXCELLENT recommendations from the current CEO. I have more of a entrepreneurship spirt that I would like to convey in my application (and explain why I left a job at a "more or less" prestigious financial institution for a small company).

In terms of extra curricular activities--- I actually have extensive community service experience (offering free after school tutoring through community outreach programs in New York), was nominated for Volunteer Big Brother of the Year (5 year relationship), and was head of an investment club that managed a portion of our university endowment. Generally, fairly solid leadership experience.

I have a lower GMAT score (670) with a high verbal and low quant. I would like to accurately assess my prospects at the following schools. I just would like to get an idea if I am out of mind to even consider such schools. I do NOT want to take my GMATs again. I took the test twice, with extensive study in between and no large results. Additionally, my job is VERY demanding and I feel that it would take away too much time from focusing on other parts of my application.

Here are the schools I am interested in. Please do let me know what you guys think my honest chances are. If you have any top school recommendations, please do let me know as well. I need some guidance and this forum was very helpful when I was preparing for my GMAT

School interested in


Columbia Early Decision
Yale (LOVE the program)
NYU
Northwestern
Cornell
Dartmouth
London Business School
Chicago
Darden

Thanks for reading my profile and taking time

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essaysnark GMAT Destroyer!
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Post Wed May 25, 2011 1:54 pm
mnyc86,

We need a bit more information first. What are your career goals? That's actually the most important factor in choosing schools. The other question is, how much work experience do you have? Most of the schools you've listed prefer candidates to have significant work experience, at least 3 years (Columbia, Wharton) to 5 years (Tuck, Kellogg).

You're right in your assessment that your GMAT score is low. The overall score of 670 is fine and could theoretically qualify you for a top school, but that very low quant score will be a problem at most of these schools. You could possibly take a quant-focused class to help show the adcom that you can handle the material, but our strong advice is to retest the GMAT now and raise the quant score if you're serious about these high-caliber programs. The only ones on your current list that you might have a chance with the existing score would be Cornell. Note too that if you choose not to retest, you might want to actually report the 660 score (not the 670 one) since the quant was higher for that test. We don't have real high hopes for you though at these top schools without a better quant score. Your GPA is good but "liberal arts" makes us think "not quant focused" which isn't filling that gap in your profile. If your 3.5 GPA was in economics, that could help (but it doesn't take away from our advice to re-do the GMAT).

Yes we understand that your current job is demanding -- we actually covered this in a blog post not long ago when one of our clients said the same thing... http://essaysnark.blogspot.com/2011/04/oh-really.html

Your turnaround story at your current job is interesting and surely the adcom will be interested in that. The volunteer work is in the good-to-have category but it's not going to help offset the GMAT. Again, the most important factor in determining which schools might be a good fit would be the career goals. If you want to fill in the blank on that, we can provide our opinion of which of the ones you're considering might be better for you (again, though, we're a broken record on the reality that your GMAT score may keep you out... sorry to be so negative on that!!).

EssaySnark

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mnyc86 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
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Post Wed May 25, 2011 2:57 pm
Thanks for your response! A little bit of a background

Post MBA Goals- to work in project management role/consulting role

Long Term Goal- Entrepreneur (I feel like I act in that capacity right now in a company that is operating as a growth company)

I had a political science major with high honors and distinction with a Finance and Accounting double minor (3.85 average in my 8 quant based finance courses). I served as a peer tutor in our honor society for Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Corporate Finance. I also worked in a top teir Investment Banking rotational program in a client facing/analyst role that involved quant based portfolio management for two years (my MD will write me a great recommendation). I don't think that I do not have the quant ability to succeed in a business oriented environment or business school, and hope that my background in my application can convey that. I will have a total of 4 years full time work experience before I enroll in business school.

I appreciate your link and the suggestion about a retake. This is not out of the question for me yet. However, I already have been working 6 days a week and time to study is very very limited. Also, this summer, our company is opening a new office abroad (I am spearheading that effort), and I will be assigned to manage that office for four months (from June-September). I believe that my time could be better spent on creating great essays, as opposed to studying for the GMATS again. My logic could be completely off, and I would appreciate your insight on that.

If a GMAT is the only way for me to prove my quant skills to adcoms, then I will retake. My practice test scores with MGMAT were always in the 690-760 range (with quant always around the 70-80th percentile). However, I would prefer not to go down this route.

essaysnark GMAT Destroyer!
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Post Thu May 26, 2011 1:10 pm
mnyc86,

You do have some compelling components to your profile and it's likely you'll be able to craft a good "story" for the adcoms, however we keep coming back to that quant score on the GMAT. Part of the problem is, if you did so well in quant subjects in school and early career, why do your two test scores not reflect it? It's a little bit of an inconsistency that you'll need to help the adcom understand. (In fact, sometimes those with finance backgrounds are held to a higher standard with the quant score -- it's expected that they'll do well if they've had formal training/work experience in the field.)

A quant score in the 70th percentile could be just fine for you -- you do not need to get an outrageous score here. This seems to be the one weakness in your profile and it would be a shame for it to be a dealbreaker. As they say, a high GMAT score does not guarantee an offer of admission, but a low score (particularly on the quant side) could keep you out.

As previously stated, you might be fine with a school like Cornell with your existing stats -- and you could also try for Columbia Early Decision with the current score, since sometimes they're a little more flexible in that round for candidates that they otherwise like. But, we're not overly confident, frankly. There's just too many other really strong candidates with equally interesting stories that come through the door. Columbia's professors in recent years were complaining about the lax standards in admissions, saying that students were having trouble in the classroom. So, GMAT is one way they pre-screen for this. They only want to admit students who will do well.

One idea for you might be to apply to the Columbia ED round as early as you can (they are already accepting applications) and see what happens. If they do not even invite you to interview, then it's highly likely you'll have the same outcome at a school like NYU or Kellogg. That would then give you the feedback necessary to decide to retest the GMAT in late summer, before Round 1 deadlines (or worst case scenario, you could apply in Round 2, in January). We don't think your current score will work out positively at Tuck or Darden but you could always try.

On career goals, "project management" and "consulting" seem like very different jobs, so you'll probably need to spend more time refining these. You'll also want to a) identify which industry you want to target; and b) talk about how that first job relates to the L/T thing of entrepreneurship. Having a clear, logical, rational plan for the future is absolutely critical at many bschools these days.

Hope all this helps!
EssaySnark

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