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Is my quant score high enough for top tier schools?

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Is my quant score high enough for top tier schools?

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I recently took the GMAT and scored a 700 (88%), with a verbal score of 44 (98%), quant score of 41 (43%), AWA of 6.0 (89%), integrated reasoning of 5 (55%). I am applying to Columbia, NYU and Yale and am wondering if my quant score will be high enough for these programs. My undergrad GPA is low (3.08/4.0), but I was a double major in Classics and Economics from a Top 25 liberal arts college, a strenuous combination. I have passed Levels I & II of the CFA and will begin studying for Level III once I complete my MBA applications. I am hopeful that the CFA will help to prove I am capable of handling the quants/analytics needed for an MBA curriculum with any of these programs. I also have 8 years experience working for top global institutions Bank of Montreal and GE.

Columbia has rolling admissions so I am somewhat comfortable waiting a month to apply, but I am now in a position where I will be applying in the last round at Yale and am wondering what I should do about NYU. I can applying in Round 2 with the scores I have or I can take a few more weeks to continue studying in the hopes of retaking the GMAT and improving my quant score and applying in the last round for NYU.

I am looking for opinions on whether it is better to apply round 2 with a lower quant score or retake the GMAT, hope and pray for a higher quant score, and apply to NYU round 3.

Thank you!

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tgmurr2010 wrote:
I recently took the GMAT and scored a 700 (88%), with a verbal score of 44 (98%), quant score of 41 (43%), AWA of 6.0 (89%), integrated reasoning of 5 (55%). I am applying to Columbia, NYU and Yale and am wondering if my quant score will be high enough for these programs. My undergrad GPA is low (3.08/4.0), but I was a double major in Classics and Economics from a Top 25 liberal arts college, a strenuous combination. I have passed Levels I & II of the CFA and will begin studying for Level III once I complete my MBA applications. I am hopeful that the CFA will help to prove I am capable of handling the quants/analytics needed for an MBA curriculum with any of these programs. I also have 8 years experience working for top global institutions Bank of Montreal and GE.

Columbia has rolling admissions so I am somewhat comfortable waiting a month to apply, but I am now in a position where I will be applying in the last round at Yale and am wondering what I should do about NYU. I can applying in Round 2 with the scores I have or I can take a few more weeks to continue studying in the hopes of retaking the GMAT and improving my quant score and applying in the last round for NYU.

I am looking for opinions on whether it is better to apply round 2 with a lower quant score or retake the GMAT, hope and pray for a higher quant score, and apply to NYU round 3.

Thank you!
A few thoughts here: first, the number I hear from admissions consultants for a quant score that makes you competitive at top programs is 45. Generally speaking, if you're below that, it's recommended that you have some other component in your application that demonstrates quant proficiency, and a CFA would certainly qualify. I might suggest reposting in the consulting section to see if anyone there has had clients with a similar background to yours: https://www.beatthegmat.com/ask-an-mba-admissions-consultant-f40.html

Also, there's one other option to consider. You could apply in Round 2 and mention that you intend to take the test again. If your quant score has improved, contact the schools right away to let them know, and it's likely that they'll evaluate you on the basis of the new score. This might be a better option than applying in Round 3. Food for thought.

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This answer may come to you too late to act upon, but you’ve presented an interesting case, so I will weigh in on it anyway.

The good news is that top business schools love applicants with non-typical backgrounds, such as a classics major in undergrad. On the other hand, a 43% Q is probably a non-starter for most top MBA programs, including NYU and Yale.

What’s interesting here is that you also present evidence of quant competence: You have CFA I & II, and I assume that in your banking work you crunch numbers daily. However, you also demonstrate vulnerability: with a relatively low GPA plus this low quant score, b-schools might worry that you won’t be able to “perform” academically.

So what should you do? Yes, you will want to retake the GMAT, but I would not recommend waiting to apply until you have a better GMAT to present, simply because I rarely see that work out. One other thing you can do to strengthen your competitiveness for Columbia and Yale is to take a graded class in something you need an A in, and get an A in it. You can do this online through, say, UCLA’s highly respected Business Extension division. If you tanked in Calculus in undergrad, take it again; if you’re weak in Stats, take that. Whatever you do, take a graded course (not Coursera-type), and perform well in it. Even if you don’t finish the course before you submit your application, you are demonstrating to the adcom that you know your GMAT Q score and GPA indicate areas you need to work on, and you’re working on them.

The goal here is to show each school’s admissions committee that you have a clear sense of what is required to earn acceptance, and you will stop at nothing to achieve it. Nobody likes to take extra coursework, especially if it’s something you took in undergrad and didn’t like it then either, so doing this now is a perfect demonstration of your commitment to thrive academically in your MBA studies.

So to summarize, take your own scores seriously, don’t try to brush them under the rug, and do everything you can imagine that an admissions person would want to see from someone who believes they have the skillset to do well in their program, but don’t necessarily have the numbers to back that up.
Hope this helps!

Margaret Strother

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