Looking for advice - torn between a retake or moving forward

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Hey all, first time poster (but long time reader!). I figured I'd give this place a shot to see what advice I can get.

I need to give you all some background for all of this to make sense. I'm a career changer. I started off working in Biotechnology because that was what I focused on in undergrad (graduated in 2008). The field was interesting at the time, but after some reflection I realized that my heart wasn't in it. I started off in drug manufacturing, then moved on to actual preclinical research. Things did not end well, and I was let go back in 2015. During undergrad at UC Davis, I completed a business minor that was taught by professors of their Graduate School of Management. This was a way for me to have something to fall back on in case the sciences didn't work out for me, and I'm glad that 23-year-old me had that foresight. Ultimately, enjoying my business coursework is what planted the seeds of my new goal of getting into business school. My overall GPA is somewhat murky: I was a junior college transfer student, and I'm not sure how b-schools will look at my transcripts. I am guessing that my cumulative college GPA is somewhere between 2.74 and 3.32 (my GPA's from UCD and Sacramento City College, respectively).

Fast-forward to the present. I've taken the gmat once and got a 570. Standardized tests were never my strong suit, and while I've thought of taking it again to try for a higher score, life is happening. I'm barely keeping my head above water financially, working full-time at a running store. I've been looking for jobs to help me transition into Marketing (my desired MBA focus), but haven't had much luck. Despite tailoring my resume to show transferable skills, not many people have wanted to take a chance on someone without any formal experience. I'm still getting recruiters calling me for the sciences, though (and I don't bother responding to the e-mails or calls anymore). I've been dreaming about breaking into the running industry at a high level upon finishing a Marketing MBA, and I want to send out the strongest application I can given my circumstances.

I guess it all boils down to this: I'm living check-to-check, don't see many prospects for immediate job opportunities (and I have been trying this last year), and don't feel like I can give the GMAT the time it deserves to bump my score up since I consistently worry about bills. I've found a few programs that sound interesting and that I think I'm competitive for (based on my test score and my GPA). My parents have offered to help out a little bit, and I will be having some further discussions with them, but ultimately - I feel like I need a change. If any of you were in my shoes, would you buck up and try the test one more time, or would you start submitting applications?

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by [email protected] » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:40 am
ryoga1523 wrote:Hey all, first time poster (but long time reader!). I figured I'd give this place a shot to see what advice I can get.

I need to give you all some background for all of this to make sense. I'm a career changer. I started off working in Biotechnology because that was what I focused on in undergrad (graduated in 2008). The field was interesting at the time, but after some reflection I realized that my heart wasn't in it. I started off in drug manufacturing, then moved on to actual preclinical research. Things did not end well, and I was let go back in 2015. During undergrad at UC Davis, I completed a business minor that was taught by professors of their Graduate School of Management. This was a way for me to have something to fall back on in case the sciences didn't work out for me, and I'm glad that 23-year-old me had that foresight. Ultimately, enjoying my business coursework is what planted the seeds of my new goal of getting into business school. My overall GPA is somewhat murky: I was a junior college transfer student, and I'm not sure how b-schools will look at my transcripts. I am guessing that my cumulative college GPA is somewhere between 2.74 and 3.32 (my GPA's from UCD and Sacramento City College, respectively).

Fast-forward to the present. I've taken the gmat once and got a 570. Standardized tests were never my strong suit, and while I've thought of taking it again to try for a higher score, life is happening. I'm barely keeping my head above water financially, working full-time at a running store. I've been looking for jobs to help me transition into Marketing (my desired MBA focus), but haven't had much luck. Despite tailoring my resume to show transferable skills, not many people have wanted to take a chance on someone without any formal experience. I'm still getting recruiters calling me for the sciences, though (and I don't bother responding to the e-mails or calls anymore). I've been dreaming about breaking into the running industry at a high level upon finishing a Marketing MBA, and I want to send out the strongest application I can given my circumstances.

I guess it all boils down to this: I'm living check-to-check, don't see many prospects for immediate job opportunities (and I have been trying this last year), and don't feel like I can give the GMAT the time it deserves to bump my score up since I consistently worry about bills. I've found a few programs that sound interesting and that I think I'm competitive for (based on my test score and my GPA). My parents have offered to help out a little bit, and I will be having some further discussions with them, but ultimately - I feel like I need a change. If any of you were in my shoes, would you buck up and try the test one more time, or would you start submitting applications?
I have a very easy answer for you actually. Retake the GMAT.

Don't think about it emotionally, think about it as an investment. It's very simple. A higher GMAT = a better school. A higher GMAT = more opportunities. A higher GMAT = scholarship opportunities. You can do it, even living check t check. The hard thing about the GMAT is that to get a 740 you need to study for six months, an hour or three every day. Most people don't want to do that. I understand. But do it anyhow.

The trick is to trick yourself. Keep your LT goal in sight. Because the GMAT is the solution for your current problem of living check to check (or one possible solution anyhow). So buckle down, nose to the grindstone, and give it your best after 3 months studying.

It'll be torture. But it'll be worth it.
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by MargaretStrother » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:20 am
I agree -- definitely retake!
However, you haven't told us which programs you're considering. That's also something to bear in mind: look at the incoming class profile for the schools on your list. If your GMAT score is at or above the median, you're competitive for that school. But if it's in the "80% range", that doesn't really tell you much. There's always someone bringing down that GMAT curve, and it could be someone with an "in" for personal reasons. So if the schools you are targeting have a median or average GMAT that's around, say, 650 -- that means you need to have around a 650 to be on their radar. So you'd definitely want to take it again, especially with a low-ish GPA as well.

Of course, MBA admissions is a holistic process, and you will bring other attractive assets beyond your 'numbers' -- but a GMAT is an easy thing to fix, so why not give it your best shot? Some people retake it four or five times, until they know they're bringing their strongest material to the table. Persistence is a virtue in MBA-land.

Good luck!
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