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Profile Eval - retake gmat?

This topic has 1 expert reply and 0 member replies
pjc Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
09 Oct 2008
1 messages
Test Date:
Target GMAT Score:
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Profile Eval - retake gmat?

Post Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:32 am
Hello Graham,
Any help/guidance you can offer is greatly appreciated!

I've taken the GMAT twice now and my decision to retake hinges on my chances of being admitted to the following full time MBA programs: UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, Yale, Columbia, UVA Darden, USC (back-up).

Goal - strategic mgmt within large multinational firm
1st try: 680, Q(42), V(41); 2nd try: 690, Q(46), V(38)

Undergrad Education: UC Berkeley, Haas Bus Adm - GPA: 3.1 - 3.2 (maintained 3.4 until the final semester, which I bombed w/ 3 C's)

Work Exp:
1) Big4 accounting firm, audit sr., 4 yrs - promoted each year to supervisory role (annual promotions are pretty standard for public accounting);
2) Large asset management co., financial analyst, 1.5 yrs (exp. incl international corp finance/accounting/planning/operations)

Lic: CPA

1) Organized, led church mission trip to build homes in third world country
2) College - various leadership positions in business and social fraternities

Given my background, do you feel I can be competitive at the schools mentioned above? I realize I will need to explain the 3 C's I earned during my last semester of undergrad. Would it be sufficient to explain that poor grades came from immaturity and short-sightedness but that i have learned from it and have applied myself professionally and personally since, i.e. achieving CPA.

Also, please let me know if you think retaking the GMAT would help me. I feel a 700-710 is within reach, and possibly a 720 (optimistic). Given my stats, would a 700, 710 GMATscore considerably increase my chances for admittance? Or should I use the time to prepare apps instead?

Lastly, are there any advantages to applying ealier within a given round, i.e. wthin the first week of R2 versus the final week of R2?

Thanks again for reading - sorry for the long post.

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Graham MBA Admissions Consultant
18 Sep 2008
270 messages
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Test Date:
August 1998
Target GMAT Score:
GMAT Score:
Post Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:15 am
Dear pjc,

Thanks for your post! In sum, I think you've got four key questions:

1) Should you retake the GMAT? While you didn't provide percentiles, your current scores of 680 and 690 seem to be accompanied by math results that are below the 80th percentile (just barely, I'd imagine). Ordinarily, with a 690 and fairly balanced section scores on both math and verbal, I would not necessarily push for a retake of the GMAT. The problem is that your ugrad GPA (albeit from a strong ugrad program) is a bit on the low side (3.1-3.2 is below the 3.4+ average for admitted students at the schools you are targeting). As such, the best way to silence concerns about your undergraduate performance is to ace the GMAT (720+). For example, an applicant with a 3.1 GPA from a good school and a 750 on the GMAT can always make a "that was then, this is now" argument. I worry that you cannot make that argument with your current score.

2) How should you handle your poor grades in the final semester? This is tough, since the schools do not like to see a downward trend in one's academic career. Obviously, it will require an optional essay to explain - and one method would be to just admit that you lost focus at the end of your ugrad career, have since matured, etc. Of course, I'd need to know more about the nature of the courses you failed to truly help you plot a strategy. As to your comment about the CPA, this is not really viewed as a measure of one's academic aptitude so much as a professional credential - therefore I do not see if coming into play in a major way.

3) Does applying for R2 now - as opposed to a few days before the R2 deadlines - increase one's chances? The short answer here is "no". In fact, to apply 'early' for R2 offers no real advantage because the adcom is presently 100% focused on R1 applications - and will be for the next 8 weeks or so. To submit early would only beg the question as to why you didn't use the extra time you had to refine your application, etc. My advice is that you apply within a week or two of the deadline.

4) Do you stand a chance at the schools on your list? While I think you are certainly competitive, I would not say that you are a homerun for any of the programs on your list (with the exception of USC perhaps). The reason for this is that you fall into some over-subscribed groups: ugrad business major, audit/finance background. You also bring below average numbers to the table with your GMAT and GPA combination. This is not to say that you don't stand a chance at the schools on your list, but it may be a bit of an uphill battle and you would be aided by having a very strong application and a higher GMAT result. With regards to the latter, you may want to look into engaging with a tutor to spend a few weeks working towards a 720+.

Best of luck,


Graham Richmond
Clear Admit, LLC
215 568 2590

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