Q45 (59th percentile) V47 IR8 730 holds up for INSEAD?

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I'm worried that INSEAD (my first choice) will be off-put by the relatively low quant percentile (59). They have been on record saying that they strongly prefer applicants that score in the 70th percentile or above on the quant side of the test.

That said, I did get a perfect 8 in IR. Any idea as to whether this can offset a lowish quant score? Also the 730 is 25 points above their average. On the other hand I was a philosophy major and the only two math-heavy classes I took I got a D and a C in respectively, so that doesn't help.

Also I wonder whether INSEAD takes into account the changes in percentiles over the years. I think they first started saying that they wanted applicants to be in the 70th percentile or above back in 2010 or so, when a 45q would have been good for 69th percentile or something. In 2000, it would have been 80th! So, do they tighten up their standards on this point every year when the score required to get a 70th percentile increases? Or do they just mean that you need mid 40s at least? And why would they say that want applicants to be in a certain percentile knowing that percentiles are constantly changing? It would be a lot less confusing if they just said "we want you to score x."

A few other fun facts about my profile:
-30 year old American male
-3.5 GPA from top 70 liberal arts college. Cum Laude. Honors on thesis. Philosophy honors society. Varsity lacrosse.
-Have lived in Latin America since I graduated college in 2009 (1 year in Colombia and 6 in El Salvador)
-Co-Founder and Co-CEO (with my brother) of the largest daily deal (think groupon type site) in El Salvador since late 2010. Expanded to Guatemala in 2012 and became the largest daily deal site there one year later, a position we have not relinquished since.
-27 employees, over a 100k users, 6k deals with about 1200 companies.Profitable since 2011. 5m gross sales last year.

Other random stuff:
-Captain and 3-way starter on an American football team in El Salvador from 2011-2015. Played multiple games as the national selection against the national teams from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Also volunteer as an assistant coach for the national team now that they don't let gringos play on it.
-Spent a summer in college taking care of pumas, jaguars and other jungle critters on a Bolivian wildlife refuge
-Worked briefly as male model in Colombia
-Worked briefly as a crossfit coach and came in second in the team portion of the Latam crossfit regional games in 2010.
-Spent semester abroad in Chile
-Have visited maybe 25 countries
-Avid skier. Avid (but still not very good) surfer

Thanks guys.

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by 99Colleges: MBA Admission » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:30 pm
Hi Caiman11,

Yes, they'll be off-putted.

Although almost every school wants a balanced (between Quant and Verbal) score, not everyone says it explicitly. INSEAD does.

However, it doesn't mean doors slammed.

They don't 'strongly prefer' applicants with 70+ percentiles. They 'advise'. (These words are open to interpretation.) And they also have the standard caveat that standardized tests are just one of several admission criteria. Why? Because they don't want to discourage otherwise strong applicants. And, I think, you're one.

In reality, MBA admission is far more holistic than one or two factors. (That's the reason why applicants with low scores also get in and those with high, get dinged.) If you've a solid professional track, it can override smaller stuff in the evaluation criteria. Didn't you do a successful company with 'C' and 'D' in math-heavy classes?

Few years back, Rotman studied employment outcome of more than 1,000 of their graduates and correlated it with different parameters on their application file. GMAT score had a poor correlation (it was a poor predictor of employment outcome). Interview, predictably, had a strong correlation. And, surprise, AWA too had a strong correlation. (Both are indicative of communication skills.) Schools understand these dynamics, and that's why they've a holistic admission process. They won't just kick someone out if otherwise she or he has a good profile.

I would not speculate on what INSEAD thinks or does on changing percentiles for the same score. I'll go by what they mention. And, from what they mention, it's clear they're interested in percentiles. Period. Don't hair-split. Doesn't it also make it simpler for them? No matter how the score-percentile mapping changes over the years, they're bothered about only the top 30 percentile.

Entrepreneurial experiences are highly valued at B-schools, and if the venture has achieved some scale then nothing like it. Moreover, you've plenty of miscellaneous international stuff, which again is valued by schools, especially European.

However, one thing you should think through well is the rationale behind an MBA. If the company is doing well, why you need an MBA?
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by Caiman11 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:46 am
Thanks very much for your insight, Anil. Apparently, they really are most interested in percentile, as they don't even ask for raw scores on the application form. Seems weird given how fast they change, but whatever.

I suppose the right play is to schedule a retake to see if I can hit 48 to check that box. If I bomb for whatever reason I can always cancel the score and hope that they'll give me a break on the unbalanced 730.

As to your question of why I want an MBA if I already have a successful business: there's still lots to learn. There are multiple holes in my business acumen that could be filled by classes given in an MBA. Tom Brady has four super bowl rings but still works with a quarterback coach. I've done relatively OK so far but there are a million things I could improve.

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by [email protected] » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:27 am
Caiman11 wrote:I'm worried that INSEAD (my first choice) will be off-put by the relatively low quant percentile (59). They have been on record saying that they strongly prefer applicants that score in the 70th percentile or above on the quant side of the test.

That said, I did get a perfect 8 in IR. Any idea as to whether this can offset a lowish quant score? Also the 730 is 25 points above their average. On the other hand I was a philosophy major and the only two math-heavy classes I took I got a D and a C in respectively, so that doesn't help.

Also I wonder whether INSEAD takes into account the changes in percentiles over the years. I think they first started saying that they wanted applicants to be in the 70th percentile or above back in 2010 or so, when a 45q would have been good for 69th percentile or something. In 2000, it would have been 80th! So, do they tighten up their standards on this point every year when the score required to get a 70th percentile increases? Or do they just mean that you need mid 40s at least? And why would they say that want applicants to be in a certain percentile knowing that percentiles are constantly changing? It would be a lot less confusing if they just said "we want you to score x."

A few other fun facts about my profile:
-30 year old American male
-3.5 GPA from top 70 liberal arts college. Cum Laude. Honors on thesis. Philosophy honors society. Varsity lacrosse.
-Have lived in Latin America since I graduated college in 2009 (1 year in Colombia and 6 in El Salvador)
-Co-Founder and Co-CEO (with my brother) of the largest daily deal (think groupon type site) in El Salvador since late 2010. Expanded to Guatemala in 2012 and became the largest daily deal site there one year later, a position we have not relinquished since.
-27 employees, over a 100k users, 6k deals with about 1200 companies.Profitable since 2011. 5m gross sales last year.

Other random stuff:
-Captain and 3-way starter on an American football team in El Salvador from 2011-2015. Played multiple games as the national selection against the national teams from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Also volunteer as an assistant coach for the national team now that they don't let gringos play on it.
-Spent a summer in college taking care of pumas, jaguars and other jungle critters on a Bolivian wildlife refuge
-Worked briefly as male model in Colombia
-Worked briefly as a crossfit coach and came in second in the team portion of the Latam crossfit regional games in 2010.
-Spent semester abroad in Chile
-Have visited maybe 25 countries
-Avid skier. Avid (but still not very good) surfer

Thanks guys.
So I'd say focus on what you can control- your awesome background and interesting life and work- built a very successful business, great cross-cultural experience etc. I think the 730 is most important- no one is going to be perfect in every area- and if they are.... they are at Stanford :) If you did want to shore up the quant take calculus, stat, financial accounting or microeconomics and get A's .... not C's and D's... but I think with your work experience you are ready to go. Don't apologize for your scores- be confident that you have much to bring to the class as you certainly do!

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by Caiman11 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:44 am
Thanks for the reply. I'm thinking it's too late to take any math classes before the application deadline. Probably going to take the test again in a couple weeks and hopefully get a 48 or a 49 on the quant side. It's obviously kind of a pain, but I don't see a big downside.

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by 99Colleges: MBA Admission » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:44 pm
If you can accommodate a re-test and improve the Quant score, then it's the ideal way. All the best.
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by GyanOne » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:02 am
Caiman11 wrote:I'm worried that INSEAD (my first choice) will be off-put by the relatively low quant percentile (59). They have been on record saying that they strongly prefer applicants that score in the 70th percentile or above on the quant side of the test.

That said, I did get a perfect 8 in IR. Any idea as to whether this can offset a lowish quant score? Also the 730 is 25 points above their average. On the other hand I was a philosophy major and the only two math-heavy classes I took I got a D and a C in respectively, so that doesn't help.

Also I wonder whether INSEAD takes into account the changes in percentiles over the years. I think they first started saying that they wanted applicants to be in the 70th percentile or above back in 2010 or so, when a 45q would have been good for 69th percentile or something. In 2000, it would have been 80th! So, do they tighten up their standards on this point every year when the score required to get a 70th percentile increases? Or do they just mean that you need mid 40s at least? And why would they say that want applicants to be in a certain percentile knowing that percentiles are constantly changing? It would be a lot less confusing if they just said "we want you to score x."

A few other fun facts about my profile:
-30 year old American male
-3.5 GPA from top 70 liberal arts college. Cum Laude. Honors on thesis. Philosophy honors society. Varsity lacrosse.
-Have lived in Latin America since I graduated college in 2009 (1 year in Colombia and 6 in El Salvador)
-Co-Founder and Co-CEO (with my brother) of the largest daily deal (think groupon type site) in El Salvador since late 2010. Expanded to Guatemala in 2012 and became the largest daily deal site there one year later, a position we have not relinquished since.
-27 employees, over a 100k users, 6k deals with about 1200 companies.Profitable since 2011. 5m gross sales last year.

Other random stuff:
-Captain and 3-way starter on an American football team in El Salvador from 2011-2015. Played multiple games as the national selection against the national teams from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Also volunteer as an assistant coach for the national team now that they don't let gringos play on it.
-Spent a summer in college taking care of pumas, jaguars and other jungle critters on a Bolivian wildlife refuge
-Worked briefly as male model in Colombia
-Worked briefly as a crossfit coach and came in second in the team portion of the Latam crossfit regional games in 2010.
-Spent semester abroad in Chile
-Have visited maybe 25 countries
-Avid skier. Avid (but still not very good) surfer

Thanks guys.
The 'fun facts' about your profile are really fun :-)

On a more serious note, you should have enough in your profile to be able to get a look in even if the quant part is below the 70th percentile. While that is certainly guidance that INSEAD provides, they have in the past been quite willing to accommodate slightly lower scores, and at Q47, you aren't far behind their expectation. Your other experiences are pretty solid, and your quantitative/analytical ability (which is all they are worried about really when they 70th percentile) is quite evident.

That said, if you have already decided to go ahead with a retake, that's fine, but just in case your quant score does not rise, don't worry too much about it.

All the best and feel free to come back with more questions as needed.

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by [email protected] » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:10 pm
Thanks for sharing.

You have a very interesting profile that would show a good fit for INSEAD. Regarding the GMAT Quant score, if you don't improve on it, use the essays to show more of the analytical work that went into launching your venture and its success. Highlighting your ability to work with numbers (e.g. budgets, feasibility studies, marketing analytics) and comfortably presenting them to clients and stakeholders. This would help assure INSEAD that you would be able to keep up with the academics and benefit from the program.

All the best!
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by Caiman11 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:52 pm
Just retook the test. Improved to 740 with a Q48, thus breaking the 70th percentile barrier (albeit barely). Verbal dropped a couple points to 44, but who cares?

I'm really happy I took your guys' advice and went with a retake. I'll definitely be sleeping easier knowing that this box has been checked.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond.

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by [email protected] » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:04 pm
Caiman11 wrote:Just retook the test. Improved to 740 with a Q48, thus breaking the 70th percentile barrier (albeit barely). Verbal dropped a couple points to 44, but who cares?

I'm really happy I took your guys' advice and went with a retake. I'll definitely be sleeping easier knowing that this box has been checked.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond.
Congratulations! I know that is a big relief! And yes- don't worry about the verbal drop- you have the Q48 you wanted and that shows that you can do it. I'm really happy for you!

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by [email protected] » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:11 pm
Congratulations! Happy to hear this, wish you all the best on the next steps!
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by Caiman11 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:23 am
Dinged without interview. Encouraged to apply to the GEMBA program, which appears to be significantly more expensive.

I'm extremely confused.