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Need Objective Advice - Retake, or quit?

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Need Objective Advice - Retake, or quit?

by sunman » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:37 pm
Hi everyone,

Those of you who have read some of my posts know that I'm currently serve as an Officer in the US Marines.

I'm also an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

I feel that the combination of the above would make me a fairly strong applicant at the nation's top MBA programs when I apply this year.

However, my application has a glaring weakness that is too late for me to remedy.

I spend the majority of my time during undergrad chasing the wrong goals. Instead of pursuing excellence in academia, I was chasing the unrealistic dream of playing Division I football and maximizing the social life that the University of Illinois had to offer (to put it less eloquently, I went out and partied a little too often).

As a result, I graduated with an extremely mediocre (or really, subpar) grade point average of 2.84.

I've taken then GMAT three times already, scoring 700, then 710, then 730.

I'm desperate to prove to the top ranked business school adcoms that I actually am of the highest intellectual stock that they desire in their MBA candidates despite an underwhelming undergraduate GPA.

If I had even anything as low as a 3.2, I would probably keep my 96th percentile score.

However, now I feel like I'm under immense pressure to get a 99th percentile score in order to mitigate my GPA.

For information's sake, my wishlist is:

Stab in the dark (just for the heck of it, even though I'll probably get rejected)
- Stanford GSB
- UPenn The Wharton School

Hoping for a halfway realistic shot:

- Northwestern Kellogg
- Columbia
- Michigan Ross
- Virginia Darden
- Berkeley Haas


Honestly, if I don't get into one of those schools, I'll probably just stay in the Marine Corps a little longer. But anyway, any input would be highly appreciated.

I scored a pretty mediocre 47 on quant, so if I can figure out the darned math, I should be able to hit the 750-760 range.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has" - Margaret Mead

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by Bschool2013 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:26 pm
700, 710, 730 is impressive, and shows none of those scores was a fluke. In my non-expert opinion, I would say a 760 isn't going to tip the scales that much in your favor. You've got better things to do with your time than prepping more for the GMAT.

As a military officer myself who plans on applying this fall, I would say it is most important about crafting your story: Why do you want an MBA? What have you done in the USMC? What can you contribute to the student body at [insert school name here]? Don't get too hung up on stats. You need to focus on how you stand out against other military applicants, so you're not going up against the I-bankers and consultants who have 3.8GPAs from an Ivy coupled with the 750 GMAT.

Big thing you've got going for you is that if you're going to have a strong/weak combo of GMAT/GPA, better to have a strong GMAT as it shows your current academic aptitude and maturity. Much harder to explain a 3.8GPA and a low GMAT IMO.

Have you seen this series?
https://poetsandquants.com/2012/01/27/ha ... a-top-mba/

You could try posting your stats and see what he thinks - my bet is he won't recommend getting a 760+ GMAT.

Best of luck!!!

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by Bschool2013 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:32 pm
https://www.mbaapplicant.com/7_application_elements.html

Check the above link too if you haven't already seen it.

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by sunman » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:07 pm
Hey, thanks bro.

Also, another point of my concern is that I heard top schools have an unofficial "80-80 rule". 80th percentile at least on each.

My quant is a 47, which is a 76th percentile...so I'm a bit concerned that I need to bolster that score with a retake.
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by Bschool2013 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:28 pm
That's largely a myth. Is that the preferred split? Sure, but just like there's no "cut-off" GMAT, there's no required split either.

Take Kellogg for instance:

https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/Pro ... ofile.aspx

25% of their incoming class had a GMAT score below 700, so those folks clearly did not have an 80/80 score. Your 730 is above the median at most top schools and therefore at the higher end of the middle 80% range, which is a good place to be.

This is the way I look at the GMAT: A high score won't guarantee you admission to a top school, but a low-score can be the reason you're kept out. I think you've passed that part.

If you still want to quell concerns about quant (w/o knowing what your undergrad major was) you could try taking some accounting or finance courses at a local college and get "A"s in them which does two things: Builds and alternative transcript and shows you've matured while demonstrating quant skills.

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by sunman » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:42 pm
Bschool2013 wrote:That's largely a myth. Is that the preferred split? Sure, but just like there's no "cut-off" GMAT, there's no required split either.

Take Kellogg for instance:

https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/Pro ... ofile.aspx

25% of their incoming class had a GMAT score below 700, so those folks clearly did not have an 80/80 score. Your 730 is above the median at most top schools and therefore at the higher end of the middle 80% range, which is a good place to be.

This is the way I look at the GMAT: A high score won't guarantee you admission to a top school, but a low-score can be the reason you're kept out. I think you've passed that part.

If you still want to quell concerns about quant (w/o knowing what your undergrad major was) you could try taking some accounting or finance courses at a local college and get "A"s in them which does two things: Builds and alternative transcript and shows you've matured while demonstrating quant skills.
Brother, you citing Kellogg is like a dagger straight to my heart man (in a good way). That's my #1 choice. I want to go there so bad.

Thanks for all the advice, I can't thank you enough. Definitely quelled some of my fears.
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by sunman » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:44 pm
Reading the stats though...if I score a 750, I could put myself in the 80th percentile of Kellogg's applicant pool :-D

sigh...
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by Linda Abraham » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:47 pm
Sunman,

I think you would be better off taking some business related classes than retaking the GMAT and aiming for 750 at this point. They can see from your GMAT that you have the intellectual horsepower. They will want to know if you have figured out how to apply yourself in an academic setting and excel. Show them that you can do so.

Regarding the 80 percentile guideline, it is exactly that -- a guideline. It is not an arbitrary cut-off or mandatory bottom score or a line in the sand that can't be crossed. Your 76% is close enough. And again, if you take a couple of quant classes and earn A's in them, you will be showing (and shoring up) your quant skills, preparing for b-school, and also revealing that you know how to study.

You might be interested in "MBA Admissions: Low GMAT or GPA." or "Dealing with a Low GPA.".

Best,
Linda
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by Bschool2013 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:52 pm
sunman wrote:Reading the stats though...if I score a 750, I could put myself in the 80th percentile of Kellogg's applicant pool :-D

sigh...
Haha, I know you want that warm fuzzy, but that's actually the ENROLLED stats, which means only 20% of their incoming class has a score of 750+.

Something else to note: They don't list their GPA stats - interpret that how you will ;)