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Post-Prep, Pre-GMAT Evaluation. Concerned with Mediocrity. [#permalink]
15 Apr 2011, 20:12
Thanks in advance for checking this out. I've taken four practice GMATs and have two more to go before the real thing next weekend. About me:
Info: 25 years old, white male
Undergrad: University of Puget Sound, GPA 3.09, BA International Political Economics, Minor in Business
Practice GMAT: 610 (39V/35Q/4.5AWA). This is my current highest overall score, but I've scored several points higher on verbal in past tests. This is the highest quantitative score I've attained. My goal thus far is 700.
Work Experience: 3 yrs as only Financial Analyst at west coast luxury transportation service provider (motorcoaches for MLB, NFL, NCAA, tour providers, private charters, etc.). There has been heavy employee turn-around at this company for the last three years, but I have primarily supported the CFO. Responsibilities range from implementation of new accounting software and infrastructure; financial reporting (cash flows, P&Ls, balance sheets, various revenue metrics, etc.); tax filing/analysis; cost analysis; significant fixed asset accounting and analysis; and more granular tasks. I also have experience with various other non-financial tasks (IT, travel management,...)--I have worn many hats.
Of note, the company went through a bankruptcy recently (due to the unscrupulous financial practices and securities managing of the owner) where I was point-person for the bankruptcy estate in matters regarding fixed assets and fixed asset financing. The company was subsequently purchased, and I retained my title with more responsibilities at the new company.
Other Experience: I interned at the office of our state's governor for four months in college, during which time I also worked at a Habitat for Humanity construction site for two weeks. During the other downtime between undergrad semesters I worked full time at a bereavement support provider, where we assembled many different lines of products intended for mothers who had lost newborns or young babies.
I also spent four months abroad in Sydney, Australia (Macquarie University) studying political science and international business.
I want to pursue an MBA because I want to improve my knowledge of finances and economics in a more direct way than passively attaining it through job experience, alone. I want to be (and especially, feel) competitive in the job market and have something appreciable/tangible to bring to a firm's table.
With an MBA, I would like to be involved in perhaps the capital markets, or in some industry where my economic and financial analysis can contribute to the wealth of others (be they individuals, institutions, or governments) and help stimulate both domestic and international innovation.
I would like to attend a top 20 school (who doesn't, obviously), but I'm worried about my lack of extracurricular (community) experience, general quantitative exprience, poor gpa (for which I may have convincing reasons), and mediocre GMAT. I was planning on applying to schools this fall R1, but I've recently considered postponing for a year to increase extracurriculars. I would say that my dream schools are Haas or NYU. I picture myself ending up in the NY or SF area. So what do you think--could I eventually be a potential candidate for these schools? If not, which range of schools? Am I generally too inexperienced for MBA right now? Any other wise words? (FYI I have been reading the underdog-success threads and high-score-ding threads and everything in between, so I am poking around)
Thanks again for reading! Any advice is much appreciated.
For your application to NYU and Haas, which are both very competitive programs, I would focus all of your attention right now on improving your current GMAT score (610-640) as much as possible. There is a threshold of 700 that top business schools like to see met.
Remember, business schools will focus on your highest GMAT score, so it's not the worst thing in the world if you have to retake the test. After you're happy with your score, post again and we'll guide you with more of the process.
For now though, focus on your GMAT studies! Good luck in the upcoming 2 weeks.
Re: Post-Prep, Pre-GMAT Evaluation. Concerned with Mediocrity. [#permalink]
25 Apr 2011, 11:24
So I sat for my first real GMAT this past Saturday and got a 680 (39Q/44V), which I'm incredibly happy about! I was hoping for a 700, but with my highest mock test score being 640 and the fact that I was about ready to walk out of the test center based on how I felt after the quant section, I'll gladly take it!
I came out 85th percentile overall, 97th percentile in verbal, and 57th percentile in quant. It's bitter sweet since I matched my highest quant score, but it's such a poor percentile rank.
So, where do you think this leaves me? I'm far from the 80/80 split I've heard top b-schools like and I've also excelled at the less-important half of the test (or at least I get the feeling it's less important). But I'm very pleased with my overall composite. Is this a clear retake scenario or should I focus more on essays and apps? Time is not an issue for me--I'm not even sure I'll be applying to schools this year.
Congratulations on your score. Where you go from here depends on a number of factors. First, which business schools are you considering? Once you have identified the programs, we can look at their average GMAT scores and ranges.
With regards to the quant section, do you have work experience in areas where quantitative skills would be used more often (Ex: finance) or do you have a history of doing well in undergraduate quant classes (Ex: statistics or finance)?
Most MBA programs will only focus on your highest GMAT score, so many companies (including ourselves) often recommend to take the GMAT twice, particularly if you believe you can improve your score significantly.
Re: Post-Prep, Pre-GMAT Evaluation. Concerned with Mediocrity. [#permalink]
25 Apr 2011, 13:27
Stern is still my dream school, but I've really become interested in Boston University's program. I'm also interested in Duke, Georgetown, Emory, and UNC: Kenan-Flagler. Like I said before, I want to study investment management and economics.
In college, I performed marginally in Calculus and Stats, but had a good GPA in my economics and quantitative business classes (financial management and financial accounting). My job has always required me to work with numbers, but it has been heavier on reporting than quantitative analysis.
I'm thinking about buckling down and putting in another month of 2hr/day studying of quantitative material. I was starting to feel, though, by the time I took my test, that I was simply going through problem after problem and not necessarily retaining any new skills. I was using Princeton Review prep, which teaches you workarounds and backsolving (like plugging in the answer on DS/PS with variables). I wonder if something like Manhattan GMAT would be better suited for my quantitative learning style, i.e. understanding the reasoning behind an answer and solving it more traditionally/mathematically.
The Manhattan GMAT prep books do a great job of going in-depth into specific concepts (there are 8 books in total, each focusing on one part of the test.) Kaplan also has a book focused on higher end questions, which may help given the high percentile of your score.