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640 minority student seeks advice

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Manager
Manager
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Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 84
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 510 Q34 V28
GMAT 2: 580 Q35 V35
GMAT 3: 640 Q34 V44
GMAT 4: 690 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.61
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 78 [0], given: 16

640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2013, 14:16
Today was the third time that I took the GMAT. [I took it for the first time in January and scored a 510. I took it a second time last month and improved to a 580. Today I scored a 640. I scored in the 97th percentile for verbal but did poorly on quantitative (35%). I do not yet know my scores for the writing and integrated reasoning sections. However I feel good about those. On my previous exam I scored a 5.5 on the writing and a 6 (67% percentile) on the IR.

I have a 3.6 gpa from Texas A&M University (College Station), outstanding letters of recommendation, and 6 years of work experience. I work as an elementary school teacher at a Title I school that had been under state supervision due to its low academic performance. I have played an integral part in transforming our school into one of the top 2 elementary campuses in our school district (34 total campuses) and have received numerous awards for my contributions. On my professional evaluations I have received perfect scores and my principal has put me in charge of several other teachers.

I would like to gain an MBA but am not sure how a business school would view my professional background. Any advice on how I can best proceed with my application would be truly appreciated!

Personal background: I migrated to the US from Mexico at the age of 10 without knowing any English. (That is why I'm personally excited about my verbal score on the GMAT!!) I was the first one in my family to attend college. I earned my BA in Political Science in 2 years while working full time.
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User avatar
Status: Yale SOM 2015!
Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 180
Location: United States (MA)
GMAT 1: 710 Q V
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Kudos [?]: 62 [0], given: 107

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2013, 07:14
josemnz83 wrote:
Today was the third time that I took the GMAT. [I took it for the first time in January and scored a 510. I took it a second time last month and improved to a 580. Today I scored a 640. I scored in the 97th percentile for verbal but did poorly on quantitative (35%). I do not yet know my scores for the writing and integrated reasoning sections. However I feel good about those. On my previous exam I scored a 5.5 on the writing and a 6 (67% percentile) on the IR.

I have a 3.6 gpa from Texas A&M University (College Station), outstanding letters of recommendation, and 6 years of work experience. I work as an elementary school teacher at a Title I school that had been under state supervision due to its low academic performance. I have played an integral part in transforming our school into one of the top 2 elementary campuses in our school district (34 total campuses) and have received numerous awards for my contributions. On my professional evaluations I have received perfect scores and my principal has put me in charge of several other teachers.

I would like to gain an MBA but am not sure how a business school would view my professional background. Any advice on how I can best proceed with my application would be truly appreciated!

Personal background: I migrated to the US from Mexico at the age of 10 without knowing any English. (That is why I'm personally excited about my verbal score on the GMAT!!) I was the first one in my family to attend college. I earned my BA in Political Science in 2 years while working full time.


Hi Jose,

Congrats on the verbal score! That's really impressive and it sounds like you have a really strong background overall.

First off, where do you think you want to go to school? I do think your quant score would be an issue at top 15 schools, but outside of that, they might be willing to blink. On the contrary, you have such a strong profile otherwise that a higher quant score would likely make you very competitive for any of the top schools. Just to give you an idea, most of the top programs are looking for 70%+ on quant.

Also, what do you teach? It looks like your background is otherwise not very quant-y, but maybe you could make a case for yourself if you teach math or science, or have extensive quantitative coursework from college. Otherwise, a top business school may have doubts about your ability to handle the quantitative rigor of the program.

Bottom line, I think you could get into a decent school now, but you could probably shoot for an even better school with a better quant score. I know taking the test again is a major PITA, but that's just my two cents.

Finally, have you heard of the Consortium? Sounds like you'd be a great fit for their scholarship program: http://www.cgsm.org/

Best of luck!
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 84
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 510 Q34 V28
GMAT 2: 580 Q35 V35
GMAT 3: 640 Q34 V44
GMAT 4: 690 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.61
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 78 [0], given: 16

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2013, 19:26
Thank you for the response. I do teach math actually ; ) I'm also in charge of data desegregation at my campus and am also responsible for coordinating data assessments to improve student achievement. Unfortunately I have not taken any math level courses since high school. I took Calculus I and Calculus II back in high school (earned college credit through examination). Ironically I even earned award for Most Outstanding Advanced Calculus Student. Unfortunately I do not remember much!

I do not know much about the Consortium. Do you have any idea as to what the average GMAT score is for a consortium applicant? I really appreciate that you took time to reply to my post. I'm still trying to learn about MBA process. Thanks!

Jose


lb2015 wrote:
josemnz83 wrote:
Today was the third time that I took the GMAT. [I took it for the first time in January and scored a 510. I took it a second time last month and improved to a 580. Today I scored a 640. I scored in the 97th percentile for verbal but did poorly on quantitative (35%). I do not yet know my scores for the writing and integrated reasoning sections. However I feel good about those. On my previous exam I scored a 5.5 on the writing and a 6 (67% percentile) on the IR.

I have a 3.6 gpa from Texas A&M University (College Station), outstanding letters of recommendation, and 6 years of work experience. I work as an elementary school teacher at a Title I school that had been under state supervision due to its low academic performance. I have played an integral part in transforming our school into one of the top 2 elementary campuses in our school district (34 total campuses) and have received numerous awards for my contributions. On my professional evaluations I have received perfect scores and my principal has put me in charge of several other teachers.

I would like to gain an MBA but am not sure how a business school would view my professional background. Any advice on how I can best proceed with my application would be truly appreciated!

Personal background: I migrated to the US from Mexico at the age of 10 without knowing any English. (That is why I'm personally excited about my verbal score on the GMAT!!) I was the first one in my family to attend college. I earned my BA in Political Science in 2 years while working full time.


Hi Jose,

Congrats on the verbal score! That's really impressive and it sounds like you have a really strong background overall.

First off, where do you think you want to go to school? I do think your quant score would be an issue at top 15 schools, but outside of that, they might be willing to blink. On the contrary, you have such a strong profile otherwise that a higher quant score would likely make you very competitive for any of the top schools. Just to give you an idea, most of the top programs are looking for 70%+ on quant.

Also, what do you teach? It looks like your background is otherwise not very quant-y, but maybe you could make a case for yourself if you teach math or science, or have extensive quantitative coursework from college. Otherwise, a top business school may have doubts about your ability to handle the quantitative rigor of the program.

Bottom line, I think you could get into a decent school now, but you could probably shoot for an even better school with a better quant score. I know taking the test again is a major PITA, but that's just my two cents.

Finally, have you heard of the Consortium? Sounds like you'd be a great fit for their scholarship program: http://www.cgsm.org/

Best of luck!
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Yale SOM 2015!
Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 180
Location: United States (MA)
GMAT 1: 710 Q V
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 62 [0], given: 107

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 05:49
I know what you mean about high school calculus...I remember almost nothing now! Plus, the GMAT math is mostly things I learned back in middle school (though probably wasn't paying much attention to...). I had a tough time with that section as well, but with a few months of studying was able to go from practice tests scoring around 37-38Q (~45th %) to 47Q on the real test (73rd %). There are a lot of great tips on this site if you want to throw your hat into the ring for one more go.

I don't know a ton about the Consortium, but there's a great forum on gmatclub: calling-all-consortium-2013-applicants-141341.html

Based on gmatclubbers scores (which may have little relation to actual scores!), it looks like averages range from the high 600s to low 700s. Maybe some folks in that forum can point you to more official data. Good luck!
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 84
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 510 Q34 V28
GMAT 2: 580 Q35 V35
GMAT 3: 640 Q34 V44
GMAT 4: 690 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.61
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 78 [0], given: 16

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 10:17
Thank you once again! I'm tempted to retake one last time and see if I can improve on the math. Would you mind sharing what resources you used to improve your score? Mine has been a 36Q, 36Q, and 35Q. I purchased all the manhattan guides but never felt like I was mastering any of the concepts. I was simply moving from problem to problem without really "mastering" anything. Any ideas you have would be truly appreciated.

I improved over 130 points in two months (all in the verbal side of course). If I could improve by score by 60 points to a 700 that would be really cool! Do you think business schools would be reluctant to accept me given that I'm a teacher and not some guy with a business background! Thank you and have a fun weekend!

lb2015 wrote:
I know what you mean about high school calculus...I remember almost nothing now! Plus, the GMAT math is mostly things I learned back in middle school (though probably wasn't paying much attention to...). I had a tough time with that section as well, but with a few months of studying was able to go from practice tests scoring around 37-38Q (~45th %) to 47Q on the real test (73rd %). There are a lot of great tips on this site if you want to throw your hat into the ring for one more go.

I don't know a ton about the Consortium, but there's a great forum on gmatclub: calling-all-consortium-2013-applicants-141341.html

Based on gmatclubbers scores (which may have little relation to actual scores!), it looks like averages range from the high 600s to low 700s. Maybe some folks in that forum can point you to more official data. Good luck!
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Yale SOM 2015!
Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 180
Location: United States (MA)
GMAT 1: 710 Q V
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 62 [0], given: 107

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 10:54
Sure! I also used the Manhattan guides. I found them to be really helpful, but I went through them very slowly. I probably spent about 4 months studying for the GMAT, around 5-10 hours a week. With the exception of a few days on verbal (like you, I found verbal to be much easier), that entire time was spent on math. I read each chapter of the MGMAT books and slowly worked through each problem until I mastered it. On the problem sets from the official guide, I would time myself with about 1.5 min/question. As I went along, I starred each question where I had guessed the answer. Then I slowly reviewed each question I got wrong and each question I starred, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong and/or if there was an easier way to solve the problem (e.g. those number properties problems with a rule I had forgotten that would make the whole problem simpler). After I had reviewed, I would time myself again on the same set of problems. A few days before the test, I went back and did each problem set again and reviewed each problem set once more.

Some people on this forum would say that the key is to take a lot of practice tests. This wasn't the strategy I used. I took 3 in total, mostly to get my timing down. But the problem I found with practice tests is that it didn't address the "mastery" problem for me because the concepts are all mixed together. I found it much more helpful to work through several problems of the same type--the repetition built an intuitive understanding, which was crucial on my test date. On the actual test, I probably guessed on every other math question, but I think my guesses were more successful because I had that "intuitive" understanding.

Hopefully that is helpful! Some folks on this forum have also used an error log. Similar concept with more intense tracking: all-about-the-error-log-11754.html

As to being a teacher, I think this could actually help you. So many consultants/bankers apply that we have to take extra steps to differentiate ourselves. You already have a unique--but still accomplished--background, and I really think you could knock the GMAT out of the park if you just spent a few months more on quant catch-up!
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 84
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 510 Q34 V28
GMAT 2: 580 Q35 V35
GMAT 3: 640 Q34 V44
GMAT 4: 690 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.61
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 78 [0], given: 16

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 14:45
Thank you for such a detailed answer.

I forgot to mention to you that there is an MBA program (top 30 according to US News) that I am interested in. Most of the grads go on to work in oil & gas industry. However the program also admits a small percentage of students who are interested in education administration (principal, school superintendent, etc). The program trains administrators to lead schools and school districts as CEOs. If admitted the school pays most of your education (about 90k); it is sort of like a fellowship. This is why I initially became interested in the GMAT actually. I have been in constant contact with the admissions officer at this school and she has been very suppotive and encouraging. She asked that I call her immediately after retaking the GMAT this past Thursday. After telling her my score (and based on my GPA, professional experience, etc), she thinks that I am a strong candidate for the MBA program for THIS cycle but that i need to turn in my essays and application by next week (have already turned in LOR, transcripts, and professional evaluation). However, now that I have a 640, I feel that perhaps I should postpone MBA for another year, aim for a higher score, and consider all my options again in the fall. The problem is that I need to decide now since I do have to turn in the essays asap.

Anyway we have been messaging back and forth and I do not know much about you. Where are you applying to? Are you in banking already?

lb2015 wrote:
Sure! I also used the Manhattan guides. I found them to be really helpful, but I went through them very slowly. I probably spent about 4 months studying for the GMAT, around 5-10 hours a week. With the exception of a few days on verbal (like you, I found verbal to be much easier), that entire time was spent on math. I read each chapter of the MGMAT books and slowly worked through each problem until I mastered it. On the problem sets from the official guide, I would time myself with about 1.5 min/question. As I went along, I starred each question where I had guessed the answer. Then I slowly reviewed each question I got wrong and each question I starred, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong and/or if there was an easier way to solve the problem (e.g. those number properties problems with a rule I had forgotten that would make the whole problem simpler). After I had reviewed, I would time myself again on the same set of problems. A few days before the test, I went back and did each problem set again and reviewed each problem set once more.

Some people on this forum would say that the key is to take a lot of practice tests. This wasn't the strategy I used. I took 3 in total, mostly to get my timing down. But the problem I found with practice tests is that it didn't address the "mastery" problem for me because the concepts are all mixed together. I found it much more helpful to work through several problems of the same type--the repetition built an intuitive understanding, which was crucial on my test date. On the actual test, I probably guessed on every other math question, but I think my guesses were more successful because I had that "intuitive" understanding.

Hopefully that is helpful! Some folks on this forum have also used an error log. Similar concept with more intense tracking: all-about-the-error-log-11754.html

As to being a teacher, I think this could actually help you. So many consultants/bankers apply that we have to take extra steps to differentiate ourselves. You already have a unique--but still accomplished--background, and I really think you could knock the GMAT out of the park if you just spent a few months more on quant catch-up!
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Yale SOM 2015!
Joined: 28 Feb 2012
Posts: 180
Location: United States (MA)
GMAT 1: 710 Q V
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 62 [0], given: 107

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2013, 07:15
Wow, that could be a tough call then! If you end up with a large scholarship to a good school, that might be reason enough to just take the money this year and not look back. Have you had a chance to visit the program? Do you like the students, location, program, etc? Do you think the school will help further your career goals? If yes to all of those, it could be a great opportunity.

Yeah, I currently work in private banking, but I'm looking to make a transition to impact investing (specifically in educational non-profits, so we have something in common there!). I'm currently accepted at Darden, on the waitlist for Fuqua, and waiting to hear back from Yale later this week...super nervous!
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 84
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 510 Q34 V28
GMAT 2: 580 Q35 V35
GMAT 3: 640 Q34 V44
GMAT 4: 690 Q43 V42
GPA: 3.61
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 78 [0], given: 16

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2013, 16:47
Did you get my private message?

lb2015 wrote:
Wow, that could be a tough call then! If you end up with a large scholarship to a good school, that might be reason enough to just take the money this year and not look back. Have you had a chance to visit the program? Do you like the students, location, program, etc? Do you think the school will help further your career goals? If yes to all of those, it could be a great opportunity.

Yeah, I currently work in private banking, but I'm looking to make a transition to impact investing (specifically in educational non-profits, so we have something in common there!). I'm currently accepted at Darden, on the waitlist for Fuqua, and waiting to hear back from Yale later this week...super nervous!
Current Student
avatar
Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 28
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance
GMAT 1: 640 Q39 V39
WE: Other (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 3

Re: 640 minority student seeks advice [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2013, 18:28
Just found this. I also scored a 640, I had a 690 that expired :-(

What i have found is that if you want to do say finance, you will have problems with no quant courses since HS and a low quant score on the GMAT. With your grades & GMAT, I'd say you'd be competitive at schools in the 25-50 area. Your GMAT will play up since you're a minority. My 690 included a 46 verbal score, I have found improving my quant past 42 to be difficult. However, if you could get into the 45-46 area, you could probably break 700 and be competitive at a top 25. . .
Re: 640 minority student seeks advice   [#permalink] 08 Apr 2013, 18:28
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