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I first took the gmat a little over a year ago, and scored 660 without really studying. After being laid off I took advantage of the extra free time and spent a month practicing, reviewing, and digging through these forums. The only book I really used was the Official Guide (the one from last year). I completed about 80% of the problems in that huge book! That was my main study strategy, and I would spend a considerable amount of time studying the problems that I missed.
GMAT prep tests had scores of 730 then 720, and some small part of me does think "Oh, man - I would love a 730-740." But I guess I might say that until 800! In any case, I will not be taking the GMAT again, and I was ultimately very excited about my score. It's such a relief to score within your target after you invest the time studying, not to mention cash for the test. And going into this retake, I was thinking a 700 would be phenomenal.
On a side note about my experience, I caught a cold just a day or so before I took the test. It got pretty extreme, and I wonder if the test anxiety didn't make things worse. Well, I was very nervous about how the cold my affect my score, but between the cold medicine, adrenaline, and maybe luck I felt good while I was taking the test. It didn't seem to affect my score, at least not much. But future test takers, try to become germaphobes as test day approaches, I hated not feeling 100% as the test drew near.
I'm going to finish my GMAT experience post with my basic MBA applicant profile. I would appreciate any critiques very much, any opinions on my chances with my target schools.
At matriculation I would be a 24 years old, and I'm a white male Undergrad in Finance, Graduated May 2008 from University of Kansas. Good business school, KU definitely has some name recognition, but it's pretty much just another big state school. Overall GPA 3.49 GPA in Biz classes: 3.85 GMAT Score: 710 - 45Q/41V - 6.0 on AWA on first GMAT, hoping for the same this time Work Experience: 16 months working in corporate finance, as a financial analyst, for a large manufacturing company in the midwest. Experience related to accounting and supply chain. I was laid off, but I do have ex-bosses there that will make very positive letters of recommendation. EC's: business clubs in college, treasurer of one of them, active member of a club for young professionals in my current city...so I have a few activities, but nothing overwhelmingly charitable or impressive
Target Schools: UTexas Austin, Texas A&M, Indiana, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt Bottom line: is my age and inexperience going to keep me out, or can my GMAT and GPA get me into a top 30-40 school now?
Thanks guys, digging through these forums gave me some confidence going into the test, and it probably gave me a few extra points!
I think you would be a very strong candidate, despite your age, for the schools listed. I actually think you should aim higher. Harvard likes you young whippersnappers! Your GMAT score is in Harvard's range and you have a nice GPA. I would select 1-2 reach schools, 1-2 "decent chance" type schools and a couple of safety schools. No more than 5. It takes a long time to prepare the applications and more than 5 seems to cause all apps to suffer.
With your age you will really need to convey clearly your career aspirations and how an MBA will get you there. If I were a member of an admissions committee, I would want to know:
Why an MBA right now? Why not wait for another year or two? What are you hoping to gain from an MBA?
I hope this helps. Once again congratulations on the score. I hope to join the 700+ club in about a month's time.
Thanks for the positive feedback guys. I've felt really discouraged by my age and limited experience, but maybe I have a shot at the top 20 after all. As for Harvard, I think that's beyond wishful thinking, haha! UT Austin has really been my dream program, so hopefully some great application essays could give me a shot! I agree with the comment about explaining to admissions why I want an MBA this early. To be candid, I don't have a legit answer. The job market is just terrible right now and I miss the college experience. I'm still not entirely sure exactly what career path I want to pursue either, right now I'm leaning towards consulting. Anyway, I need to come up with some clear direction and clear answers for admissions committees - I know this isn't the sort of thing they want to hear!
Time to get serious about tackling this intensive application process!