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All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same...

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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:46
livehard wrote:
pandeyrav wrote:
Otherwise, people wont stop until everyone had a 780/790 irrespective of whatever it takes to get there.


This is where our significant difference lies. I believe that there is a maximum level that a person's abilities allow them to score on the GMAT, irregardless of preparation. Hence, a high GMAT score shows that someone possesses a certain ability level. Conversely, a low GMAT score either shows that someone doesn't possess that ability level or shows that they did not put in adequate preparation. Either should be a negative for someone's profile.

I think your assertion that anyone can get a 790 if they take the test enough times is ludicrous, not supported by facts, and denigrates those who were able to pull off such an impressive feat.


Okay, first off, i certainly do not mean to denigrate anyone. Like i said in the previous post, i have nothing but admiration for people who achieve that feat and if i came across otherwise, i have no shame in apologizing. But that is as far as i agree with you. I can understand that everyone has a different level of intellectual capability but i do believe that a man can do what a man has done. I do believe that people who score in high 700s on the test have achieved a great feat but i also believe that such people are not super humans and that it can be repeated by anyone with an average intellect given they put in enough hard work. After all its just a test, it has its own way of measuring and wherever there is a system, there is a way to beat it. I am surprised that you believe that intellectual capability is inherent and cannot be built / improved. That thinking would imply that people are born to succeed and that hard work amounts to little.

Last edited by pandeyrav on 17 Mar 2008, 12:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:49
ncprasad wrote:
Countless people with 710s and 720s say that they were dinged because of their GMAT.


I don't understand the argument. If around 50% of admitted students have GMAT scores at or below 720 how can GMAT be the only reason why those countless people were dinged? It could be one out of an array of reasons, but not the only one.

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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 11:58
pandeyrav wrote:
livehard wrote:
pandeyrav wrote:
Otherwise, people wont stop until everyone had a 780/790 irrespective of whatever it takes to get there.


This is where our significant difference lies. I believe that there is a maximum level that a person's abilities allow them to score on the GMAT, irregardless of preparation. Hence, a high GMAT score shows that someone possesses a certain ability level. Conversely, a low GMAT score either shows that someone doesn't possess that ability level or shows that they did not put in adequate preparation. Either should be a negative for someone's profile.

I think your assertion that anyone can get a 790 if they take the test enough times is ludicrous, not supported by facts, and denigrates those who were able to pull off such an impressive feat.


Okay, first off, i certainly do not mean to denigrate anyone. Like i said in the previous post, i have nothing but admiration for people who achieve that feat and if i came across otherwise, i have no shame in apologizing. But that is as far as i agree with you. I can understand that everyone has a different level of intellectual capability but i do believe that a man can do what a man has done. I do believe that people who score 800 on the test have achieved a great feat but i also believe that such people are not super humans and that it can be repeated by anyone with an average intellect given they put in enough hard work. After all its just a test, it has its own way of measuring and wherever there is a system, there is a way to beat it. I am surprised that you believe that intellectual capability is inherent and cannot be built / improved. That thinking would imply that people are born to succeed and that hard work amounts to little.

personally, i dont think scoring high on the gmat is really a feat. its purposefully difficult, but getting a high score is not an achievement to brag about compared with the other things in an application. that said, i think it is too idealistic to believe just anybody can score 800 if they try hard enough. its like running a 100 meter race. not everybody can run as fast as the world record holder, no matter how hard they train. surely they can improve their run time, but very few people will reach the peak.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 12:02
dabots wrote:
personally, i dont think scoring high on the gmat is really a feat. its purposefully difficult, but getting a high score is not an achievement to brag about compared with the other things in an application. that said, i think it is too idealistic to believe just anybody can score 800 if they try hard enough. its like running a 100 meter race. not everybody can run as fast as the world record holder, no matter how hard they train. surely they can improve their run time, but very few people will reach the peak.


800 represents perfection which i agree is really hard to achieve. that is why in my original post i said 780/790 which i believe can be achieved provided someone wants it bad enough and is prepared to work hard. Anyways, i think the original point about GMAT being important but not being any more or less important is something that most agree with.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 13:01
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OK here are my two cents...
I am sorry if parts of my response sound redundant.

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The GMAT is one area of the application that can be changed just before/after one applies. Your work experience/ ECs cannot.
So it is only natural that one gets this aspect of his application to the best possible level. Now this level is obviously different for different people and I am sure that it would be clear when one prepares for the GMAT and takes those practice tests.

It's been widely accepted that a low 700s/ high 600s score won't keep you out but a high 700s will certainly not get you in.

I am pretty sure that AdCom starts looking at each application with an idea of getting the student in and not otherwise.
One of the first things it looks for is the GMAT score, mainly because it is easily quantifiable and each school has set internal targets for their mean GMAT scores.

So I would think all GMAT scores around the mean would be cleared on that aspect of the evaluation and the AdCom would then move on to the more time-consuming task of reading through the entire application to look for the other aspects. If GMAT raises a red-flag the candidate obviously needs to have something out of the ordinary on his profile.

All this is just to select the candidate for an interview so a 700ish score should not be a deciding factor. Most schools have their GMAT averages around 690-710.

We all know that when the final decision is being made, the AdCom reviews the application in its entirety. Only this time, they have to manage multiple averages...
Country/Profile etc. Dosa's point on the demographic playing an important part at this stage is very true.

No offence meant to any Desi's here..but many of us have very similar profiles..
The "Indian IT Male Engineer" (I am one of these) pool has already been acknowledged as one the most competitive.

As a member of the AdCom making the final decision, if I am to choose between two very similar profiles...the GMAT score will be the differentiating factor, I'll pick the guy with the 750+ over the 700ish guy. Part of this game is also because schools are constantly looking to maintain/increase their averages. If the applicant does well to distinguish himself/herself through the essays etc, his decision would be easier.

I think it is up to each person to take a look at his/her own profile and do a very realistic assessment of what could make them stand out. If you are one of those who is an IT engineer but also represented your country in the Olympics.... I doubt the GMAT score will make any difference.

At the risk of repeating many others...I would say that if you want to get into the top schools be prepared to mitigate "all" red flags and also make sure that you truly stand out in a few. What category you want to put the GMAT in, is up to you.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 13:52
pandeyrav wrote:
800 represents perfection which i agree is really hard to achieve. that is why in my original post i said 780/790 which i believe can be achieved provided someone wants it bad enough and is prepared to work hard.


Wow, given that the average score is 526, we sure have a lot of lazy aspiring business people. To tell you the truth, I'm pretty pissed at myself. I would have gotten into Harvard as an undergraduate but I was too lazy to get a 1590 on the SAT. I hate me.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 13:58
cant change the past. But its not late. I presume you have a great score to get you into HBS. More strength to you. All the best !!

livehard wrote:
pandeyrav wrote:
800 represents perfection which i agree is really hard to achieve. that is why in my original post i said 780/790 which i believe can be achieved provided someone wants it bad enough and is prepared to work hard.


Wow, given that the average score is 526, we sure have a lot of lazy aspiring business people. To tell you the truth, I'm pretty pissed at myself. I would have gotten into Harvard as an undergraduate but I was too lazy to get a 1590 on the SAT. I hate me.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 14:16
pandeyrav wrote:
cant change the past. But its not late. I presume you have a great score to get you into HBS. More strength to you. All the best !!


Ha ha, same to you buddy. Agree to disagree on this one.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 14:39
Once again, I think that for our tendency of being too interested in statistics, we forget to put ourselves in the shoes of real life ad-coms and essay readers. Sure most b-schools want to push up their GMAT scores, however, would they really want to raise the bar too high ? Consider this - if the GMAT average was 760 at a particular school, how many really interesting people (with lower GMAT scores) would stop applying there as natural self selection. Of all top schools only Stanford's GMAT average is really high (730 I believe). With a small class size, Stanford can afford to be incredibly 'picky'. But can HBS or Wharton, with their large class sizes, do the same ?

It would be counter productive to their key aim of "getting as many people to apply as possible".

The other thing that we seem to be ignoring is the "focus" of each school. HBS focus on "leadership", Stanford focus on "saving the world", NYU focus on "NYU community" and Kellogg focus on "teamwork". The adcoms and essay readers translate the application package to their desired focus. No one can tell me that a high GMAT score alone can translate to this.

So the argument to me boils down to :
a) The real high GMAT scorers are already so incredibly smart that they can create application package with the desired mix of fit and focus for a particular school with higher probability.
OR
b) The real high GMAT scores other aspects of the applications matter less because their scores somehow increase their probability of being admitted.

You take your pick.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 17:23
I took the GMAT and I did well enough to not want to take it again (790). A couple of thoughts:

1. I think if I took the GMAT 1000 times, my range of scores would probably be 720 to 800. I'll take this a step further to say that anyone who can get over a 720 can probably get to 780-800...but that may take 1,000 tries.

2. I think GMAT is more of a screen than a defining characteristic of your application. If you have a high GMAT, the adcoms know you can handle the academic workload at b-school...and I think that's all they try to glean from the score.


So, in the end, I still need to work like crazy to put together great essays, get good recommenders lined up, and ace my interviews. What I DON'T need to do is worry about the GMAT, and that's that. I'll never forget what someone said to me about this: "remember kiddo, they don't give out admit letters for a super GMAT score"
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 18:39
Agreed. i dont think anyone on this thread, goes for people on both sides of the argument, said anything contrary to this. My concern is with the notion that all scores 7xx are the same and that a 730 is approx the same as a 760 or whatever...They are the same, only in the sense that no matter what the score, you have to work your butt off to come up with a successful app :-D

msday86 wrote:
So, in the end, I still need to work like crazy to put together great essays, get good recommenders lined up, and ace my interviews. What I DON'T need to do is worry about the GMAT, and that's that. I'll never forget what someone said to me about this: "remember kiddo, they don't give out admit letters for a super GMAT score"
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2008, 19:46
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Great discussion and hats off to everyone for keeping it objective. I'll just add my 2 paise here. For young applicants (<=25) from an extremely competitive demographic (Indian IT), the GMAT is a huge differentiating factor. I've seen people with great ECs, relatively good essays, average leadership and a sub 750 GMAT get dinged at not just the top 15 schools, but even at schools ranked as low as 35 - 40. OTOH, I've seen people with 760s and 770s with really average ECs, OK essays and average leadership break into the top-15. So I think that for applicants (from competitive demographics) to the very top schools, an uber-high GMAT is more a requirement than a nice-to-have. Let me put it like this: I am yet to meet an Indian I.T male with a sub 750 GMAT who has made it into the top-10. C'mon let's face it, I know that each one of us is very unique and we all have our own little things that make us special. But if you are a 25 year old male in the IT industry, chances are your job description and role will not be too different from the hundreds of others applying to B-school. And whether we like it or not, experiences from our career make up the biggest chunk of our essays. If I were an ad-com member and I had to pick between a guy with a 720 who plays the guitar for a Rock Band (pretty rare for an Indian) and another with a 770 who plays cricket (which pretty much every Indian has/does!), I would pick the guy with the 770 because of:
1. Rankings
2. Recruiters (MC, IB, etc.) ask for the GMAT
3. I can now admit someone with a low GMAT, but an exotic background and still have a high average GMAT.

To sum up:
1. Do I think that people with 720-740 are less smart or are less capable of being successful at B-school than someone with a 760 / 770? NO.
2. But is a 760 much more valuable than a 740? YES (for folks in competitive demographics).

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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 05:36
Interesting write up on the importance of GMAT by necromonger (gmatclub alum):

http://onwardtomba.blogspot.com/2008/03/consulting-recruitment-relevance-of.html
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 05:54
I feel like giving an Orwellian conclusion to this thread (remember George Orwell, the author of "1984" and "The Animal Farm" )

All GMAT scores above 700 are equal, but some are more equal than others

:-D
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 06:01
For those who believe a GMAT score is more a function of effort than ability, why do you believe top IB and MC firms ask for GMAT scores? Given the large investment these firms make on a new hire, isn't it likely that they have done the due diligence to determine the correlation between scores and performance? Doesn't it also then make sense for schools to give precedence to higher GMAT scores given that it can both increase school ranking and improve placement at top firms?
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 06:24
It is interesting to see what a GMAT score really predict. GMAC feels GMAT is a test that can accurately predict a persons ability to do well in the core courses in a b-school. According to this document: http://www.gmac.com/NR/rdonlyres/82D0FB52-3F1B-45BB-899F-343AC342FF27/0/SchoolGuide.pdf (look at page 8)

GMAT®scores are valid predictors of academic performance in
the first year of a graduate management program. In the past two
years, we’ve conducted more than 65 validity studies that demonstrate
this. The median correlation between GMAT®scores and
first-year grades is .41 (perfect correlation is 1.0). The median
correlation between undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and
first-year grades is .28. Thus, GMAT®scores are generally a better
predictor of performance in the first year of business school
than are undergraduate grades. The best predictor, however, is a
combination of GMAT®scores and undergraduate grades, which
have a median correlation of .48.


Next important point:

Test takers who repeat the GMAT®gain, on average, approximately
30 points in their GMAT®Total scores the second time
they take the test. Subsequent gains are, on average, much
smaller.


I am not a statistician but a correlation of .41 seems quite low to me.

Then there is this study done by a b-school in Germany that contradicts this study by highlighting that there is minimal correlation between GMAT and academic performance.

http://www.economist.com/business/globalexecutive/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10316110, story "True Test"
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 06:47
dosa_don wrote:

I am not a statistician but a correlation of .41 seems quite low to me.


Although a 1.0 correlation would mean one thing follows another 100% of the time, the correlation coefficient is not a percentage/probability.

A 0.41 is quite good in terms of correlative prediction.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 07:10
I have a 760, so you would think that I would believe that the higher score the better. I don't. I think once you have a "good" score that the difference of 20-30 points become negligible. Of course, I think that boundary has now risen to 710/720 as the median of most schools has now risen closer to 710 than 700.

Once over that median score boundary, I think it becomes a factor of your background and writing ability. Yes, we can say all things being equal, the person with the higher GMAT will get in, but honestly all things are not equal. Once you get over the threshold, it becomes about you, and not your score.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2008, 08:42
bherronp wrote:
I have a 760, so you would think that I would believe that the higher score the better. I don't. I think once you have a "good" score that the difference of 20-30 points become negligible. Of course, I think that boundary has now risen to 710/720 as the median of most schools has now risen closer to 710 than 700.

Once over that median score boundary, I think it becomes a factor of your background and writing ability. Yes, we can say all things being equal, the person with the higher GMAT will get in, but honestly all things are not equal. Once you get over the threshold, it becomes about you, and not your score.


I think this threshold is not the same for all applicants. A competitive demographic results in a higher bar for similar applicants. Also, I think that the score matters equally for older applicants. Experience does count (and should) but how do you assess the ability to do well in courses for someone who has been out of school for say, 7-10 years? Lastly, how do you compare the academic performance of applicants coming from a myriad of schools, in India and elsewhere? In these cases, a score provides a better measure of the applicant's abilities.

IMHO, if you have the drive and more importantly, the time to retake the test, to achieve a better score, go for it. However, don't prioritize it over other tasks like researching/visiting schools, writing essays etc.
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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same... [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 17:46
I once talked to a B-school Dean, and the two questions he asked me to zero in on the applicant category that I belong to were:

1) How many years of management experience?
2) What is your GMAT score?

The next he said that "in all likelyhood, if there are no serious flaws in the application, we might be throwing in a scholarship to make you come here; 730 is good."

I think the higher, the better, but I also get a feeling that too high is just as bad as too low. Allegedly, some schools like to ding those with the perfect scores (I think, Darden is a case in point, but correct me if I am wrong).

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Re: All GMAT Scores Over 7XX Are Treated The Same...   [#permalink] 19 Mar 2008, 17:46
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