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Application strategy (with bad GMAT score 610)

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Application strategy (with bad GMAT score 610) [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 04:05
Hi there. I am quite a novice in this forum.
I am currently doing my application for Sept 2007 intake. I understand that my chances to be accepted are better when I apply for the 'longer' programs (compared with the accelerate programs starting in Januar)
I will go for the 1st round for a total of 5 schools. I have somebody who writes my essays. So this won't be an issue.

However, I have an obvious lack in my GMAT. I scored 610 (verbal 28). I did score 550 one month ago. Based on my pre-tests I think I am able to achieve 650 (but this is not granted). Whatever I do, I will always be one of the applicants unlikely to be accepted. Will a score of 650 boost my chances so much? Or should I just hope that one school likes me.

My concern is, that if I take the GMAT again and 'only' score around 600 my GMAT summary looks even worse.
The only positive thing is my 10 years working experience although I am only 27 by now and my officer leadership experience from the army.

So, the overall question is:
- Will my (anyway bad) chances increase dramatically if I apply with 650?
- How would you value the chances of applying at 7 schools with 610 compared to 5 schools with 650? Or where do you see better chances. (if any ;-(

The schools I am interessted in are: Duke, Cornell, NYU, Yale, Rochester, INSEAD, Kellog

I really appreciate your comments.
Have a good one.
Daniel
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 04:32
I would say that with 650 is quite doable to get admitted to these schools, but with 610 it is much-much-much harder. Maybe, you could try a different strategy, approaching GMAT? Also, you had only one month of preparation for going from 500 to 600 and usually it takes another month to score 700+ from your current point. Aim higher and, while you could be a bit disappointed with a lower score, it still will be high enough to get to one of the top schools. So, why 650 and not 730 in 1,5 month? Solve-analyze-track-compare-choose weakest areas-solve. It's a brain-fitness.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 05:57
I think you need to understand that virtually all people admitted with scores below the middle 80% are underrepresented minorities. 650 is better than 610, but with either score, you chances will be virtually nil at the schools you listed (other than Rochester, which I know nothing about). If you ask the question "how many students at these schools have 650 or below and/or are not huge donors and/or are not underrepresented minorities" the answer can be counted on one hand. A near-perfect GPA from an ultra-elite college would help. Truly unique work experience (and I mean truly unique, like, you're the only one with such a background applying) would be something else that would help.

Regarding work experience, all schools specify post-college full-time work experience. You didn't specify how your experience breaks down, or when you finished college, but that's something to consider. Also, schools love military leadership experience, but that's not at all unique.

So, the bottom line is that with a 610, schools will question whether you can handle the course load. They will also be concerned at the impact your score will have on their bottom line (their average GMAT and ranking). They'll only consider it if you bring something so unique that they can't find it anywhere else. To be competitive, get your score into the middle 80%; and if your academic background isn't stellar and your experiences aren't truly unique, think seriously about getting it 700+.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 10:08
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I will go for the 1st round for a total of 5 schools. I have somebody who writes my essays. So this won't be an issue.


I'm a little confused about what you mean by this. Is someone else writing your essays for you? If so, that's kind of a big no-no. Or did you mean that you have someone who will help you edit them?
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 12:12
Either 610 or 650 for Yale, Duke, Insead, NYU, Cornell and Kellogg is a low GMAT, as stated above you will relly need to come with something very impressive elsewhere.

I know histories of people who got admitted with 640 to Harvard and Stanford but like very big donors sons and congressmen sons, so, a different kind of history...
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 13:02
The 80% range for NYU and Yale starts at 640 and for Duke it starts at 630 so I dont think your far from those ranges. If you thing you can move your GMAT up to 650 this problem should go away.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 13:12
I have to agree with pelihu, a 610 will make it very tough for you to get into an elite school, as the bottom 10% (outside the 80% range) of those schools are generally reserved for very extreme cases (like someone who saved the president from assassins or someone who led multiple teams to climb Mt. Everest). Even if you're within the 80% range, if you're on the low end (which 650 is), you need to have spectacular GPAs, great work experience that shows A LOT of responsibility and impact, and very good extracurriculars to be competitive.

With that said, I doubt any of us is trying to discourage you from applying. We're just being very honest with your chances, and encourage you to improve your GMAT if possible so you have an easier path ahead.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Application strategy (with bad GMAT score 610) [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2007, 06:57
Hi guys.
Thank you for your valuable input. I really appreciate the time and thoughts you have invested to give me such detailed answers. To clarify. Somebody helps me to write the essays. However, I am quite an average guys who has not much to show uf what could be super interesting for an MBA school. Maybe I have to do something fancy on quick notice, like to save the planet to increase my chances :-)
All in all I got the message....
Some schools have deadline mid October. Would you then recommend to apply in 2nd round with (hopefully) 650 rather than in 1st round with 610?
Won't I not only be the guy who scored between 610 and 650? I mean the anyway receive all my scores and see that I tried 3 times.
Last but not least. Let's assume I go with 610 and don't accept me. That would mean that I have to wait about 2 years before they will consider me again, right? I mean they won't say that the only reason is the GMAT score.

I am really afraid that I have to do this stupid *ç%"*ç%!!! test again.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2007, 11:28
There's a guy from GMATclub who is now here at Darden. He's a really strong candidate (we're now in the same section), but had a lower GMAT score. They waitlisted him, and basically suggested he retake the GMAT. He did, got a 710, and now he's here. So yes, GMAT could very well be the final deciding factor. It's not often as clear-cut as in this case, but it's certainly a factor in every single application.

If you are not admitted this year, you can apply again to the same schools next year. It would probably be helpful if you improved your application in some way before re-applying. R1 and R2 should largely be the same. If you are able to improve your application in the interim, you should.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2007, 11:46
R.E.D. wrote:
Also, you had only one month of preparation for going from 500 to 600 and usually it takes another month to score 700+ from your current point. Aim higher and, while you could be a bit disappointed with a lower score, it still will be high enough to get to one of the top schools. So, why 650 and not 730 in 1,5 month? Solve-analyze-track-compare-choose weakest areas-solve. It's a brain-fitness.


It doesn't exactly work like that. Going from 500 to 600 is probably 100 times easier than going from 600 to 700+

I forget who said it, it may have been necromonger (sorry if i'm crediting the wrong source) but, the higher you go up, the time needed to get the extra points grows exponentially.

I'm not saying you can't get 650 from 610 with a month's prep. But don't fool yourself into thinking that a 100pt increase takes the same amount of time no matter where on the 800 scale you do it.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2007, 08:36
pelihu wrote:
There's a guy from GMATclub who is now here at Darden. He's a really strong candidate (we're now in the same section), but had a lower GMAT score. They waitlisted him, and basically suggested he retake the GMAT. He did, got a 710, and now he's here. So yes, GMAT could very well be the final deciding factor. It's not often as clear-cut as in this case, but it's certainly a factor in every single application.

If you are not admitted this year, you can apply again to the same schools next year. It would probably be helpful if you improved your application in some way before re-applying. R1 and R2 should largely be the same. If you are able to improve your application in the interim, you should.


Thanks for the recognition pelihu, and you are 100% correct - I believe that the GMAT score is VERY important. I was sitting in this position last year with a 640 GMAT score, got in to the interview and showed I was a strong candidate and Darden made it clear that they liked me. However they also wanted to see me prove that I belonged. The GMAT score was probably the single most important factor although I was taking additional coursework and keeping in close touch with the school.

As much as we would like to believe that being a strong candidate without perfect statistics can still give you a shot at your dream school, you need to prove you either have the GPA or the GMAT score - and having both will certainly make the entire process much easier.

Also - to your point: The schools I am interested in are: Duke, Cornell, NYU, Yale, Rochester, INSEAD, Kellog

I applied to Cornell, Yale, and Northwestern (with an alum rec) - They will ding you based on your GMAT score - it was a big issue at these schools and was brought up during my interviews at Cornell and NW, Yale has such a small class that you might not even get the opportunity to talk your way in.

Last edited by OasisNYK on 27 Sep 2007, 12:55, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2007, 08:45
kidderek wrote:
R.E.D. wrote:
Also, you had only one month of preparation for going from 500 to 600 and usually it takes another month to score 700+ from your current point. Aim higher and, while you could be a bit disappointed with a lower score, it still will be high enough to get to one of the top schools. So, why 650 and not 730 in 1,5 month? Solve-analyze-track-compare-choose weakest areas-solve. It's a brain-fitness.


It doesn't exactly work like that. Going from 500 to 600 is probably 100 times easier than going from 600 to 700+

I forget who said it, it may have been necromonger (sorry if i'm crediting the wrong source) but, the higher you go up, the time needed to get the extra points grows exponentially.

I'm not saying you can't get 650 from 610 with a month's prep. But don't fool yourself into thinking that a 100pt increase takes the same amount of time no matter where on the 800 scale you do it.


I would disagree slightly - I went from a 640-710 in 1 months prep (I took quite a few months off between exams because of work obligations and the application process). However, I did hit the books pretty hard during that month - taking a practice exam almost everyday and meeting with a tutor on top of going through the OG etc. I think its all about how much you want it. I had also spent much of the previous year prepping so I did have a lot of experience to draw upon, and of course use the GMATClub.

If you are afraid of the GMAT it will beat you.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2007, 08:57
OasisNYK wrote:
I would disagree slightly - I went from a 640-710 in 1 months prep (I took quite a few months off between exams because of work obligations and the application process). However, I did hit the books pretty hard during that month - taking a practice exam almost everyday and meeting with a tutor on top of going through the OG etc. I think its all about how much you want it. I had also spent much of the previous year prepping so I did have a lot of experience to draw upon, and of course use the GMATClub.

If you are afraid of the GMAT it will beat you.


True, but you're not going from 550 to 640 to 710. Your starting base was 640. Also your prep was admirably quite rigorous and extraordinary.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2007, 19:01
kidderek wrote:
OasisNYK wrote:
I would disagree slightly - I went from a 640-710 in 1 months prep (I took quite a few months off between exams because of work obligations and the application process). However, I did hit the books pretty hard during that month - taking a practice exam almost everyday and meeting with a tutor on top of going through the OG etc. I think its all about how much you want it. I had also spent much of the previous year prepping so I did have a lot of experience to draw upon, and of course use the GMATClub.

If you are afraid of the GMAT it will beat you.


True, but you're not going from 550 to 640 to 710. Your starting base was 640. Also your prep was admirably quite rigorous and extraordinary.


I agree with Kidderek. I found it much harder to move from 670 to 740, than from 600 to 670.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2007, 20:18
kidderek wrote:
It doesn't exactly work like that. Going from 500 to 600 is probably 100 times easier than going from 600 to 700+

I forget who said it, it may have been necromonger (sorry if i'm crediting the wrong source) but, the higher you go up, the time needed to get the extra points grows exponentially.

I'm not saying you can't get 650 from 610 with a month's prep. But don't fool yourself into thinking that a 100pt increase takes the same amount of time no matter where on the 800 scale you do it.


Actually, for this month I came to the understanding of how to prepare for the test and changed the preparation completely. First of all, I recognized the weakest areas, dived into researching message boards, blogs, test reports, wrote down interesting ideas and approaches. Solved the problems, counted the stats, read theory and explanation for ever wrong answer, spent the lunch time with the most unlikable articles from Scientific American, read Popular Science in my native language while on plane (remember a nice article about particle accelerator /synchrophasotron/ - with non-engineering background it took a while to understand the article from beginning to the end) and asked for a week off the work before the exam. I agree that it takes more effort to reach the higher result, but we can pack the greater efforts in reaching the goal into the same timeframe :)
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Oct 2007, 06:34
OasisNYK wrote:
pelihu wrote:

Thanks for the recognition pelihu, and you are 100% correct - I believe that the GMAT score is VERY important. I was sitting in this position last year with a 640 GMAT score, got in to the interview and showed I was a strong candidate and Darden made it clear that they liked me. However they also wanted to see me prove that I belonged. The GMAT score was probably the single most important factor although I was taking additional coursework and keeping in close touch with the school.
Also - to your point: The schools I am interested in are: Duke, Cornell, NYU, Yale, Rochester, INSEAD, Kellog
I applied to Cornell, Yale, and Northwestern (with an alum rec) - They will ding you based on your GMAT score - it was a big issue at these schools and was brought up during my interviews at Cornell and NW, Yale has such a small class that you might not even get the opportunity to talk your way in.


Oasis, sorry if I missed this part. Do I do understand correct that you applied to the mentioned schools last year with 640, went to the interviews but were refused? Or did you at the end get in? I intend to apply for the same schools you mention, but I will come up with a GMAT of approx. 650 I think. You thinkt this is a no go with an avg. 'interessting' profile?
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Oct 2007, 08:00
Honestly your chances are going to be tough unless you are an underrepresented minority if you don't have a very strong profile. All things equal, if you come from a common applicant pool and have a low GMAT its going to be very very difficult. At least at 27 you do have a year or two before you get towards the upper end of the age range so you can always try to improve your score and try next year.

You may want to reevaluate your choices of schools if you can't raise your score up significantly. By your own admission you don't sound like you think you have the strongest application material so with a subpar GMAT thats going to kill your chances. Looking at your verbal that is definitely your weak point and I am sure what dragged your score down. I assume you are not a native speaker so that really is going to hurt you too, schools will wonder if you will be able to communicate with other students and also do the required work. Also if your essays are stellar but your verbal is low they may question that and check your GMAT essays and try to determine if you wrote your own application essays or hired someone to do that.

Have you taken the TOELF, that is also going to important for you if you don't have a waiver or come from an english speaking country. Also you mentioned 10 years work experience, they generally don't count work exp pre college grad except maybe an internship.

As for OasisNYK, from what I recall he was pretty much told raise his score and he would get in...once he broke the 700 barrier they accepted him off the waitlist.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Oct 2007, 11:15
Yeah, I agree with riverripper. The only people admitted with GMAT scores at the very bottom of a school's range are underrepresented minorities, huge donors, or people who have truly unique (and valuable) things in their background. The above statement is not 100% true, but it is 98% true. Perhaps 1 person a year will slip in with an average profile, low GMAT and no other distinguishing features. You have to be pretty damn lucky to be that one among the thousands of pretty-close-but-not-quite candidates that are regularly rejected from every top school each year.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2007, 05:30
riverripper wrote:

Have you taken the TOELF, that is also going to important for you if you don't have a waiver or come from an english speaking country. Also you mentioned 10 years work experience, they generally don't count work exp pre college grad except maybe an internship.

As for OasisNYK, from what I recall he was pretty much told raise his score and he would get in...once he broke the 700 barrier they accepted him off the waitlist.


Hi guys. Here I am.
Did the GMAT test today. I am obviously not good enough to combine verbal and math into one good test. Ended up with 640 (Math 39, Verbal 38) compared to one month ago with 610 (Math 47, Verbal 28). My TOEFL score is 109.
I will mention the fact that I did good at least once in Math and once in Verbal. But will they care? Or do they only care about there avg. GMAT score?

Well that's where I stand. With the potential to go up to 670-680 but obviously not with the ability to do so in one single test. I can't take another GMAT because that would be my forth and deadlines for 2nd rounds are close. So, I guess that's it. Only hope can now help me now.

What do you guys think? What are my changes (in %; make your best guesses) that I get accepted at one of the following schools. (This will be the nr. I go to bed with for the next 2 months until they refuse me or give me the chance for an interview :-)
NYU Stern, Michigan Ross, Simon Rochester, Yale, INSEAD, Kellogg, Johnson Cornell, mabybe Duke.

As mentioned, I have ok application characters, 2 years army (officer), 10yrs work experience (last 4 years in two pretty good positions), athlete (iron man like competitions), European, 27. Nice guy :-)

Thanks again for all your valuable help. I really appreciate it.
Bye Daniel
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2007, 05:38
kryzak wrote:
the bottom 10% (outside the 80% range) of those schools are generally reserved for very extreme cases (like someone who saved the president from assassins)

That very much depends on which president we're talking about here.
  [#permalink] 31 Oct 2007, 05:38
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