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# Are we underestimating are chances here?

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Director
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05 Nov 2006, 17:47
I'm a social sciences guy with a 680... Maybe I'll apply to Wharton.
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05 Nov 2006, 19:06
dukes wrote:
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4) In my conversations with current students and alumni, I'm shocked by how many immediately determine whether or not I'll be accepted based on my GMAT score. I don't know if they know something I don't, but a lot of them say "whats your GMAT?" and then respond "Oh, your getting in. Don't worry."

Funny you mention that. I studied hard for my GMAT but had already conditioned myself to think that it just a small part of the application. All the b-school websites, books, and posters on this board keep saying that the GMAT isn't that important, but adcoms will tell you "off the recond" that its the first thing they look at.

I've never had an adcom admit that. I've always seen the party line "The GMAT is just one element of your app." Which may be true, but the class %s you see at Kellogg prove that wrong.
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05 Nov 2006, 20:29
Once again, we are discussing GMAT in way too much detailâ€¦lets do a hypothetical analysisâ€¦.. If I am an adcom at Wharton and I have to read 50 applications in one week, here is what I would do:

First Application: Investment Banker (IB) GMAT 750 (who cares just another freakin IB, I will think about him later)

Second Application: India IT GMAT 720 (who cares just another freakin Indian IT, I will think about him later)

Third Application: Management Consultant (MC) GMAT 780 (who cares just another freakin MC, I will think about him later)

Fourth Application: Minority Guy GMAT 680 (Jesus Christ, he needs attention, minority and 680, reasonable essays, not bad at all, bring him in for an interview, immediate decision)

Fifth Application, 33 year old, GMAT 680, social sciences background, whole career in social sciences, post MBA goals also social sciences related (solid execution of essays, legitimate reason to pursue MBA, unique background, he is old but his whole career is consistently in social sciences so he is not bulshitting, who cares about his age, he need our help to address social problems, bring him/her in for an interview, immediate decision)

Sixth Application Minority: GMAT 640 (nice essays and well done application, I will think about him)

Seventh Application IB GMAT 690 (whatever DUDE, I have IB applications with a much higher GMAT score, yeah yeah yeah, you are spinning your essays really well but I know you are an IB and need an MBA for career progressionâ€¦PERIODâ€¦.rest is really bulshitâ€¦. you are trashed)

Eight Application Female, GMAT 670, OK essays (we need females, donâ€™t we, bring her IN for an interview)

Ninth Application MC, GMAT 750 (Whatever, I will think about him later)

Tenth Application Indian IT, 740 (Whatever, I will think about him later)

Ok fine..I will take a break hereâ€¦out of these ten applications, the guy with 680/unique social sciences background, the minority guy with 680/reasonable essays and the female with 670 are going to get an invitation, PERIODâ€¦.no question asked about freakin GMAT as long as it is above 650..

Now comes the harder partâ€¦.IB, MC and Indian ITâ€¦what to do about themâ€¦trust me, most of the IB and MC applicants will have well written essays because they are coming from an environment where they are surrounded among ultra elite MBAsâ€¦.so they know what it takes to get into a top programâ€¦.in such cases, adcom will put more value on GMAT/GPA to differentiate among themâ€¦..everyone knows that an IB or a MC needs an MBA for his career progressionâ€¦PERIODâ€¦.there will be nothing exceptionally unique in their essays (of course there will be few exceptions but when you work 80 hr a week, there is not much time left to do some thing exceptional)â€¦.so how to decide among themâ€¦lets see what is their GMAT and GPA â€¦. Same applies to Indian IT poolâ€¦.

In essence, it is pretty obvious that in some cases GMAT/GPA are relatively important whereas in many cases, GMAT/GPA play a secondary roleâ€¦.in the above example, the MC guy with 780 and IB guy with 750 will also get the invitationâ€¦... rest of them are going to the trash binâ€¦.there you goâ€¦five out of ten get Wharton invitations (50%)â€¦.

Now if an Indian IT guy with a GMAT of 780 thinks that he has a better chance than another fellow Indian who has a unique background with a GMAT of 680, he is terribly wrongâ€¦â€¦..it is all about diversity and by diversity school means to attract those candidates who can add value to the class discussionâ€¦.

I agree with most of what you are saying. I completely agree that minority applicants with GMAT scores within the middle 80% are golden. I disagree that a social sciences background is equivalent to an underrepresented minority. Most of the top schools have 20-25% humanities/social science backgrounds so if it is a minority, it's not much. I would say that the IB guy with 750 GMAT has a better chance of getting an interview than the social sciences guy with 680 if other things are equal. A 750 GMAT is significantly more rare than a social sciences background (2% to maybe 15%).

I agree that applicants with IB & MC backgrounds must score higher to separate themselves from the pack. There's no doubt, there are tons of applicants from these backgrounds, but people with these backgrounds also make up the bulk of almost every class. So, more apply, and more get in. Now, I agree that if you are in one of these groups and you have a lower than average GMAT score you are probably dead meat, because you are facing competition with equal experience and higher scores.

Now, regarding the Indian IT applicants, 720 would be below the average GMAT from this demographic for top schools. Moutauk estimates that the average GMAT for this demographic falls somewhere around 730-750, so a 720 would be below the average. This is the toughest group to crack, by far.

I agree that females are absolutely favored, but probably not as much as underrepresented minorities. Totally agree that for certain demographics GMAT/GPA play a secondary role. It's clear that for certain groups, any GMAT/GPA within the middle 80% will result in an interview and probably admission (underrepresented minority, female). For other groups, it's clear that a GMAT/GPA within the middle 80% is a basic requirement - and for these (MC, IB, Indian) higher is definitely better, and a low score is probably death.
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05 Nov 2006, 20:34
In a core Strategy class I visted at Cornell there were 2-3 girls... In an equities analysis class I visited at Yale there were no females!
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05 Nov 2006, 20:44
And I always thought Yale had among the highest female representations of any top business school. BW shows that percentage of females ranges from 21%-40% at the top business schools (Yale is 38%). That's pretty substantial underrepresentation compared to over 50% of the general population. Female applicants are favored.

Underrepresented minorities range from 6% (Berkeley & UCLA) to 17% (NYU). I believe the reason for the low percentages at Berkeley and UCLA are because of the policy of the UC Board or Reagents that race cannot be used. Compared to the general population, I believe they are even more underrepresented than women, but I'm not totally sure. Strange that NYU has both the highest percentage of females and the highest percentage of minorities (of the top schools).

I guess if you're looking for a nice hard-working business woman with a little bit of ethnic flavor, NYU is the place to look
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05 Nov 2006, 21:08
There is a school of thought in admissions that basically subscribes to a "demographics is destiny" point of view. I never found this point of view particularly compelling because the factors that contribute to a strong application are essentially the same across all demographic groups. The key difference is essentially one of risk tolerance- if a student comes from a demographic group with a small supply, schools tend to be more tolerant of risk (e.g., EASDL factors). Many students ascribe their failure to be admitted to a particular school to demographic factors without appreciating the weaknesses that are present in their application materials. For instance, many applicants with minimal leadership experience and no clearly expressed leadership potential express frustration at their inability to gain admission to GM schools dispute their high GMAT scores and brand name work experience.
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06 Nov 2006, 06:30
Mark4124 wrote:
I'm a social sciences guy with a 680... Maybe I'll apply to Wharton.

Mark, you are welcome to apply but you should also realize that the applications that are measured against one of the strictest criteria are those that are coming from social sciences/unique backgrounds. AdCom are very well aware that these days applicants try to use social issues as a backdoor to enter the school. Therefore the onus will be on you to prove to Adcom that you are serious about your post-MBA social goals. As such if your education and work experience are relevant to your post-mba social sciences goals, you will have a better chance. In addition, your post-mba social golas should be crystal clear and questions such as why MBA and Why Wharton/HBS/Stanford should be answered with a perfect execution.

If someone has done IT consulting for 6 years with a BS and MS in computer science and now he suddenly wants to solve water problems of the world, he will be thrown to trash bin before anybody else no matter how much passion he shows about water by stating that half of his family was drowned in Tsunami. So bottom line is that an applicant with a social sciences background will not get an immediate/automatic favor unless he proves his worth. But if he has a case on table, he/she will get precedence over any 800/4.0 IB or MB folk, PERIOD. B-Schools are getting very serious (they have to because of the mounting pressure) to co-engage themselves with social problems (water, food, environment, energy, diseases, education blah blah blah).
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06 Nov 2006, 08:55
My App went to completion on oct26

anybody having an invite with a similar case?
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06 Nov 2006, 08:56
A bit nervous that I havent yet got a call
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06 Nov 2006, 09:06
venky1979 wrote:
My App went to completion on oct26

anybody having an invite with a similar case?

Which school?
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06 Nov 2006, 09:16
Wharton
Director
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06 Nov 2006, 15:53
Settle down haddy74... I was kidding around... If I do apply to Wharton it is going to be a bit more thought out than... "I'll just throw an app in for the hell of it." I have seen some last year here who had profiles somewhat similar to mine get admitted to Wharton. I want to go into investment management/fiance... That is why I would apply to Wharton, but I'm not sure yet about Wharton. UChicago might be my reach school of choice.
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06 Nov 2006, 17:58
Mark4124 wrote:
Settle down haddy74... I was kidding around... If I do apply to Wharton it is going to be a bit more thought out than... "I'll just throw an app in for the hell of it." I have seen some last year here who had profiles somewhat similar to mine get admitted to Wharton. I want to go into investment management/fiance... That is why I would apply to Wharton, but I'm not sure yet about Wharton. UChicago might be my reach school of choice.

mark, i totally realize that you were just kidding....i was simply trying to make a point about social sciences applicants....I apologize if i sounded like picking on you..not at all....it was pretty clear from your post that you were just kidding around.....once again, sorry for any confusion.
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06 Nov 2006, 18:58
I know everyone already knows this but . . .

The social sciences don't necessarily have anything to do with "social causes," charity, or altruism. The "social" simply means that the focus on this field is on organized study of human behavior rather than physical phenomena or the arts. The social sciences can range from the highly quantitative (e.g., econometrics) to the highly qualitative (e.g., history).
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06 Nov 2006, 19:34
I am acutely aware of this.
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06 Nov 2006, 22:18
venky1979 wrote:
Wharton

Mine went to completion 19 Oct. Still no invite.
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07 Nov 2006, 00:02
Slightly off topic:

How important is Nationality in the admissions process? Suppose a person is orginially from India but now is a citizen of some unknown nation, does that isolate the candidate from the INDIAN bucket?

Talking to Wharton, the answer appeared to be - 'no'. I wonder whether nationality plays an unofficial role in the selection process.
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07 Nov 2006, 00:35
sm176811 wrote:
Slightly off topic:

How important is Nationality in the admissions process? Suppose a person is orginially from India but now is a citizen of some unknown nation, does that isolate the candidate from the INDIAN bucket?

Talking to Wharton, the answer appeared to be - 'no'. I wonder whether nationality plays an unofficial role in the selection process.

I have heard that the answer is no as well at least in terms of US residents and citizens. In other words, if you are from India originally, but are now a US PR, then you won't be in with the "Indian from India" group, but in the every so slightly less competitive "Indian from US" group.

From what I recall of looking at the applications, they only ask for your ethnicity if you are a US citizen or PR. Otherwise, they just want to know your country of citizenship. So, I guess if you are Indian you could move to *some random underrepresented country* gain citizenship and make yourself righteous.
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07 Nov 2006, 00:42
pelihu wrote:
sm176811 wrote:
Slightly off topic:

How important is Nationality in the admissions process? Suppose a person is orginially from India but now is a citizen of some unknown nation, does that isolate the candidate from the INDIAN bucket?

Talking to Wharton, the answer appeared to be - 'no'. I wonder whether nationality plays an unofficial role in the selection process.

I have heard that the answer is no as well at least in terms of US residents and citizens. In other words, if you are from India originally, but are now a US PR, then you won't be in with the "Indian from India" group, but in the every so slightly less competitive "Indian from US" group.

From what I recall of looking at the applications, they only ask for your ethnicity if you are a US citizen or PR. Otherwise, they just want to know your country of citizenship. So, I guess if you are Indian you could move to *some random underrepresented country* gain citizenship and make yourself righteous.

Excellent... Thanks for the quick response!
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Re: Are we underestimating are chances here? [#permalink]

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09 Nov 2006, 20:06
pelihu wrote:
As I have mentioned elsewhere, I'm a pessimist about the application process. But then I read something that makes me think maybe we are being too hard on ourselves here, and that even at top programs a large portion of the rejected applications just didn't know what they were getting themselves in to. For example, take the following question which was asked in a chat with Michigan adcoms.

"Can long working experience (more than 6 years) and quite a good GMAT (690) compensate for a very low GPA(2.36)?"

You guys can probably predict my reaction by now. The person asking this question just doesn't seem to get that 690 is BELOW the average GMAT for Michigan, so it's not really considered "quite a good GMAT" in this context. This person also seems to have no idea that the quality of the work experience is the most important factor, and that 6 years of nothingness will torpedo your application. Finally, that GPA is really really low. It's definitely well below the middle 80% and would probably be among the bottom 2% of students admitted to Ross.

So, ultra low GPA, below average GMAT, undistinguished (as far as we know) work experience, and no mention of activities. The adcom's response"? Standard spiel of course.

"All pieces of the application are considered as a whole. In addition to work experience, GMAT, and GPA, the essays, achievements, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters and interviews play an important role."

We know Michigan accepts about 30% and rejects about 70%. I'm beginning to wonder just how many are "easy rejects". You know, those that are way out of range for scores, do no research, write terrible essays and have poor work experience an extracurriculars. Of course, adcoms will still encourage them to apply.

To use the words of an adcom acquaintence I have at Haas:

60% of the applicants in any given year are rocks. Most are jagged and discarded. While a few may be polished, they are still just rocks. 30% are nuggets of gold with varying values. Approximately 10% are gems, of which about half are precious. We sift through the pile and hand select the gems and meatier nuggets, adding in one or two ultra smooth rocks that might actually make it across the pond.
Re: Are we underestimating are chances here?   [#permalink] 09 Nov 2006, 20:06

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