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Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2010, 10:24
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Hi,

My name is Stacy Blackman. Since 2001 my firm, Stacy Blackman Consulting, has helped clients gain admission to every top business school in the world. I am happy to be collaborating with GMAT Club to answer any of your questions on the MBA admissions process and your specific applications.

In addition to consulting, I also run workshops at companies including JPMorgan and Credit Suisse and I have served on the Board of Directors at the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants. I am a graduate of Wharton and the Kellogg School of Business. If you’d like to read more information on me, I have been profiled in several publications, including Fortune Magazine, BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal.

If for any reason I am unavailable, a member of my team will be answering questions. I look forward to hearing from all of you and answering your questions.

Stacy Blackman
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Last edited by StacyBlackman on 05 Jan 2011, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2010, 14:05
Hi Stacy:

I'm applying for R2 to Insead, but have become quite concerned about my low quant score (43, 66th percentile). This is a big improvement on my first score which was 36, 43rd percentile. I was wondering how you would suggest dealing with quant facility in my application. I was very good at math as a high school student (skipped a grade, invited to write math competitions, etc.), but that was a long time ago and I don't want to seem to be reaching too far back to prove I have some facility with numbers (but I do!). My overall score was 690, with a 41 verbal (surprisingly low verbal).

I studied arts in university, then got an LL.B (a Canadian JD) and having been practicing commercial litigation for 5 years.

Thanks for any advise you may have!
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2010, 11:04
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Hi lawgirl,

To begin, do not be concerned about your first GMAT test score (the 43rd percentile.) For your MBA applications your GMAT score will be self-reported so you will only report your highest score. An MBA program will then verify your score if you are accepted. If you believe you can significantly improve your score again, you may want to consider taking the GMAT test again.

If you took the GMAT once or twice and did not receive the score you think you are capable of, consider a prep course to enhance your skills and remind you how to solve those high school math logic problems. We recommend Manhattan GMAT , because the company specializes in GMAT prep and focuses on knowledge rather than tricks.

When making an assessment on a candidate, a number of MBA programs will not only look at your quant score on the GMAT but also whether any of the work you do is quantitative, as well as the classes you have taken. To individuals who fall short in this area, you may want to emphasize your financial experience and/or consider taking a few classes in statistics, financial accounting, microeconomics and/or finance before applying.

I hope this was of help lawgirl. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions.

Best,

Conrad at Stacy Blackman Consulting
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 22:15
hello!
i am from india, i wish to pursue a mba in finanace or a MS in finance from us or uk(considering it is 1 year)

my gmat score is 710.(50, 38)

i am a b.tech graduation in mechanical GPA 7.3/10

i have worked for nearly 2 years with my dads firm logistics, packing and moving, cargo movement after finishing my graduation.

after that i moved into the banking industry as did not see myself in logistics in longer run. starting in a lower managerial postion. i have worked for 4.5 years in the banking sector with 2 promotions, now as branch manager.

i have finished my CFA(all 3 levels), and JAIIB, CAIIB certification(considered equivalent to a diploma in banking in india) while working in bank.

also before joining the bank i was given academic training of 1 year(9 months class+3 months intern in bank) and additional 1 year of distance learning. it was called and MBA but is not at par with the standard MBA curiculam. it was more or less industry training.

extracurriculars: i had participated in a short national social service program for educating village kids etc during collage. apart from that a few essay writing. few additional mechanical engginerring workshops.

QUESTION: i want to get into an international bank will a MS in finanace or a MBA in finance suit me in my career.

Also the training, as part of joining the bank which was called an MBA in banking, but did not have a curriculam of the standard of mba as i have mentioned....willll that be held against me. i mean will it do bad to my overall profile???

please let me know.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2010, 11:37
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Hi,

Thank you for your post and congratulations on the success in your career thus far.

Regarding your decision to pursue a Masters in Finance or an MBA, the type of program that you select will affect the type of positions you will target for full-time employment post-graduation. Those who have previous full-time work experience in a particular industry and pursue the MS degree to deepen their knowledge base often pursue mid-level roles. Some students pursue the MS degree as a starting point for their business education with the knowledge that they will return for the MBA at a later time when they have gained additional work experience.

An MBA degree is typically used as a tool to assist with a career change, or to jump start a position in the mid-management level. Many students seek employment from the company that sponsored their summer internship, or use that experience as leverage within their targeted industry.

With regards to entering an international bank after graduation, what would be most helpful is contacting the career services office at the programs you are interested in attending and asking about the companies where members of the program work after graduation.

With regards to training, much of this depends on the position you are applying for. If you are interested in a specific division, you should look to take classes in those areas to improve your abilities and candidacy.

I hope this was of help. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions.

Conrad from the Stacy Blackman Team
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2010, 13:10
Thanks for the input! :o

Could you please tell me how does my profile sound for the top 10-15 collages in US and Europe.

How do schools rate a few years, 2 years in my case, before entering banking, of experience in family business( small scale service sector)? :roll:

I am 29.5 yrs. will my age be a negative? :?:

Is finishing CFA an added advantage for an MBA admission?

I wish to work my way into the higher executive management in banking. should i intend to consider an MBA as a better prospect in that case?

Thanks.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2010, 21:05
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Hi Vikram,

Thanks for your posting. Regarding your questions:

Your age should not be an issue. With regards to your 2 years of experience in your family business, this may be an opportunity in your personal essays to show what you learnt and how you grew from the position.

As for the CFA, it will not give you any sort of advantage, per se, but can help to demonstrate your quantitative aptitude.

In response to your question on working your way into the higher executive management in banking, as a first step, look around at the people you most admire and want to be like within your target company or industry. Read their bios to see their skill set and educational background. Talking to people who are pursuing your target career, at any level, is also a great way to understand what you need to do to accomplish your goals.

I hope this was of help. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions.

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Consulting Team
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2010, 15:08
Hi Stacy,

I would appreciate your input on my non-traditional candidacy.
Academic: GPA 3.3, GMAT 690
Professional: Male, international, aged 31, 12 years "work" as professional athlete (unfortunately not in cash rich sports). Strong career/athletic development from junior, reserve to first team and called to national squad ranked top 5 in the world. International experience (in 29 countries) representing my country, won titles and Olympic medals (admittedly not gold). Received recognition awards from federation and national sports media. Commercially, I supplemented earnings from federation stipend and competition with a few sponsorship deals, modelling & teambuilding work.

Extracurriculars: Elected to represent athletes’ interests in Sports Council, volunteered outreach programme to coach children/raise funds for after school activities, media relations work to promote grass root participation and mentored junior athletes. Mix of teamwork, negotiation, leadership and mentoring skills.

Post MBA career goal: move from brand ambassador to product management with sports apparel/equipment company. Volunteer as business adviser to sports community and evaluate personal investment opportunities. Preferred programmes with strong general management & marketing courses and active sports business student clubs.
Michigan, Duke, Cornell, LBS, Kellogg, Wharton.

Some self assessment website suggests more realistic schools: USC, UNC, Kelley. If I inserted 700 Gmat, site would have my target schools. What is your view?

Am I realistic as I am not consultant/banker/Blue Chip engineer. Does the adcom see a sports pro’s experience as valuable to the MBA programme? I hear various statements.

1) There is a catch, I turned pro at a young age. Completed BA degree (Econ and Mod. Languages) through distance learning programme and private tutors at an accredited lower ranked university. Training camps and constant travel to competitions did not allow formal full time study. I wonder if adcoms would count my less formal academic background against me. On the other hand, should I spin challenge of earning degree while working full-time in optional essay?
2) Any idea in which pool I will be allocated: a) non-traditional pool by profession with military and non-profit folks or b) simply all other internationals

Unique story, solid ECs and strong professional accomplishment. But mature age, softish Gmat and total lack of corporate work. Is my new coach suitable as referee? He knows my athletic abilities, not so much commercial skills and is a weak writer. A sports federation executive and another manager with sponsor offered to be referees.

Thanks.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2010, 15:50
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Hi,

Thank you for your post. I believe you have a unique and compelling application. When applying to an MBA program, remember that although your numbers can help your application be considered, your GMAT score and GPA cannot solely get you accepted. Average or above average numbers will not push you over the edge at a top MBA program. Even an 800 GMAT score and a perfect GPA can be rejected.

Regarding your application, your essays will be your opportunity to discuss your background, why you want to pursue business school, and why you want to attend that specific MBA program. Although I doubt that any business school admissions committee would formally support this statement, I would have to cast my vote for essays being the most important part of your application. The essays are your opportunity to present your strengths, explain your weaknesses, and generally convince the admissions members that you belong in their class.

Regarding your recommender, before deciding who you would like to write your recommendation, decide on four to five key characteristics that you would like your recommender to focus on throughout the letter. Examples of these characteristics include innovative, leadership, charisma, and focus. If you believe your coach can speak to these qualities, then he would be a good candidate.

As a note, if you'd like a free 30 minute consultant with a member of the Stacy Blackman Team, you can sign up here: http://www.stacyblackman.com/contact/

I'd also be happy to answer any other questions on this forum.

Best Regards,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2011, 15:18
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Hi everyone,

The admissions team at the Chicago Booth Business School recently discussed their Top 10 MBA Application myths. We thought it would be of help to share these with the GMATClub community, as many of these same points apply to other competitive MBA programs.


Myth 1: The GMAT is the most important part of the application.
There is no one admissions requirement that is more important than the other. While the results of your GMAT exam are important, they are by no means the only tool used to make an admissions decision. The Admissions Committee attempts to learn all about you in order to determine a fit between you and Chicago that goes above and beyond your GMAT score.

Myth 2: A campus visit is a must if you expect to be admitted.
We do strongly encourage applicants to visit campus at some point, but not visiting won’t negatively impact your application.

Myth 3: It’s impossible to be admitted during Round 3.
Booth does in fact accept students in Round 3. Round 2 sees the greatest number of applications and since we fill spots in the program as we progress through the Rounds, there will naturally be fewer spots left for Round 3 applicants.

The best advice is to apply when you believe that you can turn in the application that you’re most proud of that best reflects your strengths and talents. However, we do encourage our international students to consider applying by Round 2 in an attempt to avoid potential hassles in obtaining a student visa prior to the start of classes.

Myth 4: You must have a minimum GPA or GMAT score and have 5 years of work experience to be considered for admission.
This is an easy one; there are no minimums for these factors! Anyone who has or will obtain a bachelor’s degree and can report a GMAT score is eligible to apply for admission to Chicago.

Myth 5: An interview with a staff member will increase your chances of admission more than an interview with a student or alum.
Regardless of who your interviewer may be, the feedback is valuable and is weighed equally in each and every case. Each year, we rely heavily on our alumni to conduct interviews with applicants all over the world. The same holds true for students here at the Harper Center and those who may be studying abroad.

Myth 6: The earlier you submit your application before the deadline, the earlier your interview invitation will come.
The interview invitation process lasts a few weeks for each round as our staff and Admissions Fellows read and review thousands of applications. The process of inviting applicants to interview is entirely random, and the point at which you hear from us is not a reflection on the strength of your application or the timeframe in which you submitted it.

And we really do extend interview invitations all the way up until 9:00 am on the mid-decision date!

Myth 7: If you were not a Business major, you are at a great disadvantage in the admissions process.
Students who apply to and enroll at Chicago Booth come from a variety of backgrounds with respect to their undergraduate studies. In fact, 29% of the class of 2012 has a liberal arts background. We are always excited by the unique experiences that each student’s education brings to the community at Chicago.

Myth 8: Chicago Booth prefers applicants from finance and consulting backgrounds.
We value diversity in all its forms, including career industry. Many of our applicants come from finance or consulting backgrounds; but many more have work experience in other industries, including military service, marketing, education, retail, and non-profit work, just to name a few. It’s not what you do that matters – it’s how you do it and the experience you’ll bring to the classroom and study groups.

Myth 9: The Admissions Committee members only read the first essay in the application – they disregard the rest.
Our staff, including our Admissions Fellows, reads each and every essay, recommendation letter and transcript that crosses our desks. This makes for a great deal of work but we’re committed to putting together the best possible class and to do so, we feel we need to get to know each applicant well. This process is a part of what makes Chicago Booth a unique place. You’ve worked hard to submit your application, and we appreciate that effort.

Myth 10: A letter of recommendation from the CEO of my company/a Booth alum I met once/the Governor/the President of the United States is better than getting one from a supervisor or colleague who knows me well.
Choose your recommenders carefully! Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of the admissions process and while you may be tempted to impress the Admissions Committee with the connections you’ve made, you’ll want to work with someone who knows you and your accomplishments, talents and skills well.

I hope this was of help.

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2011, 11:10
Hello,

Could you please evaluate my profile based on the following information:

1.) Education

Bachelor of Engineering - Mechanical Engineering - 71% Aggregate - India
PG Diploma - Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Systems Management - Pass - University of Manchester - UK

2.) Work Experience

2.5 years by now - 4/5 years at the time of matriculation.
Family Business - Working as General Manager - started my stint in inventory management - took some good effective initiatives - implemented Inventory Management Techniques such as ABC Analysis, Economic Order Quantity estimation for about 5000 parts in the inventory - estimated the operation cost of the warehouse with these techniques - marginally reduced the operative costs to about 60% of before.
took charge as a plant manager to set up a building material (aggregate) manufacturing plant in a village with my team of 20 people and further hired contractors and labor on my own - successfully set up the plant which is now in a running condition already - formed a joint venture with a company from Malaysia to supply them the material on a consistent basis - liaison with the project manager of that company on a daily basis to resolve day to day issues (transportation, financial etc) - reported directly to the Chairman of my company.

Now, I am promoted as a General Manager of the company and into setting up of a sponge iron plant of 200 Tonnes per day capacity - the company has also proposed a 10 MW power plant in the future for which I will be the incharge again - I am right now looking after its civil construction and assisting the labor and the contractors hired by me few months ago - trying to handle the project professionally with the help of tools like Microsoft Project, ERP, Excel Spreadsheets.

Company's employee strength -- 400

Have formed a charity organization which funds the education of our employees' children - motivate them to perform good in their academics in order to avail these benefits - have provided 3 lacs INR till now - this helps our employees too - they feel quite secured and consequently they get motivated to work hard.

Can write good essays demonstrating my leadership and management potential.

GMAT - yet to take! will target 720+ !

Please evaluate my profile based on the information given above.

Thanks

Chaitanya Bhansali
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2011, 12:47
Could you please evaluate my profile?

First try 660 (39V 87th%, 42Q 63rd% AWA 5.0)
Second try 660 (35V 73rd%, 45Q 72nd% AWA 5.5)
GPA 3.5 in Economics from state school 3.9 in major
3.5 years of experience in planning, forecasting, and product management with an insurance company
Black male from the south. First in family to get a four year degree.

Applied to Tuck, HBS, Wharton and Darden all in R2.

I’ll show you my HBS goals essay to explain why I want an MBA but I should preface it with the fact that I started a business before that didn’t work out.
Quote:

1. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you? (400 words)
Someone murdered my uncle in a drug deal. His son, &$*#, moved in with his biological mother. She starved %^$&. He sold drugs and robbed people to survive. He went to prison at 16 and I haven’t seen my cousin in eight years. I never stopped thinking about how differently our lives turned out though they began together. I know that employment that pays a living wage, though crucial to rehabilitation, eludes many ex-felons. That’s why my long-term career goal is to become an entrepreneur and to help ex-felons succeed in entrepreneurial ventures. Directly after business school, I want to apply my planning and product management experience in a management rotation program to gain managerial and business development skills that will help me become a successful entrepreneur.
In order to become the man that I aspire to be I must sharpen my general management and entrepreneurial skills. There is no better place on earth to sharpen both than the Harvard Business School. I didn’t appreciate the value the case method adds until I visited and saw what it developed in students. At other schools classroom discussion was slower and less interactive. At Harvard classroom discussion rapidly advanced and engaged several perspectives. It reminded me of the pace of high-level business strategy meetings. Everyone spoke clearly, confidently, convincingly, and concisely. The case method is the ideal way to polish verbal communication while learning about dozens of business functions and industries. As an entrepreneur I’ll need to communicate persuasively and understand business functions and industries. The 26 elective curriculum courses in entrepreneurship not only provide a cornucopia of experiences from real entrepreneurs, but they provide the perfect context to discuss them. The skills and perspective will help me in management and entrepreneurial ventures.
In order to help others start businesses I need to successfully start my own. Before I start another business I want to manage people and resources in an established enterprise. To become the best manager that I can be I need the best management training. Harvard harmonizes analytical rigor with the soft skill development needed to use the analytics. I have outstanding analytical, planning, and marketing skills but in order to reach my short-term and long-term goals, I must enhance my managerial skills. By enhancing these skills I will overcome the generational cycle of drugs and violence that has taken my uncle and cousin away from me.


Do you think I’m shooting too high by applying to these schools? I only applied to schools that I visited and could actually see myself going to if they admitted me. I kind of framed my story at each one in a similar way to how I did above.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2011, 13:01
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Hi Chaitanya,

Thanks for your posting.

Based on the information you posted, you have a very competitive profile. This is particularly true if you are able to score above a 720 on the GMAT test.

Are there particular MBA programs that you are aiming to attend, or are you considering ways you can improve your application? If you can post more information regarding the information you are looking for I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Thanks for your time and energy Chaitanya,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Consulting Team
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2011, 13:09
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Hi vannbj,

If you could send more information regarding your background, the additional information will allow me to write a better answer. As I saw you had reported 2 of your GMAT scores, I wanted to mention something important.

In your application, your GMAT score will be self reported. What this means is that when you apply to HBS for example, you will be asked to write your score. If you are accepted, HBS will then call the makers of the GMAT test to confirm your score.

The reason you need to know this is that you can take the GMAT as many times as you want and it won't make any difference; your lower scores will not be seen. We often recommend you aim to take the GMAT test at least twice. This admissions process is not like the LSAT or SAT test, where programs see how many times you have taken the test before deciding to accept you.

50% of the HBS Class of 2009 scored between 700 and 740 on the GMAT. Have you considered taking the GMAT test again to improve your score?

I hope this was of help vannbj.

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2011, 13:34
StacyBlackman wrote:
Hi vannbj,

If you could send more information regarding your background, the additional information will allow me to write a better answer. As I saw you had reported 2 of your GMAT scores, I wanted to mention something important.

In your application, your GMAT score will be self reported. What this means is that when you apply to HBS for example, you will be asked to write your score. If you are accepted, HBS will then call the makers of the GMAT test to confirm your score.

The reason you need to know this is that you can take the GMAT as many times as you want and it won't make any difference; your lower scores will not be seen. We often recommend you aim to take the GMAT test at least twice. This admissions process is not like the LSAT or SAT test, where programs see how many times you have taken the test before deciding to accept you.

50% of the HBS Class of 2009 scored between 700 and 740 on the GMAT. Have you considered taking the GMAT test again to improve your score?

I hope this was of help vannbj.

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team



You're quick to respond. That's awesome. What other information would you like to know? As far as my GMAT I have considered it but I focused on my essays. If I don't get in anywhere then I'll retake the GMAT but really, I worked so hard for those 660's that I was too tired to focus on the GMAT. IDK how people take the gmat and write good essays to 6 or 7 schools within the same time... maybe caffiene? Anyway, what else would you like to know?
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 07:43
Dear sir,

Thanks for your valuable reply.

I was particularly aiming for an MBA which will prepare me in entrepreneurship and finance areas.

I would also like to know what should be the minimum work ex before applying to tier-1 B schools? particularly for a guy having an experience like me who'll be taking entrepreneurial decisions quite soon.

Will i be able to work in strategic consulting positions in good consulting firms after completing MBA and before joining my business back?

I am quite sure that i can come up with impressive essays and a good GMAT score, which will compensate for my average academic background.

I will wait for your valuable response again.

Thanks.

Chaitanya
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 07:57
chaitanyabhansali wrote:
Dear sir,

Thanks for your valuable reply.

I was particularly aiming for an MBA which will prepare me in entrepreneurship and finance areas.

I would also like to know what should be the minimum work ex before applying to tier-1 B schools? particularly for a guy having an experience like me who'll be taking entrepreneurial decisions quite soon.

Will i be able to work in strategic consulting positions in good consulting firms after completing MBA and before joining my business back?

I am quite sure that i can come up with impressive essays and a good GMAT score, which will compensate for my average academic background.

I will wait for your valuable response again.

Thanks.

Chaitanya


I'm pretty sure that Stacy Blackman's a madam instead of a sir, unless I've got the wrong Stacy Blackman.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 11:23
haha! i must have written 'mam' instead of 'sir', but i really don't know if stacy is replying! I thought it is one of her male team members!
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Status: Yeah well whatever.
Joined: 18 Sep 2009
Posts: 347
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 660 Q42 V39
GMAT 2: 730 Q48 V42
GPA: 3.49
WE: Analyst (Insurance)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 51 [0], given: 17

Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 12:02
chaitanyabhansali wrote:
haha! i must have written 'mam' instead of 'sir', but i really don't know if stacy is replying! I thought it is one of her male team members!


Oh I think you're right.
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Re: Ask Stacy Blackman [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 13:10
Expert's post
Hi vannbj,

We always encourage candidates to apply to the MBA programs they most want to attend. You have a strong GMAT score, but unfortunately for the MBA programs you are applying to a 660 places you below the 25th percentile.

It is very important that you look for ways you can differentiate your work experience and responsibilities from a competitive applicant pool. If you have received any particular awards, or have served on any organizations outside of work, this would be important to mention. I know it can be challenging, but if you feel you can improve your GMAT score, this would help your application as well.

Best Regards,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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