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Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans?

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Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 09:27
Hey... newbie here who found this place with a couple google searches as I was cramming for the GMAT. Kinda looking for advice here.

Okay, as of 48 hours ago, my basic plan was to apply to UCLA and USC's FEMBA programs, and continue to work at my current company (a division of United Technologies... Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne if you're curious) in southern california and get an MBA that way.

I had assumed, based on my undergrad GPA/school (UC Berkeley, 3.01 Mechanical Engineering BS) and my average GMAT test scores (680, max was a 710) that I'd have a good shot at UCLA and a better one at USC, but neither was particularly certain. UTC will pay for some of my education and, particularly if I go in-state at UCLA, thats a pretty good deal. To that end, I bought a house with a friend this month in the SoCal area (which complicates things below).

Then yesterday I somehow got a 760 on the GMAT. Completely out of left field... I honestly thought I was doing terrible during the test (was getting very easy math problems, running out of time on every section, etc).

I'm pretty happy when I leave but then my friend, who is currently enrolled at Carnegie Mellon's MBA program, adamently tries to convince me that a 760 will get me in all over the place, despite my mediocre gpa (assuming I have good essays, letters, etc).

So my questions are:
1) What is my actual shot at the top 5 or so business programs? Berkeley, Stanford, the Ivy's...

2) What would you advise if I get into a program like that? I'd roughly have to make a choice between:
a) Continuing to work at UTC, live in the house I just bought, and go to USC or UCLA and get a FEMBA
b) Going away for a top fulltime MBA, which would mean leaving the house (potentially having to resell it at a loss, though hopefully just selling my half and/or renting it out), forgoing company assistance and wages and get a full-time MBA at a top program.

I've always been told that some people consider part-time MBAs a waste of time, since the biggest advantage of an MBA is the networking and opportunities you get, opportunities that start while you're in school during summer internships and such. Plus I'm sure the experience in general at a top program is incredible. Then again, UCLA is a pretty good school and if I'm able continue to make some money and get somewhere between 1/2 and 1/3 of the cost covered...

Anyway... any guidance, input or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!!
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 10:28
I think it really depends on what you want to do career-wise. If you were planning on staying with UTC and just wanted to move up or stay in a similar industry, then you don't necessarily need to go to a full-time MBA, especially with a new house and a good job in this economy. If you were looking to change careers to an entirely different arena then a full-time MBA is probably more helpful because it sounds like you would be less limited and could potentially do a more competitive program and you'd be able to intern.

However, that being said, it's kind of impossible to predict if you'd get into the top five based on your GPA and GMAT alone. I have seen people with those numbers get rejected at top fives and lower and people with lower than those numbers get accepted. The top five are hard for anyone to predict acceptance, but if you post your profile in the profiles/chance me section you'd probably get a better idea. You could always apply to top five full-time programs and part-time ones in California and maybe the admissions officers will make the decision for you!
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 13:32
ElleBee wrote:
I think it really depends on what you want to do career-wise. If you were planning on staying with UTC and just wanted to move up or stay in a similar industry, then you don't necessarily need to go to a full-time MBA, especially with a new house and a good job in this economy. If you were looking to change careers to an entirely different arena then a full-time MBA is probably more helpful because it sounds like you would be less limited and could potentially do a more competitive program and you'd be able to intern.

However, that being said, it's kind of impossible to predict if you'd get into the top five based on your GPA and GMAT alone. I have seen people with those numbers get rejected at top fives and lower and people with lower than those numbers get accepted. The top five are hard for anyone to predict acceptance, but if you post your profile in the profiles/chance me section you'd probably get a better idea. You could always apply to top five full-time programs and part-time ones in California and maybe the admissions officers will make the decision for you!


Well, I think thats currently the plan... shoot apps to USC and UCLA's FEMBAs and also send some to a handful of the schools I'd consider full-timing it at.

UTC's a good company but I'm not sure I see myself here long-term. My current dream is to someday own my own company (what kind of company... not there yet... but in time). I'm not necessarily opposed to remaining with UTC but I wouldn't have a problem exploring other opportunities either. UTC also vastly dimished their employee scholar assistance recently and making the whole working while getting the MBA thing somewhat less attractive.

Anyone have to make similar choices want to share their experience?
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 14:49
I'd throw in a few apps to some top tens as reach schools. If you get in, you can decide then.

I'd think about your long-term career goals. A huge benefit of the MBA is the network. Do you see yourself switching careers - or want the flexibility to do that later? What if you get laid off, need to move, or want to switch companies?
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 15:03
Hey, I'm in the same boat. I'm an engineer at a different division of UTC and was going to do a part-time MBA, but took the GMAT and inadvertently scored much higher than I was shooting for (my GMAT score is a hair lower than yours, but my undergrad gpa in engineering a hair higher). Decided to decline the part-time MBA admit to pursue my options at a full-time program. HQ changing the employee scholar program really reinforced my decision to do it. Anyway, I'm not sure how high you're shooting for, but I was invited to interview at Yale on Monday, and Darden thinks highly of UTC employees :) . I say go for it and don't look back.

(I don't really want to give out more details than that on a public forum while I'm in the middle of the application process, but feel free to PM me if you want.)
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 20:29
I'm pretty close to you, aerospace, engineer, UC school below average GPA, identical GMAT. :D I think you have a shot for many of the schools, but it depends on what you want. If you're bored of work or don't see your career going anywhere in B-school then it might be worth your time for a full time. Or you can get your work to pay for it and switch out later after you get your MBA. (I'm in LA also, concidering the same PT schools) In the end it's probably has more to do with your ability to handle risk, and what you want in life.
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2009, 21:37
adude wrote:
Hey, I'm in the same boat. I'm an engineer at a different division of UTC and was going to do a part-time MBA, but took the GMAT and inadvertently scored much higher than I was shooting for (my GMAT score is a hair lower than yours, but my undergrad gpa in engineering a hair higher). Decided to decline the part-time MBA admit to pursue my options at a full-time program. HQ changing the employee scholar program really reinforced my decision to do it. Anyway, I'm not sure how high you're shooting for, but I was invited to interview at Yale on Monday, and Darden thinks highly of UTC employees :) . I say go for it and don't look back.

(I don't really want to give out more details than that on a public forum while I'm in the middle of the application process, but feel free to PM me if you want.)


Yeah, I think I'll at least shoot some applications out. With the changes to ESP the part time route is nowhere near as attractive... hopefully you're right about perception of UTC employees :) I'll definitely be pm'ing you some questions at some point :cool:

GoBruins wrote:
I'm pretty close to you, aerospace, engineer, UC school below average GPA, identical GMAT. :D I think you have a shot for many of the schools, but it depends on what you want. If you're bored of work or don't see your career going anywhere in B-school then it might be worth your time for a full time. Or you can get your work to pay for it and switch out later after you get your MBA. (I'm in LA also, concidering the same PT schools) In the end it's probably has more to do with your ability to handle risk, and what you want in life.


Interesting, a lot of people seem to be in this boat. :) Where are you at? UCLA undergrad? :D

I mean, I... like a lot of people my age it seems... don't know exactly what I want... but I am a little bored at work (I work on the Space Shuttle Main Engines at Rocketdyne... sounds interesting but its a 35 year old engine and the shuttle program ends next year). More importantly, reading some of thea ccounts of business school experience on here (the 'buzz' of people going off and starting ventures and whatnot) sounds really exciting to me. Also, I do want flexibility as I could see myself moving past the aerospace industry at some point..

So... I guess I almost have to wait to apply to UCLA right? The app is due in a week and decisions would be out in January, and I think I have a month to accept... which would still be before decisions from any of the full-time programs come in? Is that right? Its not necessarily a bad thing as I could use the extra time to write essays and perfect my resume but I had been planning on getting the apps in for phase 1 to optimize my chances.

In any case, thanks and keep the advice/experiences coming :)
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2009, 15:19
Ooh please share..what is the change to Employee Scholar Program? UTC education reimbursement was always one of their strong points..don't tell me that have taken away some of those benefits...
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2009, 16:40
dont forget with a score like that, you'd probably be eligible for a lot of $$$ from UCLA and USC. coupled with your employer tuition reimbursement, you have the potential of graduating from a top 25 program with no virtually no debt - something that you should also weigh heavily
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 07:56
formerlyknownas wrote:
Ooh please share..what is the change to Employee Scholar Program? UTC education reimbursement was always one of their strong points..don't tell me that have taken away some of those benefits...


Yeah, unfortunately they pretty much destroyed the ESP.

Old: Covers all tuition, $10k stock award upon graduation, as many degrees of any level as you want

Current: Covers up to 15k a year tuition, no stock award, and only one degree of each level (1 associate, 1 bachelors, 1 masters, 1 doctorate). :(

It really hurts a lot of people who were planning on getting an MBA after their Engineering MS (the MBA will get 0 coverage) or anyone who's halfway through an MBA, becasue they company said that unless you could finish this year (2009), no stock award for you and you're still subject to the new policy.

While I understand its necessary, I was pretty pissed about the timing. Had they announced it back in May a bunch of people could have theoretically finished their degrees this year by taking extra classes over summer and fall, but since they announced it AFTER Fall class started... really screwed a lot of people IMO.
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2009, 08:31
You have a shot at any of the top 10 schools with scores in those ranges. It doesn't mean you would get admitted, but you do have a realistic shot (I was worse on both metrics for what its worth).

My advice is to apply, see what happens and then figure it out. You never know what will happen, and its plausible that you'll get scholarships elsewhere as well.

In short: Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all.
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2009, 19:01
rhyme wrote:
You have a shot at any of the top 10 schools with scores in those ranges. It doesn't mean you would get admitted, but you do have a realistic shot (I was worse on both metrics for what its worth).

My advice is to apply, see what happens and then figure it out. You never know what will happen, and its plausible that you'll get scholarships elsewhere as well.

In short: Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all.


I'm with rhyme, though it sounds like you'd like to be more certain before applying. Remember that nothing has fundamentally changed from before the GMAT (BTW nice job), but if doing well gives you the confidence to apply then run with it. As for part time vs. full time, I'm not sure how FEMBA at UCLA and USC work, but is there a possibility that you can apply to other full time programs in R2 and if those don't work out then still apply to the part time programs later in the Spring?
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2009, 10:27
Yeah I think the current plan is to apply to several top 5 schools this year first (most of them have R2 due dates in December it appears), and then apply to UCLA and USC's FEMBAs as well. USC has rolling admissions... so no real pressure there. UCLA FEMBA R2 date is in March I believe, so plenty of time there as well. I'll definitely be applying to Berkeley and Stanford full-time, probably Harvard, Yale and a few others as well.

Out of curiousity, is there an easy way to ask each school what scholarships (if any) I might be eligible for b/c of my GMAT scores?

One other thing... I would assume it isn't as common as it is in undergrad but is it possible to transfer credits from one MBA program to another? If its possible it might be worth considering enrolling at UCLA's FEMBA for a year, take advantage of my company's ESP payment and continue to earn a wage (allowing me to save, which isn't just helpful for school but for keeping the house), and perhaps transfer after a year to a top 5 program. I'd imagine this is rare/difficult because each MBA program seems pretty distinct in what they emphasize and how they structure their program, but I figured I'd at least ask if its possible. Kind of a 'best of all worlds', though the world rarely works that beautifully :lol:
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2009, 13:18
I'm also a member of this little club. I'm currently working for a small aerospace company north of LA with the option to transfer to our parent company if I wanted to get a free part-time MBA. I started this journey targeting UCLA and USC PT programs, but I always struggled with the balance of risk and reward. I'm planning on pursuing the full-time MBA now, but I haven't given up on the part-time idea yet.

Neither of those programs offer scholarships for part-time students and they both charge more for their part-time vs. full-time, so if you ignore opportunity cost you might find the full-time programs to actually be cheaper.

As others have already said, your GPA and GMAT are both good enough to be eligible for top schools, but it's still a competitive process. If those schools are a good fit for what you want to do, you should definitely apply. Unless you absolutely have to join an MBA program next year, I wouldn't even bother applying to UCLA/USC yet (you've got very good odds at both of these programs).

Good luck with the decision :)
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans? [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2009, 16:36
I would definitely apply to your top schools if you have the time and do not mind the application fees. Granted your GMAT/GPA aren't everything, this does definitely give you a better chance of getting in.

Isn't a 3.0 in engineering like a 4.0 with a BA degree? :lol:
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Re: Better than expected GMAT score = time to change plans?   [#permalink] 10 Nov 2009, 16:36
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