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GMAT Induced Dilemma

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GMAT Induced Dilemma [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 08:15
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This is my first post. I'm currently sitting on two waitlists and am hoping the forum can provide some direction. Bit of a unique situation, so here goes:

I started the MBA App process late. I didn't begin studying for the GMAT until September of last year (2012). I took GMAT #1 in mid-November and scored a 690 (Q47, V38). I was not happy with the score, but I needed to shift focus to applications. Especially to make sure I could make the Haas Round 2 deadline, which was in late November. I spent the rest of November, December, and early January submitting Round 2 applications to Haas, MIT, Booth, Anderson, in that order.

In late January, I decided I needed to take the GMAT again. My rationale was two-fold. First, I was not personally satisfied with the 690, and wanted to retake in order to either improve my score or validate that 690 accurately reflected my abilities. Second, I knew that 690 was low-end for the schools I was applying. I figured if I did better and I was on a schools waitlist, I would be able to update my already submitted applications.

I got dinged by Booth with no interview in mid February. I was invited to interview at Sloan and Anderson in early March, and waitlisted at Haas around the same time. This was all happening with GMAT score #1 (690).

On March 1st I retook the GMAT and received score #2 of 770 (Q49, V46). This wildly exceeded my expectations (I had never gotten above a 750 on a practice test, and was expecting ~720. If desired, I can speak to the score jump). At this point, I was already on the Haas waitlist, and I submitted the 770 as an update to my application. I attempted to update my application at Anderson, but they would not accept updates. I interviewed at Sloan on March 15th, and updated them with the new score in person. My Sloan interviewer was impressed, but it was unclear if they formally accepted the score or not, considering the test was taken after the application submission date. Fast forward to early April. I was admitted to Anderson, waitlisted at Sloan, and remain on the Haas waitlist.

Herein lies my dilemma. With the significant jump between GMAT 1 and 2, my expectations for school have changed. With score #1 690, Anderson was a target, and Booth/Haas/Sloan were stretch. With score #2 770, all schools are within range, and scholarship expectations are up.

Considerations:
1) Actively pursue Haas/Sloan waitlist, hope to get in with no scholarship, keep Anderson as safety.
2) Dump Anderson with no scholarship as it has fallen out of target range with new score
3) Reapply to Haas, Sloan, Harvard and Stanford for class of 2014, hope for some to a lot of scholarship money
4) Other?

Right now, I'm leaning toward pursuing Sloan and Haas waitlist aggressively, and possibly attending Anderson if Sloan/Haas don't pan out. Friends have told me that with a 770, many doors in the top 5 will open, and that I should chalk this years cycle up to a mis-fire and re-calibrate my expectations next year. Also, I understand the school decision depends on goals, however I'd like to keep this discussion focused on the impacts of the GMAT retake.

Anybody else experience this or have thoughts?
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Re: GMAT Induced Dilemma [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 09:57
I don't think anyone can tell you exactly how much going from 690 to 770 will help you unless they work in admissions for the school you're applying to and have read your entire application, but in general I suspect it'll help less than you would expect. If you do decide to wait a year and try again, I would suggest spending more time on the other parts of your app (maybe get a ding analysis somewhere), especially for the schools you're re-applying to, since you'll want to show growth other than just getting 80 more points on the GMAT.

Also, it sounded like you're just not very excited about Anderson and picked it as a safety school based on your 690 score, in which case I would advise you to not go, especially if you're young enough to be able to reapply for a couple of years.

Last edited by bl13 on 03 Apr 2013, 10:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GMAT Induced Dilemma [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 10:18
I agree with bl13. Although getting a 770 is going to get you major respect from the adcom, it's not going to make you an immediate shoo-in (no clue how to spell that). It seems like you already have a strong app as evidenced by the WLs, so maybe that extra kick will be the thing that pushes you to an acceptance. But 690 isn't low enough that they'd waitlist or reject you for GMAT alone (IMHO) so there must be some other area in your application that could use some improvement. If you do decide to wait and re-apply next year, I think you need to keep in mind that things still might not pan out at those higher level schools. What will you do if you don't get in to them, and Anderson's bridge is burned since you turned them down? Are there other Anderson-level schools that you can apply to that will fit your goals? I think applying just to HBS, Stanford, Sloan, and Haas could be risky if you really want to matriculate in 2014.
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Re: GMAT Induced Dilemma [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 10:40
I totally get where you are coming from. There is a bit of uncertainty around the whole scholarship thing. I'd say it is more feasible to approach it like this:
If you did not apply to a few schools because you felt your score was low and you feel you have a decent chance of progressing, give it another shot next year. If I were in your place, I would have kept scholarships out of the equation for the decision (for now at least) - we are talking about ultra-elite schools; pretty hard to get accepted, scholarships are a even harder to get!

Also, as others have pointed out already, you will definitely find areas to improve in other parts of your application. Further, do take a stalk of where you will be after a year's time in your career - will it be appropriate to leave for an MBA then ?

It looks like you might regret if you don't give a shot to higher ranked schools or decide to matriculate at Anderson. I'd listen to my heart. :)
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Re: GMAT Induced Dilemma [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 10:52
First of all, congrats on the Anderson admit! If I were you, I'd see if Anderson would offer up any scholarship $$ in light of your new test scores. Schools in the 10-16 are often impressed by 740+ scores and that's a big consideration for the merit award.

If I were in your position, I'd put down my deposit at Anderson and stay flexible on the Haas and Sloan WL to see if you get the call in June. Also - make sure that Sloan has officially added that 770 score to your application after you were WL'd. They're one of the few schools that use a weighted formula in assessing applicants (not sure if they use it when re-reviewing apps) and a 770 will set you apart from the rest of the WL pack.

Even if you end up at Anderson, that 770 was well worth the effort if you decide to recruit for an industry that wants to see your GMAT score on your resume. Regardless of where you go to school, having a 99%ile score is pretty impressive.
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Re: GMAT Induced Dilemma   [#permalink] 03 Apr 2013, 10:52
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