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GMAT - Return on Investment

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4 KUDOS received
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Joined: 23 Jun 2006
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GMAT - Return on Investment [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2008, 21:13
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I just visited this board again, and looked back with some nostalgia on the whole GMAT process, which I can't believe was already two years ago for me. I am now a first-year student at Kellogg, have accepted a summer internship with McKinsey, and have gained some insights into the actual importance of the GMAT score in admissions and recruiting.

One thing I keep hearing (from people evaluating Kellogg applications) is the following. Admissions take a holistic approach to evaluating candidates. The GMAT score is just one datapoint and is by no means the final word. The GMAT is all about taking away any doubts about someone's academic abilities. If it's above 700, academic abilities are considered good enough, and the GMAT becomes almost irrelevant to the rest of the screening process, i.e. work experience, extra curriculars, etc. If you have a very low GPA, a 700+ GMAT score is advisable, again, to take away doubts about academic abilities. Remember -- a good score won't get you in, but a bad score can keep you out.

750+ may give you a small extra advantage on the "academic abilities" side of things, but do not expect it to offset any other admission weaknesses. The admission advantage you get from 750+ is most likely not worth the extra effort required to get that score (and I know how hard it was to get my 760). There is effectively no difference between a 720 and a 740, as the decision between two very similar candidates with those scores will always be made on other criteria than their GMAT scores. A small difference between two candidates in their level of work experience, achievements, etc. can outweigh, say, a 50 point difference on the GMAT.

The above translates very closely to recruiting. If you're attending a top school, recruiters regard you as part of a pre-screened pool and will generally not care about your GMAT score. Consultancy firms and investment banks may want you to report it, because it can be an extra data point to evaluate and they care about academic excellence even within the top-MBA pool. Again, 700+ is considered 'good', and 750+ will get you a little extra notice, but that's it -- it allows them to disregard the score and focus on your actual candidacy with the things that really matter. Our career management center advises everyone not to put their GMAT score on their resume, but if it's 750+ it's considered acceptable because it might get that little extra notice. Outside of consulting and banking, recruiters do not care about your GMAT score.

Looking back, I probably obsessed too much about the GMAT, but on the other hand I have enjoyed getting that extra little notice for an impressive score. But, if you're GMATPreps are giving you 700+, I'd say take the test and focus your energy on the other parts of your application, which are much more important than the GMAT.

Having said that, I wish everyone the best of luck with their GMAT preparations. It's a tough process, and I'm well aware that it's one of those very few data points that you can still exercise some control over. So show them what you've got.
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Re: GMAT - Return on Investment [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2008, 14:45
Some good info here. Great to hear some words of wisedom from those who've been through the process.
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Re: GMAT - Return on Investment [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2008, 21:58
I'd just like to thank you because your 760 post served as motivational fuel for me, even though it was over a year ago.

Thank you.
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Re: GMAT - Return on Investment [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2008, 06:32
Great post, +1 kudos :)
You've followed pretty much the same path I'd like to go on: top B-school followed by working at a top 3 MC firm. Nice job and congrats!
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Re: GMAT - Return on Investment [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2008, 06:47
Good to see things are well, larzke. I remember your advice being quite invaluable during my gmat prep days.
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Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Schools: F2010 - HBS (R1 - denied w/o interview ), INSEAD (R1 - admitted), Wharton (R1 - waitlisted & ding), Ivey (R2 - admitted w/ 60% tuition)
WE 1: 3.5yrs as a Strategy Consultant - Big 4
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Re: GMAT - Return on Investment [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2008, 07:43
hmmm .. now you have me in two minds with my measly 710!!!

But thanks for the honest feedback ... I appreciate your perspective on this as someone who has seen both sides of the fence.

INSEAD Sept 2010 Interview Invite Nov 5, 2009 Admit & Matriculating
Wharton Sept 2010 Interview Invite Oct 30, 2009 Waitlisted & Ding
Harvard Sept 2010 Ding without Interview
Ivey May 2010 Interview Invite Nov 23, 2009 Admit + $$

Re: GMAT - Return on Investment   [#permalink] 28 Apr 2008, 07:43
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