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first and foremost - welcome to the gmatclub phd (little) community
you sound like a good and promising phd candidate. your story of beoming a research enthusiast is good and not so rare - so there will be no problem in explaining this on the SOP.
your TAship and hopefully some RAship or research oriented work will do miracles to your profile as well.
regarding the GMAT/GRE issue (i did both at various times), the quant section in GRE seem a bit easier than GMAT. the verbal parts in GRE are way more difficult than GMAT, especially for non-native english speakers (like myself) because of the strict vocabulary questions.
it seems that without much effort you can improve your GMAT as well
although - i think going for the GRE is better option (I think retaking the same test after getting a 700 might look a bit odd).
I would also suggest that during the coming months you try to converge to a tentative research focus. some schools look for one in the SOP, and won't do with just "I want to do research in consumer behavior, especially the effects of branding". this doesn't necessarily mean that you'd do exactly that in your PhD, but it is used to assess the match between your interests and the faculty's/ you can read elsewhere in the forum on my opinion on the importanct of such match (very important!).
all in all - your profile seem good and promising and we look forward to hearing how things progress for you (and give some humble advice if you ask nicely... )
I disagree with hobbit on the GMAT thingy. I think by the time you appy for PhD, your GMAT may be expiring or will expired. I think GMAT is more common than GRE for most business PhD programs, especially for non-finance/economics programs. I don't think it would be odd to do the GMAT again although you get 700 in the first attempt few years ago.
I suggest you check the school requirements on GMAT vs GRE - whether they are substitutes for each other for the field that you are going to apply to.
Other than that, I agree with hobbit that your profile and situation look good. Get more RA opportunities. Build good relationship with the Prof.
No, I took the GMAT in December of 2003, so my score will not expire until December 2008. Unless, of course, the month doesn't matter? Do the scores turn into pumpkins at the stroke of midnight of the 5th year, or is it 5 years to the exact day? I thought it was to the day, but I could be wrong. Thanks for bringing this up! It might change things.
It's 5 years from test date, so if you apply for fall 2008, no problem, but fall 2009 is tricky since your score will expire just before the app deadline of most schools.
To be honest, I don't think that the prior GMAT will impact your app, so you should feel free to take either test. Another advantage of the GRE is that it is accepted by lots of other disciplines, so if you had an epiphany and decided to do econ, you could use your GRE score.
I'm pleased to hear that you have discovered the wonderful world of Quant Marketing. I am currently a second year PhD student studying the same. I believe my conversion experience was similar to your own. As an econ undergrad and MBA student, I had always believed marketing was nothing but fluff (all talk, no substance). It wasn't until I began work on a masters degree in statistics that I discovered how truly interesting marketing problems can be. We have access to great, micro-level data that allows us to address a variety theoretical issues that have been relatively untouched until now. The methods we utilize to address these issues are as rigorous (if not more so) than any of the other management disciplines (finance included). If you have any sort of a quantitative orientation, this is a great field to work in.
One thing that I would like to point out is that this is also a very small field. Only a few PhD's are produced in marketing modeling each year (less than 20) and there really aren't a ton of schools were you can get decent training. Take a look at the "who went where" surveys on the AMA's doctoral students special interest page to get a feel average salary stats and such.
Your greatest asset in the application process is going to be the relationship that your are developing the professor you are TA'ing for. Even if you can wrangle up a great GMAT score, that won't be sufficient to get schools to seriously consider you. It will keep you in the pile of acceptable candidates and give you a chance to distinguish yourself through you letters of recommendation and personal statement.
Prior to the upcoming application period you should really devote your self to deciding what, specifically, you would like to study. Even though it is a small field, quant marketing is quite diverse. I would love to hear a little more about what your current interests in the field. That might give me a better idea of which programs would fit you best.
I'm pleased to hear that you are going to get a chance to do a little research before you make application to PhD programs. That will certainly give you an idea of what life in the academy is really like, as well as make you much a more competitive applicant.
It is good that you have a functional area of marketing that interests you (i.e. linking eco-friendly initiatives to brand equity). Any expertise you can develop in that area will certainly be useful in the future. That said, I think you should also start thinking seriously about the methods you would like to use to explore that problem (or others) that you may eventually work on. Are you interested in analytical (i.e. game theory) or empirical (i.e. data driven) modeling? If you want to do empirical modeling, would you prefer to use traditional econometric or bayesian methods? The answers to these questions will really help you determine which programs to apply to and which programs to avoid.
Are there any specific researchers whose work appeals to you? Which journals are you currently reading? I would recommend you take a close look at the most recent issues of Marketing Science, the Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), and Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME). These are probably the top three outlets for serious work in quant marketing.
Feel free to send me a private message if you would like to discuss any of these issues in more detail. As I mentioned before, this is a small field and we can certainly use all the help we can get.