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adcoms are always saying that scores can't get you in, but can get you out.
does that mean if you have scores average for a school it doesn't matter much to be over? does that mean there isnt much difference between a 3.2 GPA, 720 GMAT and a 3.8, 760? id like to know hate opinion of those who just went through the process
Dabots - People say that whole, "Scores can keep you out but won't get you in," thing all the time.
I think the main idea behind that trite expression is that unlike law school (where the only thing that gets you in is GPA and LSAT, end of story) business schools look at people holistically, and with this approach they will not take someone with high scores but no work experience. Or someone with great scores, but a horrible personality (someone who would be worthless in interviews).
I think in some senses, high stats CAN get you in. Schools after all do need a certain number of people w/ really high GPA's and GMAT scores to offset the people w/ low GPAs and GMATs who they admit. If Darden or Tuck wants to maintain their average GMAT score of 700 or 710 or whatever it is, they need to admit some 740's and 760's to offset the really interesting people w/ low GMAT's they admit.
Same way if you're putting together a basketball team, you'll want to draft the really talented all-around players who can defend, rebound, score, and be a leader in the locker room. But you'll also want one guy who can drills three-pointers even if he can't do anything else very well. And you'll want one seven foot tall guy who can stand in the middle and beat people up who attack the basket, even if that's all he's good at.
So is a 720 the same as a 770? No. The GMAT functions as something of an intelligence test. That doesn't mean a person who scores a 770 is smarter than someone who scores a 720, but it does mean that they are PROBABLY smarter. Maybe the 720 person didn't study much because they only were aiming for a 700, and maybe the 770 person took a year off work to study for the test. But in general the GMAT is an opportunity for school's to benchmark eveyone, and it's an opportunity for YOU to show them that you're PROBABLY smarter than other applicants who score lower than you.
Yeah, I agree with that. Every school says "scores can't get you in", but that's only true if you take it literally. For most schools, if you have a "magic" combination of scores, you basically just need to avoid blowing up the other parts of your application and you can get in. I'd say that if you are above the middle 80% mark for a school for both GPA & GMAT (say 3.7 & 770) you will most likely be admitted if you don't screw up the rest of your application. This is true for probably every school but Harvard & Stanford - I guess the more selective a school is the more flexibility they have in admitting students based on factors other than score; in other words they attract more than enough people with high scores to balance out any people with lower scores they choose to admit for other reasons.
For applicants with scores within the middle 80%, the other parts of the application are magnified because there will be a large pool of people within that range. Since applicants in this middle range are not distinguished by their scores, they must separate themselves from the pack through their work experience, essays & interviews.
I agree with Moonshine that 40 points on the GMAT holds more weight than .2 in GPA. I believe the reason for this is that everyone is on equal footing when taking the GMAT (unless they cheat I guess), but GPAs can vary widely based on school, major, competition, grade inflation, etc. Therefore, GPA is less valuable because it is less certain than GMAT, and also because for most applicants the GMAT is much more recent.
I also agree with Dukes' logic and voted for the final choice.
I think in some senses, high stats CAN get you in.
I've read somewhere (don't recall, where, though) that your reasoning works for most schools but not for Ultra-Elites. The reasoning was that since Ultra-Elites get an enormous amount of applicants with high GMATs and/or high GPAs, they can pretty much choose the people they'd like to have since most of their applicants will have the high stats anyway.
On the other hand, I recall how pelihu was told by his interviewer that CBS (an ultra - elite) would value his high GMAT as it would help them offset lower GMATs from other admitted applicants.
Additionally, I've read about lots of people with high GMATs being offered full scholarships by lowered - clustered schools (Near Elites and beyond).
Furthermore, I've been told by people that my relatively high GMAT (at least high within my demographic group) may have helped me get a merit based partial scholarship at one Elite school.
I've also read recently on the transcript from the admissions chat with HBS adcom, that they really value verbal competency (due to case method). I reason they would probably place more value on GMAT verbal, essays and TOEFL (if applicable), and interview (if invited) than on the total score or the quant score.
To conclude, based on what I've read and/or guessed, I think that the lower clustered a school is, the more help you will get from a higher than average GMAT.
I voted for the highest GMAT with the lowest GPA. Since a 3.0 isn't a terrible GPA, its not going to sink your application. An extremely high GMAT can show that you have the intelligence for any program and will offset that 3.0 pretty easily. An undergrad GPA earned 4 or 5 years ago is not as telling as a test that is equal for all applicants and you took just 6 months ago. Compare the difficulty of an engineering major to a sociology major...chances are the course work in engineering was far tougher so a 3.0 in engineering could mean that same person could have gotten a 3.5 in an easier. Also a lot of people have bad semesters when they first go to college for many reasons, home sickness, partying, lack of self discipline. So a 2.5 freshman year can drag down what would be a 3.3 the rest of a college career.
Personally I know there were classes during my undergrad I did not put 100% into for many reasons...I also know that during grad school I am going to devote myself to doing as well as I can since its such a huge deal to give up two years of your career so I want to make the most of it.
As others have pointed out, if you take into consideration scholarship opportunities and job search, the higher GMAT is probably more valuable. I've been in contact with the other two people offered that were offered the same full scholarship at Darden, and each of us had a GMAT of 760+. The scholarship is entrepreneurial focused and based on past experiences as well as future promise, but it sure seems like a high GMAT is a must as well; GPA certainly wasn't a factor as mine is low.
As we move along to the job hunt, virtually all of the big name consulting and banking firms ask for your test scores. In fact, I believe McKinsey asks you to go as far back as the SAT, and requires an explanation if you don't provide it. There are countless stories from recent MBAs telling about how GMAT factors into the job search. As I understand it, GMAT plays no part in certain fields (general management & marketing perhaps), while in other fields it can be a key factor in obtaining an interview (consulting & banking for sure). Just like admissions, a high GMAT won't land you the job, but it can be key to getting you in the conversation.
I have also seen recent reports from students at several school saying the current policy (official in some cases) is to include your GMAT score on your resume if you score 700 or better. The prevailing opinion seems to be that if you don't include your GMAT on your resume, recruiters will automatically assume you scored under 700 - which could negatively impact your search. I'm sure this varies according to school - students at Harvard & Wharton might not feel compelled to include their scores on their resumes because they will have no problem securing interviews with whatever company they choose. Students at lower ranked schools will have to fight for a spot at the interview table, and a high GMAT can separate them from other similar students.
So, if the two most popular choices in this poll are more or less equal in terms of gaining admission to school, the choice with the higher GMAT will likely yield greater benefits in terms of scholarship money and when searching for jobs.
If you can get into a school with the 3.0/760 you'll be happier to put that 760 on your resume. I voted for the last choice.
I hadn't thought of that, but that's a really good point.
But thats an after the fact evaluation. My combo (3.1/750) got me into most schools, including my #2 choice. I'm glad that I got into Insead with that combo rather than say, 3.2/720, because it'll look better on my resume (especially because of the grade non-disclosure). But I'll never know if a 3.2/720 would have gotten me into my #1 (Wharton). I guess its unlikley, but 3.2 is a sort of threshold when it comes to GPA. Anything below that raises a flag (at least with the top schools) and requires some explanation. A 3.2/720 might be a little bit better for your b-school application but worse for your job application. Its an interesting trade-off really...
<snip> Compare the difficulty of an engineering major to a sociology major...chances are the course work in engineering was far tougher so a 3.0 in engineering could mean that same person could have gotten a 3.5 in an easier.
How exactly do you cross-correlate difficulty as variable in weighting the value of GPA calculations between sociology and engineering? I was neither a sociology, nor an engineering major and I would tend to reflexively agree with a statement such as, "operations research is more complex than social science." However I wonder what yardstick might be used to factually measure something that seems seems so thoroughly dependent on the individual as academic difficulty.
I was a lit major. One might argue that their is nothing easier on the "majors menu" than lit. The majority of the work boils down to reading, and the majority of the reading consists of what the weight of historical opinion has determined to be the best writing. "Organic Chemistry" v. "The Sun Also Rises"... notwithstanding the slog that it was to get through 18th c. American Lit, I'm pretty sure of where the more entertaining material lies. The funny thing is that I have met many people who could ace science classes but were absolutely without an oar if they were forced to discuss how affective criticism could be used as a tool for understanding Ionescu. Same lectures, same readings, same paper topics, and yet the difficulty they faced in mastering the material was clearly greater. Art classes? ...similar story. So, how do we effectively measure difficulty (and is there a particular skill set that we can conclusively prove to be more valueable in management)?
This is one reason why GPA carries less weight; there are just too many variables. Quality of school, difficulty in gaining admission, competition, and grade inflation differ for every school and every major. Then they must consider how long someone has been out of school, whether they worked during school, perhaps if they changed majors. They account for GPA within a major, GPA trends and even if someone takes classes after graduation.
It's very inexact. Two people with 3.3 GPAs could be vastly different candidates. The first could be at a school that is extremely difficult to get into, say Berkeley, where competition is extreme. Maybe he spent two years in pre-med where his GPA was hammered before changing to be a engineering major or something. Perhaps he worked 30 hours a week during the entire time. You'd have to consider that first GPA way differently than another person who's at a small local school where entry is non-competitive, grading is lax and their way was paid for by their parents.
I had a friend at Pepperdine. I asked her about a mid-term she had and she said she did poorly because she didn't study. It was alright though, because the entire class did really poorly and the professor decided to drop the grade. First of all, I'm sure this would have never happened at UCLA (where I attended), or any top competitive school; but if it did in fact happen, they wouldn't have a problem just flunking everyone. The level of work and the competitive environments are simply not comparable.
So, I believe that GPA plays a relatively small roll in the overall process, and they give you plenty of chances to offset any problems. You can dissect your GPA and present an upward trend, or good grades within your major, or good grades in quantitative classes, take courses online or at a community college, or even point out that you graduated a long time ago and are a different person now. Too many variables means very little certainty, which limits the usefulness as a data point.