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Low GMAT and still applying

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Low GMAT and still applying [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2006, 18:10
First some background:
- I am an Indian woman with a masters in computer science (typical!)
- But I have been working in the consulting industry (financial services - retail banking and credit cards) for the past 4 years. In fact, I have no IT related work experience ..all my work has been in business analysis, statistical modeling, marketing strategy development etc.
- I want to consolidate all that I have learnt over the past few years as well as diversify my skill set. However, my decision to pursue an MBA came in a little late in the game for the Fall 2007 admission season.
- I took my GMAT last weekend after studying an hour a day for one month with 75 hour work weeks (okay, I agree that's not an excuse! ..but still!!)
- And, I scored a low 660 (Quant 41, Verbal 39) (not surprising!)
- What do you think? Do I stand a chance? NYU Stern is my first choice followed by Yale. I plan to apply in Round 2 for both.

Any advice would be much appreciated!! Also, do you think I should use an admissions consulting service to better package / position my app. If so, which services have used and recommend?

Thanks in advance!
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2006, 18:15
You being a woman will surely work for you. If you can show them from your academic grades that you are good in quant, and have a good reason for why mba then you surely have a chance. All the best
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2006, 19:08
I agree with gmatmba that being a woman will help, but being Indian will hurt. Overall, probably a wash.

The biggest problem will probably be that there are lots and lots of consultants that apply every year, and without a doubt, many will have GMAT scores well ahead of yours. The question that you need to ask (because adcoms will be asking the same thing) is "why would I admit this person with a 660 when I'm rejecting all these other people with 690, 720 and even 740?" The median GMAT at both of those schools is about 710, so you can be sure that the bulk of applicants will be within shouting distance (30 points either way) of that median. You didn't say anything really distinguishing in your profile, so you are the only one that knows whether you have characteristics or experiences that will differentiate you from the crowd.

Yale is ranked lower, but I suspect it is probably more difficult to get in to, especially this year. If I recall correctly they over-committed last year so there are some hold-overs - plus they reduced their class size so there are a lot fewer seats that normal there. The good news is that NYU is probably less selective than it's numbers indicate (as opposed to, say Columbia, which has similar numbers but is probably much more difficult to get in to). The problem, of course, is that at 40-50 points below their average GMAT, you're going to fighting an uphill battle. People that get admitted with lower scores like that tend to be under-represented minorities, have unusual work experience and/or extracurriculars.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2006, 04:39
Female helps - quite a bit. Indian female weakens that demographic substantially. Your GMAT score is good, but its low for top schools. Have a look at admissions411.com and see some of the figures there.

I dont think your app is dead meat, but to suceed you will need extremely well written essays, a convincing why mba, and a strong set of extracurriculars.
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Thanks! [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2006, 15:46
Thanks for the honest feedback. I am thinking of retaking the GMAT late December. What do you think would be the best way to optimize my time till then to improve my Quant score?

Suggestions would be more than welcome!

Thanks again!
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 10:46
You say that 'being a woman helps' but I'm not sure to what extent. Basically, women are in the minority at schools, but so are the applicant pool of women. But in the end, the stats show that the accepted percentages are the same for women vs. men. There could be arguments that the pool of men is more competitive, but that's a pretty biased and unfounded statement. Being a woman, in and of itself, is no advantage. Schools don't want to lower their standards to increase their numbers of women, so they don't. And the end result is that the acceptance percentages are same male vs. female.

If anyone has any countering data, as a woman, I'd love to hear it. I like to think that I could compete with the best of any male applicants.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 10:55
I wouldnt cry over a 660 - it is competitive enough for Yale and NYU.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 11:06
cpetro29 wrote:
You say that 'being a woman helps' but I'm not sure to what extent. Basically, women are in the minority at schools, but so are the applicant pool of women. But in the end, the stats show that the accepted percentages are the same for women vs. men. There could be arguments that the pool of men is more competitive, but that's a pretty biased and unfounded statement. Being a woman, in and of itself, is no advantage. Schools don't want to lower their standards to increase their numbers of women, so they don't. And the end result is that the acceptance percentages are same male vs. female.

If anyone has any countering data, as a woman, I'd love to hear it. I like to think that I could compete with the best of any male applicants.


Average GMAT scores of women are about 30 points lower, so if they are accepted at an equal rate, then by definition the applicant pool is less competitive.

Now, with any minority pool, there are those that can, and do, gain entry on their own merits. But when looking at the overall pool, it is simply a fact that it is easier to gain entry. In essence, you might be able to compete with the very best regardless of the applicant pool, but you don't have to; you just need to beat out the weakest (admitted applicants) of your own applicant pool, which is in fact weaker for under-represented minority groups. That's why they are under-represented. Contrast this with someone from an extremely competitive applicant pool - where the weakest admitted applicants are far stronger.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 11:12
You're making the assumption that GMAT score is the premier predictor of competitiveness. Women have higher GPAs than men. Perhaps they have more unique experiences. Better work and promotion experience. More leadership or volunteer activities. The GMAT is a simple piece of data. Yes, I know that it matters, but I don't think it does much more than the rest of the application.

Is your 30 points lower stat from the ETS/Pearson Vue? Or is it based on acceptances/applicants at the top schools. I've seen the statistic that women score 30 points lower, but that was all test-takers, not necessarily specific applicants or those who were accepted at each school. It would be interesting to see the median GMAT of female vs. male applicants and acceptances.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 11:24
Check that, the difference in average GMAT scores for men and women is not 30 points, according to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing the difference is 38 points (541 v. 503).

To quote the study: "Test scores play a role in school choice. Men are much more likely than women to send their GMAT reports to "Top 20" schools and define such a school as their top preference. Women submit fewer applications and apply to less selective schools than their male counterparts."

The study is several years old, and based on conversations with Adcoms this year, I'm certain that the pool of competitive women applicants is lower in proportion to the overall pool than it was 5 years ago. This is because have been steep rises in some of the most highly competitive demographics (Indian IT for example) where female representation is extremely low.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 11:30
cpetro29 wrote:
You're making the assumption that GMAT score is the premier predictor of competitiveness. Women have higher GPAs than men. Perhaps they have more unique experiences. Better work and promotion experience. More leadership or volunteer activities. The GMAT is a simple piece of data. Yes, I know that it matters, but I don't think it does much more than the rest of the application.

Is your 30 points lower stat from the ETS/Pearson Vue? Or is it based on acceptances/applicants at the top schools. I've seen the statistic that women score 30 points lower, but that was all test-takers, not necessarily specific applicants or those who were accepted at each school. It would be interesting to see the median GMAT of female vs. male applicants and acceptances.


That's just simply not true. To quote the same study as above, "Women who graduate from Business School have, on average, GPA's equivalent to those of men." But as has been argued time and again here, yes I and many others do believe that GMAT is a more accurate predictor of competitiveness than GPA.

Do you have any evidence to suggest that women, as a general pool, have better work experience, extracurricular...that just doesn't seem to make sense.

I'm not suggesting that the GMAT is more important than other parts of the applications, but I am suggesting that there is a clear gap between male and female applicants in this metric that is not evident in other categories. I'm willing to consider convincing evidence that women have better work experience, or whatever, but I just don't think it holds water.

I agree that the key stat would be the average GMATs of admitted students - as compared with the average GMATs of applicants.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 12:12
The only stats that I've seen are the disparity between Male and Female test-takers, not applicants (or better, those who are accepted). I was not at all insinuating that women, as a whole, had better volunteer, leadership, etc than men, but that the accepted women may have better stats in these areas than the men who were not accepted.
I was referring to undergraduate GPA, not how they perform in business school. I believe you're quoting a stat that shows that women who take the GMAT score 30 points lower than men. A similar comparison is that women have higher GPAs than men in undergrad. This says nothing about those who actually apply and neither does your stat (if it's the one I'm thinking of).
You keep saying that there is a clear gap in this area between male and female applicants, but again, I have yet to see this study. I have only seen it in reference to male vs. female test-takers, not applicants for any specific school.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 12:21
I just saw your other studies. First, this is Male vs. Female test-takers, not applicants. We have no idea whether males take the test and then apply where perhaps women don't. And looking at the stats by looking at Male indian IT is just another way that shows that the data isn't relevant.

I think comparing two pools of applicants based on one stat is foolish. This is business school. It's not law school where you can basically predict whether you will get in or not based on your GPA/GMAT. Comparing stats to indicate the competitiveness of a pool is not appropriate here, I don't think.

Hell, I got a 760 so I definitely think the GMAT is important. I just hate the assumption that because I'm a woman, I'm somehow at an advantage. I don't see it. I think, particularly for business school, it comes down to what you've done, who you are, and how you write. For my profile, I don't think that my gender has anything to do with how competitive I am.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 12:39
Talking about the typical Indian IT going for an MBA, I find it strange that their MBA degrees dont translate to a leadership position. From my experience, even though there is a large number of indians with MBA from top US colleges, the majority of them dont get promoted to leadership positions.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 13:43
Here are the stats from GMAC (mba.com):

Scores for men/women by year

'00-01 541 men/503 women
'01-02 543/505
'02-03 545/504
'03-04 541/501
'04-05 541/500

Sure, this is just the average score, but we can assume that the score pools for each demographic are large enough, and the test is scored in a way that they will form a traditional bell curve. The bell curve for women will fall away 40 points earlier than for men.

Just so people don't miss the obvious, I will state it simply. A much higher percentage of men will have 700s and 730s and 760s and 780s than women. At the elite schools, a woman with a 670 would be about as competitive as a man with a 710. A woman with a 730 would be about as competitive as a man with a 770.

Here's a link to the GMAC report. Unfortunately, the section entitled "GMAT Candidates by Attending Institution, Sex and Testing Year" appears to have been redacted. That would have been exactly what we were looking for.
http://www.gmac.com/NR/rdonlyres/08E62C ... TY2005.pdf

The overall testing pool is much weaker for men than for women; so the overall applicant pool will be weaker as well. To deny the difference in scores and the advantage of favored applicants is insulting to those that are from tough demographics, and especially insulting to those that are rejected in spite of better performance.

Regarding your assertion that women have better work experience; there is substantial evidence that because of family concerns (having children, etc.) women applicants, as a group, have weaker overall work experience than men. I will just say that this is the type of thing that is difficult to substantiate, but I think there's little to support your view and I don't buy it.

You may hate the assumption, and certainly you might be able to stand on your own merits, but the truth is that the application pool is weaker. My demographic is probably middle of the road for business school, but I certainly would not insult applicants from tougher demographics by suggesting that it is just as hard for me to get in. It's simply not true. Lots of women (just like lots of other under-represented minorities) would not get in if they were not from their given demographics. You may or may not be one of them, but don't exacerbate the plight of those that face tougher odds by denying the truth.

Here's some anecdotal evidence collected from admissions411.com - males/females with top scores at top schools (self-reported, not substantiated, etc.). Let's do R1 for this year:

Columbia ED:
0 female, 7 male, 9 are "private" and unknown

Chicago R1:
1 female, 13 male, 8 private

Cornell:
0 female, 7 male, 7 private

MIT:
1 female, 16 male, 28 private

Wharton:
1 female, 20 male, 33 private

Berkeley:
0 female, 9 male, 15 private

Kellogg:
0 female, 12 male, 26 private (surprising, I thought Kellogg would have a lot of high-scoring female applicants)

Harvard & Tuck: too many private (only 4 of top 25 scores at Harvard were not private)

So which demographic would you like to be competing in? Sure the numbers might just mean that men are more likely than women to visit admissions411.com, but there's a much more plausible explanation which is shown in the GMAC score reports.

I'll close with a quote from a Manhattan GMAT article:
"Notice as well that the average GMAT score is appreciably higher for men than for women. This is great news for women with high GMAT scores, since they will stand out not only because they are women, but also because they are a coveted subgroup within a coveted subgroup. Of course, many other factors come into play in the admissions process (e.g., GPA, work experience, recommendations, etc.), but anything that draws positive attention to your application can only help your cause." The coveted subgroup is women - the subgroup within that subgroup is women with high scores.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 13:43
cpetro, you don't have to get defensive. I think it's a fair assumption that females have an aedge in B-school admissions. Again, this is not to belittle your achievements (I think you are an excellent candidate, regardless of gender), it's simply the facts. Again and again we hear that b-schools are looking for diversity and gender is certainly a factor when you consider most b-schools have only around 20% female. Thus if you have two candidates with EXACTLY the same qualifications, the same race, the same age, etc, but the only difference is that one is male and the other female, I'm pretty sure the female is going to get in.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 13:56
I think that the only way that you can really assess whether it's an 'advantage' being a woman is to sit and read all of the applications. The stats are only one indicator. Yes, we sit on these sites and spew our stats hoping to get some indication of our rate of acceptance, but do we get it? No. Not for the H/S/W's of the world. Acceptance to business school is so much more than that.
As for other more difficult demographics, in terms of stats - like Indian IT - I think that even more proves my point. It isn't those candidates with the high GMAT scores that get in nor has it been proven that a very high score somehow impresses the AdComm. It's those Indian IT candidates who have had business success, interesting lives, great stories, and show high leadership potential.

I was in no way insinuating that women had better work experience. Again, you're looking at the pool as a whole - all women - and I'm attempting to look at those who are accepted. I think that top schools like H/S/W attempt to accept those applicants who are equal. They dont' want to lower their bars for any candidates.

As for anecdotal evidence, I have many female friends who have applied and not gained admission to H/S/W, despite high scores and seemingly solid work experience. My friend from Harvard, with a 3.4, sports team captain, 720 GMAT, Goldman Sachs experience didn't even get an interview at HBS. Looking at Admissions411 is somewhat meaningless because it caters to those who are more IT - those who are online and want to post their facts.

I'm not getting defensive at all, I'm just saying that the assertion that there are fewer women so it must be easier doesn't translate to acceptance percentage differences. Nor does the data from GMAC indicate those who actually apply to the schools. And even if it did, we've heard time and time again that GMAT is 'just a number'.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 13:58
The two greatest minds on GMATclub go at it. Ladies and jellyspoons you are watching harvard candidates in action here.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 14:05
Lich, I too thought it was a 'fair assumption' that women had an advantage. I was stoked! But after getting more information, it doesn't appear as if we/I/women do. The acceptance rates don't reflect it. The caliber of the accepted female students don't reflect it. I can't say much for the applicant pool, but I don't think many people can.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2006, 17:43
hmm...not sure what I started here! interesting debate though!! :)
  [#permalink] 15 Nov 2006, 17:43
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