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# Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying??

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Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  22 Mar 2014, 01:02
Coles note version:
2.84 GPA from University of Toronto BBA
5 yrs work experience at Canada's largest bank RBC. 3 years as commercial account manager and 2 years as assistant branch manager in retail banking division.
690 GMAT
Want to apply to top 15 schools in north america

Last edited by simonj13 on 28 May 2014, 13:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  22 Mar 2014, 03:28
With a 580, top 30 (or even 50) can be extremely difficult unless you,ve got some incredible experiences... There are still at least 6 months for the R1 deadlines and around 9 months for R2.. If you feel like you're not ready, you might want to postpone your GMAT by a couple of months which will still leave you about 7 months for your school research and essays..

PS: The average GMAT score for all those who have taken the GMAT may not be the same as the average of all applicants.. Many people re take their tests 2,3,4 or maybe even 5 times before applying....
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  22 Mar 2014, 07:33
Expert's post
You can find a school that will take you, the issue is, the ROI won't be worth the cost of attendance. The average starting salary from poorly ranked business schools is probably below what you make now, with a large portion of the student body being unable to find jobs. Keep studying for the GMAT, consider taking an official course, since if you're still at mid 500's after a month of studying, you're studying wrong.
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  22 Mar 2014, 08:34
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Hey!

I am no expert but having just completed the cycle and currently on a waitlist at a top school, I will emphasize the following:

Academics: You have done your part to take the GMAT 3 times or at least the Manhattan GMAT but change your attitude to it. Stop telling yourself you can’t do better and say you’re going to crush it. It really is self-confidence. I would cancel the test and not reschedule until you are ready. C’mon you are an account manager in some sort of banking. You can do this. If you even want to double down, sign up for a pre-mba course as well and then take the GMAT. It will help you with grades and reinforce your quant foundation.

The GMAT as the end all and be all. Honestly, if you hold yourself back because of a GMAT, you agree to an extent that your qualifications are worth nothing more than 3 digits. Really? Read the blogs from admissions directors as well to give some insight. The GMAT is important but it is by no means the end all. You can get the GMAT up and if it is so difficult, do the GRE. I don’t think you are trying to sell your strength as academics but you just want to cover yourself to say that you can handle the MBA coursework and let the focus shift on your other accomplishments.

Competition and rankings etc. Stop wasting your time on the rankings. Think about this, you get into some top ranked school and hate the people. Do you really think you will gain anything from the MBA experience? Forget the rankings. Think fit now, where you want to go and how you want to get there. Find a school that fits all three and make the case for it.

Final note. You can do this if you reframe your mind. Go with confidence and trust your gut. You did something right to get to where you are in life. Focus on the GMAT or GRE, take a pre-mba and rock the experiences. Stop worrying about your competition and focus on you. You control yourself and not the competition. Focus on that. Also, on and off studying isn't going to get you anything in the GMAT. FOCUS. If you could get a 580 with on and off can you imagine what you an accomplish with focus?

What have you got to lose? 250 Dollars? What have you got the gain? Endless opportunities.
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  25 Mar 2014, 02:56
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Some excellent points have been made above - I'm elaborating on some of them.

1. "Forget the rankings. Think fit now, where you want to go and how you want to get there. Find a school that fits all three and make the case for it."

Treat B-school rankings as the (very small) first step in your research on schools. The first step is to figure out what you want to do after an MBA - try to make your goal statement as specific and clear as possible. Think both short term and long term. Ask yourself whether you need an MBA to get there.

Perhaps you may also have some personal reasons for an MBA - maybe just the experience of going back to school. In that case, you would have certain expectations from the program - the culture, the diversity, opportunities etc. Think about everything you want from an MBA.

Once you have this clarity, start looking at different B-schools. Use the ranking as just 1 criterion - for instance, you may want to go to a school in the top 50, but not beyond that. Your focus should be on whether the school(s) you have chosen can give you what you want - professionally and personally.

Once you have this list, you will know what score to aim for - maybe you don't need a 700. Maybe a 640 will do. Try to identify and fix a target for yourself before you take the test.

That brings us to #2.

2. "if you're still at mid 500's after a month of studying, you're studying wrong."

mgh234 hit the nail on the head! If you have already solved hundreds of questions and taken multiple tests, but are still not crossing the 600 mark on the GMAT, then "working harder" or solving more questions is NOT the answer.

You need to understand what is holding you back - What kind of mistakes are you making - conceptual? timing issues? silly mistakes? Which areas within each section of the test are your weaknesses? Are you making the same mistakes over and over again?

To answer these questions, go back to the questions you have already solved and analyze them. Try to identify patterns in your mistakes. Work on these specific areas and capitalize on your strengths before you take the test.

Hope that helps!

Gowri N Kishore
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  30 Apr 2014, 20:15
So I did my GMAT on April 24. Just got my official scorecard today
690 (Q49 V35) 5.5 AWA.... here's the kicker IR 2!! TWO!!! god just kill me now.

what are my chances of getting into a top 15 american MBA? again... with this score, and a 2.86 undergrad GPA that I can't do anything about?

Last edited by simonj13 on 28 May 2014, 13:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  01 May 2014, 21:39
simonj13 wrote:
So I did my GMAT on April 24. Just got my official scorecard today
690 (Q49 V35) 5.5 AWA.... here's the kicker IR 2!! TWO!!! god just kill me now.

what are my chances of getting into a top 15 american MBA? again... with this score, and a 2.86 undergrad GPA that I can't do anything about?

If I retake the GMAT and can improve the IR would it help?? honestly the overall mark though I'm not sure I can get much higher than 690.

Simon,
The IR score by itself isn't going to keep you out. We need to look at your profile as a whole and not just at the scores.

Regards
Gowri

Gowri N Kishore
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  03 May 2014, 20:20
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
simonj13 wrote:
So I did my GMAT on April 24. Just got my official scorecard today
690 (Q49 V35) 5.5 AWA.... here's the kicker IR 2!! TWO!!! god just kill me now.

what are my chances of getting into a top 15 american MBA? again... with this score, and a 2.86 undergrad GPA that I can't do anything about?

If I retake the GMAT and can improve the IR would it help?? honestly the overall mark though I'm not sure I can get much higher than 690.

Simon,
The IR score by itself isn't going to keep you out. We need to look at your profile as a whole and not just at the scores.

Regards
Gowri

Gowri N Kishore

I'm Chinese Canadian male. 28 years old. Graduated from university of Toronto with a BBA - international business major in 2007 but with low GPA of only 2.86. I also spent one full year in hong Kong at HKU as an exchange student in 2006.
We have a family business started by my father in the food and packaging distribution industry and I've worked there part time from bottom up throughout university. I guess one could say or business is an SME with annual sales currently at around $40million CAD. In 2008 i joined RBC Royal Bank, Canada's largest bank as a commercial account manager trainee. I worked for a year with the supply chain commercial lending team before being poached by the multicultural commercial lending team for my language capability. (I speak English, Cantonese and mandarin all fluently) there I managed and grew a$55 million CAD credit and investment portfolio of SME clients.
In 2011 made the leap to our bank's retail banking team at my mentor's suggestion. I joined the retail banking side as an assistant branch manager responsible for a team of 7 tellers. In that role I was responsible for everything from training, employee schduling, customer concern resolution, performance management, transactional risk mitigation, and was basically the go-to person in the absence of the branch manager.

I left in may 2013 and rejoined my family business as VP of sales responsible for a team of sales staff while continuing to learn about the business as part of the succession planning for our family business.

On the side, I've been a regular member of a Chinese business association in our city. I've also been part of a Group called Monsheong Foundation dedicated to providing care and housing for the elderly. I've worked with them for many years both on my own time as a volunteer and as a bank representative during my time at RBC Bank. (I've once rallied over 150 staff members and their family members to take part in one of this foundation's charity run events.

I like to play badminton, bowling and trained in May Thai and Chinese martial arts. I was part of our high school and university badminton team and even played during my year in hong Kong (but was unable to win any titles)

I'm also an avid traveler and have visited most countries in Asia, with annual visits to China, and have also had the opportunity to visit many European countries on many occasions.

So that's me. Hope you can let me know what my chances are and what I can do to be able to increase my chances of getting into a top 15 school. Thanks!
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  09 May 2014, 02:33
Simon,
Your profile seems to be very interesting and you will certainly have interesting stories to talk about. However, here are the concern areas:

Your work experience is not linear – you have moved from banking to your family business. The concern here would be why an MBA makes sense at this point in your career and what you plan to do afterwards. What industry/function/role do you see yourself in? You need to think through this and address this in your application.

Top 15 schools in the US is ambitious, given your profile. Reflect on why you want an MBA now, and also consider mid-tier schools (ranked 20-35) which can potentially fulfill your requirements from an MBA.

Would a higher GMAT score help? Yes, certainly. But it is worth retaking only if you are able to improve your score by a least 30 points (to 720+) A move from 690 to 700 isn’t really going to change things.

I hope this makes sense.

Regards
Gowri

Gowri N Kishore
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  10 May 2014, 21:42
Hi Simon,

I think you have a decent profile. You need to focus on what is it that you want to do post MBA. A lot of employers get worried while hiring MBA's from family businesses and that might be a concern for the admissions committee too( as the adcom directly acts as a feeder to the career services centre). However, if you focus on a goals story centred around scaling up your business, and have some decent AHA moments from both the banking industry, and the current sales position, I think you can sell your profile very well.

One way to look at it is: Schools are happy to have stories where the candidates express that they can take care of themselves and are employable on their own. However, schools also want to see if you are ambitious enough to leverage the MBA to make a strong impact.

I do not know the nature of your business though, I will recommend that you stick to the business side of the story while picking your short term goals.

Past Skills( Bank + Business) + MBA( What skills are you planing to gain) = Short term( 5-7 years) + Long term( 7-15 years)

Have strong reasons and throw your eye openers. And if you think deeply, you will not even have to fake it.

Yes ! You need to get a high GMAT score. Hovering around 550's will not make your profile attractive enough for anyone to read your story.

Thanks,
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  12 May 2014, 20:28
CrackVerbalGMAT wrote:
Simon,
Your profile seems to be very interesting and you will certainly have interesting stories to talk about. However, here are the concern areas:

Your work experience is not linear – you have moved from banking to your family business. The concern here would be why an MBA makes sense at this point in your career and what you plan to do afterwards. What industry/function/role do you see yourself in? You need to think through this and address this in your application.

Top 15 schools in the US is ambitious, given your profile. Reflect on why you want an MBA now, and also consider mid-tier schools (ranked 20-35) which can potentially fulfill your requirements from an MBA.

Would a higher GMAT score help? Yes, certainly. But it is worth retaking only if you are able to improve your score by a least 30 points (to 720+) A move from 690 to 700 isn’t really going to chan things.

I hope this makes sense.

Regards
Gowri

Gowri N Kishore

Last edited by simonj13 on 28 May 2014, 13:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  12 May 2014, 21:47
I read the discussion here about GMAT score below average, and I thought you may want to take a look at this video: http://www.aringo.com/top_MBA_with_low_gmat.htm
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  20 May 2014, 08:05
690 is fine, although i'm not sure how much b-schools look at the IR score. I never heard of a school setting a minimum for the IR section.
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  20 May 2014, 19:47
Coming from an MBA application consultant...

While I'm not sure if other consultants have been able to do the same, I've helped applicants with GMAT scores as low as 520 access top MBA programs such as Wharton, Stanford GBS, Emory Goizueta, LBS, HBS, Duke's Fuqua Business School, Booth, Kellogg and more.

I believe this boils down to the highly personalized approach I take. I work very closely with the applicant to understand his/her strengths, goals, weaknesses, passions, and potential as they relate to each MBA program. However, I take it a step further by identifying potential ways in which the applicant (in the short run) can introduce and implement initiatives in the workplace that can be incorporated into his/her application. I also ensure that all recommendation letters are 100% consistent with the rest of the application. To me, recommendation letters are just as important, if not more important than the essays themselves.

Within the first (free) 30-minute consultation, I can very quickly figure out if low GMAT scores are something I can work around, or if applicants should retake the GMAT and/or consider other MBA programs. This boils down to an applicant's professional background and other accomplishments.

If anyone's interested in learning more, please call/text me at +1.857.400.8742.

Thanks and good luck to you all!
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Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying?? [#permalink]  22 May 2014, 03:43
Expert's post
simonj13, don't let the low GMAT score stop you. Many of our clients were accepted to top MBA programs with relatively low scores, as you can see here:
http://www.aringo.com/Aringo_TOP_MBA_GMAT_Results.htm
Definitely possible! select schools where your chances are reasonable and work on other areas in your profile. Good luck!
Re: Low GMAT scores - Even bother applying??   [#permalink] 22 May 2014, 03:43
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