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Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait?

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Apply Now (R3) or Next Year?

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Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 18:32
Background - Decent state school undergrad, weak (3.1 GPA) in English. Less than 1 year of work at a big company, then went to a top tier (but not T14) law school with another mediocre GPA which sucks even more because it seems worse than it is (2.91, but still above the curve).

I've also successfully run two of my own businesses (one a gym, the other a solo practice) and have experience as general counsel of a small company. About 4 years of work experience not including the time between undergrad and law school.

I am hoping to get around 720 on the GMAT; hopefully much more lol. But here is my dilemma - I didn't consider applying to an MBA before because I figured I needed much more experience. Recently I decided screw it, and I'll be taking the GMAT in the next couple of weeks (I have been studying for a while now).

The schools I am applying to would be Darden and Georgetown (I am a DC native and plan on either staying in the area, or working in the Middle East after MBA.

Here's the rub - I just got a job as a business analyst (but the job doesn't really have much analysis and isn't that interesting and doesn't pay very well either). Should I go ahead and apply even though its R3 already? Would I be that much better off working for another 1.5 years in this role, hopefully get promoted and have a better spin on my story? (Goal is consulting then entrepreneurship).

Do I even have a shot at Darden? If not, I figure I might as well just apply and go to GT this year (if I even get in there).

So - apply now to both? The advantages of applying next year are: 1) Earlier rounds; 2) Better chance of scholarship; 3)Could also apply to a reach school or two; 4) More experience on the business side of things.

Negatives are: 1) Completing school one year later when I just want to start on my new career ASAP; 2) I will turn 29 this year. I don't want to wait forever to do this; 3) Since I'm a lawyer this position might not even make a huge impact on my resume - B-school is the break I need in my career path, not a different job; 4) Opportunity cost of lost salary should be made up by internship and one year of post-MBA salary increase.

Sorry for the long post but you guys are awesome and I hope you can set me straight!

P.S. If I am going to the Middle East I think Georgetown has a really respected name there and might even be close to Darden.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 19:03
For those voting next year, could you please provide some rationale?

Thanks!
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 20:46
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I voted for next year for several reasons. Sorry if they sound harsh, but here they are:

1) Scholarships. You are correct that odds are much higher if you apply next year.

2) Not really sure what your story is, or how you could convince me as an admissions officer that I should let you in my program. You've got a law degree already. I don't understand why you can't complete your goal of entrepreneurship with a top law degree. If you just need a business background, I don't understand why you wouldn't go part-time to a program while working full-time.

3) Again, with regards to the storyline. You've owned a gym. Then a practice. Then worked for a small company. And then law school? Now you are a business analyst. Then you want to be a consultant. Then an entrepreneur. If I'm on admissions, how are you going to sell this to me? And if your current job isn't interesting and doesn't pay well, why did you take it? (sorry if job order is off; it's more about the constant changing than the order....)

4) Low GPAs. For the schools you are targeting, your GPA is low. You already know this. A 720 GMAT is only a few points higher than the average student. I'm not sure this is going to convince anyone you are leaps-and-bounds above everyone else. I'm not doubting your intelligence (you're obviously smart if you went to top law), but I'm not sure a high GMAT really helps you that much. It's not intelligence but dedication that the admissions will question.

Given the above, I'd probably do the following over the next year:

1) Ace the GMAT. 730 should be manageable from a top student.

2) Take business class online or CC to get the GMAT up. It helps show that you are serious about studying business, which will really help you out I believe.

3) Stay with the analyst job. Again, it's not that this is a great job, but if you quit after having it for only a few months, it again raises questions about how long you can stay with a program or job.

4) Spend the time needed to write great essays. Again, you're going to have to convince me that you really want to join the school and it's worth my effort. Being 28, 29, 30, or 31 makes no difference to the admissions committee. So take the year needed to write a good story and have some concrete evidence to back it up.

I feel like if you can do these things you'll be in much better shape. Good luck!!

P.S. if you want more input, give us a range of what you mean for "top law" and "decent undergrad school". Top law for some is top 50, others top 20. If 2.91 GPA is above the curve at law, what is average? 2.8? 2.9?
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2012, 23:14
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TheBrownSlipper makes some very valid points.

IF your goal is to just get accepted into either Darden or McDonough regardless of whether or not you get a scholarship, I can tell you that getting into McDonough in R3, with a high 600 to low 700 GMAT and a below 3.3 GPA, is possible. HOWEVER, given that your stats are hovering around the median based on McDonough's class profile, your resume, essays and recommendation letters have to be phenomenal. Since you haven't even taken the GMAT yet, you have to consider how much time you will have left to get all these other documents completed in time for the R3 deadline. It's not impossible, but at this point in the game, you have a lot of factors going against you.

Good luck!

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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 08:22
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I voted for wait. Given that R3 deadlines for the schools you list are less than a month away, and you have yet to take the GMAT, I'm not sure how you can pull it off. If you are scheduled to take the test in a couple of weeks you need to focus your efforts there. That then leaves you with only a couple of weeks to secure letters of recommendation (which isn't fair to the recommendors), write your essays (which require more than two weeks of introspection and editing), and to actually fill out the main application.

Given that you are applying R3, which is a very hard nut to crack, all this needs to not just be done, but needs to be done very well. In R3, most schools have only a few spots left and are looking to fill in gaps in the class. They are looking for truly exception candidates or candidates with unique backgrounds. No offense, but while I see your background as solid and competitive in rounds 1 or 2, I don't see anything that will stand out in the ultra competitive round 3.

FWIW I applied to all my schools in round 2 and am waiting to hear back, and despite really wanting to switch careers, if I get shut out this round, I will be waiting until next year to apply for the reasons I state above. I am about the same age as you.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 09:31
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I may have voted for R3 if you asked this question 2 months ago. It sounds like you haven't taken the GMAT yet, so questions about your stats/goals aside, I don't think you have a realistic time frame to do the following:
- Study and take the GMAT (if your goal is 720+, it is highly unlikely that you can achieve this without a minimum of 50 hours of study at your age).
- Decide on the right recommenders: this seems like it may be a big stumbling point for you. I don't see any experience you have that would enable someone to get a deep relationship with you and your progress as it relates to an MBA, which a year of work experience would provide.
- Write essays: echo the sentiments above regarding crafting a thoughtful and meaningful story. Your desired career path is also over-represented (consulting then entrepreneurship), which makes it even more difficult to find a way to differentiate yourself in a good way.
- Fill out an application and develop a b-school version of your resume.

If you still want to do it, I would say you can test the waters with Georgetown although I have heard that their average stats will be going up this year. Darden doesn't seem realistic.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 12:16
In all honesty, rushing in an application for this year, which at this point is where you are at is not worth it. The only benefit would be to apply to a school that provides feedback and get some feedback on your application stregnths and weakness if you do not get in. This way you can make your application even stronger and only spend one or 2 application fees in place of a consultant fee.

If you are dead set on applying this year (which does not seem the case) then just focus on one application at a time. See what you can and cannot manage.

In all honesty, you will be at a better at focusing on the gmat this spring and then getting an early start on your story next year.

Good Luck
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 16:23
Thanks so much for all the replies. I guess I didn't make a couple of things clear enough - I'm not sure if it makes a big difference but it might.

This is not a spur of the moment decision. I started preparing for the applications since around the round 2 deadlines. I have been studying for the gmat for some time now. The recommendations are almost done, if they are not already. And I already have a decent start on my essays.

I think it does make sense to wait, but there are many, many reasons I would much rather prefer to start this year. I think what will happen is I will see what my GMAT score is and reassess from there.

Thanks again for all the advice - this forum is fantastic.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 16:43
TheBrownSlipper wrote:
I voted for next year for several reasons. Sorry if they sound harsh, but here they are:

1) Scholarships. You are correct that odds are much higher if you apply next year.

2) Not really sure what your story is, or how you could convince me as an admissions officer that I should let you in my program. You've got a law degree already. I don't understand why you can't complete your goal of entrepreneurship with a top law degree. If you just need a business background, I don't understand why you wouldn't go part-time to a program while working full-time.

3) Again, with regards to the storyline. You've owned a gym. Then a practice. Then worked for a small company. And then law school? Now you are a business analyst. Then you want to be a consultant. Then an entrepreneur. If I'm on admissions, how are you going to sell this to me? And if your current job isn't interesting and doesn't pay well, why did you take it? (sorry if job order is off; it's more about the constant changing than the order....)

4) Low GPAs. For the schools you are targeting, your GPA is low. You already know this. A 720 GMAT is only a few points higher than the average student. I'm not sure this is going to convince anyone you are leaps-and-bounds above everyone else. I'm not doubting your intelligence (you're obviously smart if you went to top law), but I'm not sure a high GMAT really helps you that much. It's not intelligence but dedication that the admissions will question.

Given the above, I'd probably do the following over the next year:

1) Ace the GMAT. 730 should be manageable from a top student.

2) Take business class online or CC to get the GMAT up. It helps show that you are serious about studying business, which will really help you out I believe.

3) Stay with the analyst job. Again, it's not that this is a great job, but if you quit after having it for only a few months, it again raises questions about how long you can stay with a program or job.

4) Spend the time needed to write great essays. Again, you're going to have to convince me that you really want to join the school and it's worth my effort. Being 28, 29, 30, or 31 makes no difference to the admissions committee. So take the year needed to write a good story and have some concrete evidence to back it up.

I feel like if you can do these things you'll be in much better shape. Good luck!!

P.S. if you want more input, give us a range of what you mean for "top law" and "decent undergrad school". Top law for some is top 50, others top 20. If 2.91 GPA is above the curve at law, what is average? 2.8? 2.9?



Thanks for your reply. You can see my post above which addresses some of your points. Also, I have already completed a distance learning intro to finance certification from an ivy league this past year.

The law school was T30 and the curve was around 2.85.

As far as the current job - I could keep my resume as is, with the solo practice as my most recent experience. The BA position doesn't need to be added right now for my apps. My firm is still up and I am technically still doing work through it, although it will be sparse.

As far as selling it - I was in law school when I started the gym. I did it for a couple of years and then sold it after passing the bar and finding a job in order to focus on my legal career. After 1.5 years at the small firm I left (the real reason is that my boss was shady as hell and I couldn't work there anymore - I doubt that part will get into the essays). Anyway I left and ran my practice because frankly, the legal market is crap. I couldn't find a job and I don't really want to practice anyway. My goal is to work in consulting in order to get exposure to some big, successful companies in order to learn and grow and become a better business man. After x years of experience, I will either move into corporate strategy or entrepreneurship - I'm still polishing my story and trying to figure out what works the best. I think the consulting - entrepreneurship angle is not only credible due to my former experiences, it is earnest and honest and really is my legitimate career goal.

Anyway I still think even Darden is a reach, and I'm not sure I would be a good fit there. I'm comfortable with the case method through law school but it isn't my favorite way to learn. I visited Georgetown a few times and loved it. Plus I have a free place to stay.

I guess I'll decide after my gmat.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2012, 19:36
So I wanted to update after taking the GMAT - got a 760! Yay :)

Anyway this does confuse the issue. I feel like I might have a better shot at Darden now, and maybe even a top 10 program if I have a really good story. However that would definitely mean applying next year.

The score also means I have a better chance of getting into Mcdonough this year. Considering I already live in the area and just moved back in with my parents, I could save a decent amount of money by going to Mcdonough this year. It really depends on my chances at Darden.

If I wait a year and don't get in to Darden or another school I would be pretty upset that I didn't just go this year to Mcdonough (if I get in).

Does everyone still think I should wait? Will a year of analyst experience really make a difference to schools?
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2012, 19:54
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As I'm sure you know, Darden is extremely competetive. I applied R1, I also had a 760 GMAT. My undergrad GPA was much higher than yours (3.5 from a Top 10 private school), have 5 years relevant international business experience with a clear career progression working as an expat in China. The real difficult with the darden app I felt was that they only gave you one essay to express yourself, and it was about "globalization" rather than career goals, etc. Very tough nut to crack, especially since your career path so far hasn't shown any clear progressions and you will not have much of an opportunity in the application to cover this issue.

I interviewed but was ultimately dinged. I'm not saying that you don't have a chance, because clearly everyone can find a way to get there. My feeling from Darden, however, was that they were looking for very, very specific types of candidates and "fit" was extremely important. Despite what I thought was one of my strongest apps, it didn't work out. My suggestion for you would be to wait until next year, visit the campus, connect with students and alumni, listen VERY CAREFULLY to their input and make sure you hit all of the key points that they're looking for in your ap. Darden's adcoms are extremely thorough and will notice in a heartbeat if your ap was rushed and it will result in a ding almost for sure. Best of luck to you.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2012, 20:23
Thanks for that. If I applied to Darden it would definitely be next year. Thats the thing - you seem to have a perfect profile but somehow got dinged. Its so crazy and unpredictable. If I waited just to apply to Darden and then got dinged I would be kicking myself. I don't think I have a very good chance at any top ten schools due to the low GPA and the lack of a coherent career path. It really sucks because the only reason I left my general counsel job was because my boss was crooked. I am considering writing about that in my essay just to show my ethics but I worry it might sound like an excuse (it really wasn't, and it really screwed up my career).

Thats actually one of the main reasons I want to do the MBA - to start fresh. I visited McDonough and really really enjoyed it. I can see myself there and it is still Georgetown after all. The rankings aren't up there but it has a strong brand name (especially internationally) and a decent network due to the undergrad. If I could get in this year I think it might be worth it. Decisions, decisions!
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2012, 04:05
munkeys wrote:
So I wanted to update after taking the GMAT - got a 760! Yay :)

Anyway this does confuse the issue. I feel like I might have a better shot at Darden now, and maybe even a top 10 program if I have a really good story. However that would definitely mean applying next year.

The score also means I have a better chance of getting into Mcdonough this year. Considering I already live in the area and just moved back in with my parents, I could save a decent amount of money by going to Mcdonough this year. It really depends on my chances at Darden.

If I wait a year and don't get in to Darden or another school I would be pretty upset that I didn't just go this year to Mcdonough (if I get in).

Does everyone still think I should wait? Will a year of analyst experience really make a difference to schools?


First with job goals, etc.
Not to sound judgmental, but like others said, you don't seem to have priorities completely set. Given that you ran businesses before (didn't really read all your replies to others), it

I don't think having a JD from a school like top tier local school like GW, William and Mary, or George Mason will hurt you, and may help you because lawyers aren't really in MBA classes. Well over half of Law school students in Top Tier schools are 25 or younger for the 1L year, skewing towards 22 and you know this. However, owning businesses in the past does make the adcom question you a bit when you want to focus on entrepreneurship.

As for applying now vs. next year
As for applying to schools, if you just intend on staying in DC and you wanna go to school now, then you should just apply to Georgetown's Evening MBA Program rather than the Georgetown full time program. Second round deadline is in April 15 and you'll know in June. You will also get to keep your job. The bad side to this is that you're going to have to take out more loans, in addition to the amount of loans you took out for law school. Georgetown doesn't offer part time MBA students any scholarships. As for UVA, well, Darden is a full time only program.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2012, 05:00
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First with job goals, etc.
Not to sound judgmental, but like others said, you don't seem to have priorities completely set. Given that you ran businesses before (didn't really read all your replies to others), it

I don't think having a JD from a school like top tier local school like GW, William and Mary, or George Mason will hurt you, and may help you because lawyers aren't really in MBA classes. Well over half of Law school students in Top Tier schools are 25 or younger for the 1L year, skewing towards 22 and you know this. However, owning businesses in the past does make the adcom question you a bit when you want to focus on entrepreneurship.

As for applying now vs. next year
As for applying to schools, if you just intend on staying in DC and you wanna go to school now, then you should just apply to Georgetown's Evening MBA Program rather than the Georgetown full time program. Second round deadline is in April 15 and you'll know in June. You will also get to keep your job. The bad side to this is that you're going to have to take out more loans, in addition to the amount of loans you took out for law school. Georgetown doesn't offer part time MBA students any scholarships. As for UVA, well, Darden is a full time only program.


Thanks. It looks the part of your first paragraph got cut off though.

Why do you think having owned a business will question my desire for entrepreneurship having owned a business? Wouldn't it be the opposite?

The problem with applying to the part time program is not having the opportunity for internships, one, and secondly that my job will likely require travel which will get in the way of the program. I got lucky in that I have no loans from law school so I have that going for me although I'm not exactly excited about the prospect of huge loans from business school.

Thanks again for the reply.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2012, 05:10
munkeys wrote:
Thanks. It looks the part of your first paragraph got cut off though.

Why do you think having owned a business will question my desire for entrepreneurship having owned a business? Wouldn't it be the opposite?

The problem with applying to the part time program is not having the opportunity for internships, one, and secondly that my job will likely require travel which will get in the way of the program. I got lucky in that I have no loans from law school so I have that going for me although I'm not exactly excited about the prospect of huge loans from business school.

Thanks again for the reply.


Okay, here is the whole paragraph:

Quote:
First with job goals, etc.
Not to sound judgmental, but like others said, you don't seem to have priorities completely set. Given that you ran businesses before (didn't really read all your replies to others), it may make the adcom question your motivation for an MBA where you center your electives on the same field.


I see the flip side where you may want to venture somewhere else. PT programs are not the best with internships, I agree. Most PT programs do have a study abroad option or requirement however.

The good news is that you have no law school loan debt which could be 200K at worst for three years if you went to the right place.
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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2012, 06:26
If you really want to go this year and you feel fairly confident that you can get into McDonough, then go for it. Just make sure that you can tie all your loose ends together, as they have specific essays just for your short-term and long-term goals.

Also, you have to be certain that if you get accepted and end up going to McDonough that you won't wonder if you would've gotten into Darden if you had waited a year and applied in R1.

Good luck!

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Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait? [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2013, 23:49
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For those voting next year, could you please provide some rationale?

Thanks!


IMO, take a couple of best fits and apply this r3 itself to gauge the program. Not reuired if you are comfortable bcause of the freely available pluralty of data and analysis for MBA options..
Re: Need Advice! Apply Now (R3) or Wait?   [#permalink] 09 Jul 2013, 23:49
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1 Experts publish their posts in the topic Apply Now or Wait? kastino 2 05 Jul 2013, 15:20
1 so - now that i am done with applying - need advice willget800 7 08 Jan 2007, 06:38
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