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Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please!

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Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please! [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2011, 11:57
All -

Ok, so here is my profile. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

1) 710 GMAT 46V 41Q 6.0 AWA (first try, never took a practice test)

2) B.S. Business - State School; 3.1 Undergrad GPA (3.7 Major); Worked 30 - 35 hrs/wk in school; Fraternity member; Numerous community service projects.

3) 6+ years of work experience in real estate - specifically student housing. Experience in public and private sectors, promoted several times, went from entry level to top manager in company quickly. Lots of recognition, awards, etc. in large private company. Quick success, great letters of recommendation from both Universities and private company.

4) 29 year old white guy. Grew up in farm family, parents do not have college education. Have always supported myself; paid for education, paid to study abroad and learn Spanish / Intl. Business. Unique experiences moving from place to place with company doing internal consulting, due dilligence, marketing, etc.

5) I have worked in privatized student housing and learned much about the operations, acquisition, and financing of existing properties. I then moved to the public sector to gain experience in development of new housing from the public angle. I want to go to a top MBA program to network and find individuals to eventually begin a student housing company.

I currently live in SoCal and am looking at the big schools in the area first (UCLA, USC, UCI Merage), but I am also interested in branching out (Haas, Stanford, Kellogg, Wharton, Ross, Booth, Stern). What do my chances look like for these programs? Would I be more suited for a lower tier program? Any suggestions? Any advise would certainly help. Thank you!
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Re: Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please! [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2011, 14:14
Your 710 is a great score; however, your quant may be a problem for most of the top tiered b-schools. Since it's your first try and have never taken any practice test, is it feasible for you (time-wise, work-wise, etc-wise) to practice your quant and take a few practice tests to see where you stand with quant? I believe a Q41 is somewhere around the 60 percentile and while your verbal score is absolutely fantastic, b-schools care much more about verbal being above 80 percentile than verbal hovering around 80.

Of course, there are other ways to mitigate a lower quant score, and they include but are not limited to undergrad quantitative courses (calculus, statistics, economics, and physics/engineering), work experience, and other relevant quant skills. Without a way to demonstrate that you're capable at quantative analysis, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. If however you can get your math score up above 80 percentile (or even 75 percentile) and still achieve a 700+ score, you will definitely up your ante and be able to target the top 15 b-schools.

With all that said, I actually think you still have a shot at top 20. Of course, I wouldn't put all my money on Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton alone. I would spread all my chips around and determine which ones fit with your career goals most. At this point, you should definitely be in the running for Merage, but everything else you mentioned (including USC Marshall and UCLA Anderson) will be a bit harder. Not impossible, but just hard.
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Re: Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please! [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2011, 15:04
Thank you for the response. I appreciate the feedback. I have contemplated preparing for and re-taking the GMAT and that is a definite possibility. However, much of my work experience has been quantitative. I have extensive experience in forecasting market conditions, projecting rent increases vs. occupancy rates, recommending and implementing capital projects, and most importantly, developing and sole oversight of several different $20MM+ budgets. In fact, very soon, I will be recomending a pro-forma budget for a new housing development.

If I can present that well in an essay, is that enough to off-set the skewed GMAT Q score? I guess my question is how is time better spent, writing essays or studying for the GMAT? Obviously, both would be best, but if you had to pick one, what would it be?
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Re: Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please! [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2011, 15:17
I'm certainly not an expert, and I also have a somewhat weak quant score of 43, but I think your work background probably will account for some of your weakness on the GMAT. I wouldn't waste your time on a retake. A 710 is a 710, its above the 90th percentile overall, and if there's a weakness within your Q/V splits, address it in an optional essay or the portion of the app where the school allows you to do such things. GMAT prep for a retake will, to some extent or another, occupy much of your time for the next 30 days. Given your work experience and comfortability with numbers, I'd just keep going and consider the GMAT over and done with.


ttreads wrote:
If I can present that well in an essay, is that enough to off-set the skewed GMAT Q score? I guess my question is how is time better spent, writing essays or studying for the GMAT? Obviously, both would be best, but if you had to pick one, what would it be?


This one's easy: essays.
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Re: Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please! [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2011, 15:59
I second ebonn's opinion. Truly, unless you can retake it without any (or much) prep, I really wouldn't go through GMAT again given the fact you have a 710 already. If you plan to not retake it, move on and execute a flawless application. As I've mentioned, there are other things that are more important than that one aspect of a quant score and certainly, there are things that can mitigate it.
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Re: Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please! [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2011, 16:15
Perfect. This is exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. Thank you both!
Re: Ok, GMAT is done; where should I go? Advise me, please!   [#permalink] 16 Aug 2011, 16:15
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