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I would love to see your evaluation of my profile. I am planning to join an MBA program in 2014.
Academics: [*]School: 86% in both my 10th and 12th Grades. [*]UG: 68% (I'm among the top 20% in the class), Computer Science and Engineering, Non - IIT [*]GMAT: 690 (Q48, V35) Have not received the AWA and IR scores, but I've done them quite well.
[*]I work as an application developer. [*]Will have 4+ years of experience in a leading IT company by the time I plan to join the MBA program (in 2014). [*]Got promoted within 2 years of getting confirmed in the company. [*]Have received a number of certificates and appreciations from clients for my performance in various development projects. [*]Have led a team of 3.
Extra-curriculars and Interests: [*]Have represented my school at the national level in Table Tennis [*]Part of my company's Table Tennis team, which has won a national level inter-corporate tournament. [*]I read a lot, and play most sports.
Short-Term Goal: To work with a reputed consulting firm.
Hey Sam - thanks for asking for a profile review from EssaySnark. As you know, this is a very common set of background facts and statistics, and the challenge will be in standing out from the crowd. You are definitely qualified for a good MBA program and we're gratified to see the schools you're targeting since they are all within range, even with that GMAT score. A 690 is good but it's below average at a school like Duke, and the competition is fierce. A 710 could help but it doesn't actually show you as overly distinctive against the peer group; the average GMAT for Indians who are accepted to bschool is around 720 so you still wouldn't be quite up to that mark. The one advantage to retesting is that it would signal to the schools that you weren't satisfied with the original score. There's also something emotionally satisfying about getting above the 700 hump. But your 690 could be good enough for a school like Emory or Kelley. It really depends much more on your pitch and your goals and how you put the essays together.
So here's what we think: If you are committed to putting in the effort to raise that score, then we say yes, do so.
But if you're comfortable with ending up at a school like Emory - which is a great school but doesn't carry the same prestige as many others - then you should proceed with this current score.
In fact, what you might do is apply to Emory and Kelley in Round 1. As soon as those apps are in, pick up your GMAT studies again, just in case. Set a test date for November. If you don't get invited to interview by then, put a Plan B in place with a new GMAT score and other schools for Round 2. If you pull off a much-higher score the second time, you could potentially try for Cornell and Tepper in their early winter deadlines (you'd also want to include additional lower-ranked schools in the mix to round out the strategy).
You might get in with those Round 1 schools though and then you'd be set and not have to worry about any more essays!
The reason for this suggestion is because the applications require a lot more work than most people expect. We recommend people start in on developing essays for Round 1 schools **now**. It's tough to do that along with GMAT studies. Round 1 is always important but for a more competitive program like Cornell (compared to Kelley) then it's more important to have the strongest app possible, even if applying in a later round.
Hope all this makes sense - feel free to follow up with us if it doesn't! EssaySnark _________________
Thanks for the response. Appreciate your feedback. I do want to retake the GMAT, but like you pointed out, I guess I can wait for a couple of months before having to make that decision. I have a few more questions.
* My UG score is 68% - is this going to be as big a factor as some people make it out to be ? * I've also heard that with a GMAT score less than 700, getting a consulting job is going to be difficult. Is this something I should be worried about? * I have played table tennis at the national level - would that help in differentiating myself from other applicants?
Looking forward to hearing from you. Regards, Sam.
The undergrad grades from Indian colleges are all over the map; you said that your 68% is in the top 20% of the class at your particular school, so that sounds like it's fine. It's not overly distinctive but it's not terribly awful either. We're not that worried about that part. The main concern is that it's very "average" - just like your GMAT (both of these are not technically "average" in the overall context of things, but they're not helping you stand out from your candidate pool).
It's also true that consulting is very competitive and sometimes yes, they do look to GMAT score as one more input into the screening processes. This is another place where a higher score can help. At the same time, there's a lot of consulting jobs out there, and if a) you have a strong specialty that is in demand, in terms of functional area or industry expertise; and/or b) you're flexible in terms of geography or tier of company you want to work in, then these are less important factors.
The table tennis is a little common but it sounds like you've been competitive in it, and the schools always like to see that. This is the type of thing that will help you on the margins, it's not going to get you into bschool, but showing that you exceled at something on a grand scale is ALWAYS nice to have in an application.
Hope that helps - let us know where you go with things! EssaySnark _________________
Hi, I just received the rest of my scores. AWA: 4.5 IR: 3
I am totally gutted as I thought I had done those sections quite well.
1. I have written the TOEFL. Will a good score there help offset my poor AWA score? 2. Should I continue working on my application essays or should I put that on hold and give the GMAT another shot in an attempt to get a better IR score?
Would really appreciate your advice on this. Regards, Sam.
Sorry to hear that, Sam. The IR of 3 is actually of concern to us. Most schools are not formally using IR for decision-making but they definitely look at it. The 4.5 AWA is also not great but that's not the piece that makes us nervous. We'd go by the original advice that we offered in our first response to your request for input.