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Profile Evaluation

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Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 15:26
So I got beat...

Got a 660 (q41, v40).

Which was surprising to me. As my last few prep tests gave me great hope:

MGMAT 2: 720 (Q48, V40)
MGMAT 3: 730 (Q46, V44)
MGMAT 4: 730 (Q48, V41)
MGMAT 5: 740 (Q46, V45)
MGMAT 6: 740 (Q47, V44)

My GMAT Preps were 720 and 700 but I took these somewhere in between the MGMATs, but not sure exactly what dates and the exact breakdown. I honestly don't know where things went wrong today. I think I may have gotten totally freaked out by the first quant question (word problem) and then let it get to me throughout the remainder of the test. Though I have to say I thought as a whole, the entire test was definitely harder than anything I'd encountered during practice (including the MGMATs which I've heard to be harder than the actual GMAT). My question is whether I should attempt the test again (I honestly don't know if I haven't it in me, or if it will do much good--should I just focus on a kick butt essay?), do I stand a chance at acceptance to the schools mentioned below, and am I better off resigning myself to a 2nd tier school and just keeping my score. Please, see below for my profile. Thank you all for any advice you can offer.

Best,
Josh

A bit about me:


I'm a white male, 32, gay (not sure if this matters). I attended the University of California - Irvine and received a BA in Theater (GPA - 3.005 - more on this later). In regards to my GMAT score, I am aiming for at least 700 (45/40 range - practice tests have been around there and I still have a month and a half before the test).

So my story goes that I went off to college, where I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I started in Pre-Med (hated it), and did fine my first year. However, it was during my second year that my father passed away (suicide). As to be expected, my grades plummeted. My brother became heavily involved in drugs, a white supremicist gang (long story). My mother was devistated. I was barely holding together. During the end of my second year, I changed my major to Theater, got decent grades, and was on the Dean's list quite a few times. I ended up graduating with a 3.005 after 5 years of struggling to bring my GPA back up (my father's passing was extremely difficult on my family and me).



Next, I moved to New York and persued the dream. However--as it most often does--the dream did not pan out. I worked for a major hotel in Times Square at the Front Desk for 6 years (the money was suprisingly good, and so regretfully I didn't take opportunities for advancement, although I was the Shift Lead and had the highest upsell record and enrollment in loyalty program 4 years in a row). This is a huge deal in the hotel, however I'm not sure how this translates to Grad Schools. Last year I transferred to a coveted Sales position at an even more prestigious hotel (very difficult to get into). Along the way within my company I cross-trained in several of our sister properties: 2 years in Marketing, 1 year in Copywriting, I took company sponsored Graphic Design/Marketing Courses at UCLA (all A's). I have 2 bosses that will no doubt write rave reviews for me. I have quite a few extracurricular going for me, as well: I was published in 6 literary journals, I wrote a novel (that never got picked up), I have been an accomplished pianist since childhood where I won countless competitions and recitals. As you can see, creativity and marketing is where I shine. I was a gymnastics coach and team captain in college, and was an assistant manager at a coffee shop during the same period. I am the first one in my family to graduate from college (let alone grad school), and took part in a Leadership Development Program at UCI.




So I'm at a point now, where I'm trying to weave everything together to exemplify leadership (ie: holding the family together after my father's passing, etc.) My doubts are that my GPA is clearly lacking, and also I'm not so sure that schools are going to be thrilled that I was a Theater major. Also I don't have any official management roles, mostly implied leadership roles, and those outside of work. I want to apply to top schools, but is it a lost cause? I have no doubt I could craft an outstanding essay, I'm just worried about how to phrase/spin the content. I wanted to apply to Columbia and NYU (both close to me), Georgetown, UCLA, USC, Cornell, and Booth. Boston University and Boston College (both backups). I will be applying first round. Any advice is much appreciated.

Also, I failed to mention that I began this whole application process 3 years ago, but ran into some medical issues. Which are now resolved. It's been a difficult life to say the least. But hey I'm still here. And that's somehing.
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Re: Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2012, 16:13
I hate to do this after you've written such a long piece about your background, but it's quite simple at this point.

Retake the GMAT.

For top 30 schools, you should shoot for at least a 680. For top 16 schools at least a 700. Your GPA is low but the fact that it's ancient history (unlike others who may only be a few years out of school) is a blessing in disguise. But nonetheless, it means your GMAT is paramount. Again for top 30, you want a 680 minimum and ideally 700+ given your GPA. With top 16 schools, you want a 700 minimum and ideally a 720+ given your GPA.

Hardship certainly gets taken into account, but it's still ultimately about what you've achieved in your professional career thus far - because that's what post-MBA recruiters look for as well. Especially now when the job market sucks, b-school adcoms are much more conscious of that and tend to focus more on "employability" (your resume as it stands) as much as the narrative (the person behind the resume).

As for being gay (or being part of any affinity group, or religion, etc) - it only makes a material difference if you got involved in the community. In your case, it would matter if you were actively involved in the LGBT community in some capacity (advocacy groups, volunteer activities, film festival admin, etc.).

Again, retake the GMAT. Look at another test prep company just to mix it up or hire a private GMAT tutor (and no, I don't have any recommendations - there's tons of companies and tutors out there that you should be able to find one that suits your needs and budget).
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Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com
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Re: Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2012, 05:48
Do you think I should retake immediately (like, say, in the next 2 weeks) or wait a month? I'm just a little confused being that I did so well with MGMAT, but then finished with 10 minutes to spare on the quant. Although, I do have to say I thought the questions were harder than practice, but maybe it was just nerves? I honestly don't know what else I could do to improve.

I'm just at a point where I'm so down on myself, that I'm debating whether I even want to do an MBA anymore. I'm a hyper-creative person and I'm wondering if an MBA in Marketing will fullfill that need. Thoughts?
Re: Profile Evaluation   [#permalink] 19 Jun 2012, 05:48
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