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I am hoping for feedback on my B-School application thought process.
I have taken the GMAT once, scoring a 690 (88th percentile). Broken out, 42 QA (59th %), 42 VA (95th %). Still awaiting AWAs. I realize that the low Quant score might hurt me a bit, and I don't have a lot to offset that. I didn't take many math courses in college, but did do well (As) in Statistics and some upper level Econ and Finance.
My overall GPA is 3.1. Unfortunately I went through a lot of health issues in school, but I know that B-Schools are not particularly interested in excuses. Some of my GPA can be explained by courses that are not related to my major, and I would say that my GPA in relevent coursework is probably nearer a 3.3.
My work history post-bacc is limited to 4 years of accounting work at a large private company. While I cannot trace a direct career progression, I have been given a variety of responsibilities and have been able to gain a lot of insight into the company's dynamics. I also have good recommendations from my direct supervisors.
I do not have any international work experience, unfortunately.
My long term goal would be to work in international finance. By far it was my favorite topic in UG. Integrated with that, I would like to live and work out of London if possible. I know that obtaining one's degree from a British school can help immensely with qualifying someday for a visa.. although it's not a necessity.
So at this point my list of schools is as follows: London Business School (long shot) Oxford: Said (also fairly long shot) Imperial College City University: Cass Cornell: Johnson
I am concerned that my list might be far too ambitious, given my GPA, lack of management experience and low Quant score. On the other hand, my GMAT is right in amongst or above the averages for some of those schools. I know it's not the only consideration, but most sources say that it is the primary.
With that said, am I on the right track or should I pull back my school choices from Top 5-20 to Top 30-40? I feel like my application is varied and spread out, so it's hard to match my profile to any one school's successful candidates. One reason that I felt I had a chance at Cornell is that their average GMAT/GPA is 687/3.25, which I felt wasn't far from my scores. But at the same time I know that their admissions are very competitive, and that I don't have the top firm or management experience that they usually look for.
If I am not on the right track, what schools might be a more reasonable choice?
It sounds like you have realistic expectations given your school choices and where you feel you stand. Given that you didn't do a lot of quant courses in school and your GMAT quant is low, you may want to retake the GMAT and find a way to boost that quant score, because most adcoms (regardless of school) will be concerned about your ability to handle the analytical/quant aspects of the program. No amount of "essay magic" can address that.
Retake the GMAT, and apply to your list of schools - and you should have a reasonable shot of getting in.
Thank you for the advice! As much as it pains me to say, I will probably retake the GMAT and aim for a higher Quant score.
If I put my 2nd test in December sometime, that will still keep me in Round 2 for the schools I'm looking at, with the exception of Cornell. Would it be worth applying now to Cornell with my current score, in order to stay 2nd Round? Or is it worth facing a lower acceptance rate in Round 3, with a higher(?) GMAT?