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I gave my GMAT a couple of weeks back and got a score of 690(Q48,V36,5.0). I'm considering retaking the GMAT, but wanted to know if a 20-30 point increase is worth the effort.
My Profile I'm a 26 year old Male, Indian IT professional with around 5 years of experience in the industry. I realize that this is an extremely common profile and, a highly competitive one at that, and that is what worries me about my score.
I joined my company right out of college. For about 3.5 years I was an individual contributor and over the last year and half I've been a lead. As a Quality Engineering lead, I have 3-4 people in my team. Also, I've often gone beyond my role description and led the development team as well, worked with the project management to improve processes within the team etc. I will have recommendations vouching for this.
Recently I've also been given an opportunity to be part of an initiative of the company to improve Total Customer Experience. As part of this initiative, I'll be working on bridging the gap between engineering (my function) and the Customer Support folks. I see this as an opportunity to work across functions and act as a relationship manager between the 2 functions to help improve customer experience with my company.
At work, I've also taken the initiative to setup a charter of ToastMasters, an international organisation that helps people build public speaking and leadership skills.
Other than this I've been actively involved with an NGO working on urban governance and electoral issues since late 2008. I was involved in their nationwide campaign to encourage youth to register to vote for the 2009 Indian elections. I went to different companies and colleges in Bangalore and spoke to people on importance of voting in a democracy and got them to register to vote. I was also part of the their outreach core team which planned such activities. The NGO had a follow up campaign, more focussed to a city which involved getting people from around the city to act as volunteers to clean up the voter rolls withing their neighborhood. I helped create the training module for these volunteers and also conducted many training sessions. I continue to be involved with the organisation.
Post MBA Plan I want to move away from the engineering function of technology firms. I want to be the one making strategic decisions and direction for a product by working and collaborating with multiple stake holders. I realize that my current skill set and education doesn't equip me for that. After an MBA I would want to be involved in Product Management and Development of a Technology Company.
I'm keen on applying to ISB, CMU and would also like to know schools which have a bias towards technology and would fit my interests. I want to know what my chances are with a 690 and my profile. If not, what can I do to improve my chances.
I want to focus on two specific things from your inquiry:
1. Yes, you should retake the GMAT if it is within your power to score higher. 690 is an adequate score and is not something that will "keep you out" of most programs. But there is a magic line at 700 that you would much rather be above than below. The 10 points between a 690 and 700 are the most important 10 points on the entire spectrum. If you had a 710 and thought you could score 730, I'd tell you that scholarships might be impacted and sure, go for it, but don't sweat it. But 690 to 700 or 710? You have to gun for it.
2. You are about to fall victim to the "why an MBA?" trap. Most applicants take that question so literally that they admit weakness and write themselves right out of an admit letter. Why an MBA is not "I don't have what it takes to meet my goals." If that is your stance, why would a recruiter hire you for a summer internship (which happens literally weeks into the MBA experience)? And if a recruiter won't hire the YOU of right now, then a business school won't admit you. So you have to flip the analysis. If you want to move from the technical side of things to the strategic side, you have to show *that you are already doing that.* Maybe not formally, maybe not all the time, but that you are doing that. That you innovate and lead and that you have transferable skills that would make you AMAZING at strategy and business development. Everyone involved in this process - from admissions officers to recruiters - want to hear what you *can* do, not what you can't. Now, I might be overreacting to your inquiry and maybe you were not going in this direction, but it seems as if you might have been. Don't. Focus on highlighting how much you have developed/learned/displayed in your work, that you have shocked even yourself with outside-the-box thinking, that you are a shining star, that you are ready to formally pursue your passions and the next challenge. Then discuss how an MBA finishes you - it adds some key knowledge here, a dash of network here, some pedigree of over here. Business school is a place to be polished, not transformed.
If you can find that correct tone and career vision, you should be able to fare pretty well. I would also recommend playing "Demographic Derby" (as articulated here: http://educatedoutcomes.wordpress.com/2 ... ion-derby/) with your school search and focusing on articulating personal passions, interests, and personalities so as to differentiate yourself from the many other applicants who share your demographic background and career goals.