Could you please comment on my chances at the following schools for Fall 2008?
INSEAD, NYU, Michigan, UCLA, Cornell, CMU, Yale, USC, Rotman, Ivey
Age: Will be 26 y/o by matriculation
Nationality: Taiwanese Canadian male(lived in Canada since 14)
Languages: fluent in English and Mandarin
Undergrad: Double major Computer Science & Statistics from top school in Canada
GMAT: 1. 690(Q49, V36) taken in 2003 2. 710(Q45, V41) taken yesterday
1. 1 year technology consulting in Taiwan. Had substantial client interaction. Travelled to a few countries in Asia to implement system.
2. 2.5 years Software Development at a large international software company in Canada. Consistently received excellent performance rating. Were involved in important projects, and have experience leading a couple of projects involving many teams. Often have to collaborate with coworkers in other parts of the world. Mentor interns. No promotion yet.
Extra Curriculars: Tutored since high school and throughout university. Applying to be a mentor for Computer Science students at a local university.
Post-MBA goal: Equity research/trading or M/C in North America or Asia
My weakness would be my lack of extra-curricular experience and my rather low GPA. My school is quite tough on grading, and the average is about 2.5, do you think the Adcom will take this into account? I wanted to mitigate this shortcoming by getting a higher score on the GMAT so I retook it yesterday 4 years after my first attempt, and the score was quite disappointing as my math score went down by quite a bit even though my verbal score went up. Do you think I should give GMAT another try? I am usually quite strong in math and I am worried that my new math score(Q45) would raise concerns about my ability to handle the work load. But I am also not quite sure whether it's worth it to retake a 710. One other good reason that I can think of about retaking is that it might help me to get scholarships at the lower ranked schools although I don't know if my assumption is correct.
Could you give me some suggestions on what I can do to increase my odds of admission at the schools that I mentioned and some recommendation on other schools that I should also look into?
Thank you very much!
Apologies for the delayed response. Yes, the schools will take into account and be familiar with your undergrad school's grading policy. I don't think you need to retake the GMAT unless doing so would not involve any additional prep time, since your time might be better spent on other parts of your app (you are right about the GMAT-scholarship connection but I think you'd really need to ace it--like 740-750+--to be eligible for a scholarship at a decent school).
I agree with your appraisal of your weaknesses but would also add leadership since you have only informal leadership at work and none extracurricularly. Because of these weaknesses I think your chances at INSEAD, NYU, Michigan, and UCLA are low (with INSEAD being the biggest reach), modest at Cornell, CMU, and Yale, and probably decent to good at USC, Rotman, and Ivey. Since you are relatively young, if your heart is set on an "elite" school then you might want to consider waiting a year so you can get a promotion or formal leadership role at work and can find a community activity where you could take a *leadership* role (leading people, sitting on the board, etc.). Your Taiwanese-Canadian cultural mix is a nice asset, at least at U.S. schools.
Best of luck,
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
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