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Realistically what programs can I consider?

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Realistically what programs can I consider? [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2013, 00:08
I am a 30 year old female from India who has been living and working in the silicon valley for the past 9 years. I attempted the GMAT 2 months back and scored only a 640!!

Professional exp has been 9 years as an engineer in the research and development division at Intel. Steady promotions, Team Lead etc
My Undergrad GPA is 2.87 from Carnegie Mellon in Electrical Engineering
Part-time Grad School while working full-time- Local school - 3.6 GPA in Computer Engineering

My Post MBA goals are Product Marketing, Product management/strategy, Business Development in the same sector/industry since I thoroughly enjoy tech!!
With a low GPA and GMAT score and my age, I am not sure what is the best course of action. I can re-attempt the GMAT and try and pull my score to a 700+.

Can I aim for full-time programs or are part-time programs better for me? Some programs that interest me are the Berkeley PT MBA, UCLA Full-time, Duke Full time, Ross Full time etc.
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Re: Realistically what programs can I consider? [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2013, 06:16
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Hi Deepa,

Given your GPA(s), I think taking the GMAT again wouldn't hurt you. Since you're 30, your undergrad GPA is a little less relevant but because it's so low, it'll matter.

Since you're interested in the same industry, are doing well in your current job, and have the profile specifics that you do, part time may be a better option and a better bet. Even if you were to improve the GMAT to closer to the 700 - 720 range (which you would need to hit for the top schools), your GPA would still be a red flag and at that point you'd have to paint an extremely convincing story as to why you want an MBA. A part time program can provide the academics, pedigree, and network you're looking for without the experiences but since you'll be getting those (presumably) from work, that shouldn't be a big issue.

When it comes to PT vs FT, the real question is: "will a FT program help me far more than a PT program". For most people, that answer is yes. They're either looking to switch industries, or start their own things, or get a network in a new region, etc. For others who are looking to stay in their industry but gain a strategic mindset with mild to moderate career changes, a PT program is generally the best "bang for your buck".

Hope that helps!

Bhavik
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Re: Realistically what programs can I consider? [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2013, 11:53
Hi Bhavik,

Thanks for your reply. Is my GPA a red flag even though it is from a top 10 engineering program in the US? Does the ranking of the school offset my GPA?
Also, what PT programs would I be competitive at? I am looking into UCLA Part-time, Haas etc

Thanks,
Deepa
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Re: Realistically what programs can I consider? [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2013, 13:42
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Hi Deepa,

While the caliber of the undergrad institution does play in, it only does so much. In other words, it would help equalize someone with a 3.2 at a really difficult school with an applicant who has a 3.5/3.6 at a lesser ranked program. And while it will help you, it can only help so much. Keep in mind, schools look at the GPA and GMAT to do two things. For one, it impacts rankings so schools do care about how you affect the average, Secondly, they want to know you can handle the academic rigor of an MBA. The requirements in a PT program are generally lower than a FT program so that will help! I'm not saying it's going to kill your application, merely that it will take a concerted effort to put forward a story that lets the adcom know you've got what it takes to handle their program.

As for programs, I believe you're interested in programs regionally located close to you? In which case Haas and UCLA are great options. If you're willing to travel, Kellogg has a fantastic PT program that could really help you make the switch to product management, etc. I know certain BUs within IBM are open to their employees relocating and potentially even offering tuition assistance so it's worth a shot. You could also add Ross to that list for the same reason.

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Re: Realistically what programs can I consider? [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2013, 15:29
Hi Deepa,

A GMAT score of 640 is really low. It would be difficult-but not entirely impossible- to get into top business schools with this score.
We could better comment on your chances, and the schools you could get if you provide us more information on your work experience and extracurricular activities. If I am assuming correctly, you must have rich work experience at Intel with stories of leadership, result orientation, team skills, and ability to work hard. Carnegie and Intel are good brands on your resume.
Though your work experience is on a higher side, you need not worry about it as we have seen people with even 10+ years of experience. What matters is how you showcase your experience in your essays. If you can show a strong experience over the last 9 years with increasing responsibility and results, I think it should be fine.

If I were you, I would retake GMAT, and get a score above 700. It would increase your chances at the top business schools. Full-time MBA is anytime better than a part-time MBA. Full-time is expensive and risky but the rewards are higher. I don’t think it will be very difficult for you to get into any part-time program. If I were you, I would aim for a full-time program.

Good luck!
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Re: Realistically what programs can I consider? [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2013, 10:44
Deepa, I think there is a lot to do even if the GMAT is not 750…. Did you see this? http://www.aringo.com/low_gmat.htm
Re: Realistically what programs can I consider?   [#permalink] 07 Jul 2013, 10:44
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