Ok, regarding GMAT: the schools tell you everything you need to know about how competitive your GMAT is. The question is: are you willing to listen to the data? (Ok: actually, this needs to be modified in light of the GMAT restructuring -- schools are signalling that they themselves are trying to see how to use the Integrated Reasoning sections see Veritas
Blog on Stanford and precisely this issue, from august 2012.
Still, the logic stands: schools offer you guidance; the question is can you interpret it rationally (instead of letting your emotions and ambition get in the way of your cognitive/rational faculties. The key point to remember is that GMAT is not an attribute to be maximized. Of course all things being equal a higher GMAT can't hurt, but that's the point: things are never all equal. The AdComm reader is extremely [u]
good at making trade-offs.
Education is rarely a liability (except, perhaps 'parallel degrees like a M.Fin). Your weak grades? A good GMAT can offset that.
I tend to be somewhat severe about these things, but I really find it hard to term developing a school list in the absence of a GMAT a "legitimate effort" at developing such a list. Test prep is sensible but still not an adequate substitute for the 'adrenaline rush' of the real test day, and many a quite "smart" & impressive candidate has an awkward first date with that adrenaline rush. Without a real GMAT, you're just talking about the fact that you recognize prestige as a phenomenon. Once you have a REAL GMAT, then at least there is a data-point around which to build some working assumptions.
In terms of community service, be realistic: people can fill a resume with this that and the other. It does NOT mean the reader has to believe them. Far better to tell one or two community engagements as statements of your values (because your free time is valuable, how you spend it is an indication of something) than it is to be all scatter shot. Sports may have offered you leadership/teamwork opportunities - but beware: we skeptical readers also know that sometimes what you're claiming as your 'organizational accomplishment' for the group is really something that was fobbed off onto you because no one else wanted to do it and you're a sucker for a thankless task and some encouragement. be sure to tell us why you chose mentally disabled among many worthy causes . Because yes, at times, things can seem a bit cynical...
Finally: be sure you specify what you do at work. as written in your profile, it's pretty breezy -- and that is the thing about family business scenarios. Sometimes you get someone with amazing early experiences; other times you get someone who's unfocused but because of dad has a place to go and a good "cover". Be sure you credibly position yourself to be in the former category. And while you're thinking along those lines: what do you want from your MBA? you'd be surprised how often people can't answer that clearly -- and it needs to be clear to you, for you can't persuade someone else of something you don't yourself understand.
Nothing is worrisome in what you've disclosed to us; but I think you'll need to work hard and dig deeper to credibly assert what you wish to.
Hope that helps.
Darren S. Kowitt, Columbia'97
Veritas Prep | Admissions Consultant
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