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Retake 720 GMAT ?

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Current Student
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Joined: 11 Sep 2012
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Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 08:34
I've read tons of materials already. But 99% discussions about retaking GMAT seem to be aimed for those who haven't applied yet.

I have slightly different situation. I've already applied to number of top-10 schools and failed. Going to apply again next year and wondering whether increasing GMAT really worth it. So my situation:
720 Q50 V37.
6y of experience in single big company (10000+ people) only, however with 2 promotions, in IT management (I'm not from India! :lol:). I believe that AdCom may treat it as very calm monotonous career.

Lets assume that I can spent 2-3 months on increasing my Verbal to 40 and Quant to 51, thus I may expect 750. Though, it's still risky.

Question 1: do you believe Q/V is unbalanced thus I should retake ?
Question 2: do you believe that getting experience in, for example, startups will strengthen my app more than GMAT 750 ?
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Current Student
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Joined: 15 Oct 2012
Posts: 82
Location: Guatemala
Concentration: Operations, Strategy
GMAT 1: 660 Q46 V35
GRE 1: 318 Q160 V158
GRE 2: 318 Q160 V158
GPA: 3.21
WE: Business Development (Aerospace and Defense)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 11 [0], given: 2

Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 08:37
No. Get a ding analysis, the GMAT is only but a part of the application.
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Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 08:59
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720 is a good score and on par with averages at the top 10 - don't see a reason to try to jump higher unless you feel you can get an ROI on it (not sure that's the case). There are slight advantages to getting a 760+ score but if it is going to take 3 months of your life, and $1K in investment, I am not sure it is worth it for some potential benefit....
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Joined: 07 Dec 2011
Posts: 38
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q V0
GPA: 3.55
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 82 [5] , given: 4

Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 09:02
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My personal opinion is that it's not your GMAT that kept you out - you're right at the average for all of the schools that you applied to and they care more about Q than V anyhow. It's easy to get caught up in the quantifiable aspects of your application because they're an easy comparison point, but likely what kept you out is one of the other, intangible, pieces of your application. If I were you I'd take the time you would have spent studying and retaking your GMAT and instead spend the time and money examining the following:
1. Your story: Did you clearly articulate why MBA, why now, and why X school? Did you do it in a meaningful way? This is the number one most important step - make sure you know why you want your MBA and have clearly set your goals post-mba (aim HIGH). Also, do yourself a favor and don't make them something that's totally unrealistic (i.e., work in venture capital if you have zero experience there) that has nothing to do with what you've done in the past
2. Your essays: Let's say you had a story, did you clearly articulate that? Based on your GMAT score, it looks like quant is your strong side - make sure you have tons of people review your essays and that you spend sufficient time writing each of them. General rule of thumb is that each app should take 40 hours minimum.
3. Your recommendations: Spend the next year knocking it out of the park at work and very clearly coach your recommenders when the time comes. I had a weak Q score on the GMAT so I created a PPT for each of my recommenders that coached them on the aspects that I wanted to highlight (for me, namely my quant and analytical skills).
4. Your extracurriculars: What do you do outside of work and why is it important to you? What was your impact? If you don't have something that jumps out - think about what's important to you and why? Make sure your extracurriculars weave seamlessly into your story. You don't need a million activities, you just need one where you make a big impact. If you want to do consulting post-MBA, try doing pro-bono consulting for minority owned businesses or something similar
5. Your interview: Did you reach the interview stage? If not, then your problem is your essays, recommendations, and extracurriculars. If you did make it to the interview for many of the schools, you likely didn't interview too well. The good news is practice makes perfect - find ways to practice. All the questions typically are online beforehand. Create either random flashcards with questions and draw them out of a pile and answer, or practice with a friend. It's really embarrassing, but you need practice to do well

With your score, odds are you invested in tons of GMAT books, do the same for MBA strategy books - I bought like 5 online and they helped me to build out the other parts of my application, especially the story. Every good application starts with a clearly defined story (where you are, where you're going, and why there's a gap between the two that demands an MBA degree)

Anyhow, hopefully that helps! Bottom line: no need to retake your GMAT, it's a waste of your time and $250.
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Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
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Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 09:39
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qwerty2008 wrote:
I've read tons of materials already. But 99% discussions about retaking GMAT seem to be aimed for those who haven't applied yet.

I have slightly different situation. I've already applied to number of top-10 schools and failed. Going to apply again next year and wondering whether increasing GMAT really worth it. So my situation:
720 Q50 V37.
6y of experience in single big company (10000+ people) only, however with 2 promotions, in IT management (I'm not from India! :lol:). I believe that AdCom may treat it as very calm monotonous career.

Lets assume that I can spent 2-3 months on increasing my Verbal to 40 and Quant to 51, thus I may expect 750. Though, it's still risky.

Question 1: do you believe Q/V is unbalanced thus I should retake ?
Question 2: do you believe that getting experience in, for example, startups will strengthen my app more than GMAT 750 ?


Just saw your profile post and saw you applied to H/S/W and LBS. Along with other people's suggestions, have you considered casting a wider net? What are your goals post-MBA? There are many other top schools that can help you get there. Personally, I'm always skeptical of applicants who gun for HSW, because other than prestige, those three schools really don't have that much in common.

Instead of spending more time on the GMAT, spend more time researching schools.
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Current Student
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Joined: 11 Sep 2012
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Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 12:22
CobraKai wrote:

Just saw your profile post and saw you applied to H/S/W and LBS. Along with other people's suggestions, have you considered casting a wider net? What are your goals post-MBA? There are many other top schools that can help you get there. Personally, I'm always skeptical of applicants who gun for HSW, because other than prestige, those three schools really don't have that much in common.

Instead of spending more time on the GMAT, spend more time researching schools.


Wider net is what I'm going to do this time :) I didn't have enough time to apply to other schools.

I'm career switcher and want to continue in finance afterwards. Going to finance without finance experience before MBA is very tough, thus prestige of the school really does matter. I know, prestige itself won't give me job, but it does help anyway.
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Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 766
Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
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Kudos [?]: 311 [0], given: 166

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Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 12:58
qwerty2008 wrote:

Wider net is what I'm going to do this time :) I didn't have enough time to apply to other schools.

I'm career switcher and want to continue in finance afterwards. Going to finance without finance experience before MBA is very tough, thus prestige of the school really does matter. I know, prestige itself won't give me job, but it does help anyway.


You're right that prestige matters, and the dirty truth is that the hardest part of getting a top MBA is getting admitted to a program. Yes, HSW are the most prestigious, but places like Booth, Columbia, Stern, etc are strong in finance and aren't exactly chopped liver either!
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Current Student
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Joined: 07 Dec 2011
Posts: 38
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 680 Q V0
GPA: 3.55
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Kudos [?]: 82 [0], given: 4

Re: Retake 720 GMAT ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2013, 13:41
Honestly, your career switcher story may have been what cost you the admit. I saw from your profile that you said you were interested in finance / VC post-MBA. Career switchers can make AdComs wary, especially when the end goal is something "sexy" like VC or PE and there's no clearly defined path as to why the applicant is looking to go into that field or what attributes they have that would lead there. AdComs are realists and they make you write those career goals essays because they're looking for people who are going to be successful alumni. VC is extremely hard to break into, especially if you have no past experience, even if you're coming from HSW. Basically the career center says that if you don't have a finance background it is a very, very long shot. Admissions may have seen your IT management past and career goals of VC and thought it was too disconnected.

My advice would be to better connect the story (VC is my passion because of X, you can see this because of XYZ things I've done in the past, and here's how I plan to break into the industry). It's fine to have VC as a long-term goal, but be realistic and create an intermediate goal if it makes sense (first to X company/industry to increase my skills and then to VC). Conversely, you could change your story to something that better fits your background / personal history (i.e., if you've always done pro-bono IT consulting as a extracurricular, you could say that your end goal is to start an IT consulting firm for a specific market segment because it marries your professional experience and personal passions). Now, this doesn't mean you need to give up on your VC dreams - but for the admit you may need to better tailor your story for your background. 80% of applicants end of changing what they want to do anyways and there's not going to be someone cross-referencing your application when you show up at VC recruiting events on campus.

Of course, this is all pure speculation, there's 1001 things that could have led to your results, but I know that story and career goals are really important. Just my $0.02.
Re: Retake 720 GMAT ?   [#permalink] 03 Apr 2013, 13:41
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