I submitted my application to Columbia GSB yesterday and am hesitating if I should apply to more B-schools in R2 or retake the GMAT first.
In addition to Columbia, I am targeting NYU, Oxford, Cambridge and INSEAD. Perhaps Georgetown and Yale as backups. I want to be on the East Coast or in a one-year program in Europe.
My GMAT is low on quant (660, Q36 45%, V44 97%).
I know I can improve the quant score if I retake it but there is no way I can do it till the end of R2 at my target schools. Should I target R3?
My background is somewhat unconventional: female, Russian and Israeli, political science undergrad degree from Russia (GPA 3.76), master's degree in international relations from a top US university (GPA 3.31).
- Very strong extracurriculars (started and led a student movement)
- 1 year working full-time for a non-profit before leaving Russia for the US to go to grad school
- Moved to Israel after grad school and spent just under a year working for the Minister of Finance (now Prime Minister) as a first job in the country
- a short stint in investor relations at a VC
- 3 years in international high-tech marketing (startup and a small consultancy).
I speak 5 languages and want to go into management consulting.
Would much appreciate your advice.
Depending on your target schools. (Assuming you want to go for a top 15 US school), I would recommend you retake the GMAT for the following reasons:
a) Your Master's GPA and your quant score bring into question your capability to handle the academic rigor of the program. In the US, a Master's degree is considered "cake" compared to an undergrad degree so the fact that your grad gpa is < ugrad GPA is concerning
b) I think you have some work you need to do to "tailor" your story to convince an adcom why you can handle the work in light that a) Your background in a non-quant field b) your quant score isn't great. You want to reduce the total number of things that you have to try to explain. So, at this moment, just based on your brief text, you'd have to explain (more than "traditional" candidates). Why MBA, why you can handle the academic rigor, convince me why you're a good fit. Your goal should be to remove the question mark regarding "why i can handle your program". A better quant score would help that.
c) If you are targeting round 3 this year, you need to (probably) be "above average" compared to the rest of your pool for the target schools. It's hard to turnaround work experience in a short period of time, but you can turn around your GMAT with concentrated focus.
If I were you, I might retake the GMAT, and try to focus on R1 of next fall, unless you're hell bent on getting somewhere for fall 2010.
I think you have a shot, but I think your chance will get significantly stronger with an improved GMAT quant score.
Just my 2 cents.