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To retake or not to retake (the GMAT)

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To retake or not to retake (the GMAT) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 15:33
Where to start-

The profile:
2.92 GPA at Texas A&M- Finance Major
Worked 40 hours a week in college
Multiple extra curriculars in college
640 then a 710 (a month later)on the gmat with very little emphasis on improving the verbal score. (49 Q, 39V)
4.0 GPA in a Finance Program at Boston College. I am currently taking a break from the program trying to figure out if I want to continue it or go the FT MBA route.

Work:
5 years in the Navy and counting
Extensive leadership roles
Lots of international experience (travel)

Community Involvement:
Tutored Special Ed students at local elementary school
Special Olympics

Why MBA?
Career Transition to IB then PE or VC


Target Schools: Columbia, NYU, Wharton, Duke, UVA, UNC
Also: My spouse is targetting the same schools

I feel like I can improve the GMAT score by at least 30 points...maybe 40. I took the test last August and September after coming back from deployment with very little time to study.

I feel like I can up the score if I focus on the verbal this time around-something I didn't do enough of last time. I am having a little trouble getting back into GMAT mode after a year of not looking at the material.

So the question is-

Will a 740 make that much of a difference over a 710? With the exception of the Under grad GPA, I feel my profile is fairly strong. That said, I feel the Grad GPA helps mitigate some of those academic concerns. I have put the MSF on hold b/c I don't think it will be that easy to transition to an IB from an MSF program.

Also, I have a few buddies who have gotten into schools like Wharton, Columbia and Kellogg with similar stats.

What do you think?
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 17:28
Your GMAT is around the average for these schools and your GPA is below average (below the middle 80% in some cases). Your undergraduate school doesn't have a powerhouse reputation (no offense, just stating the facts). From an academic standpoint, you'll be below average to average at those schools, so you'll have to make up for it in the rest of your application.

Many schools love people from the military - especially individuals that have had leadership roles. The other stuff you mentioned seems to be right in line with what top schools are looking for. I'd say that you have a reasonable shot right now.

So, your question is whether to take the GMAT again. You don't have to, you'll probably be competitive as is, but if you can improve 30-50 points your application will be stronger. If you have the time to take it again without letting GMAT preparation cut into your applications, it makes sense to maximize each element of your app (including GMAT). If you think studying for the GMAT will hurt your essays, or if you don't think you can find the motivation to prepare for the GMAT again, then don't waste your time.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 17:52
Thanks, pelihu.


About what I expected. I really want to get into a top program. Several friends of mine have gotten into top programs with similar stats.

The other consideration I have is my wife.

She is trying to get into similar programs. Her profile is a little better. No GMAT yet.

Graduated from Stanford with a degree in Civil Engineering. Native Hawaiian (similar to native American). Played Soccer at Stanford. Has done well in her career. No GMAT yet, though.


So, we'll see. We want to do the MBA together.

UVA...seems to be very military friendly....Another friend was waitlisted there last year with a 620 and a degree from Tulane.

By the way.... this is personal opinion based on the wife...Ivy's and Stanford don't really give anything lower than B's which really inflates the grades. Also, I don't think the classes are that much tougher based on what she has told me.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 18:18
Personally, and this is just me.... with a 4.0 GPA on an alternate transcript and a 710 GPA, I wouldn't retake it. The 4.0 will speak more to your current abilities than the 2.9 will, and it makes for a good argument that you can handle a more demanding and rigorous curriculum than that of your current school. Unless you have plenty of time on your hands, id sooner focus on essays.

Plus, I agree with Pelihu, schools seem to gobble up the "You and the Navy. Full Speed Ahead"/"Its not just a job, its an adventure" backgrounds.
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2007, 19:00
I didn't really know what to make of that 4.0 GPA. Is that a degree program, or is it something else? If those are regular courses, rather than some sore of continuing education seminar, then that would help.

Regarding your wife, you didn't mention her GPA, but that Stanford gives her a huge leg up compared to you (sorry, just stating the facts again). I know all about the grade inflation there, I went to one of the tough-grading big State U's in California (UCLA), but it doesn't matter. The fact that Stanford undergrad is super-ultra-selective means that her degree will weigh heavily.

That said, I agree with Rhyme that you are in range right now. My thought is that it's still early in the summer, and you have time. A 750 may help your application and it also might help you get some cash from some of these schools too, and it will look good on your resume when you go into recruiting (these points have been discussed extensively elsewhere). The military angle is extremely helpful. You're right that UVA is very military friendly. If you guys decide to visit, drop me a message. I'm starting there in the fall.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 03:02
Thanks for the input guys.

It is a 30 credit hour degree program (10 courses). Its pretty much the finance portion of an MBA. I have 3 courses completed. I just put it on hold after the first summer session b/c I didn't want to get too deep into the degree.

Pelihu

I do like your point about retaking the gmat for possible scholarships...although, I am not sure I have a shot at those scholarships.

You are right about the wife. Only thing she really has against her is her age (24) and not too much leadership. She also has taken the GMAT and so we don't know where she will fall out there.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 06:03
With a 710 you can spend the time working on other things to make your application great, without trying to increase the three character number.

Once above 700, it doesn't really count for much difference as to whether you would get in or not. Scholarships? Maybe. Counteracting a low GPA? Maybe. But add to a solid application - I don't really think it does that much.

Time better spent working on essays that on sentence correction.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 08:01
Unless you can increase it by +30 its probably not worth it. A school would look at a 10-20 point increase as just you tested slightly better not that you really improved drastically enough. If you can get it to a 750 it would surely help but then again what if you do 20 points less or stay the same.

Coming from a military background helps, especially if you have a rare job in the military like fighter pilot, helicopter pilot, navy seal, navy nuc, personal assistant to some 3 star admiral..something that shows leadership and provides very interesting stories and a unique background. Military also helps since it is clear if you are advancing at a quick, normal, or below average pace. Schools will have an idea of whether you should be a LTJG, LT, or LT commander at your age. So if 90% of the people with your years in are a LTJG and you are a full LT then it shows you are an exceptional leader. However, it would probably work the otherway if you are still an ensign.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 08:57
Unfortunately, I am not coming from a "glamorous" job. However, I have had much more leadership experience with the my past jobs than most of the jobs you mentioned. Believe it or not, pilots leadership positions don't really come until the LCDR level(10 years). Especially, the fighter guys.

One more thing, in the Navy every ENS is promoted to LTJG at exactly the 2 year point. LTJGs are promoted to LTs at the 4 year mark. Less than 1% don't make the LTJG or LT level usually due to misconduct.

LCDR comes around the 10 year mark and it really is the first oppurtunity to get promoted early. That said, most LCDRs don't get out. They have already spent 10 years in, so they figure they are halfway to retirement.

The ones that do get out, are forced out.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 09:11
navy01 wrote:
Unfortunately, I am not coming from a "glamorous" job. However, I have had much more leadership experience with the my past jobs than most of the jobs you mentioned. Believe it or not, pilots leadership positions don't really come until the LCDR level(10 years). Especially, the fighter guys.

One more thing, in the Navy every ENS is promoted to LTJG at exactly the 2 year point. LTJGs are promoted to LTs at the 4 year mark. Less than 1% don't make the LTJG or LT level usually due to misconduct.

LCDR comes around the 10 year mark and it really is the first oppurtunity to get promoted early. That said, most LCDRs don't get out. They have already spent 10 years in, so they figure they are halfway to retirement.

The ones that do get out, are forced out.


Yea but did the LCDR LTJG or LT make it ENS before the QB ended up DO'd on the TO cause of the TRO she got against him?

I have no idea :)
  [#permalink] 12 Jul 2007, 09:11
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