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MER Answers MBA -Related Questions- Week 8

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Welcome to week 8 of our weekly series of answering prospective MBA applicants' queries about various aspects of the complex and challenging MBA application process, including their eligibility for the program, age, GMAT, GPA, waitlist, employment gap, academic gap, job switch, second MBA, and much more.

This candidate asked if he should retake the GMAT after 710 to boost his chances for his target schools.

Hi Poonam,

Please find my profile details below:

I have an engineering degree in Robotics and Automation from ________College. I have a GPA of +9, and my GMAT is 710 (37/49). I am an analyst with McKinsey at __________________. I have 3.5 years of work experience in India and Japan with an industry focus on Automotive.

EC's:  In school, I was a national-level swimmer (a few medals + record) and had international exposure through robotics. In college, I was the best outgoing student and part of the College Racing Team.

Community work: I volunteered with Indo-European impact investment advisory (small firm - initial days) for 1.5 years. Later, I also volunteered with a sports NGO working on consulting assignment (~6 months).

My target programs are HBS, Kellogg, and Booth. Of course, I could add similar schools such as Wharton, Stanford, etc. to those buckets during my application, but the above are my preferred ones.

I have a few questions:

1. What do you think about my profile?

2 . Are the above practical choices considering my profile and GMAT score?

Depending on the above answer, I would either trade off on my preferred schools or retake the GMAT.

Please advise,

Praveen (not real name)

Our Answers:

Hi Praveen,

Thanks for your email.

Here are answers to your questions ( in blue font):

  1. What are your thoughts about my profile?

You have a strong GPA and good work experience, including international experience. You have been involved in volunteer work and have been actively involved in extra-curricular activities in school (national level swimmer in school and college). You have gained international experience in your 3.5 years of work experience.  Overall, you have a decent profile. However, the details provided didn't give me an idea of your career growth, accomplishments, and impact at work.

  1. Are the above schools practical choices considering my profile and GMAT score?

Though you have a 700 + GMAT, it may not be competitive enough from an Indian applicant's perspective. Given the recent trends in the GMAT expectations from Indian applicants as well as the application results of my clients, I would encourage you to retake the GMAT and aim for 750-770 GMAT. A stellar GMAT will give you a competitive edge to apply to these top-ranking schools.

That being said, GPA and GMAT evidence your ability to handle the program's academic rigor. And this is just one aspect of the MBA applicants' profile that the admission committee will look at to evaluate them. Therefore, to stand out from the crowd, you also need to have the following:

  • an excellent resume that demonstrates your career growth, leadership skills, and the impact you have made on your organization
  • brilliantly crafted essays that reflect your motivation, values, clarity of goals, potential contribution to the program, and personal and professional stories that demonstrate your well-rounded personality
  • and recommendation letters that sync up with your essays.

To learn more about what school selection and fit with the schools, you may read the following blogs:

10 Things to do before Round 1 Deadlines

Selecting the Right B Schools

I hope it helps,


Stay tuned for another MBA query next week.

Links to Previous Weeks' Blog Posts:

MER Answers MBA-Related Questions

Related Resources

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

Success stories of MER students in their own words

Case Studies

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped hundreds of applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

You may email Poonam at with questions about your application for the 2022-23 admission cycle.

This blog was first published in myessayreview.