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B-School Chances: Low GPA, Moderate GMAT

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B-School Chances: Low GPA, Moderate GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2017, 17:17
Hello,

Applying to B-School in Jan/Feb. My stats are shaky but I'm at a point in my career where I'm too specialized and could use some help in the soft skills department. Was hoping you guys could give some honest feedback of my chances:

Nationality
US

Ethnicity
Hispanic (South America)

Undergraduate
BS Marketing and Finance/ BA Economics

Work Experience: 5 years Specialized in Digital Marketing
Retention Manager at a Startup (1.5 years - current)
Email Specialist at mid size Ecommerce (1.7 years) - led the Team transitionally for 6 months
Email Coordinator and Analyst at one of the world's leading news organizations (10 months - laid off...common in industry, unfortunately)
Marketing Associate for a regional business (9 months...couldn't afford due to low pay and expensive commute)
Marketing Assistant at a top B2B insurance company - 7 months (PT 25hr/wk during college)
3 college internships

GMAT: 650 (Q38/V42) --> retaking Dec 30th but I'm skeptical if I can get higher than that (I've taken it twice before, neither I accepted post exam as they were below 580).
GPA: 2.67 (many reasons. Have a thread on this too...)


Current Extra-curriculars
Volunteer tutoring and mentoring of local students

College Extra-curriculars
VITA - 3 years
Habitat For Humanity - 1.5 years
Served 3 leadership roles, including VP, Treasurer, and Associate VP
Involved in 9 different clubs

Applying to 14 different schools:
Michigan
Northwestern
Indiana
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Emory
Cornell
Berkley
Washington Olin
Rochester
Ohio State
Broad
Penn State
Notre Dame


If it helps, I also formally visited 7 of these schools already, and intend on visiting another 2 or 3 once the GMAT retake is over with.

---------------

My question has a few parts to it:

1) Am I better off setting my realistic expectations, or should I reach?
1a) In the Consortium app, would I have a better shot if I list a school as #1 instead of #3 or 4? One of the schools is ranked around 30-40 but I'm actually interested in it the most. If it increases my chances I would put them down as #1 but I feel I should put a reach prestige school (michigan, cornell)
2) Is it possible to get rejected from all 14 colleges, or do you think I have a good shot as-is with at least one of the schools and probability is in my favor?
3) Would I absolutely need a 700+ GMAT to get into grad school? If I don't improve my scores on my Dec 30th test, would I be better served just submitting my apps as-is or aim to take the GRE late Feb and apply for the March deadlines?
3a) Are my stats so bad that I should consider PT as the only feasible option?

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B-School Chances: Low GPA, Moderate GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 23:00
Hi greatmightypoo,

You can’t change your GPA (you can explain it though, as you said), but can offset some of the impact by improving your GMAT score. You, of course, are aware of this.

One positive I see is your industry, which isn’t common among MBA applicants, but you need to make sure your career goals make use of this experience. Differentiate yourself through your professional experience. (For example, ‘email specialist’ is not the best way to put some of your experience. It probably involves optimization, conversion, marketing, and analytics.) How others in the class can benefit your experience? And second, school visits would help you in writing more personalized applications.

If you don’t improve your score and if you don't write the test again, I would say go ahead and still apply, playing to your strengths. But would you be able to turn in so many applications (and do justice to them), given you’re also taking GMAT?
_________________

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New post 16 Nov 2017, 03:46
greatmightypoo wrote:
Hello,

Applying to B-School in Jan/Feb. My stats are shaky but I'm at a point in my career where I'm too specialized and could use some help in the soft skills department. Was hoping you guys could give some honest feedback of my chances:

Nationality
US

Ethnicity
Hispanic (South America)

Undergraduate
BS Marketing and Finance/ BA Economics

Work Experience: 5 years Specialized in Digital Marketing
Retention Manager at a Startup (1.5 years - current)
Email Specialist at mid size Ecommerce (1.7 years) - led the Team transitionally for 6 months
Email Coordinator and Analyst at one of the world's leading news organizations (10 months - laid off...common in industry, unfortunately)
Marketing Associate for a regional business (9 months...couldn't afford due to low pay and expensive commute)
Marketing Assistant at a top B2B insurance company - 7 months (PT 25hr/wk during college)
3 college internships

GMAT: 650 (Q38/V42) --> retaking Dec 30th but I'm skeptical if I can get higher than that (I've taken it twice before, neither I accepted post exam as they were below 580).
GPA: 2.67 (many reasons. Have a thread on this too...)


Current Extra-curriculars
Volunteer tutoring and mentoring of local students

College Extra-curriculars
VITA - 3 years
Habitat For Humanity - 1.5 years
Served 3 leadership roles, including VP, Treasurer, and Associate VP
Involved in 9 different clubs

Applying to 14 different schools:
Michigan
Northwestern
Indiana
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Emory
Cornell
Berkley
Washington Olin
Rochester
Ohio State
Broad
Penn State
Notre Dame


If it helps, I also formally visited 7 of these schools already, and intend on visiting another 2 or 3 once the GMAT retake is over with.

---------------

My question has a few parts to it:

1) Am I better off setting my realistic expectations, or should I reach?
1a) In the Consortium app, would I have a better shot if I list a school as #1 instead of #3 or 4? One of the schools is ranked around 30-40 but I'm actually interested in it the most. If it increases my chances I would put them down as #1 but I feel I should put a reach prestige school (michigan, cornell)
2) Is it possible to get rejected from all 14 colleges, or do you think I have a good shot as-is with at least one of the schools and probability is in my favor?
3) Would I absolutely need a 700+ GMAT to get into grad school? If I don't improve my scores on my Dec 30th test, would I be better served just submitting my apps as-is or aim to take the GRE late Feb and apply for the March deadlines?
3a) Are my stats so bad that I should consider PT as the only feasible option?


Well let's start with the top. My take is that since you are late in the game (Jan.Feb is round three, where there is less than 10 percent of the seats left at any B-school), since anyway I would advise you delaying till R1 next year, why not spend three months studying and retake your GMAT?

I mean even with your 650 you can do well as a Hispanic American applicant with fantastic volunteer work. But still, applying r3 is a bit of a folly, unless there are some really strong reasons for why this year would be much much better than next for you to apply.

Your stats aren't so bad, and I would not suggest the PT route unless you are sure you don't want to attend a FT program because you want to work or something like that.

What do you think?
_________________

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Founder, Admissionado

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New post 16 Nov 2017, 07:07
JonAdmissionado wrote:
Well let's start with the top. My take is that since you are late in the game (Jan.Feb is round three, where there is less than 10 percent of the seats left at any B-school), since anyway I would advise you delaying till R1 next year, why not spend three months studying and retake your GMAT?

I mean even with your 650 you can do well as a Hispanic American applicant with fantastic volunteer work. But still, applying r3 is a bit of a folly, unless there are some really strong reasons for why this year would be much much better than next for you to apply.

Your stats aren't so bad, and I would not suggest the PT route unless you are sure you don't want to attend a FT program because you want to work or something like that.

What do you think?

Yeah, that's what I meant by Jan.Feb and applying for Rd 2 (if my stats are good enough as-is).

My thought process is: Consortium takes care of 6/14 of the apps. Only Rochester (and Kellogg but I'm undecided if I should apply there) in addition to Consortium is due 1/5, That means I need to get ready those apps by then (which I've already drafted some essays in addition to that 1 week between GMAT and when apps are due). The rest are evenly broken down on 1/15, 1/21, and 2/1 (Ohio State doesn't really have a date but I'd put them in the 2/1 bucket since they're a low safety). Most likely I won't apply to UNC and leave them and a few I haven't listed (Virginia, Georgia Tech, McCombs, CMU) to try Round 3 if I've gotten rejections so far or haven't even gotten any interviews.


What do you think? Should I modify the plan with more reaches, or focus on ones I'm interested in earlier, maybe leave more schools for Rd 3 in case I don't get in? Also, what should I do about the Consortium listing? No matter what I'm going to apply for the Consortium as-is on the 5th, but it's more about how to arrange the school listing and making the most of my stats (assuming my GMAT doesn't improve. If it doe get a 700+, I'll likely throw another reach like Tuck)

Right now I have it as:
1) Cornell
2) Indiana
3) Wisconsin
4) Emory
5) Michigan
6) Berkley

I liked Wisconsin a lot after visiting, especially the program director for Brand. I would put them as #1 if it helped me get in, but I also know that Cornell has a much better brand (as does Indiana which I also was impressed with).

About waiting another year. Personally, I don't see that as an option. Call me impatient but the thought of waiting almost 2 years to start grad school would make me not do it. Right now I don't have any personal commitments holding me back. 2 years from now? Who knows...Plus, I'd essentially have a 'dead' year, as the position I'd get post-MBA leads to my new career most likely. If I don't get to a decent FT program that gets me to my goals, then I might as well do a local PT and just do a ton of legwork to get to where I want to go. Plus, I've already told work and we're gonna have a transition plan regardless around June.

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New post 16 Nov 2017, 14:22
99Colleges wrote:
Hi greatmightypoo,

You can’t change your GPA (you can explain it though, as you said), but can offset some of the impact by improving your GMAT score. You, of course, are aware of this.

One positive I see is your industry, which isn’t common among MBA applicants, but you need to make sure your career goals make use of this experience. Differentiate yourself through your professional experience. (For example, ‘email specialist’ is not the best way to put some of your experience. It probably involves optimization, conversion, marketing, and analytics.) How others in the class can benefit your experience? And second, school visits would help you in writing more personalized applications.

If you don’t improve your score and if you don't write the test again, I would say go ahead and still apply, playing to your strengths. But would you be able to turn in so many applications (and do justice to them), given you’re also taking GMAT?

Thanks! I'm planning on doing Brand Management post MBA (hence why Indiana and Wisconsin are so high), which translates to what I do to a good degree. Given that most big Branding CPG's are just getting their feet wet in the digital space, I think my experience would mesh really well in giving insights into that world, especially as they start direct selling.

Yep, a lot of what I do is optimization, A/B Testing, copywriting, metrics/reporting, SQL mining, project management, etc. Wear a lot of hats even in big firms, which is really cool. Email is the most underrated of all the Digital specializations, and the most difficult. Problem is, the trajectory is completely unclear. I've been able to become a lead in 5 years, but at the cost of becoming highly specialized, and thus already peaked for the most part. There's tibits of growth and always an industry-specific challenge when jumping to a new role, but fundamentally what I do will just evolve with tech and standards (ie: the concept of 'Retention', meaning handling the Email + app touchpoints).

School visits were fantastic, both so they remember who I am (like you said) and to know the kind of program I'd enjoy the most (felt Kellogg and Ross were too big. Seemed like undergrad all over again). Problem with school visits is I'm already forgetting who I spoke to, especially the Weekend visits with so many faces. What's the best way to address that in the application?

How I manage both? By not having a life lol. My commute is 1 hr each way, so sometimes I work on essays or GMAT study on my phone. Work 9-5 and study after work for about 3 hours per day (my boss knows and he's very supportive) and weekends about 6 hrs. Writing is a strength of mine so I'm not super worried about my essays. I mess up on tenses but otherwise, I'm a very fast and quick-witted writer. I've been the go-to writer on our blogs in my current and last position for that reason,

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New post 17 Nov 2017, 19:19
greatmightypoo wrote:
99Colleges wrote:

School visits were fantastic, both so they remember who I am (like you said) and to know the kind of program I'd enjoy the most (felt Kellogg and Ross were too big. Seemed like undergrad all over again). Problem with school visits is I'm already forgetting who I spoke to, especially the Weekend visits with so many faces. What's the best way to address that in the application?


Take out stuff from the school visit that supports what you want to achieve from the program – career goals, soft skills, extracurricular activities etc. It should sit in your essays with a purpose, and not for ticking any checkbox.
_________________

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Consulting| Contact at anil@99colleges.com for your queries on MBA Admissions

And if you couldn’t make it earlier, get a free ding analysis

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Re: B-School Chances: Low GPA, Moderate GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2017, 07:14
greatmightypoo wrote:
JonAdmissionado wrote:
Well let's start with the top. My take is that since you are late in the game (Jan.Feb is round three, where there is less than 10 percent of the seats left at any B-school), since anyway I would advise you delaying till R1 next year, why not spend three months studying and retake your GMAT?

I mean even with your 650 you can do well as a Hispanic American applicant with fantastic volunteer work. But still, applying r3 is a bit of a folly, unless there are some really strong reasons for why this year would be much much better than next for you to apply.

Your stats aren't so bad, and I would not suggest the PT route unless you are sure you don't want to attend a FT program because you want to work or something like that.

What do you think?

Yeah, that's what I meant by Jan.Feb and applying for Rd 2 (if my stats are good enough as-is).

My thought process is: Consortium takes care of 6/14 of the apps. Only Rochester (and Kellogg but I'm undecided if I should apply there) in addition to Consortium is due 1/5, That means I need to get ready those apps by then (which I've already drafted some essays in addition to that 1 week between GMAT and when apps are due). The rest are evenly broken down on 1/15, 1/21, and 2/1 (Ohio State doesn't really have a date but I'd put them in the 2/1 bucket since they're a low safety). Most likely I won't apply to UNC and leave them and a few I haven't listed (Virginia, Georgia Tech, McCombs, CMU) to try Round 3 if I've gotten rejections so far or haven't even gotten any interviews.


What do you think? Should I modify the plan with more reaches, or focus on ones I'm interested in earlier, maybe leave more schools for Rd 3 in case I don't get in? Also, what should I do about the Consortium listing? No matter what I'm going to apply for the Consortium as-is on the 5th, but it's more about how to arrange the school listing and making the most of my stats (assuming my GMAT doesn't improve. If it doe get a 700+, I'll likely throw another reach like Tuck)

Right now I have it as:
1) Cornell
2) Indiana
3) Wisconsin
4) Emory
5) Michigan
6) Berkley

I liked Wisconsin a lot after visiting, especially the program director for Brand. I would put them as #1 if it helped me get in, but I also know that Cornell has a much better brand (as does Indiana which I also was impressed with).

About waiting another year. Personally, I don't see that as an option. Call me impatient but the thought of waiting almost 2 years to start grad school would make me not do it. Right now I don't have any personal commitments holding me back. 2 years from now? Who knows...Plus, I'd essentially have a 'dead' year, as the position I'd get post-MBA leads to my new career most likely. If I don't get to a decent FT program that gets me to my goals, then I might as well do a local PT and just do a ton of legwork to get to where I want to go. Plus, I've already told work and we're gonna have a transition plan regardless around June.



Well I hear you, but allow me to do something unwise, that you may not like... but I still think you should wait. Think of it from an economic perspective. Let's say for arguments sake, that with 3-6 months studying you can get a 730. And let's say that a 730 can get you into Kellogg instead of Wisconsin. Base average salary is 25-30K MORE at Kellogg. Compound that with raises over your entire career and I think you will understand the value of gong to a higher-ranked school, which means getting a higher GMAT.

From what you have written I totally understand that you don't WANT to wait, but this doesn't mean you cannot or should not. But I don't feel like you presented any strong argument about why it would be bad for you personally or professionally.

Obviously, it's up to you to decide what is better. But it seems to me in your case, holding on to those horses for a bit longer and getting that GMAT will make a world of difference.
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Jon Frank
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New post 22 Nov 2017, 07:38
JonAdmissionado wrote:
greatmightypoo wrote:
JonAdmissionado wrote:
Well let's start with the top. My take is that since you are late in the game (Jan.Feb is round three, where there is less than 10 percent of the seats left at any B-school), since anyway I would advise you delaying till R1 next year, why not spend three months studying and retake your GMAT?

I mean even with your 650 you can do well as a Hispanic American applicant with fantastic volunteer work. But still, applying r3 is a bit of a folly, unless there are some really strong reasons for why this year would be much much better than next for you to apply.

Your stats aren't so bad, and I would not suggest the PT route unless you are sure you don't want to attend a FT program because you want to work or something like that.

What do you think?

Yeah, that's what I meant by Jan.Feb and applying for Rd 2 (if my stats are good enough as-is).

My thought process is: Consortium takes care of 6/14 of the apps. Only Rochester (and Kellogg but I'm undecided if I should apply there) in addition to Consortium is due 1/5, That means I need to get ready those apps by then (which I've already drafted some essays in addition to that 1 week between GMAT and when apps are due). The rest are evenly broken down on 1/15, 1/21, and 2/1 (Ohio State doesn't really have a date but I'd put them in the 2/1 bucket since they're a low safety). Most likely I won't apply to UNC and leave them and a few I haven't listed (Virginia, Georgia Tech, McCombs, CMU) to try Round 3 if I've gotten rejections so far or haven't even gotten any interviews.


What do you think? Should I modify the plan with more reaches, or focus on ones I'm interested in earlier, maybe leave more schools for Rd 3 in case I don't get in? Also, what should I do about the Consortium listing? No matter what I'm going to apply for the Consortium as-is on the 5th, but it's more about how to arrange the school listing and making the most of my stats (assuming my GMAT doesn't improve. If it doe get a 700+, I'll likely throw another reach like Tuck)

Right now I have it as:
1) Cornell
2) Indiana
3) Wisconsin
4) Emory
5) Michigan
6) Berkley

I liked Wisconsin a lot after visiting, especially the program director for Brand. I would put them as #1 if it helped me get in, but I also know that Cornell has a much better brand (as does Indiana which I also was impressed with).

About waiting another year. Personally, I don't see that as an option. Call me impatient but the thought of waiting almost 2 years to start grad school would make me not do it. Right now I don't have any personal commitments holding me back. 2 years from now? Who knows...Plus, I'd essentially have a 'dead' year, as the position I'd get post-MBA leads to my new career most likely. If I don't get to a decent FT program that gets me to my goals, then I might as well do a local PT and just do a ton of legwork to get to where I want to go. Plus, I've already told work and we're gonna have a transition plan regardless around June.



Well I hear you, but allow me to do something unwise, that you may not like... but I still think you should wait. Think of it from an economic perspective. Let's say for arguments sake, that with 3-6 months studying you can get a 730. And let's say that a 730 can get you into Kellogg instead of Wisconsin. Base average salary is 25-30K MORE at Kellogg. Compound that with raises over your entire career and I think you will understand the value of gong to a higher-ranked school, which means getting a higher GMAT.

From what you have written I totally understand that you don't WANT to wait, but this doesn't mean you cannot or should not. But I don't feel like you presented any strong argument about why it would be bad for you personally or professionally.

Obviously, it's up to you to decide what is better. But it seems to me in your case, holding on to those horses for a bit longer and getting that GMAT will make a world of difference.


Well, the biggest reason is I'd mostly be out of a job no matter what mid year and risk landing an inferior one. Plus, it's a year I'd lose out in terms of gaining experience in the field I'd be entering in.

From a baseline, what you said makes sense. However, I think salary stats are variable by industry and need to be looked at holistically. I have no interest in pursuing Consulting or Banking post-degree, and the majority of students going into Kellogg are interested in Consulting (which average pays 35-50k more total comp than BM). From what I've talked with Kellogg students, the BM track is often the backup option if they can't land a Consulting gig, whereas Wisconsin requires you to choose your path before entering and thus is a highly desirable one. Wisconsin also has approx. 20-25 students pursuing BM per year vs hundreds at Kellogg with about 10-15 F500 brand companies representing Wisconsin (which big names hire 3-4 per year).

I guess the better question is: Does a Kellogg student have better opportunities than Wisconsin students for BM despite having over 6x the students pursuing the same field? Will the same company offer different salaries to a Kellogg vs Wisconsin student (and how long that disparity will last)?

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New post 27 Nov 2017, 13:43
Thats a very good question. And honestly not one I know offhand. But you seem to be someone willing to do your due diligence. So yeah, definitely, look into it limiting yourself by region and industry, and see what the differences are.

Otherwise, I do hear you about not having a job. That's a quite valid reason :)

Best,
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Last edited by JonAdmissionado on 29 Nov 2017, 07:49, edited 1 time in total.

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New post 28 Nov 2017, 16:14
JonAdmissionado wrote:
Thats a very good question. And honestly not one I know offhand. But you seem to be someone willing to do hyour due diligence. So yeah, definitely, look into it limiting yourself by reiogn and industry, and see what the differences are.

Otherwise, I do hear you about not having a job. That's a quite valid reason :)

Best,

I've done the best to sneak at ppl's profiles, but it's far from a perfect science. It would be really cool if there was an independent site that does statistics on all this stuff: schools by industries and companies, the actual realities of rounds (I think there's a lot of myths on this that's variable by school but I don't have verification other than a P&Q article), schools most accomodating to low GPA's, regional schools for specific industries, etc.

I think it would be hugely beneficial. Not everyone wants a top-tier MBA but is afraid of going for a lower one and being stuck in a school that doesn't offer the appropriate opportunities. My main goal personally is to get experience in leading teams and in general teamwork, but also to transition to the career I've wanted from the get-go. I personally would pay for such a service (not absorbodant...but like $60 or so per year. Combine that with undergrads too and that's a lot of cash)... For example, it would have completely changed my school applications in Undergrad if I knew Miami Ohio was a great school if you wanted to do Brand Management. Maybe I'm the only one, but I really feel there's a market for that kind of advice.

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 07:51
Of course. And it's tough work too. But you are right. the general rule of thumb that going to a better school gets you better opportunities is still true at the macro level. But there are outliers and exceptions. One example, which has little to do with your profile... is that Rice places super-well in Oil and Gas. Okay, it's Texas, so a no-brainer. But at the same time, we have people going to a targeted industry at a targeted place, reaping the benefits thereof (location and culture and networking) that fits them better than if they went to HBS.

Anyhow, good luck with it all!
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Re: B-School Chances: Low GPA, Moderate GMAT   [#permalink] 29 Nov 2017, 07:51
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