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# GMAT and management consulting firms

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Senior Manager
Joined: 30 Mar 2007
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GMAT and management consulting firms [#permalink]

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03 Dec 2007, 22:03
I know management consulting firms look at GMAT scores.
So my questions is ... do you guys know what is a good score for management consulting firms? Do they care about quant more than verbal? Do I need to get 750+ to be considered as a good candidate for McKinsey's?
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Re: GMAT and management consulting firms [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2007, 08:00
Darden2010 wrote:
I know management consulting firms look at GMAT scores.
So my questions is ... do you guys know what is a good score for management consulting firms? Do they care about quant more than verbal? Do I need to get 750+ to be considered as a good candidate for McKinsey's?

So dopey, but yes, the management consultant firms, PE firms, and some I-bank firms do ask for your GMAT score. My understanding is that the general cutoff is 730 and above. Absurd. I can't help you with the breakdown between quant and verbal, but I would assume that your quant had better be up there, in terms of raw score...
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04 Dec 2007, 08:13
Oh 730, really? Yeah I heard something like that also

So I got 710 yesterday and I was ok with that score for a day because it will get me in the school that I want (any school really), but it looks like I will have to retake the GMAT by next summer when I start my MBA because I really want a consulting job. I know I need over 750 for that

Also, do consulting firms look only at the the best score? or maybe the most reacent one?

So if I re-take and I get a worse score will management consulting firms be able to find out about the retake? I suppose no because they don't ahve access to the database
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04 Dec 2007, 09:06
Jezz, 730? how hard to MC firms look at your gmat score?
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04 Dec 2007, 09:40
gnr646 wrote:
Jezz, 730? how hard to MC firms look at your gmat score?

I can't answer that - I am just going by what I watched the guys do w/resumes at our PE firm. You will all be happy to know that in addition to the big 3, they also think Columbia and Tuck are viable degrees to have to work in their industry. Isn't that nice? Anyway, I watched them going over resumes for associates and VP's fresh out of b-school. For the associates, they actually circled the SAT scores on their resumes and wrote comments about them. Same deal for the VP's fresh out of b-school. Anyone above that level didn't list their scores, and no one cared, because they had the right kind of experience.
I was floored, frankly. But apparently it's just another tool they use to weed people out. They get a ton of job applicants. And they do think of the GMAT as a good "leveling" tool - a way to measure applicants from different programs against one another.
I still think it's absurd.
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04 Dec 2007, 09:50
uphillclimb wrote:
gnr646 wrote:
Jezz, 730? how hard to MC firms look at your gmat score?

I can't answer that - I am just going by what I watched the guys do w/resumes at our PE firm. You will all be happy to know that in addition to the big 3, they also think Columbia and Tuck are viable degrees to have to work in their industry. Isn't that nice? Anyway, I watched them going over resumes for associates and VP's fresh out of b-school. For the associates, they actually circled the SAT scores on their resumes and wrote comments about them. Same deal for the VP's fresh out of b-school. Anyone above that level didn't list their scores, and no one cared, because they had the right kind of experience.
I was floored, frankly. But apparently it's just another tool they use to weed people out. They get a ton of job applicants. And they do think of the GMAT as a good "leveling" tool - a way to measure applicants from different programs against one another.
I still think it's absurd.

I agree. This is really absurd! How exactly can one's ability to do 6th grade math serve as a valid gauge for assessing his ability to perform sophisticated portfolio analysis?!

This goes beyond ridiculous!
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04 Dec 2007, 12:29
It has nothing to do with the content of the exam (6th grade math or whatever) and everything to do with how candidates compare to one another in a more or less standardized setting.

The relevance of the GMAT score will vary with the reputation of the business school. Most of the top consulting firms (and banks etc.) would be happy to hire almost anyone from Harvard or Stanford, so GMAT score has little relevance in these cases. At a school like Darden where I am now, a high GMAT score can definitely give you a leg up in recruiting for competitive industries. It's easier to get into Darden than Harvard or Stanford, and school reputation alone is not enough to land the most competitive jobs, so other factors come into play. At schools ranked outside the elites (top 15 or so), a very high GMAT is one of the only ways a student can make it onto the radar of the most competitive firms; other include stellar relevant work experience or a blue chip undergrad degree.

So, for IB recruiting here at Darden, I think the following things are relevant: 1) prior IB experience (better if it's name brand), 2) blue chip undergrad with high GPA, 3) high GMAT, 4) strong schmoozing and social skills and 5) other interesting and relevant experience. You need to be strong in 2 or 3 of these categories to stay competitive. Say, you worked as an IB analyst and you're really great at schmoozing - great; you can be competitive even if you're GMAT isn't great and you went to a no-name college. Obviously, recruiters value things differently - some love high GMATs, others like strong social skills and others love prior experience.

If you have great prior experience, an outstanding college record, attend an ultra-elite school and have great networking skills, you don't need to worry about your GMAT for recruiting (it won't hurt of course). On the other hand, if you're a career switcher with an average GPA from a no-name college and average schmoozing skills, a high GMAT could really help. Each person can take a look at their own background and skills (be honest), the relative selectivity of the jobs they are looking at and the reputation of their business school and figure out how important a GMAT score will be on their resume. I don't think of it as a limiting factor, but rather an opportunity to make an impact - your background isn't going to change regardless of your GMAT score but a high score could improve the sheen on your resume.
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04 Dec 2007, 13:18
pelihu wrote:
if you're a career switcher with an average GPA from a no-name college and average schmoozing skills, a high GMAT could really help.

Hey, there I am! Good thing i'm not interested in banking.
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04 Dec 2007, 13:39
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pelihu wrote:
I don't think of it as a limiting factor, but rather an opportunity to make an impact - your background isn't going to change regardless of your GMAT score but a high score could improve the sheen on your resume.

I have no objections to using GMAT as one of the criteria for assessing the candidacy of a prospective employee. However, in my opinion, it is ridiculous to use a certain score such as 730 as a general cutoff, as uphillclimb describes in his post.

When a 710 scorer considers retaking the exam because it may hurt him down the road, there is definitely something wrong with the weight placed on GMAT scores at that type of firms.

I guess, the reason I have taken this issue to heart is because I, myself, scored 710 on GMAT So, I don't like the idea that, while the score helped me to get into the school I wanted, it may actually limit my future career opportunities.
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04 Dec 2007, 14:16
Well it really sucks to have to re-take the GMAT after scoring 710 .
But I think that perspective management consultants can actually benefit from such GMAT strategy of management firms. Here is my reasoning.

My post-MBA goal is to get a job at a management consulting firm, to achieve my goal I can:

Option A: score 710 and get in Harvard, have a great chance of getting my dream job because my school has good reputation, and end up with a 100K in loans

Option B: score 780 and get in Babson. You are going to be sexy for the management consulting firms because of your score and you will get that first interview. You graduate with 0 debt because with an 780 you will get a scholarship at Babson

Soo.... both these options translate in the desired result: job at McKinsey , but option B costs 100K less. And yeah, a diploma from Harvard would look nice on my wall, but 100K would make a really nice investment to my kids college fund:))
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04 Dec 2007, 14:23
Darden2010 wrote:
Option B: score 780 and get in Babson. You are going to be sexy for the management consulting firms because of your score and you will get that first interview. You graduate with 0 debt because with an 780 you will get a scholarship at Babson

Soo.... both these options translate in the desired result: job at McKinsey , but option B costs 100K less. And yeah, a diploma from Harvard would look nice on my wall, but 100K would make a really nice investment to my kids college fund:))

Problem is McKinsey probably doesnt actively recruit at Babson. They may occasionally hire a grad every few years but they arent hiring 40 a year like at the big name schools.

You are far better off going to an Elite or Ultra Elite than any second tier school no matter what debt you have to take on. Now choosing between Tuck and Columbia for consulting can be a personal decision but you dont want to pick Babson over an M7 or even a elite school.
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04 Dec 2007, 14:52
riverripper wrote:
You are far better off going to an Elite or Ultra Elite than any second tier school no matter what debt you have to take on.

Oh come on this is so not logical. Why you are always better off going to an Elite or Ultra Elite school? If you have a good enough GMAT you might not have to spend all that extra money. Maybe not many ppl from Babson get a job with McKinsey, but not many ppl at Babson have 780 GMAT scores also , and even from the few that have 750+ maybe not many are interested in consulting job. So the ppl who have 750+ GMATs, MBA from Babson and a desire for consulting job have pretty much the same chances of getting that job as a 710 Harvard student
I do not see why you would be better off at an Elite school when in the long-run you can end up at the same place with a great GMAT score and an second-tier school.
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04 Dec 2007, 15:43
Darden2010, let me relay a story that made the point on brand name being important. My mother was a big fan of me staying in the boston area even if it meant going to Babson over Kellogg or Chicago.

My uncle set her straight on the importance of the name. He was a head at a bulge bracket bank before retiring and knew a lot about the recruitment process so he gave my mother the truth of how it works at the big name banks (which are similar to MC in terms of recruiting). A bank has their core schools where they will actively recruit (might be 4 to 10 schools depending on the firm. They send teams of people to these select schools, there they wine and dine, donate money to the schools, and hire large amounts of grads and interns. Then they have the schools they look at but dont do full blown recruiting. The standards at these schools are way way higher, you pretty much need prior experience at a high level, good UG, high GMAT, and it helps to have a connection or two.

Then you get to the schools they dont recruit at. The career service people will tell you that you can send the firms your resume and a cover letter and have a chance...but in reality its like winning the lottery. Literally they might look at a handful of the resumes they get from non recruiting schools, HR people weed through and toss out anyone who doesnt meet extremely high standards. Unless you worked in the industry before even with a 800, you aren't getting anyone with any power to actually look at your resume its going straight into the trash.

From Babson you might get into a good consulting firm but its going to be near impossible to get into one of the big 3 without prior experience as a consultant or in something that they have a huge need to knowledge of.

It is crappy that you can go to a school get an education that is on par with any school but doesn't have the big impressive name and it will keep you from getting the best jobs. Its a sad fact of life that brand name matters but it does. Its the same as in fashion, get your wife a hand bag from target and one from prada, they look the same and both are built to a similar standard but which one do you think is going to make her happier?
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04 Dec 2007, 15:53
If you end up at the same place, it doesn't really matter much where you went to business school, but RR is right in that it is substantially more difficult to land a job if the firm in question doesn't recruit on-campus at your school. I do agree that for certain positions, you might face less direct competition at an elite rather than ultra-elite school, and for banks at least, it's clear that the firms maintain year-over-year quotas for each school.

Students from non-core schools are often only considered when firms fall short at their core schools, and non-core students have to jump-through hoops just to get on the radar for many firms. Firms that recruit a lot of MBAs are concerned with maintaining relationships with their core schools and will take a given number of students each year to make sure they can go back to the well in future years. There's definitely the chance that students at non-core schools with perfect profiles will get passed over because 1) the firm filled their recruiting needs at their core schools or 2) there was simply no good process for such students to show themselves off.

Trust me, you'd rather be 1 of 50 students at an open-invite cocktail party rather than 1 of 5000 (or whatever the number is) random resumes submitted online that end up in a pile somewhere and may or may not get a look.
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04 Dec 2007, 16:32
pelihu wrote:
Trust me, you'd rather be 1 of 50 students at an open-invite cocktail party rather than 1 of 5000 (or whatever the number is) random resumes submitted online that end up in a pile somewhere and may or may not get a look.

I think that says it all. At a top school you are competing against 100 students for those 50 jobs at McKinsey. Where as at Babson you are competing against students from every school they dont actively recruit at...including schools higher ranked schools where people with 750+ wont be quiet as rare.

Anyways, GMAT scores arent going to get you the job but much like during the application process a low one can definitely keep you out.
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05 Dec 2007, 02:22
Ok you convinced me that the brand matters (even though I really dislike that fact)
Anyways... can someone please comment on my chances of getting a MC job out of Tuck vs. Ross, and the GMAT score you guys think it would be necessary coming out of each school.

Right now I don't really have a first choice school because I like them both equally... but please advise me if one would be better over the other in terms of chances of getting a MC job .

I have researched both school and when I weight the pros and the cons of each and how good fit they are for me, and I really like them both the same so I think the deciding factor for me would be whichever is better for a MC job.

Thanks!!!!
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05 Dec 2007, 05:23
Ross and Tuck will both give you a shot at a great MC firm...Tuck probably more so. The only thing that really keeps Tuck from being considered an ultra elite is its small size and location.

On a personal note for Tuck, I grew up in New England and know the Hanover area quiet well. I was going to apply to Tuck R1 but decided against it after a visit. 60% of 1st years live in the dorm attached to the building. Literally you can wake up, go to classes, eat lunch and dinner, and return to bed without ever leaving the building. It just felt far too much like an undergrad feel. If you are married or will bringing a significant other with you then the job market is very tough in a lot of fields since its a rather rural area. Entertainment options outside of a few bars is limitted and it has the reputation of being a frat boy drunken bar scene feel.

That said its an amazing school and the people I met there were all great. Just make sure you visit before deciding to go there.
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05 Dec 2007, 06:52
Yeah I know Hanover is really small but I didn't know that the dorm and the classes are in the same building! well... actually I like that fact because I do not want to spend time on getting to/from school.
But in terms of enternainment the scene you described sucks! because I do not drink at all (anymore) so I probably won't have much fun in Hanover. But I heard that there is some towns close by that offer some entertainment. I am single so I don't have to worry about a significant other.
Unfrotunatelly I won't be able to visit any of the schools because I am not located in the US. But 20 months is not such a long time I am sure I will survive wherever
Anyways... I really hoped that grad school would be different from undergrad in terms of alcohol .. I just cannot understand how smart MBA students would do such stupid thing as getting drunk all the time
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05 Dec 2007, 07:53
I dont drink either and that was another thing that really put me off. Compared to a good sized city there are no real entertainment options outside of skiing and playing hockey (seriously almost everyone plays even if they never have before). All the students talked about how much fun the bars were but thats not really my idea of fun. The closest small cities are Burlington and Manchester which still lack many options and are still an hour or so away. They claim Boston is 2 hours but its a lot more than that especially if the weather and traffic are bad...closer to 3+ hours.

Not trying to discourage you from applying because its an amazing school but talk to other people who have visited, especially non-students either people who choose a different school or ended up not applying. Trust me 20 months in a place your arent enjoying is a very long time...and an MBA program is supposed to be a lot more fun than something like a MS in engineering.
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05 Dec 2007, 08:42
well, even though it is sad that most MBA students do tend to drink a lot, I don't think Tuck students drink a lot more than students at other schools. I am sure that most of the real party-guys would chose a big city school over a small city Tuck, because they can party more there. And also, maybe you have witnesed more students drinking at Tuck because they all go to one (or a few) places to drink, while in big cities even if the students drunk all the time you wouldn't be able to notice since they go to different bars arround the city
05 Dec 2007, 08:42

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