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GMAT Score - how high?

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Joined: 26 Nov 2006
Posts: 18
Location: Toronto
GMAT Score - how high? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2006, 21:36

I am aiming to do a PHD in accounting at a top school - dream: Harvard, reality: ???

Question: once you meet a certain threshold on GMAT i.e. 700, do they still consider the score?

What I mean is, do they evaluate all candidates equally after a certain GMAT threshold, or does a 750 GMAT give someone a leg up over a 710.

Basically, I want to know if it's worth the time and energy to keep writing the GMAT until you hit a really high score.
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Joined: 05 Oct 2005
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New post 21 Dec 2006, 00:02
Personal opinions - GMAT is something that is still within our control. Hence try to give the best score that you can.

Generally speaking, although a high GMAT will not guarantee you a spot, a low GMAT is likely to get you off the radar screen. If you are thinking of the top-top schools, then I think you need to be in the top 1-2% pool for their considerations. In terms of GMAT, that means at least a 750+ to be competitive.

It doesn't mean that one has no chance of entering if his GMAT is less than that. If you can show extremely strong research potential (e.g. thru your publications) or if you know someone who knows someone in Harvard, you can increase your chance. However, I feel it is more difficult to acheive these than to get a good GMAT score.

Anyway, what Harvard?

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New post 21 Dec 2006, 05:09
my opinion is only an educated guess... i myself just applied (to harvard as well) and wait for their decision...

I think GMAT is considered twice in the process... i think there is a three stage process when considering an application:
1) initial screening (my guess is that at least 50% of applications are rejected at this stage)
2) finding suitable candidates (choosing about 50 final candidates, each is a suitable candidate for phd, and if there were enough faculty and budget to accept them all, each could have been accepted without reservation)
3) choosing who to accept (about 30)

in the first stage, GMAT is an important factor. it is considered as a "threshold". 710 and 750 are same here. if you passed the threshold on some parameters you are on to the next stage.

in stage 2. no consideration of gmat is given. it is your SOP, LOR, research and employment history, research interests, detailed account of your undergraduate (and graduate) studies...

stage three is where, in my view, GMAT can help you again. this stage is all about "standing out". there are about 50 good candidates and only 30 will be accepted. it can be a very high GMAT or a LOR from someone faculty knows or an initial correspondence between faculty and candidate or whatever makes one candidate seem to be "better" over another. here 750 can be more valuable than 710. i.e. everything else being equal - they will probably accept someone with GMAT 750 rather than someone with 710.

again, this is only my assumptions and model of the admission process. so it is just an educated guess.
as tkkoh commented - do your best on GMAT, it is something that is up to you.

good luck

Joined: 25 Apr 2005
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New post 28 Dec 2006, 10:31
I think hobbit summed most of it well. However, behind the phrase "710 and 750 are the same at stage 1" is the assumption that the threshold is somewhere below 710. I would hypothesize that some schools have "liberal" thresholds, but I'm pretty sure others eliminate much more than 50% of applicants in the initial screening, thus could have a threshold higher than 710.

There's also the question of how the whole process works. I would argue that for most schools, there's a "PhD program coordinator" who does the initial screening and then sends the remaining candidates' files to the heads of the various departments (Accounting, Finance, OR, MIS..). In this case the department head might apply a different threshold at stage 2 even though the general objective is to find "suitable" candidates.

So the real question boils down to: if you think your marginal cost of increasing your GMAT score is too high, how big a drop are you ready to take from your dream school (Harvard) to where you'll go? Unless your other attributes (SOP, GPA, past research, academic background) are stellar, I would definitely venture into saying that a GMAT score of 710 can hurt you in most of the top (20?) schools.
  [#permalink] 28 Dec 2006, 10:31
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