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Indian Applicants And their Obsession with the GMAT Score!

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Indian Applicants And their Obsession with the GMAT Score! [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2013, 05:17
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‘I got a 720, should I retake my GMAT?’

Such posts are all too common across these forums and if you look closely, a good majority of these are from Indian candidates.

This short post goes out particularly to all the Indian Applicants out there. While I hope this is useful to others as well, I intend to discuss this key issue which is very peculiar with Indian candidates.

Indians are obsessed with numbers. No wonder that as per GMAC statistics it is estimated that Indian candidates are more than twice as likely to retake the GMAT compared to their American counterparts! The blame has to go to the Indian education system which is too numbers centric, and convinces us that it alone makes or breaks everything for us. Please understand, your GMAT score is important. However, it is only one part of your overall application. A school evaluates your overall candidacy and your GMAT is just a part of it. And there is usually no cut-off!

You should consider your application as a bucket with different weights in it. One of these weights is your GMAT. The other weights are your work profile & achievements, quality of your essays, extra-curriculars, interview performance etc. You have to ensure the highest overall weight. Just working on your GMAT to improve from, say, 720 to 740 will not add much of an additional weight. That weight will have to come from other factors – your application, essays, recommendations.

Quality of your application can add a lot of additional weight and that requires your attention. Indian candidates are not natural at writing great applications. And that again is attributed to the fact that usually Indian candidates have little experience of such an exercise during their academic/professional years. However, rather than spending more time on this, they tend to rush through this part. This, in a lot of cases, seriously undermines the quality of the application and proves suicidal.

In summary, here is what you need to do. Target a range when you prepare for your GMAT and if you have come close to that, keep it and move on to the next challenge – your application. Yes, you could have done better but retaking is probably not worth it. Take your applications seriously and do a great job at it – that will serve you better.

Please feel free to write your comments / questions / disagreements if any. I will be happy to engage.

Note: Next article will be around adding personality in your application (again a weak point for Indian Candidates in particular!). Please subscribe to stay posted.

Anshul Gupta

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Re: Indian Applicants And their Obsession with the GMAT Score! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2013, 06:53
I've noticed similar sentiment coming from admissions consultants who tend to make the assumption that Indians are in an over represented group and therefore are subjected to higher admissions standards. The admissions consultants are probably right about the harder to road to admissions success, but focusing most of your energy on the GMAT to differentiate yourself is probably not the best use of your time. The GMAT is more of a competency test than anything else. Can this applicant handle the rigors of an MBA curriculum? I think a 700+ answers the question. IF anything, a super score of 780+ might set off red flags that this person is the stereotypical smart guy with limited social skills.

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New post 20 Jun 2013, 04:39
candayam wrote:
I've noticed similar sentiment coming from admissions consultants who tend to make the assumption that Indians are in an over represented group and therefore are subjected to higher admissions standards. The admissions consultants are probably right about the harder to road to admissions success, but focusing most of your energy on the GMAT to differentiate yourself is probably not the best use of your time. The GMAT is more of a competency test than anything else. Can this applicant handle the rigors of an MBA curriculum? I think a 700+ answers the question. IF anything, a super score of 780+ might set off red flags that this person is the stereotypical smart guy with limited social skills.


I will like to disagree on the last point... A super high GMAT is highly unlikely to lead to a negative bias on social skills or other factors unless other parts of the application suggest so. Just as a low GMAT does not automatically imply great social skills! :)

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New post 20 Jun 2013, 06:25
We already showed our obsession with numbers when we put 100% cut off for SRCC. I wouldn't be surprised in the future to see people retaking GMAT even if they scored 750.

I have friends who went into depression after scoring 1300/1600 in GRE.

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New post 21 Jun 2013, 04:55
majidsid9 wrote:
We already showed our obsession with numbers when we put 100% cut off for SRCC. I wouldn't be surprised in the future to see people retaking GMAT even if they scored 750.

I have friends who went into depression after scoring 1300/1600 in GRE.


Yeah, thats true. The Indian education system is losing its perspective. Anyways.... :)

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New post 14 May 2017, 04:48
Hello from the GMAT Club MBAbot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.

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Re: Indian Applicants And their Obsession with the GMAT Score! [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2017, 09:21
AskAnshul wrote:
‘I got a 720, should I retake my GMAT?’
My 2 cents on this topic is that it depends... for some schools a 720 is enough and for others if you are from this pool it will help you if you can boost even 10-20 points more to get out of the clutter. The fact of the matter is that there are MANY Indian candidates in most top MBA applicant pools. A school can only take so many- of anyone from any group- and thus will take the strongest of any given pool. So obviously having the 750, the 3 yrs as a McKinsey consultant and the top GPA from IIT is the gold standard. Now not many people are perfect in everything- but the more "over" the bar you are- on work experience, grades, school and testing you are... the more you bubble up into the set of people getting admitted. Can you get into H/S/W on a 700 from this pool?
YES- you can. Are lots of people with a 700 going to get in? No! So if you do have the lower GMAT, something else needs to be really great. Maybe it is your work experience? Your connections to global multinationals and your 5 promotions in 5 years! Or maybe it is your first class from IIT or maybe it is you co-founded a company that did really well. It could be any or all of those things- and if you have enough of them... you can break through the clutter even on a 680 GMAT.... at some programs. But with many candidates from this pool, it helps to be on solid ground for the GMAT. And then once you have the GMAT score- you still have to tell a compelling story of why this school and why it will help you with your post MBA goals. For candidates from India- do your research on the firms that hire foreign nationals. Don't say you want to work in marketing for CPG because not many US firms hire a lot of Indians to do this. Better to look to tech firms and do some tech marketing as there are several companies sponsoring MBAs for that. So pick something where you have a shot, and be compelling and specific in your reasons why this school and why this fits into your post MBA goals. If you have a 780 GMAT and you don't have a good WHY, you can still end up in the deny pile. So it is NOT all GMAT and yet the GMAT does matter.
I hope that helps a bit! I have read thousands of applications from candidates from India and have a good sense of what helps and what is clutter in terms of the profile. And our Stratus team has lots of great success with candidates from India and lots of experience. If you want to find out how we can help you build a stronger profile, please reach out to us for a free consult at this link: https://stratusadmissionscounseling.com ... b-visitor/

Such posts are all too common across these forums and if you look closely, a good majority of these are from Indian candidates.

This short post goes out particularly to all the Indian Applicants out there. While I hope this is useful to others as well, I intend to discuss this key issue which is very peculiar with Indian candidates.

Indians are obsessed with numbers. No wonder that as per GMAC statistics it is estimated that Indian candidates are more than twice as likely to retake the GMAT compared to their American counterparts! The blame has to go to the Indian education system which is too numbers centric, and convinces us that it alone makes or breaks everything for us. Please understand, your GMAT score is important. However, it is only one part of your overall application. A school evaluates your overall candidacy and your GMAT is just a part of it. And there is usually no cut-off!

You should consider your application as a bucket with different weights in it. One of these weights is your GMAT. The other weights are your work profile & achievements, quality of your essays, extra-curriculars, interview performance etc. You have to ensure the highest overall weight. Just working on your GMAT to improve from, say, 720 to 740 will not add much of an additional weight. That weight will have to come from other factors – your application, essays, recommendations.

Quality of your application can add a lot of additional weight and that requires your attention. Indian candidates are not natural at writing great applications. And that again is attributed to the fact that usually Indian candidates have little experience of such an exercise during their academic/professional years. However, rather than spending more time on this, they tend to rush through this part. This, in a lot of cases, seriously undermines the quality of the application and proves suicidal.

In summary, here is what you need to do. Target a range when you prepare for your GMAT and if you have come close to that, keep it and move on to the next challenge – your application. Yes, you could have done better but retaking is probably not worth it. Take your applications seriously and do a great job at it – that will serve you better.

Please feel free to write your comments / questions / disagreements if any. I will be happy to engage.

Note: Next article will be around adding personality in your application (again a weak point for Indian Candidates in particular!). Please subscribe to stay posted.

Anshul Gupta

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Donna | StratusMBACounselor | Stratus Admissions Counseling

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Indian Applicants And their Obsession with the GMAT Score! [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2017, 22:19
Since this thread started, median score at most schools has gone up. GMAT score is important, but it’s only a hygiene factor: you cross certain threshold and its value drops thereafter. (There is nothing official about the threshold, but it’s good to be around that of your applicant pool. For some applicant pools such as Indian, Chinese, and consultants, this could mean 20-30 points higher than the median.) If you look from a school’s perspective, why would they prefer you over someone with a higher score if you don’t bring anything extra (better professional experience, diversity etc.) to the table, provided both have done justice to their applications. After all, GMAT score is one of the inputs in some of the most-followed MBA rankings.

However, re-taking test to death (to get 760+) especially when it comes at the cost of your application can be self-defeating. If you look at this data from GMAT Club (this is for Indian applicants, but it holds largely for other demographics as well), the ding rate of those with 750+ score at top schools is 85-90%. If high score was the silver bullet, you would have seen much lower ding rates for 750+ scores. Few schools too have seconded this ding rate for high GMAT scores. (That’s why it is said that a bad score can keep you out of the race, but a good one can’t get you in on its own.) It’s not surprising though because MBA, unlike an undergrad program, is not an academic program. Its focus is to produce business leaders, and therefore schools consider many more inputs when filling in their class, and they come from rest of your application.

To sum, don’t give a chance to the schools to ding you on the basis of your test score, but after you cross the threshold, do justice to your application (many grossly underestimate the work required to turn in a good application).

Note: you can get through with lower scores as well, but those usually come with exceptional professional experience and diversity.
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And if you couldn’t make it earlier, get a free ding analysis

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Indian Applicants And their Obsession with the GMAT Score!   [#permalink] 18 May 2017, 22:19
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