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My MBA Candidacy?

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New post Updated on: 08 Mar 2019, 14:39
Wanted to get some feedback on where you guys think my current candidacy for a top MBA program stands.

Took the GMAT yesterday, and got a 660 (Q43/V38) with a 6 on IR. Pretty solid considering I was consistently scoring 640s on practice CATs.

I graduated from UCSB Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 overall GPA in Economics/Mathematics, so I feel like that helps lessen the burden of not having a 700+ GMAT.

I currently work for a high-growth tech company in San Francisco as a Financial Analyst with about 1.5 years of experience. One of a two man finance team so day-to-day has consisted of implementing processes around company-wide reporting, as well as traditional FP&A work (building budget, quotas, forecasts, and other models). I know b-schools put stock in being active in the community, and I am also an assistant head coach for a varsity basketball team out here in the area.

The five schools I selected to send my score reports to were UC Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, NYU, and Duke. Based on my profile, would you guys say I have a solid chance for admission to any one of these programs? I realize that my GMAT score may be slightly below the average for these programs but am hoping that my overall resume can help beef up my candidacy.

Originally posted by dsadsf on 16 Dec 2018, 13:12.
Last edited by dsadsf on 08 Mar 2019, 14:39, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 16 Dec 2018, 13:20
You’ve picked quite competitive programmes and I think the 660 will be a tough sell. My view would be that you need to aim for at least a 690 minimum and secure extremely strong references combined with a exceptional essays (perhaps use an admissions consultant (only those with top rate reviews)). That’s assuming you’re not from one of the overrepresented groups (Indian male for e.g.).

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New post 19 Dec 2018, 21:34
dsadsf wrote:
Wanted to get some feedback on where you guys think my current candidacy for a top MBA program stands.

Took the GMAT yesterday, and got a 660 (Q43/V38) with a 6 on IR. Pretty solid considering I was consistently scoring 640s on practice CATs.

I graduated from UCSB Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 overall GPA in Economics/Mathematics, so I feel like that helps lessen the burden of not having a 700+ GMAT.

I currently work for a high-growth tech company in San Francisco as a Financial Analyst with about 1.5 years of experience. I know b-schools put stock in being active in the community, and I am also an assistant head coach for a varsity basketball team out here in the area.

The five schools I selected to send my score reports to were UC Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, NYU, and Duke. Based on my profile, would you guys say I have a solid chance for admission to any one of these programs? I realize that my GMAT score may be slightly below the average for these programs but am hoping that my overall resume can help beef up my candidacy.


Hi dsadsf,

Thanks for posting!

So a couple of things. First, congrats on beating your GMAT expectations. A 38V is a good start, but I'd like to see the Q lifted to 45-47. With a bit of practice and focused study, I think this would be entirely reasonable for someone who majored in math. What is your capacity to re-take the GMAT? Do you feel like you handled the time well on the actual test?

Second, your number of years experience is a touch on the low side - I'm assuming you plan to apply next year which will give you around 3 years total upon matriculation? From UCLA's stats, only 13% of the incoming class had between 0-3 years of work experience. Totally doable, but your essays on why you need an MBA so soon into your career must be very compelling.

How has your progression at work been? Things like promotions, pay increases, and number of subordinates play a big role in helping admissions determine your overall fit for their program. Are you someone who can rapidly move up in an organization and is a top performer or are you more middle of the pack (not you specificially! Just in general).

Apart from UCB, the schools you listed are going to be very difficult to gain admission to. NYU, Chicago, and UCLA place a good weight on the GMAT while Duke looks for leadership and career progression. I think with a higher GMAT and an extra year under your belt you can make yourself a much more compelling candidate, especially if you progress at work.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any follow up questions!

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New post 08 Mar 2019, 14:35
Wanted to bump this up for some more inputs on my profile.

As an update, I had begun my application to IESE in Barcelona (my mom is from Spain and I speak fluent Spanish, studied abroad in Madrid in college, so thought this would be a good fit, at least culturally) but soon after beginning the process, I realized I needed to think longer and harder about WHERE I want to end up after my MBA, both professionally and geographically. I understand that going to an international B-school would likely result in me working abroad and that's not something I'm entirely sure I'd want to do just yet.

So, my question is, would you guys strongly recommend that I take some time to try and improve my score, in hopes of becoming a better candidate for some top schools here in the US? I'd like to think my high GPA can help soften the blow of my lower GMAT score, but do you guys think this would be a tough sell?

Appreciate all the inputs.
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New post 09 Mar 2019, 04:56
Hi dsadsf,

thank you for the update.

I agree with you, and I believe you should first take some time to think about your post-MBA target geography.

If you completely rule out the idea of working outside of the US, then it would probably be best to wait a bit, try to increase your GMAT score and then apply to some US schools. This being said, you could still find a good job in the US after IESE (especially given that you're a US citizen, therefore no visa issues, etc...). But if your plan is to stay in the US, having a US brand on your resume will most likely serve you better.

If you decide to take the international route for a few years after your MBA, a school like IESE would be a good choice. Your GMAT score is still below IESE's average (roughly 690), but I don't see this as a major issue. My main concern would be your number of years of work experience. IESE's average is almost 6 years, and only 5% of the class has about 2-3 years of experience (according to the school's latest stats). Not a complete deal breaker since you could work around this by showing rapid career progression and high leadership potential.

Regarding your high GPA compensating a bit for your lower GMAT score, this is definitely possible. However, the other way around is bit more common (i.e. high GMAT compensating for a lower GPA). Also, as Scott mentioned, for someone who majored in math, a Q43 should be relatively easy to increase, therefore if you have the chance and bandwidth, I would recommend you to retake GMAT (even if you eventually apply to IESE).

I hope this helps.

Good luck!
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New post 10 Mar 2019, 22:12
dsadsf wrote:
Wanted to get some feedback on where you guys think my current candidacy for a top MBA program stands.

Took the GMAT yesterday, and got a 660 (Q43/V38) with a 6 on IR. Pretty solid considering I was consistently scoring 640s on practice CATs.

I graduated from UCSB Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 overall GPA in Economics/Mathematics, so I feel like that helps lessen the burden of not having a 700+ GMAT.

I currently work for a high-growth tech company in San Francisco as a Financial Analyst with about 1.5 years of experience. One of a two man finance team so day-to-day has consisted of implementing processes around company-wide reporting, as well as traditional FP&A work (building budget, quotas, forecasts, and other models). I know b-schools put stock in being active in the community, and I am also an assistant head coach for a varsity basketball team out here in the area.

The five schools I selected to send my score reports to were UC Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, NYU, and Duke. Based on my profile, would you guys say I have a solid chance for admission to any one of these programs? I realize that my GMAT score may be slightly below the average for these programs but am hoping that my overall resume can help beef up my candidacy.


Hello dsadsf,

Hope this finds you well.

There are two concerns with your current profile.
a) GMAT: Considering the schools you are targetting, 660 is on the lower end of the spectrum and you must definitely look at boosting your score by 50 points at least (that too if you do not belong to an over-represented pool of applicants).
b) Work Experience: Again, 1.5 years of experience is considered to be on the lower side; we strongly recommend that you add at least an additional year to this.

Overall, schools evaluate your profile holistically and each element has its own weight. We suggest you work on the above-mentioned points in order to have a competitive chance.

All the best!
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New post 22 Mar 2019, 04:54
dsadsf wrote:
Wanted to bump this up for some more inputs on my profile.

As an update, I had begun my application to IESE in Barcelona (my mom is from Spain and I speak fluent Spanish, studied abroad in Madrid in college, so thought this would be a good fit, at least culturally) but soon after beginning the process, I realized I needed to think longer and harder about WHERE I want to end up after my MBA, both professionally and geographically. I understand that going to an international B-school would likely result in me working abroad and that's not something I'm entirely sure I'd want to do just yet.

So, my question is, would you guys strongly recommend that I take some time to try and improve my score, in hopes of becoming a better candidate for some top schools here in the US? I'd like to think my high GPA can help soften the blow of my lower GMAT score, but do you guys think this would be a tough sell?

Appreciate all the inputs.


It can be quite difficult to transition back to the US after a stint at an international business school. I would focus for the time being on improving your GMAT score to the 700 range. If you are looking for resources on how to do this feel free to reach out at scott@personalmbacoach.com. Overall, I think you've got a lot of positives in your profile (unchanged from my last review!) but a higher GMAT will definitely help you make some of your targets more realistic.

Regards,
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New post 26 Mar 2019, 11:28
Hi,

I would agree with the above. You ideally want to apply to a programme in the region that you want to find a job in. It’s very difficult to recruit internationally. If you want to live in the US post-MBA, go to a school there. You can the. get a flavour for the different employment opportunities on offer and build and sustain a network.

Unfortunately the GMAT does play an important role in the application process. Whilst your GPA is admirable, I would take the next few months (or even year) to improve the GMAT score (get a tutor if required). This will also give you some time to boost your work exp and also allow you a little more time to really consider why you want to do the MBA.

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 04:05
dsadsf wrote:
Wanted to get some feedback on where you guys think my current candidacy for a top MBA program stands.

Took the GMAT yesterday, and got a 660 (Q43/V38) with a 6 on IR. Pretty solid considering I was consistently scoring 640s on practice CATs.

I graduated from UCSB Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 overall GPA in Economics/Mathematics, so I feel like that helps lessen the burden of not having a 700+ GMAT.

I currently work for a high-growth tech company in San Francisco as a Financial Analyst with about 1.5 years of experience. One of a two man finance team so day-to-day has consisted of implementing processes around company-wide reporting, as well as traditional FP&A work (building budget, quotas, forecasts, and other models). I know b-schools put stock in being active in the community, and I am also an assistant head coach for a varsity basketball team out here in the area.

The five schools I selected to send my score reports to were UC Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, NYU, and Duke. Based on my profile, would you guys say I have a solid chance for admission to any one of these programs? I realize that my GMAT score may be slightly below the average for these programs but am hoping that my overall resume can help beef up my candidacy.



HI Dsadsf,

In both your posts I see you listing the right concerns - so the good thing is your self-awareness is pretty good. I am glad that you are able to ask yourself the very fundamental question - an MBA now or later. Many applicants jump into the fire without giving it much thought. If you are doing well within your company and have a good growth path, then you should stick around for some more time. There's no education better than real work experience, and when b-schools demand it (3+ years work experience), then give it to them. you have the time on your side.

I think a higher than expected score is a big motivation for doing even better on GMAT - its also a requirement for the b-schools you are targeting ( and even if the list changes in the course of time before your applications).

Regarding the geography of the program- that's a big factor to consider. Where do you eventually want to be after MBA? atleast for the first 3-5 years after MBA? You should study there. Another way to think of this is that if its absolutely the last time you will study in your life, where do you wish it to be (and also which b-schools? - some realistic and some difficult to get)?

Personally, I love the IESE program, esp for entrepreneurship as they have a great offering there. However, you first need to decide on the geography.
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New post 02 Apr 2019, 15:34
Thanks for all the great responses, much appreciated!

I hear everybody on the experience side, and to be honest I think I am in a very good position in terms of opportunity to keep moving upwards. I actually spoke with my boss last week and he said that as long as I kept progressing as I have been, he sees no reason why I wouldn't be promoted to Sr. Financial Analyst by the end of this calendar year. So this will obviously only bolster my application on the experience side.

In terms of geography, I think I definitely need to do more personal soul-searching about the life I want to live after completing my MBA. I love the European lifestyle and have spent extensive time living there (6+ months before), but obviously at this stage in my life and for multiple years, it would be a much bigger, tougher decision to make.

With regards to my GMAT score needing to be improved for the schools I initially listed, I'm tempering my expectations a bit and beginning to explore some schools within the next tier. My biggest issue with retaking it is I took 4 CATs throughout the course of my 3+ months of study and always scored in the same range (640-650). So I actually did better on the actual exam, and am not sure I could reasonably expect to increase my score all that much.

With that said, some new schools I have highlighted are Texas-McCombs, Florida-Warrington, USC-Marshall, Washington-Foster, UNC-Chapel Hill, Notre Dame-Mendoza, and Michigan State. I seem to be at least within the scope of the middle 80% range for most of these schools, so would you guys say I'd stand a much better shot at being a legit candidate for some of these schools?

Again appreciate all the invaluable feedback.
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