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Plan Early for admission success

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Joined: 20 May 2013
Posts: 11
Plan Early for admission success  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 01:38
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Over the last few days, I have been asked by quite a few people about the importance of GMAT to get into B-schools and the weightage B-schools give to other factors (Essays GPA etc.). These are questions I had when I was starting my applications to different schools and I felt I must share my experience for the benefit of many others who depend on gmatclub for their MBA admissions. After all, gmatclub played a huge role in my MBA journey.

So,

Does a good GMAT score (720+) guarantee you a place in a top tier B-school --> NO

Should I retake the GMAT with an average score (680-700) --> Not always

Does a low GMAT score (670-) mean end of the road to a top school? --> It depends

At this point you are wondering "None of his answers are answering any of my questions" and thats precisely the point. The GMAT is not and will never be the only parameter to decide your fate come admission season. Don't get me wrong, the GMAT is one of the important metrics that admission committee's use but it is ONE OF and not THE ONLY.

This is what i realised late and I hope to convey so that you build send strong applications and not just strong GMAT scores to schools of your choice.

Here is my profile at the time of admission in 2015

GMAT - 700
Prior Education - Engineering from a regular university with a good academic record
Extra curricular - Average
Achievements - Academic
Work Experience - 5+ years with a large MNC in Bangalore
International experience - A few months here and there
Admit - ISB, Hyderabad
Interviews - ISB - Hyderabad, IIM-B
Rejects - NUS (2014), Tepper

So, as you see the profile isn't one that stands out and certainly the GMAT score isn't bad but not stellar.

Let's look at my applications strategy!

In 2014, January I score a 650 on GMAT. Overconfidence, Lack of Prep and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The deadline for NUS was fast approaching and I decided to give it a shot. Barely spent a couple of days on the essays and Yes! You guessed right -- Rejected.

I felt the GMAt was the reason and sure it might have as well been the reason. Disheartened, I decided that MBA is not for me and went back to focussing on my job. In March (2014), I spoke to a couple of friends who received admits to Tepper and ISB. One of them had a GMAT of 730 while the other a 720. I was 70 points away from the 720 that got my friend an admit. I decided to give the GMAT another shot.

This time, I decided to focus completely on the test and put my heart into preparing. My target was a 740 and the minimum I was aiming for was 720. I was convinced that with a 720 I would at least get an interview call and after that it was left to my performance during the interview. Come May, I was at the GMAT center all pumped up. After 4 hours (3.5 hours now, thankfully!) of stress I ended up with a respectable but below expectation 700. The feeling was mixed! I improved on my previous score but it wasn’t quite good enough. At least, that's what I believed.

Over the next few days, all that I could think of was the missed opportunity. 20 points more and I was sure to get through schools of my choice. I half-heartedly decided to go ahead with applications instead of retaking the GMAT. This I believe was the most sensible decision I took.

As I started filling out applications, I realised that schools were looking for so much more than just GMAT. I was however, not very confident of my chances as my score was below the average GMAT score of my target schools. I decided to go through with the applications but keep my expectations very low.

As interview invites started coming in, I realised quite a few people with high GMAT score getting the invites. There were quite a few invites for average GMAT scorers too(680-700). And most surprisingly, there were a huge number of people with great GMAT scores that did not receive interviews. I was one of those average scorers who got the invite and rest as they say is history :)

So, here are a few points I wanted to share:

1. GMAT score matters but is not the sole criteria
Aim for the highest GMAT score possible and if you get a great score you are doing your
chances no harm. But, if you have a score slightly below the schools average, then don’t
hesitate to apply.

2. Essays are very important
Each and every one of us have life experiences that showcase various traits - Leadership,
Integrity, Collaboration, International exposure, Team management and so on. The key
differentiator between those who make it and those who don't is the ability to bring out these
experiences in a way that highlights these traits.

3. Undergrad GPA, Extra curricular and Volunteering
Your undergrad GPA is something you cannot change. So, unless you are one of those
who plans your MBA journey before completing your undergrad, there is not much one
can do about it. A good GPA, however, could compensate for a slightly below par GMAT
and vice versa.
If you genuinely have strong extra curricular and volunteering experience, then make sure you
present them in your essays and resume. If you don’t, then it doesn't make sense to lie or
mention “ I love travelling” or “ I enjoy sports”. These don't add much value to your profile. I
was very lucky to meet fellow students who had stellar extra curricular achievements and
admission committees know when candidates have done something of note.

4. Plan Early and Submit application in early deadlines
This is probably the most important strategy. While it is important that you concentrate on GMAT,
planning early helps to ease some the tension during application season and create a strong
overall application. I gave myself 3 months to build my applications to 5 schools and that largely
helped me introspect and write essays that highlighted key attributes. Each school is different
and planning early ensures that you have ample time to research schools of your choice and
write compelling essays.

5. School selection
Each B-school offers something different. In order to build a strong application it is very important to
understand what each school has on offer and select a program based on your interests rather than
just B-school rankings and popular opinion.

While the post is rather long, I wanted to share some of the learnings from my experience.

Please feel free to PM me for any clarifications as you start your journey to a successful B-school experience :)

Sid
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Joined: 17 Jan 2018
Posts: 58
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
Re: Plan Early for admission success  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 20:55
Thanks sid647 for sharing your experience definitely it will help/inspire some one
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Re: Plan Early for admission success   [#permalink] 25 Mar 2019, 20:55
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