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Profile evaluation middle eastern applicant

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Joined: 20 Jul 2018
Posts: 11
Profile evaluation middle eastern applicant  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 05 Oct 2018, 01:59
Dear admissions expert,

I would like to share my profile with you so that I could get some insight about the next step of my application process.

Overview- I am an arab who has studied in the UK but has since moved back to work in the middle east.

My educational background:

I graduated from Durham University in the UK (top tier university in case you don’t know the UK education system), with an Upper-Second Class Bachelors in Modern Languages and Cultures.

First attempt GMAT (August 2016): 680 *can’t remember quant and verbal as I cancelled my score, but it was somewhere in the region of 46 Q 37 V

Work experience:

At university I set up my own music promotion business. (sold my stake in it to move back to the middle east)

Since graduating, I have spent 3 years running my family retail business in Kuwait and Iraq.

I have taken the business as far as I can and in two months I am joining one of the MBB consulting firms as an associate out of one of their middle east offices.

I have two questions I would really appreciate help with.

1) Main question is, considering my profile, how badly do I need to take the GMAT again in order to score a 730, which is my target score. My target school is HBS, but I am also interested in Wharton, Stanford and Columbia.

My second question is, if I do need a higher test score, whether I should take the GMAT or the GRE. I am currently prepping for another attempt at the GMAT, and have got myself back to the 680 range in my practice test. I have also just taken a GRE practice test and score a 163 Q and 157 V (I made some silly mistakes in the verbal format and didn’t realise you had to choose two answers for some questions). I find the GRE more suitable to my skills, and was wondering with my profile which exam you think would be better, if there is a difference at all that is.

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,


Originally posted by yousefa on 09 Aug 2018, 11:19.
Last edited by yousefa on 05 Oct 2018, 01:59, edited 1 time in total.
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 05 Jun 2018
Posts: 53
Re: Profile evaluation middle eastern applicant  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 10 Aug 2018, 09:02
Hi, yousefa! You have a really interesting background.

So, to your questions:
1) Do you need a higher GMAT than a 680 if you're applying to HBS, Wharton, Stanford and Columbia? I'd say yes. Basically, you'll want to be as close to the schools' median/mean score (schools report differently) as you can get. (Stanford= 737; HBS=730, etc.) The schools often also publish their full score range or their mid-80% range, and a 680 is either within or dangerously close to the bottom 10% for the schools you are naming. Do they make exceptions for incredible candidates? Yes they do, but it is risky to count on that, and as an "admissions expert," I would advise a retake.

2) Can you take the GRE instead? Sure. All the schools you name accept the GRE.
In fact, if you're scoring below the average, the GRE is probably a better bet since the schools really do seem to focus on trying to keep their GMAT averages up for reporting purposes and the rankings. However, with the rising popularity of the GRE, those scores are not exactly ignored and at least one ranking (US News and World Report) is beginning to include them in the calculations. But if you're more comfortable with the GRE, go right ahead and take that instead. Check out the schools' student profile pages for an idea of where their GRE ranges are - many schools are reporting them now as well.

Best of luck, yousefa! And good luck with your new job-- very exciting!

Julie-Anne Heafey
Senior Consultant

Originally posted by mbaMissionJA on 10 Aug 2018, 08:31.
Last edited by mbaMissionJA on 10 Aug 2018, 09:02, edited 1 time in total.
Joined: 27 Jul 2018
Posts: 8
Re: Profile evaluation middle eastern applicant  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2018, 08:40
Sure, you can take the GRE, but based on statistics and statistics only, every year HBS admits, mostly took the GMAT and not the GRE. Just something I thought you should know.
Bests of luck!
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