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# So what matters most?

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07 Feb 2007, 07:58
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Factors that CANNOT be changed (relatively speaking)
GMAT
GPA
Work Experience
Community Service/Life outside of Work
Recommendations

Factors that CAN be changed
Interview
Essays

From your experiences, if you had to assign a percentage to each one of these, what would it be?

From what I've gathered, rejected people with high GMAT scream, "GMAT is of tiny importance." Rejected people with low GMAT say, "Don't let them fool you, GMAT matters a lot." People in the middle say essays are the most important.

A lot of these prep/consulting companies prey on the fears of applicants. GMAT prep courses will tell you that the gmat is of utmost importance. Essay consultants will tell you essays have the most weight. Bschools will tell you that they accept candidates who are superlative in all facets. But, we all know that's a lie. So which is it?

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07 Feb 2007, 08:35
I think GMAT gets in you in the conversation, nothing more, nothing less. In other words, a poor GMAT score can keep you out, but a strong GMAT score can't get you in.

The thread on Kellogg GMAT thread I posted a while back (not sure where it is) proves this to some extent - clearly there is a correlation between odds of admittance <640>700 - thats fairly clear. Once you are in the 700 range, whether were talking 720 or 730 or even for that matter 740, doesn't much matter - admissions411 proves that. I think there's a logical band at 700 to 750, and slightly better odds above that - but even then, a 750 vs a 780 doesn't appear to have any real meaning. I once ran a regression on admissions411 data - by combining entries for top schools - and basically found no correlation whatsoever between GMAT and admittance. The reason is - admission411 data is supremely skewed towards high GMAT scores - so in other words, in the over 700 range, it doesn't make a big difference.

Given that you can only control essay and interview, I'd suggest 95% of your effort on the essays, and 5% on your interviews. If you get an interview invite, you'll have time to prepare. If you focus on interview and your essays suffer as a result, you won't get the interview, and it's pointless effort.

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Re: So what matters most? [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2007, 08:52
Factors that CANNOT be changed (relatively speaking)
20% GMAT
15% GPA
25% Work Experience
7% Community Service/Life outside of Work
7% Recommendations

Factors that CAN be changed
1% Interview (assuming candidate can speak English, interviews on-campus, and doesn't say anything stupid)
25% Essays

I don't base too much in the interview because these interviewers interview so many candidates. I think the interview is just a screening method to see who can speak english without any noticable speech impediments.

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07 Feb 2007, 09:42
I think at the end of the day it just all depends on their view of a candidate as a whole, going back to my ridiculous dating analogy, there might be a girl who is beautiful, with a great sense of humor, intelligent, talented, successful, but maybe we don't have chemistry (which is maybe semi-analogous to bombing an interview while looking great on paper).

Or maybe there's a really ugly girl who talks really loudly and is very obnoxious, but she happens to be smart and funny at the same time, and maybe my friend is dating her and I'm thinking, "Why is he dating her?" Which might be analogous to someone who nails an interview with so-so paper stats.

All the elements needed to be taken into consideration and candidates are viewed as a "whole" candidate, I'm sure on some level individual elements weigh on an ad-com member's mind, but they can assimilate all the info and get a "gut" impression of whether they want to admit a candidate or not.

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07 Feb 2007, 15:13
What about for scholarships? I would say (especially at schools in the top 30 but not top 5) that gmat is by far the biggest factor. I would say maybe 75%. Any thoughts?

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07 Feb 2007, 15:24
johnnyx9 wrote:
I think at the end of the day it just all depends on their view of a candidate as a whole, going back to my ridiculous dating analogy, there might be a girl who is beautiful, with a great sense of humor, intelligent, talented, successful, but maybe we don't have chemistry (which is maybe semi-analogous to bombing an interview while looking great on paper).

Or maybe there's a really ugly girl who talks really loudly and is very obnoxious, but she happens to be smart and funny at the same time, and maybe my friend is dating her and I'm thinking, "Why is he dating her?" Which might be analogous to someone who nails an interview with so-so paper stats.

All the elements needed to be taken into consideration and candidates are viewed as a "whole" candidate, I'm sure on some level individual elements weigh on an ad-com member's mind, but they can assimilate all the info and get a "gut" impression of whether they want to admit a candidate or not.

What if you met this really cute chick who you just found out is going out with a guy you knew from high-school. You know that the guy is still a dead-beat pushover and are sure that the chick would be much better off with you.

Would you:

a) Try to sabotage their relationship
b) Sleep with the guy's sister (who's kinda cute as well) to spite him?

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07 Feb 2007, 15:26
I think there is a very high correlation between GMAT and scholarships, probably much higher than between GMAT and admission even.

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07 Feb 2007, 18:09
I would change the list to show that GMAT is a factor that can be changed. Certainly it's too late for anyone applying R2/R3 this year to change their GMAT, but those looking to next year have until September or October to improve their GMAT scores. GPA can be changed a little as well; through additional courses, but again it's too late for this year.

Other than that, I think that the general feel of the weights is pretty accurate in this thread. I have also heard the comment that the most important part of your application is whichever part is the weakest. If everything else is great, but you have a 1.5 GPA, or a 500 GMAT, or been busted for embezzlement, you're probably not getting into a top school.

I think you must also factor in diversity concerns as an additional category that cannot be changed. Depending on which end of the diversity scale an applicant is, other factors could have greater or lesser impact. A 600 GMAT from a heavily favored applicant might still leave them in the mix for top schools; a 700 GMAT from a heavily disfavored applicant might leave them out of the running.

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07 Feb 2007, 18:09
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# So what matters most?

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