- 660 GMAT
- 3.5 GPA
- Undergraduate degree in journalism and English from the University of Florida
- Work experience includes four years split between a Los Angeles-based public relations agency for digital media companies, a D.C.-area arts nonprofit, and now a D.C.-area web design and web marketing company where I am a project manager
- “I’m an admittedly run-of-the-mill creative-leaning Caucasian female with a liberal arts background. Middle-class, both parents graduated from college, and my father did graduate school as well. Both have worked in defense contracting and consulting with big firms.”
- Extracurricular involvement in the college equestrian club, sorority [but no leadership position], extra German classes, and a short stint with guitar lessons. I also had voice (opera) lessons and private hunter/jumper horseback riding lessons, and now am orchestrating a sizable charity concert to save a local literary landmark from closure
Odds of Success:
Columbia: 20% to 30%
Sandy’s Analysis: You sound more disorganized than you need to be. This is a pretty straightforward career in digital media and just stick with that. Go light on the, “I’m an admittedly run-of-the-mill creative-leaning Caucasian female with a liberal arts background” attitude and just get on message that you have degrees in journalism and English and have spent four years working in digital media, in a variety of roles.
Stop making laundry lists of how white and middle class you are. No one is going to hold that against you. And omit the non-essential extra-currics like ‘short stint with guitar lessons.’ Horseback riding and opera are OK for some later essay about interests but the meat-and-potatoes should be work in digital media. Stress company and its size, in terms of number of employees, revenues or any metrics that are available, especially if they are publicly traded.
As to current job, and this is real important, WEB DESIGN is a real red flag on business school applications because it often means someone working out of a Starbucks, or some even hipper Cafe, not that there is anything wrong with that, but too often business schools read web design as equal to a “confused young person making just enough money to keep them away from local venue of Occupy Wall Street” but not someone we want at our school.
Again, stress the size of the company and the fact that you are not actually designing sites but are project manager in what I hope is a BIG-ish company. Once you get that story straight, you become possible at places like NYU, USC, GT and UCLA–you could do yourself a big favor by taking the GMAT again and again to see if you can get 680 or better.
The biggest 20 GMAT points in the world are those between a 660 and a 680. Into that valley of death ride many of the folks with 600 GMAT scores. Columbia to the right of them, NYU to the left of them. In case our International and techy readers do not know that famous poem, Charge of the Light Brigade.
One could also argue the biggest 20 GMAT points are between 680 and 700, it depends whether you are trying to scratch your way into H/S/W or 7-10 USNEWS].
You are the kind of opera singing, guitar strumming, web-designing sunshine-state lady on horse back a lot of schools would like to give a break to (hard to say why, but that is the way I feel. You ought to link up with the 770 cheerleader and somehow raise money for charity with some clever YouTube clips). But giving a break to a 660 is hard; giving a break to a 680 just feels so much better.