Assessing Your Odds Of Getting In

Ms. Human Resources

  • 720 GMAT (44V/46Q/5IR/6AWA)
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in Psychology and Managerial Studies from a top liberal arts school
  • Work experience includes two years as a strategy consultant at Accenture, specializing in the Human Capital area. Expect to apply for company sponsorship post application (Unavailable until after admissions decision is secured)
  • Extracurriculars include heavy involvement in charity organization that teaches prisoners business skills, undergraduate recruiting, women’s mentoring
  • Goal: To return to consulting with leadership skills and eventually leave for an HR leadership position in industry, with a long-term objective of becoming a chief human resources officer of a Fortune 500 company
  • “I’m a human capital consultant girl who wants to go to business school to gain some hard skills. My goal is to eventually transition into HR.”
  • 23-year-old mixed race (Caucasian + Indian) female
  • “Is my 5 IR score and low quant score enough of an issue to retake the GMAT?
  • “Will my age be a serious negative concern? I know I’m young!
  • “Will B-Schools ding me for wanting to go into HR instead of a more “prestigious” quant-type field?”

Odds of Success:

Texas: 50%+
Michigan: 40% to 50%
Duke: 40% to 50%
Northwestern: 20% to 30%
Yale: 20%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hmmmm, you got a 720 GMAT, which is ABOVE the average score for most of your target schools. To wit: McCombs (690), Ross (708), Fuqua (695), Kellogg (728) and Yale (725). And pretty close to the 728 and 725 at Kellogg and Yale, respectivelly.

So in terms of the beauty contest aspect of the GMAT, and that is usually most of it, you are OK-ish. Now this being the GMAT, and as we have seen, GMAT scores keep rising in importance. One could ask, ‘Hey, how much difference would a 730 or 740 make?’  That is hard to noodle out with any certainty, but I’d say that a 740 would help you get into Kellogg and Yale (where you are solid but in a large bucket of talented Big-4 consultants) and it could help you get scholarship offers at other schools, where I believe based on the totality of your story (and your 3.8 GPA) your chances are real solid.
As to the question you ask about the 46 Quant score, that will not raise any questions in the minds of most adcoms, even though it is probably near the 60th percentile for your test-taking cohort.

As Andrew Geller, a GMAT historian and tutor notes on P&Q, in a story analyzing how to get into HBS with a subpar Quant, ” . . . 45Q and above isn’t a problem. In the year 2000, this was the 82nd percentile. At this point, your quant skills are just fine.” I agree, especially if you took undergraduate courses in statistics, economics, etc.

You are an excellent student and exactly the type of diligent, sit still, eat the dogfood, and spit it back type that B -chools love. Your worry is more about the 720 than the 46Q.

As to the IR 5 score, my view is that B-schools don’t really care about IR scores. They are not reported to U.S. News, and there is, not to my knowledge, any serious studies correlating IR scores to first-year B-school performance.

You asked if your age (23) would be a serious negative concern. You will be 24-25 at matriculation with three years of work experience, I’m calling that the low side of normal, but not a negative. The trick is not to sound young in your application and interview. In your post, you described yourself as, “a human capital consultant girl who wants to go to business school to gain some hard skills.”

OK, I’ll cut you some slack for getting into the spirit of a free-wheeling, un-PC (a little) comment board, and I assume you will be able to get your game face on for the real deal. So, don’t describe yourself as a “girl.”  Further, do not say you are going to business school to “to gain some hard skills.” That is insulting to the schools who view themselves as teaching hard skills but oh-so-much more, including leadership, strategy, innovation, blah, blah, blah.

Also, in your case, saying you want to learn hard skills is supporting your own fear that your GMAT Quant raw score was low and you need to learn hard skills. Your outlook should be that your hard skills are fine. You got an A in calculus, stats, econ, and you are attending B-school to learn leadership.

You also said in your posting: “Thank you for your column! It always sounds like good advice from my snarkiest friend.”

Hahaha, thanks, I hope I am not disappointing.

You also ask if B-schools will ding you for wanting to go into HR instead of a more “prestigious” quant-type field? No. That is actually a strength of your story. You are a HR type (smart, well behaved, liberal arts type with good enough hard skills) who has already done work like that at Accenture so it just all fits.

Applicants with HR goals and backgrounds is a real bucket at your target schools, and they no doubt have profs who teach it and consider it just as prestigious as Derivative Trading With Bitcoins and other esoteric and even basic courses.  Further, the fact that you are thinking about getting sponsorship from Accenture is another plus!!! Good doobies like you often GET that sponsorship and schools love that because they do not have to worry about you being employed after two years.

Bottom line: There is lots to like here, and it all fits.  I think your chances at all your targets, except Kellogg and Yale, are real solid. You got the stats, you got a solid job, you may return to Accenture, all good. You ARE a Kellogg type–joiner, bon élève, optimist-worrier, “heavily involved in charity organization that teaches prisoners business skills.” (Haha, Kellogg is a charity organization heavily involved in teaching future prisoners business skills), etc. and they may let that outweigh your, ahem, “lower” GMAT.  Just remember, put on your game face, even for them.

I some how am not getting a Yale vibe off of this. They may be a school that holds your age and vibe against you. At schools which do run older, e.g. Fuqua, they may, on the other hand, welcome you to bring down the average.