Handicapping Your MBA Odds: Mr. IIT Wanderer

Ms. Digital Marketing

  • 680 GMAT (44Q/V39)
  • 3.98 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in public relations and media plannning and political communications from University of Texas at Austin
  • Work experience includes four years as brand manager and now digital marketing strategist at a major financial services firm in the DC-area, currently manages all paid search marketing strategy and execution efforts for bank deposit products; first job out of undergrad in healthcare technology sales for eight months
  • Extracurriculars include menorting to participants each semester in a D.C. fellowship program at a public affairs firm; active in young adult Jewish community, and serve on social planning committee at work
  • Goal: To either go VC route as investor and strategy consultant or focus on organizational structure and strategy concentrations to become an expert in building workforce culture at major corporations
  • “I have taken the GMAT twice and gotten the same overall score with different breakdowns. Which one would you report to schools? First attempt: 680, Q39, V44, IR 8. Second attempt: 680, Q44, V39, IR 7”
  • 28-year-old-white female

Odds of Success:

Northwestern: 20% to 30%

New York University: 30%+

Rice: 30% to 40%

UT-Austin: 30% to 40%

Sandy’s Analysis:  Schools often care more about the Q part of GMAT, especially in cases like yours where they have little doubt you can function in English based on majors, work, and the fact you are a native speaker (I assume). So they can blink (if they want to otherwise) at a lowish verbal score. If you submit lower Q score it could raise issues about your ability to do the Quant work in the core curriculum, and that is often a reason admits have problems.

In general, for anyone else facing a problem like this, a low Q score can be mitigated by pointing to A grades in courses like Stats, Micro Econ, Calculus, etc.

Your work experience could be a problem. How selective is that job you currently have and how many folks from similar gigs at your company apply to business school? Digital marketing sounds like a hot area and you should stress how cool it is. I’m assuming that you manage the ads your financial institution buys on other websites but I am not sure what you mean by saying you manage “execution efforts for our bank deposit products.” You want to make that clear in your applications.

You also noted that you spent eight months in a healthcare tech sales role after getting your bachelor’s degree. A first job is often looked at real hard as a proxy for how well you did in competition with other first job seekers and also a bit where your real passion lies. That will be important for you in terms of your goals. Sales, unlike in the real world, is not respected by adcoms at the really highly selective MBA programs.

Your goals could also raise a red flag. This is not a VC resume, and schools will blame you for not knowing that. It is, on the other hand, a resume that supports strategic consulting so that is what I would say. When you write that you may want to “focus on organizational structure and strategy concentrations to become an expert in building workforce culture at major corporations,” that is the right idea. You just need to put that in English. I’d go with just strategic consulting at MBB as your short-term goal.

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