I've been a long time browser on this website and just wanted to share my experience.
Here are my stats before we start:
- UG: Service Academy - 2.3 GPA
- Grad: Big D1 Sport School - random MS with accounting and finance classes - 3.8 GPA
- GMAT - 720
- Work exp: 5 years military officer significant leadership exp, 2 years med device sales, currently in BB rotational program for vets
First Thought of B-School
I first considered going to b-school back in 2014. I posted on wso asking what my chances were and what schools I should apply to. Not surprisingly, I was told I would be competitive in the 30-50 ranked MBA's. I saw the employment reports for those schools and decided the ROI was not there for those specific schools and decided an MBA was not for me.
Two years later I met another Service Academy grad who was in CBS with a lower GPA than mine. She wasn't a special operator or a fighter pilot. So I decided to at least try to take at hack at a top 15 program.
I started studying for the GMAT in May 2017, took the test 3 times: 620, 640, 720. I had to retake it so many times because of anxiety. I generally scored between 700-730 on my practice tests from GMATPrep and Manhattan prep, but during the actual test I had to reread questions for whatever reason.
I finished the GMATs in late July and started my applications. I applied to 6 schools: 2 T10, 2 T15, and 2 T25. I used Service2School admission consultants (free service for vets run by admitted students, I will be volunteering next year). I networked quite a bit with the students there and also did official campus visits at every school.
The first two applications took the most time, but once you refine your story and brand the rest of the applications become fairly easy. My story revolved around breaking into ibanking.
- 1 T10 Ding
- 1 T10 Admit
- 1 T15 Waitlist
- 1 T15 Admit
- 1 T25 Ding
- 1 T25 Admit
I reached out to the students I made a good connection with for the school I got waitlisted for, and they were stunned I was waitlisted. They said they would send letters of support to help my application. The next day I got an admit call. So out of the 6 applications I submitted I got 4 admits, the 1 T25 I got dinged at I didn't feel like I fit in and did not make good connections with current students. I
Why I'm Writing This
I'm writing this to hopefully give some of you second wind to hacking the GMAT or applying to an MBA program. After the first two tests I wanted to breakdown and give up. I read forums about retaking the GMAT and how unlikely it is to have a significant boost in score. However, I just put my head down and kept at it, I was determined to break 700 before maxing out at 5 tests.
Secondly, don't be discouraged if you have a low GPA. I was told on this forum that I should shoot for 30-50 ranked schools. I'm sure even now if I posted a "What are my chances" post, I would probably get a similar answer. No one will tell you that you have a good shot at a T10 school. Statistically most people with low GPA's will fail and most people retaking the GMAT won't improve their score. My only suggestion is don't be most people. Try harder than most people. Don't expect any encouragement. If you're willing to take on this uphill battle you will have to encourage yourself.
As Kanye West said, "Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem. Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams."
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