SBC Scoop: When Are Great GMAT Scores Not Quite Good Enough?

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

Our client Tariq had a tough decision to make. He had sorted out his options and felt strongly that Chicago Booth’s MBA program was the perfect fit. He loved the classes, the focus and the city, and could easily picture himself there. Unfortunately, his first attempt at the GMAT had yielded a 690, with a low quant score. Though Tariq and his consultant agreed that this was a nice first attempt, and possibly good enough for many schools, they knew that while this score made it into the range where 80% of Booth’s students landed, he was still somewhat below the average score.

The rest of Tariq’s application was strong and interesting, but added to the dilemma. After a strong undergraduate career at Amherst, where he compiled a 3.6 GPA, he returned to his native Turkey to work in arts management. Tariq transformed this experience into an essay and application that made his desire to bridge the gap between the liberal arts and business worlds clear and interesting. His consultant had few worries about his application outside of the GMAT score, and they discussed what to do. Since Tariq’s application was lacking in more day-to-day quantitative experience, and his first choice was a program with one of the highest average scores, they agreed that he should go ahead and retake the test.

Tariq’s consultant pointed him to Booth’s messaging regarding the GMAT, which he found reassuring. His school “looks favorably” on taking the test more than once. We see this fairly often as MBA programs consider working hard and improving your score as evidence of persistence. Tariq focused on doing the best he could to impress the admissions committee. Though it was too late for Round 1, he had enough time to work through an online class and retake the test before Round 2. His hard work and focus paid off with a thirty point bump in his score, a solid 720 with an even break between quant and verbal. Tariq and his consultant agreed that if Booth had not been on the top of his list, or if he had been further away from the average score, it may not have been worth it at all to retake, but in his case the costs were outweighed by the benefits.

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