Student Case

Hi Kate, Do I need to retake my gmat (720, v96% q 67%) Masters in Engg fm NTU interested in PhD (Strat Mgmt)

I noticed that you tagged your question as “unbalanced score” so let me address that first. Your scaled scores are actually very similar; approximately V 43, Q 46 so you’re as close to well balanced as is reasonable. That said, your percentiles are way off. That has more to do with who else takes the test.
So the good news is, you’re balanced. Since you’re interested in a PhD, that verbal score will give you a leg up on the other candidates applying from overseas..."

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Tips for Applicants

Test tip

GMAT Scores Keeping Going Higher At Leading Business Schools: do you have what you need to succeed?

Kick around the Score Report Q&A to find out your GMAT strength ... or weakness.


Are you in transition? Several students have not just made the transition to Business School, but also made industry and functional changes - even at 30, 40, 50, and 60! As part of that process it helps to understand your strengths, areas for improvement and areas to avoid. One way we do that is through assessments. Within the Career Practice you may take a few to several assessments to help us get to the heart of what makes you tick. Each test is well researched and designed according to the APA (American Psychological Association) standards for educational and psychological testing. If you want a taste, the company I license the tests from is making shorter versions of their major tests available.

Here's a source for the Risk Profile test:

Risk Profile Test for personal use - They include a limited report and offer an upgrade to a more
elaborate report - not sold on the public version of that upgrade (recommendation: skip it).

Most of the tests can be completed in 10-30 minutes.

Happy exploration!

Application tip

Hopefully you've looked through all the apps for your favorite schools. Notice how similar they are? While they are pretty similar - essay questions look about the same, the spirits are different. If you haven't visited the school, don't know dozens of recent alums and current students, and you won't be able to visit until after you finish the application, take a few days to deep dive on the nature of each program.

You need to understand how the school views itself in the MBA program landscape. Do they think they're the top of the heap? Or do they know their students would rather be at HBS so they're the safety school? A few schools have gone so far as to brand themselves within areas, for example Northwestern = Marketing. But that's only the surface. If you're interested in Marketing, Northwestern might be a great choice if you want to do CPG, but a less stellar choice if you want to focus on Biotech.

Even among "generalist" programs there are very different perceptions among future employers. If you know who you want to work for or with, look at where their people graduated: old grads and recent grads.Want my feedback on parts of your application: add your request here by asking a question. Remember to tag it Ask Kate, MBA so I'll find i!

Fairy Tales and MBAs

"A new MBA student in a business serving a cyclical industry had better be ready for recessions and booms. But the classmate working in healthcare should allocate far less time to business cycle issues." Think macro economics isn't that important? In this article, Bill Conerly
makes his case on how macro economics -- not micro-- is of more value to an MBA student, along with showing an opposing argument. Want a little more on economics?

Read my take on the bastardization of Fairy Tales.
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