Ask Kate: GMAT with Low Quant and Low Verbal

A Low GPA and GMAT Score: Where To Go From Here

 

 

Kate,

I was recently accepted to the McCombs School of Business at UT-Austin. I will be entering the Part-Time program. I have 4 years work experience, a 3.3 Undergrad GPA in Aerospace Engineering (Texas A&M), currently work as a Software Engineer at Dell, and a 670 GMAT (44Q, 38V). I’ve taken the GMAT once before and scored a 560 (33Q, 34V), but this time, I really studied hard for the GMAT.

I really want to enter the world of management consulting at one of the Big 4, and plan to supplement my low GMAT with extracurricular activities (UT Graduate Consulting Club), networking, and planning to switch career trajectories in about a year to a hybrid engineering-finance role before I graduate. Should I retake GMAT given my profile?? It’s been weighing heavily on my mind..

Thanks!

low quant and verbalHi Leyton, I may be the bearer of bad news, but your metrics are not good to enter the world of high caliber management consulting. The GPA is low and the Q/V are super low. Your best bet with big 4 is to aim for a regional office that has a specialization you already demonstrate mad skills in. Avoid hopping around to make yourself look good to general HR. You’re best bet is to go for the pity/expert hire directly from an area of business that needs you.

It isn’t that you can’t get past the HR vet. You just won’t be their top 10% so you’ll be at the mercy of the general economic market. Build your expertise. So, the rest of my advice would depend on what kind of software engineering and what your hybrid finc-engr job would look like.

The MBA will be a fine switch point if you build yourself in that direction, but the best way to make the switch is to have something rare enough to offer that they will overlook your grades and scores. Master something of value that you can demonstrate in a concrete way. Quickly. If only one had been low: GPA or GMAT, you could play a more general strategy. Please do not play a general strategy.

Standardized tests are one of the most manageable reset buttons within an academic profile. That’s one of the reasons top firms consider your score. Top-top strategy firms wouldn’t look at that profile. Big 4 – management consulting, not strategy consulting might look at your profile because you fit a practice area they need bodies in. You’d just be a body at the beginning. Look at the firms very strategically. Who has a practice area you can immediately impact – and how. If you can get an interview, lead with the how.

All the best,

-Kate

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