Ask Kate: Will Better GMAT Score Land a Better Job?

GMAT Score Vs. Job Success: Do Higher Scores Affect Better Employment?




I’m very frustrated, and I’ve messaged you before, but I wanted to reach out again. I have managed to get my Quant score up to 46 on the latest retake, but still cannot crack 700 due to a low verbal score, 38 (680 overall). I am obsessed with getting a 700 because I know it will help my chances of reaching my dream: getting into Big 4 Management Consulting. I feel that I only need to tweak a few things on Verbal to reach my goal. I haven’t tried personal tutoring yet (like Manhattan GMAT or something). My data:

Undergrad: Texas A&M, Aerospace Engineering, 3.3 GPA
WE: 5 years experience in Software Test Engineering/Development
Job: Currently work at Dell as Software Test Engineer

As I’m already in a top-tier business school (UT-Austin), am I foolish in continuing to try to supplant this GMAT demon? (I simply CANNOT accept that I am not of the caliber of person that cannot score a 700+). Or should I focus more heavily on networking and outside consulting projects that UT offers to make my chances the best they can in 2 years for a consulting offer?

Really appreciate it, thanks!

bschool (1)Hey Leyton,
You’re in a bad spot. The 700 isn’t what will help you with the consulting firms at this point. That’s a first hurdle. You have a few more hurdles to overcome than other candidates. Here’s how I’d evaluate you off the cuff.

Undergrad: rigor high, gpa low
WE: only interested if you have managed staff and concurrent projects
Job: same as WE, but at least a brand name

Overall, probably not getting an interview. UT is a fine business school, but at the top, no one thinks UT is a peer. Go to UT to get the brass tacks of business – and don’t you dare become a longhorn! – it is a practical school that requires you to learn very practical skills that managers need in their careers.

Network with purpose . . . aggressively. Demonstrate capabilities in case competitions. Win case competitions if you want to be able to break into the strategy side of the Big 4 consulting. You may be able to get an offer, but you are more likely to end up with an offer in project management, not strategy. The 30,000′ difference: PM gets deployed to a site for 9-18 months, Strategy gets deployed to determine project needs and win the deal 1 week – 4 months. Which do you prefer?

About networking – once you’ve made it to age 30 your value to a firm is tied to the vastness of your network that spends money on the things your company sells. A network of 3000 friends under the age of 30 is therefore most likely worthless to a Big 4 Consulting firm. A network of 300 colleagues ages 45+ in decision making capacity at Fortune 1000 companies – who always take your calls – is golden. Don’t ditch your friends, but understand that now it is time to build your career.

Gig ‘Em and God Bless,


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