Student GMAT Cases

What follows are private client case write-ups. Out of respect for our clients we have concealed names. We appreciate your privacy. If you want to meet Kate in person, please click here to book your personal evaluation.


KM: When you see KM what follows are Kate McKeon’s actual session notes or a summary of said notes.

Intermediate Outcome: Student may be in the application process or may have decided to hold off on applications for a period. This is most often the case when a student has come in just after finishing 2 years banking/consulting and just before a 2 year private equity contract.

Original Request: Student’s initial statement or email request.

GMAT Student Cases

Student 130501
KM: Non-Finance candidate. Took SAT untimed, had timing accommodations in college. Did not seek accommodation on the GMAT. Seems bright if easily distracted. Score before arriving on my doorstep: 520.

In 5 weeks of supervised study and tutoring was able to sit for the GMAT with regular time, 48/42, 730.
Intermediate outcome: 730

Student 126813
KM: Private Equity candidate. Started late Feb 2012, had attempted MGMAT course, could not make the class sessions, got behind quickly, had trouble making tutoring appointments, late cancellations due to unexpected travel. Recommended he pick up again in late Summer during expected down time. He came back for tutoring late Fall hoping to make round 2 deadlines. Weak math, weak verbal. Strong candidate story. Strong recommendation material. Three months of GMAT and application work.
Final outcome: HBS

Student 130008
Original Request:
“I’ve been mostly been studying off Manhattan GMAT materials. Have gone through Manhattan GMAT math materials, but definitely need to polish and improve my timing. Biggest issue is that I’m not able to finish the last 10 questions in quant. Scoring ~630 now (stronger in verbal than math)…hoping to get to 720+. Do you think it’s feasible? First, before serious studying I took the official practice test and got 630 (38 quant, 38 verbal) – February

I then spent a month studying the math from the Manhattan GMAT materials. I just took the Manhattan GMAT exam #2  and got 38 quant 35 verbal (610).”

KM: Private Equity candidate. Can barely get to his appointments much less knock out the homework. Thinks his verbal is stronger, but it is dead even. Verbal will hold him back from top score. He has poor understanding of math mechanics and is determined to bull his way through. Does not understand that his current trajectory will exclude him from 700+. 5 weeks worth of sessions, made decent strides, 700 (42/42) on first actual GMAT. Will retest after summer rush. Strong experience. Decent recommendation material.
Intermediate outcome: 700

Student 130667
KM: Private Equity candidate. Has dueling needs. Wants to stay close to New York but wants to re-enter PE field at more prestigious firm. Based on goals, recommended that he consider options previously off the table. Needs to do significant work on quant and verbal to bring his score in line with expectations. Tricky work schedule but calm home life.
Intermediate Outcome: Additional Career work

Student 130842
KM: “The first (test) I got a 440 (25- Quant, 27- verbal) but I had no idea the test structure.” When asked why take the test without having any idea about the structure, candidate shrugged. It had not occurred to get cursory information before the first attempt. Candidate is oddly clueless about the business school application process. Wants to go, but doesn’t know the difference among programs beyond the published rankings. Has weak professional experience and while driven is not plugged in to possible career paths nor experiences necessary to pursue career paths. Speaks in generalities about short term interests. Has peculiar hobbies and non-professional interests. Perhaps there’s something in those? Very concerned that this one will not complete the process.

Two months of very intense study time. Student was unable to keep pace and regularly flaked on assignments. Final GMAT: Quant – 44, Verbal – 42, 710.
Intermediate outcome: 710

Student 126817
Original Student Request:
“I am concerned about my work experience because it is kind of fragmented. After college, I moved back to (country) where my parents live and worked at a risk management consulting firm for 7 months. I quit because I have always wanted to work in fashion and started working at Prada (country-level) as a PR Assistant for a year.  After that I came to New York to get my AAS degree in Fashion Marketing at Parsons from 2010-2011 because I wanted to work in New York. I have been working at my current job as an assistant buyer since Sept. 2011.

I want to continue to work in the fashion industry but instead of just having a specialized focus such as just PR or buying, I want to have a boarder understanding and perspective on how to run a successful business/brand specifically in the fashion industry, which is why NYU is my top choice since it is the only top MBA program in the US that offer a specialization in Luxury Marketing.”

KM: Consistent, driven, stronger than average candidate. May be prematurely limiting self due to perceived strengths of other candidates. Strong HBS candidate.
Final outcome: TBD

Student 130018
KM: Private Equity Candidate. Switching from Banking to PE, 3 week immersion. Started with 630 after a month of self study. Had attempted mgmat course previous summer, was unable to attend all sessions / felt course was guided toward lower performers. First take 740. Recommended that he retake based on my initial assessment. Despite very little additional work, second take 760. Some of the concepts took time to sink in. Decent work experience. Advised that he create stronger recommendation profile. Will apply in 2014.
Intermediate outcome: 760

Student 130021
Original Request:
KM: Attempted MGMAT course summer 2011, attempted tutoring with me at MGMAT summer 2012 (2 haphazard sessions cut short due to last minute travel) – then self study sporadically while changing jobs within PE.

Fall 2012, “Got out of the GMAT today.  I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, got a 48 on Math and then a 38 on verbal (690).  Honestly, I was feeling very good about the test going in – my last practice on Sunday was a 750 with a 44 on verbal.”

Came back to tutoring late spring 2013. Needed to see the short path rather than the deep dive everywhere. May only keep his attention for 3 weeks. Finished in 19 days, ” 740, 48 math 44 verbal. Thank you for all your help!”
Intermediate outcome: 740

Student 130133
Budget driven student. Limited initial contact, freaked herself out a bit, was determined to spend a significant amount of time on quant despite a relatively inconsistent verbal performance. Suspect verbal swings are due to poor confidence and execution on quant. Needs to feel that she has quant under wraps in order to hit her best on verbal. First take 680 44/38. Coached her on the essentials and test timing.  Retested 31 days later. Final month balanced verbal and quant.

“Just finished my exam. Got a 760!!!! Am ecstatic. Thank you for all your help!”

Her advice, “Leave the private company materials alone, focus on official GMAC materials and Number properties. Kate had me do and redo and re-redo number properties and once I got it, I realize it was a majority of the test. Spend 50% of your time on Number properties. Pacing really improved. Stuck to Kate’s 8/15 pacing. It felt powerful to feel on time even if I had to throw away 1-2 questions. I put so much pressure on myself to be done with my first test and I was very disappointed when I hit 680. I felt so defeated after quant I flopped on verbal. Accepting that it just happens and letting go, I hit 760.”
Intermediate outcome: 760

Student 110001
KM: Consulting to Private Equity switch. Strong performer, expect 760+. Strong candidate. Started tutoring March 2011, finished in 5 weeks:

Hey Kate-

Hope you are well. Just took the test. It went fabulously- 48Q 51V
770! Thanks so much for all of your help throughout the process-
couldn’t have done it with out your stellar instruction. Hopefully our
paths will cross again one day soon.
Final outcome: HBS

Student 120009
KM: Consulting to Venture Capital candidate, strong experience, solid performer, competitive. Probably doesn’t need bschool, advised accordingly. Competes not to barely win, but to totally dominate. Gets it. Easy to work with.

Favorite email, “I’m sweet at overlapping sets now”
Final outcome 760

Student 116872
KM: Initial intake: Banking candidate, not admitted to schools last year. Needs to shore up GMAT and must improve application. Career not focused. Too focused on a forced story that “makes sense” on her resume. Likely to lose the application game again unless we tap her passions.

“Kate’s consistent mentoring has been integral to every step of my MBA application process. I have found that her advice is always spot on. It often makes me wonder if she has a crystal ball specifically designed for business school applicants.
Kate also helped me carve long term career goals, which were unique to my experience and personality. My final essays were genuine and from the heart. I received comments from both my interviewer and a member of Adcom about how diverse and interesting my long term goals were.
 Not surprisingly, I ended up getting into, not one, but two of the top business schools. One of them even included a merit based scholarship!!”
Final Outcome: Wharton

Student 116878

KM: Private equity candidate. Has worked with other tutor for 2 months, needs work on quant and verbal. Decent candidate overall, but not super strong academically. Cleared GMAT hurdle by getting quant up significantly. Also boosted verbal. Maxed out at 700. Would have needed super intensive work to get verbal any higher and hit as high as is likely/needed on quant. Failed to gain admission last year when he applied on his own, switched jobs instead.
Final Outcome: Wharton