GMAT 730 (Q48 V41, IR 5, AWA 5.5) – Planning for INSEAD or top American MBAs

Prepwise AnswersCategory: GMATGMAT 730 (Q48 V41, IR 5, AWA 5.5) – Planning for INSEAD or top American MBAs
FrankieTheConsultant asked 2 months ago

Hi Kate !
I recently passed the GMAT for the first time with the mentioned score above. The only disappointment I have is with regards to my IR score, during my practice tests I almost always got an 8, once got a 7.
I emigrated to Canada from Europe, where I graduated from undergrad a few months ago and had some time to study for the GMAT and therefore decided to take it even though I am not planning on applying before at least a year or two. I studied business at a “top” Canadian university (sometimes dubbed “Harvard of the North”, but I have a really hard time assessing its true reputation, and how it might influence my application to MBAs), graduating with a 3.71/4.00 GPA and a distinction (given to the top 25% of my class, but GPA is closer to top 15%). I am a white male.
I now work in consulting.
I have got quite some international experience living in North America, Europe, Asia, studying and working in a foreign language (english) and knowing some more.
I am curious as to how you would judge a profile like mine applying to the following full-time MBAs (a few years from now), and if a GMAT retake might help:

  1. INSEAD (I believe my highly international exposure and life story might be very compelling to such a program)
  2. Top US programs (HSW, Booth, etc., for which I know less about the specifics of each program)

I ask specifically about the potential benefits of a GMAT retake as this was only my first time doing it, and I believe I have room to potentially improve my Quant and IR scores (with some work I believe a Q49/50 is achievable on a good day). My verbal has almost always been at V41, since the beginning.
Thank you in advance !

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1 Answers
Kate McKeon Staff answered 2 months ago

Hi Frankie,
Let me clear one thing up for you right away, bringing your quant score up is NOT likely to improve your overall score. Period.

If you want to get your overall score up, you must improve verbal. Since you said Verbal has been pretty steady at 41, it may take you more effort than you really want to expend. As the saying goes, what you did to get here, won’t get you there.

It is certainly possible, but it may take a lot more work than you expect.

Nudging quant up 1-2 points would be nice and since you have capacity to do that, do it. Again, though, unless you put in significant effort on the Verbal, the most your overall score might move is 10 points. Meh.

Regarding AWA and IR – don’t sweat those. It’s certainly a little embarrassing, but not application threatening.
RECAP:

  1. If you have at least 50 hours to study (yep, 50), and you are willing to spend 70% of that time on verbal … you should be able to cross the 760 threshold. You’re close.
  2. If you don’t want to study verbal, your score won’t change enough to warrant more work. Sure 740 is better than 730, but it isn’t likely to be the distinguishing mark for you.
  3. Better to have your career and letters of recommendation speak for you.

Stay on a strong international trajectory and you will be a strong candidate for INSEAD. The American programs have a different bias. The international experience – particularly if you are not with a top tier consulting firm – is harder for the American programs to compare to their other applicants. So you’ll more likely be compared on the strength of your consulting work – reports on how you manage staff and projects, etc.

Several American programs speak up the international component, but in reality . . . they treat it like a quaint hobby. That’s their problem, not yours. Just know that heading into apps.