i am really keen on getting into a good b-school. preferably columbia business school. it’s the school that best fits my post MBA goals.
i now have a gmat score of 600. Q43 V30. Should I consider retaking the GMAT or should I spend time working on my applications?
Columbia is too competitive to submit with a 600 unless you have extenuating circumstances (if you’ve saved 12 villages in your home country and cured dolphin cancer for example) . . . and even then, you’ll need to retake to prove you’ve given it sufficient effort. So in brief, yes, they have accepted some people in the 600 range, but they don’t like it, and it is rare.
Your verbal is far too low for the pace of your class. Perhaps English is not your first language. If that’s the case, spend some extra quality surrounded by excellent English speakers. When not in the US – find the expat community. I’ve found former British military and intelligence officers (folks who attended strong UK universities) speak the right depth and breadth for your quick assimilation. Being around the “right” speech patterns helps with your grammar – Sentence Correction – and being around well educated professionals is likely to lead to conversations that will build your qualitative analytics – Critical Reasoning and Reading Comp.
The math also needs some work. It isn’t a disaster, but it isn’t doing you any favors. Make sure to shore up your understanding of basic number properties and fix any mechanical deficiencies – slow algebra, etc.
Many students have had success “cleaning up” the basics of quant with Schaums Elementary Algebra (link below). Focus on chapters 1-8, then 10-16 (skip the Trigonometry). Make sure your mechanics are superb with those chapters. Then – once you’ve got the rest of the book under total control – then work through chapter 9. Chapter 9 is all about problem set up and thinking through problem solving techniques.
Once you’ve finished Schaums, go back to the official guide. I cannot recommend any private label materials any more (kaplan, manhattanprep, princeton review, etc). They just won’t get you where you want to go.
- See notes about improving English.
- Schaums 1-8, 10-16
- Schaums Ch 9
- Official Guide and GMATPrep (mba.com) resources.
It may take you a significant amount of time to move the needle on verbal. It will be worth it. But that may mean you apply next Fall. Here are some extra hints:
For best results with Columbia, get that app in BEFORE the HBS deadline. Aim for late August. Columbia is a jealous lover. They want to believe they are the only school you are considering.
Make sure that you are doing the work NOW – in your professional life – that will make you an excellent candidate. If you are working a dead end job now and can’t change it quickly, make sure your community impact will give you enough management and leadership talking points.
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