MBA Preparation, Services, Case Studies

Case Study #2 of 7: There’s No Such Thing as a “Perfect” MBA Applicant

October 13 2020 By The MBA Exchange
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This is the second in a series of 7 case studies summarizing the challenges, experiences and success of business school applicants who in recent years have engaged the consulting services of The MBA Exchange. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” MBA candidate, but there are strategic ways to perfect your candidacy.

The featured profiles are:

#1. Low GPA

#2. Low GMAT Score, Qualitative background

#3. Undifferentiated/Technical work history

#4. No international experience

#5. Short work history

#6. Re-applicant

#7. Older applicant

These descriptions confirm that, while most applicants are not “perfect,” through well-planned strategies and diligently executed tactics, admission is achievable at schools that they believe are beyond their reach.

If your candidacy relates to any of these case studies, then The MBA Exchange would love to hear from you regarding your business-school aspirations and challenges. Contact us today! We’d love to chat with you.

Case Study #2: Low GMAT Score, Qualitative Background

Applicant Profile for “Lauren” (not her real name)

Applicant Profile Table for “Lauren” (not her real name)
AcademicSociology major at an Ivy League university in the US. Graduated with a 3.3 overall GPA. Studied abroad for one semester in France
Professional4 years of experience as an analyst and then manager at a marketing consulting firm
Non-work activitiesServes as Executive Board member of a professional women’s organization, as well as of undergraduate alumni association
Post-MBA goalWork in brand management for several years, then transition into a leadership role in the non-profit arena
Target schoolsColumbia, Kellogg, Duke, Yale

The MBA Exchange’s Solution

Lauren has taken the GMAT twice and scored a 630 both times. Moreover, her quantitative score is significantly weaker than her verbal score. We feel this may be of particular concern to admissions committees because her undergraduate major and work experience are not quantitatively rigorous.

We reviewed our experience with past clients who had similar profiles and goals, and devised the following 3-part strategy to enable Lauren to compensate for her low GMAT score:

  • Work one-on-one with one of our amazing GMAT prep tutors.
  • Encourage her supervisor to emphasize Lauren’s quantitative/analytical abilities in the recommendation.
  • Prepare a compelling optional essay that highlights aspects of undergraduate studies and professional experience that demonstrate ability to handle analytical/quantitative rigor, even if within a marketing or sociology context (for example, statistics work and ROI analysis).

Applicant’s Outcome/Results

Lauren followed our advice, and her dedication enabled her to earn a 680 on the GMAT. However, as a respectable test score alone cannot guarantee admission, we worked diligently with Lauren to help her develop powerful essay content and recommendations communicating her extracurricular and professional leadership roles and rationale for an MBA. We helped her align her strengths with the selection criteria at her targeted schools. Lauren was ultimately offered admission to Columbia, Kellogg and Yale.

In order to capitalize on our experience and advice as Lauren did, The MBA Exchange invites prospective clients to contact us for a free, preliminary evaluation. Engaging us for a Comprehensive Consultation will allow you time and proven strategies to strengthen your candidacy and then to prepare more compelling applications that maximize your chances for admission.

Client Comments

After I took the GMAT twice and scored a 630 both times, I figured my chances of admission to a top business school were slim to none. Then, I learned about The MBA Exchange – and because of their expert guidance, I got into not just one — but three — top programs! My consultant’s strategy to overcome my low GMAT score and convince admissions committees of my ability to handle the difficult quant-focused coursework was brilliant and effective. Thank you, MBA Exchange!!