From a Low GMAT to HaasSummary
Every year, we help dozens of employees at the top professional services multinationals apply for business school. Every year, adcoms receive thousands of applications from these companies. When you and everyone in your cohort is applying to the same business schools at the same time, it’s essential to stand out. But what if one of the ways you stand out is a lower than average GMAT score?
As a Chinese national working in the China office of a global professional services firm, this applicant was applying in one of the most competitive possible demographics. Her initial thought was to differentiate herself by taking advantage of her experience prior to the professional services job. She had served as a product manager at a tech startup, and this experience shaped the way she did her work even now. That was undoubtedly true, but unfortunately her product had not been particularly successful. Given how much her performance in that role was tied to the performance of her product, we felt that putting too much emphasis on the startup role was risky.
However, in talking to this applicant about how her prior experience shaped her perspective, we realized that while she worked at a firm that every adcom member has heard of, the work she did and the way she thought it was not at all typical.
Just because there are many other people with the same title at your workplace, doesn’t mean that your work is the same. This applicant had taken advantage of her prior startup experience to specialize in chip manufacturing at her new employer. We were able to connect this specialization to her future goals, and show how her day-to-day involved quantitative challenges far in excess of most of her peers. This approach made her stand out, and showed that her low GMAT was the result of test-taking stress, rather than ability. When her Haas admit arrived, this applicant kept it close to her vest. Some of her more braggadocios colleagues had scored much higher on the GMAT, but they still got dings. When everyone in your cohort is applying to B-school at the same time, sometimes decision season is more stressful than application season!Acccepted to