HOW TO JUSTIFY A LOW GMAT SCORE?

The GMAT is the very first step towards your MBA journey. GMAT score for MBA is accepted by over 7000 business and management programs worldwide and is the preferred test for MBA admissions by the world’s top business schools. The GMAT score for MBA allows you to demonstrate your analytical and quantitative aptitude, which are the essential skills to thrive in the MBA classroom and pursue careers in demanding fields like finance, consulting, and tech.

As an MBA aspirant, you've probably come across a question:

How do I balance my MBA application if I get a low GMAT score? How do you justify a low GMAT score? How do you address low GMAT in an optional essay?

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Don't think about yourself as a number or define your worth based on your low GMAT score, and you are much more than your GMAT score for MBA. And no matter how cliche it sounds, the GMAT score for MBA is only one component of your entire application.

The admission committee considers every part and detail of the application during the application review process. Business schools are not looking for all 780s as GMAT scores for MBA. They need people who can bring different ideas and perspectives to their classes, are employable to top companies, and significantly contribute to their classes.

So thinking about your low GMAT score from this angle will help you put together your entire application as a whole instead of worrying about your low GMAT score.

However, you could do a couple of things to justify your low GMAT score.

THESE ARE FIVE KEY POINTS THAT WILL HELP YOU BALANCE YOUR LOW GMAT SCORE.


1) LOR'S: YOU SHOULD DEDICATE AT LEAST 10% OF YOUR TOTAL PREPARATION TIME WORKING ON YOUR RECOMMENDATION LETTERS TO UPGRADE YOUR PROFILE DESPITE A LOW GMAT SCORE. 

  • Firstly, remember that different programs require different recommendation letters, so check the admissions section for your application. This could be a key to acing your application after a low GMAT score.
  • The admissions committee is looking for a recommender who has worked with you, who knows you as a person and can share real-life stories and anecdotes that demonstrate a lot of information about personality rather than understanding your potential from your low GMAT score.
  •  Your LORs must provide admission officers with helpful information about you, your experience, accomplishments, contributions, and talents to paint a favorable image of you to consider your application despite the low GMAT score.
  • LORs from non-profit organizations with which you have collaborated may also be helpful to balance your low GMAT score. In general, universities offer many wheels to low GMAT score applicants with LORs from non-profit organizations because it demonstrates social contribution, leadership, and empathy, which universities highly value. These values stand higher than your low GMAT score.


2) SOLID RESUME TO ACE YOUR ADMISSION DESPITE A LOW GMAT SCORE:

Aside from your recommendations and low GMAT score, the quality of your work speaks volumes about your ever-bright and gleaming career rather than your low GMAT score. And there's no better place to highlight the promotion, international experience, and leadership than your resume. 


Are you wondering how you justify a low GMAT score? This is how!


Remember when you were in a leadership role and led a team of ten or more to win your team's most significant project and then shipped it like a boss. You should include this impactfully in your resume to mitigate the impact of your low GMAT score. Rack your brain and mention the times you went out of your way to organize knowledge management sessions or take on additional responsibilities beyond your work. Believe us, it all counts to divert the attention from your low GMAT score! This is the place where you can tell your professional story and show off your best work. 

3) ESSAYS: HOW TO EXPLAIN A LOW GMAT SCORE IN YOUR ESSAYS?

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The key to focusing away from a low GMAT score here is to emphasize your distinctive personality and life experiences. It aims to demonstrate who you are as an individual rather than giving yourself a tag of your GMAT score. 

Consider yourself a product, and write down all of your USPs. Introspect over questions such as;

  •  Where are you in your career right now?
  •  Where do you want to go? 
  • Do you need an MBA to reach there? 
  • How can the school assist you in getting there?
  •  Why have you picked this school at this point in your academic and professional career? 
  • Why do you think you are more than your low GMAT score?


TWO TIPS FOR CONCEALING YOUR LOW GMAT SCORE – 

  1. First, Convey what you are passionate about as the admission committee is keen to know what excites you and why they should accept you as an engaging, dynamic, vital person to their program. Focus on the specific role you want to fill, be realistic about your goals if possible, and honest about your low GMAT score. You must genuinely persuade the adcoms and paint a picture that you understand the program despite the low GMAT score and improve your peers' learning experiences in more ways than they can imagine.
  2. Second, If any of your schools have an optional essay to provide additional information, use this opportunity to address your low GMAT score adequately. Finally, assure the admission committee that your low GMAT score does not reflect your fundamental academic skills.

    How do you explain the low GMAT in an optional essay? First, briefly describe the steps you took to prepare for the GMAT exam, as well as any obstacles that prevented you from having more time to study for the GMAT. Then, to strengthen your candidacy and showcase your capabilities, draw their attention to the supplementary coursework you have done. Supplemental coursework will help overshadow your low GMAT score.

4) INTERVIEW; HOW TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR LOW GMAT SCORES?

If you've received an interview invitation, you're almost there! This means you could divert attention away from your low GMAT score and impress the adcoms members. This is your chance to shine, and this is when you realize that you are much more than your low GMAT score. The interview panel members want to hear about you, your aspirations, goals, why you want to do an MBA, and plenty of other topics that have nothing to do with your GMAT score. Therefore, you need to put on your best, and this is your day. So, don’t fret over your low GMAT score because if adcoms are calling you for an interview, that means they have gone past your GMAT score and want to know more about you.

5) SUPPLEMENT COURSE WORK FOR A LOW GMAT SCORE APPLICANT:

The GMAT score for MBA is a trustworthy indicator of your academic skills and abilities to succeed in the MBA course. Try to take and excel at additional coursework in subjects such as statistics, economics, calculus, or accounting which will help you reflect your ability to survive the quantitative rigor of business school despite a low GMAT score. There are other ways to conceal the low GMAT score and illustrate these capabilities, such as having a high undergraduate GPA or completing online/offline courses requiring a high quantitative competency level. Having a postgraduate degree (for example, MS, M Tech, etc.) or finishing undergrad/postgrad from an international university can significantly boost your profile and divert attention from your low GMAT score.

FINAL TAKEAWAY

The GMAT score for MBA is just one element of the application. For example, a low GMAT score might be compensated by good performance in academic coursework or significant work experience and advancement and other considerations such as extracurricular activities, leadership capabilities, and cultural fit. These supplementary qualities can give you an edge to ace the application despite your low GMAT score.

Now that you know how to overcome a low GMAT score, it's time to start working on your application. If you need assistance brainstorming the storyline, personalizing those memorable essays, emphasizing your accomplishments on your resume, or addressing the low GMAT score question,  we are here with you! So stop hesitating and apply to your dream schools because you’re genuinely much more than your GMAT score!

The above blog is originally posted on www.mbaandbeyond.com

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About MBA and Beyond: Shantanu, the founder of MBA and Beyond, is an INSEAD MBA graduate, an entrepreneur, and a fintech enthusiast. MBA and Beyond help applicants with all aspects of MBA application such as profile building for MBA, branding for MBA, interview preparation, essays, resume, LoR, and shortlisting right schools. Our team includes highly experienced consultants who are graduated from Insead, Wharton, and Columbia. Our consultants have helped many ‘unconventional’ candidates make it to the top MBA programs. Our MBA consulting team has carefully designed applicant experience to get the best out of you. We are excited to hear your story and lead you to your dream school.

HOW TO JUSTIFY A LOW GMAT SCORE?