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Category: Posts by Stefanie

I’m concerned about my GMAT/GRE score or my GPA. What should I do?

The following blog post was written by Stefanie Attridge, Director of Admissions and Enrollment at Simon.

As application deadlines quickly approach, standardized test scores and GPAs are often a source of stress for those considering B-school. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions with the hopes of informing your decision making and setting your mind at ease.

What if my test scores aren’t “good enough” for the school(s) I want to apply to?
Most students use the GMAT or GRE averages to ascertain how they measure up. A much better gauge is to look at the middle 80% range of GMAT and GRE scores posted on the class profile. This will show you the scores at the 10th percentile and 90th percentile for enrolling students, and will provide a more accurate range of admitted students’ scores for you to use in your consideration.

I want to retake the GMAT or GRE. Is that a bad idea? 
You are welcome to take the test more than once to improve your scores. You know yourself best and if you are confident you can improve, retaking is a good decision because schools will typically accept your highest score. Here are a couple things to bear in mind before you retake:

Scantron multiple choice answer sheet

Your test scores are just one factor in your application portfolio.

  • Admissions committees will consider your GMAT/GRE score along with your undergraduate GPA. If your GPA falls into the higher end of the school’s specified range, that may compensate for lower test scores. More on GPA in a minute.
  • What was your verbal/quant split compared to the school’s suggested range? Most schools understand that you may be stronger on one of the two dimensions, but at the same time they hope for reasonably good performance on both sections. A retake may allow you to focus attention on the area where you performed lower, while maintaining your initial performance in the section where you are naturally strong.
  • Only consider a retake if you have enough time to sufficiently prepare. There’s nothing worse than retaking the exam and posting a lower score because…
  • …the schools you are applying to will be able to see all your test dates and scores. It’s okay to take the exam a few times, but understand that it might be concerning to the committee if you take it too many times.

How much does my GPA affect my candidacy?
At Simon, our Admissions Committee considers many factors while reviewing the academic portion of your application. We look at cumulative undergraduate GPA, the strength of the college or university you attended, the rigor of courses you took, your choice of major/minor, your class selection and the trend of grades throughout your program. We are also interested in other demands on your time during college, such as employment or involvement in campus/community activities.

What if my GPA wasn’t strong?
Remember, the application review is multi-faceted. That said, here are a few things to consider:

  • Take a look at the other components of your candidacy, such as the amount and type of prior work experience and your leadership and team experience.
  • Assess the rigor of your course load. If you challenged yourself academically, chances are that the Admissions Committee will take that into consideration.
  • Obviously you cannot change your GPA after you’ve graduated, so if you’re concerned, use the optional essay to provide an explanation of weak performance on your transcript or of any gaps in your undergraduate coursework. We like to avoid assumptions during the review process, so we would much rather hear any clarification about your academic performance directly from you.
  • Keep in mind that students with high test scores or GPAs have been denied and students with lower test scores or GPAs have been admitted as there are many other factors we consider in our review.
  • Remember, you can balance out a lower GPA with a stronger GMAT/GRE score.

Are there other things I can do to improve my candidacy?
Definitely! If your performance in college didn’t demonstrate your potential or if you did not have much quantitative coursework, consider taking a statistics, calculus, economics, or financial accounting class. Submitting this information to the Admissions Committee will indicate that you are serious about business school and are committed to improving your skill set. Keep in mind that the Admissions Committee may request your grades from any additional coursework you’ve taken (Simon does), so it’s not just the act of enrolling in the class, your performance matters, too.

If you’re interested in more application tips, check out this video or watch one of our webinars.

Good luck as you continue to work through your application – we look forward to receiving it for 2016!

Simon Volunteers Club Spreads Holiday Joy

By: Stefanie

Each December, with the help of the Simon and Rochester communities, the Simon Volunteers student club launches a Secret Santa Campaign.  The Volunteers work with several local organizations and their member families to purchase holiday gifts for underprivileged children in the Rochester area.  Last year, the Volunteers were able to make the holidays brighter for 135 children and their families.  This year’s goal is 160 children. 

Throughout the year, the club plans multiple events as fundraisers including a Beer Tasting event (always a favorite!) and a Silent Auction – with donations from local businesses, faculty, staff, and students.  You can bid and win such prizes as a round of golf with a faculty member at the exclusive member-only Oak Hill Country Club, guitar lessons, a baked good once a month for a year, a gourmet meal for you and 3 of your favorite friends – just to name a few!  And all for a good cause.  The money raised, along with cash donations, goes to the shoppers (Secret Santas) to purchase the gifts on the children’s wish list.  

The Secret Santa campaign then culminates with one of the most eagerly awaited annual traditions – the Wrapping Party!  Current students, faculty, staff enjoy listening to carols, sipping hot cocoa, and wrapping the many presents purchased with care.  If you aren’t already in the holiday spirit by the wrapping party, you sure will be after!  Every year I enjoy being a Secret Santa and having the chance to give a child in the Rochester area a brighter holiday.  There is no better way to join the Simon community in celebrating the holidays!

Thinking Outside the Box Seminar

In recent years, we have seen more and more applicants interested in non-profit, sustainable energy, and other non-traditional M.B.A. career paths. A few years ago, students joined together to launch a day-long event to bring together such like-minded individuals and this past Friday (April 2), Simon hosted the 3rd Annual “Thinking Outside the Box” Seminar. The event was organized by Simon Net Impact and Simon National Black M.B.A. Association and co-sponsored by the Simon Career Management Center and the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Alumni panelists included:

Mr. Christopher Burns, Marketing Consultant
Dr. Mary-Beth A. Cooper, VP of Student Affairs, Rochester Institute of Technology
Ms. Denise Fitzgerald, CEO, Kalieda
Mr. Paul Goldner, CEO, Leading Sustainable Solutions
Ms. Tamu Brown-Hutchinson, Director of Information Technology and Resource Management, Center for Youth
Ms. McKenzie Keenan, Executive Director, Young Audiences
Mr. Ashok Sarathy, Director of GMAT Program, Graduate Mangement Admission Council
Ms. Lynn Sullivan, CFO, Association of Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) – Goodwill
Mr. Gregory Vangellow, CEO, RW Dake and Company
Mrs. Kate Washington, Managing Consultant, Enterprise Services International
Mr. Karl Withers, Director of Marketing, University of Rochester Medical Center
Additional participants included:
Alma Balonon-Rosen, Local Office Director, Enterprise Community Partners
Mark Peterson, CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise
George McConochie, COO, Sustainable Energy Developments, Inc.
The event was a resounding success and we thank all alumni and participants for their involvement!

University of Rochester a Top Technology Commercialization Institution

The University of Rochester is a leading research university in the nation and the result of that is many opportunities for technology transfer and commercialization.  In other words, bringing research and products from the laboratory to the marketplace.  The University has been recognized, for the eighth consecutive year, by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) as one of the top ten institutions in the country in the amount of royalty revenue it has received from licensed technologies.

There are a few programs and opportunities at the University that are related to technology transfer and I will name just a few here.  The University has aCenter for Entrepreneurship which started from a grant received in 2003 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  It serves as a central resource for all schools and programs which engage in entrepreneurship education at the University as well as facilitates partnerships between the University and the community.  The Simon School of Business M.B.A. program has a concentration in Entrepreneurship that offers opportunities to either intern or work on class projects with some of these University-related start-ups.   We also have an M.S. program that concentrates in Technology Transfer for those who want a career specifically in this area.

Please click here to read the full article on the University’s website.