Pardon the long, initial post. But, I wanted to capture a little about me and encourage others to chime in. My goal is to get into a top-tier accounting PhD program in Texas (UT, A&M, UH, etc.). I applied for Fall 2012 admission, but was rejected from these three schools. I'm looking to improve my GMAT score for next year and re-apply.
My two attempts at the GMAT:
January 2003 (applying for MBA, for which I was accepted): 560 (v29, q38 and AWA 5.5).
January 2012 (applying for PhD programs, denied): 620 (v30, q45 and AWA 6.0)
I'm targeting a 700+ and anything above 730 would be ideal. For example, UH (University of Houston) accepted 4 accounting PhD students for 2012 with GMATs of 770, 770, 740 and 710. I am confident that the GMAT is the weak link in my application. I am a CPA with almost 10 years of public accounting/auditing, 2.5 years as a controller and 2+ years as a lecturer at UH. During my MBA studies at UH, I had a 3.9 GPA while working full-time in public accounting. Certainly my background is solid, so it must be the GMAT holding me back!
In 2003, my studies were limited. I did not take any practice tests. I reviewed the GMAT website the night before, learned what the problems would look like, worked a few and called it a "study". Therefore, the 560 is pretty much my baseline. For 2012, I studied for about 10 days off-and-on. I estimate about 35-40 hours of studying and took it immediately thereafter. (Was actually on vacation visiting the in-laws in Hawaii for 2 weeks, studied while we were there and took it in Honolulu the morning in which we flew out that night.) My goal for this January was (1) get a feel for what a few weeks of studying would net me and (2) pray it was enough to get accepted. Well, it wasn't!
So, here I am. I'm looking to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at my next attempt. As of today (6/6/2012), I have not committed/purchased any program. I am leaning towards the online courses & materials from Manhattan GMAT. I'd be interested in hearing of other programs that would be better in my preparation. Verbal is my weak link, and it must be improved significantly. My budget is $1,000 for study/course materials, but could talk the Mrs. into another couple hundred dollars with the notion that it would be worth it. Any advice, tips, hints, etc. are greatly appreciated! Thanks!!!
Here we go!!!