Are you serious? If you actually have research in progress, of course you should push that forward rather than try for 20 points on the GMAT (which is less than the margin of error on the test, anyway).
Hello urch experts! Now that it's a bit less than half a year to PhD application deadlines, I could use some advice on how best to spend my time to maximise my chances of getting into a top 20, maybe even top 10 accounting program.
My main question is whether it's better to get a slightly higher GMAT than 730 (Q50), than to develop my research work further.
My 730 was from two years ago, and I think that if I spend a good amount of time preparing and have a good test day, I could hit 750. On the other hand, with the GMAT there's always the risk of a bad test day, plus it would take time off my research work: I have 3ish ongoing projects that I could prepare for conference and journal submission in the coming months (or even weeks) if I devote time to them.
So... Developing research vs trying to improve from 730 to 750? Could use some advice.
To give some background, I did my undergrad accounting and economics degrees from an Asian university, GPA 3.7, and am currently doing a MSc Statistics. 2 conference presentations, 2 RAships. Aiming for financial, either archival or behavioural.
What is the research in? Will studying for your GMAT negatively impact any of your letter writers?
1. Research work is probably better
2. The value of research goes up the more it is closely aligned with your stated research interests
In my opinion....adcoms see very little difference in a 730 and a 750. You have passed the arbitrary 700 barrier by 30 points already. I don't see you being turned away from any accounting PhD programs based on 730 being too low of a GMAT score.
I would certainly work on building up your research profile. Research is the area that I would say that most people applying to PhD programs are the weakest. Many people accepted at even the top 10 accounting PhD programs have zero research experience. So by having a strong GMAT score AND some good research experience, you can set yourself apart from other applicants.
I was just wondering whether it would be worth my time to try to get a 750 or beyond, particularly given that my GPA is probably a below what one would consider stellar, and the fact that I'm from a relatively unknown university
3.7 undergrad GPA is good enough, and the fact that you will have a masters degree in statistics will be appealing to schools as well because it will show that you can complete quantitative coursework.
So, is there a marginal benefit to getting a little higher GMAT? Sure, it's always better to have a higher score and if you could achieve that by just going and taking the test in 4 hours, then definitely do it. But the points people made already are absolutely correct in my mind - going from 730 to say 750 (which by the way, is not a guarantee as you acknowledge) will likely have little impact on your admissions chances because you will clear the initial hurdle and you have a lot that will make you stand out in good ways without needing the best score in the applicant pool. So if you would have to dedicate say a minimum of 4 weeks to prep for the test and face the possibility that it was wasted time because you didn't score higher, you have to ask what else could you do with that time? Since your answer is work on existing research projects relevant to the field then yeah this should be a no-brainer. It is easy to say that as an outsider but I know there is always some aspect of people that is terrified of the idea that they could be compared against someone with a higher score and there is also a somewhat unrealistic level of optimism that thinks if I take it again, I can control the outcome and surely get in the top 1%. But in reality, that is more a concern for you than any school you apply to. It is a very small piece at the margin you'd be at with your score. No one will say gee this person has a masters in stats and 3 great research papers going but this other guy with no quant background and no research experience scored 20 points higher on the GMAT so let's let him in. You have such a greater opportunity when you interview because faculty will say to you "tell me about your research" and if you have some good stuff to say there, it will help you out more than achieving an 800 on the GMAT. Plus since you have existing research, you have a great opporunity to write SOP's that say I would love to work with this faculty because I did research in this area and I loved the prior work they did. Anyway, good luck!
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