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UC Irvine MBA (Merage) | Tackling a low GMAT score

The UC Irvine MBA (Merage) was one of the schools on Deepak’s (name changed) list based on school info, ranking and personal data. But his MBA application process didn’t exactly start the way he planned. A low GMAT score could have delivered a knockout punch to most applicants and made them re-evaluate their plans.

But our friend didn’t let that discourage him. He went ahead with his application and ended up with MBA admission offers from two business schools on his shortlist. He tells us how he tackled the challenge. So all ye out there with low GMAT scores, read on.

UC Irvine MBA (Merage) with a low GMAT

by Deepak

With a dream of becoming an entrepreneur and shifting my career from engineering to a business line, triggered the accumulated energy in me to go for MBA from a U.S. Business School. Activities, not only including office work, family commitments, friend circle, girl friend(s) circle, but also ranging from small unexpected surprises to big shocks filled each moments of my life, since I started planning to give myself the prefix of the big letter C (CEO, CFO, CTO etc).

And I was sure to conquer all these worldly affairs, and ensure that they look null in front of my dream of adding the letter C to my name. I rightly believe that “For every person who rides the elevator of success, a million people climb the ladder. Fact: Hard work pays off”.

Though I understand that I am still in the journey and just climbed the first level, but climbing the first level is what many of us would like to know about. After putting all the efforts, energy, breaking the inertia in me, I was deeply upset by seeing my GMAT score of 660. All my dreams seemed thwarted and I was left in bit despair for a week.

It was deeply injected into my blood by my peers and seniors, that as an Indian, I had to get a 700 plus GMAT score to get an admission offer from a good US Business School. It was an utter disappointment for me to hear the same words on phone/mail/gtalk: “Retake the GMAT, I am not discouraging you but below 700 you won’t get an admission offer.”

I don’t say that those words were 100% wrong, but definitely not 100% correct. However, at the same time, there were few encouraging words from my own brother and few friends and few posts on various forums, and all these triggered me to go against the wind and prove those ‘gtalk’ words were not 100% correct.

I went to most of the Business School sites, and came to know that admission decision weighs a lot on other factors including academic marks, work experience, extra curricular, interview and above all our motivation (which is reflected in our essays and interview).

My inner instinct and support & help from various people helped me to submit my application for 6 BSchools. To my surprise, I got the interview call from 4 B-Schools and among them I was able to convert 2 interview calls including UC Irvine MBA (Merage) and Babson. I am still waitlisted at other two BSchools.

Why UC Irvine MBA

The UC Irvine MBA was a good choice for me because I wanted to continue in IT. There were 3 important things in my profile, which favored me for Merage:

1. I worked in an IT company and showed my passion towards continuing in IT (connecting the dots). Moreover I got two promotions in 3.5 years and good performance ratings in my company (top 10% of the employees)

2. Irvine gives importance to Innovation. I have multiple patents in my name.

3. Apart from my technical skills, I was very much involved with clients, and this proved to be a boost.

UC Irvine MBA Interview Questions

1. Why Irvine?
2. Why MBA?
3. Why now?
4. Post MBA goals.
5. Long term goals.
6. Have you done research on your post MBA goals?
7. Tell us about your work profile.
8. Any significant achievements?

I was very confident and went with a cool head. Was dressed professionally and showed lot of energy and enthusiasm during the interview. Besides, I was very honest in whatever I said and never lied about anything.

Babson, is more like a entrepreneurship focused school. And questions were almost same.

Regarding my MBA interview preparation, I asked my own friends, who are currently in IIM/other BSchools to interview me. I took their feedback and ensured that I didn’t make any mistake.

I had carried out a thorough research of the schools, so my answers for Why XYZ school were good. I gathered the list of interview questions and just made myself familiar. As a feedback, one should face the interview more like a conversation that like an interview.

My two cents on GMAT preparation study planning: If you can’t retake GMAT and your profile suits a business school, go and apply for it. If you have the energy/time to retake GMAT, then go for it. But do ensure that a lower GMAT score does not prevent you from what you want to be. No matter what, one should always believe in what one wants to become.

Here’s another low GMAT score success story.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

6 thoughts on “UC Irvine MBA (Merage) | Tackling a low GMAT score”

  1. congrats Deepak,
    congrats on getting two admits.
    What do you think stood out most in your application for Merage – Is it your technology background or your long term goal of becoming an entrepreneur.


  2. Hi Nitin,

    Thanks. It was a combination of technical background, current profile (marketing for technology products) & motivation for long term goals. I don’t think one will weigh more over the other.

    Best Wishes,

  3. I am also applying to B Schools.Is it possible for you to help me with mock interview.I shall be really greatful.My number is 9000782037.


  4. Hey Saurabh,

    Not sure if that post was directed to Deepak or to us.

    We do offer mock-interviews and it’s a pretty rigorous process (so you get a complete perspective of what to expect).
    If you want to know how it works, get in touch with us at [info at mbacrystalball dot com].

  5. Congratulations Deepak. I think this is a very useful post for people in IT / otherwise. Connecting the dots is by far the most important but also the toughest part of the application process.
    Do keep writing here so that other applicants also get to know the decisions you have taken/will be taking reg. your MBA and life thereafter.


  6. Congratulations Deepak.

    I am also in same situation I have got two admit from Babson and UC Irvine Paul Merage, I am confused where to go now. My background is much of entrepreneur side I have started my own startup in India and then joined my family business.

    Please guide me what to do


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