GeekMBA360

Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

GeekMBA360 header image 2

I’m going to retake the SAT

November 20th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Dear GeekMBA360,

I’m 32 year old. I’m currently first-year student at a top MBA program. I got a 750 on GMAT. I’ve founded a non-profit organization.  I was promoted twice at work before I went back to school. I’m currently the president of a student club.

But, I’m really depressed.

As  you know, it’s really competitive to get a summer internship now. My dream is to become a McKinsey management consultant. It’s simply the most prestigious job in the world. I have wanted to work for McKinsey since I was five years old.

But, McKinsey’s job application asked me for SAT and my undergraduate GPA in addition to my GMAT score and graduate GPA. It’s too late for me to do anything with my undergraduate GPA, but I was thinking about re-taking the SAT since I had a mediocre score when I was in high school. But, it would take quite a bit of time for me to prepare for SAT, probably signed up a Kaplan class. Would you recommend me to re-take the SAT? Please advise. "

Thanks in advance,

Jerry

 

Okay. Let me confess first. I made up this letter. But, I can guarantee you that the content of this letter was absolutely based on actual conversations I had with people.

I attended business school during the last recession. Internship recruiting in Fall, 2002 was incredibly difficult. People were looking for every edge they could possible have to improve their chance to get an internship offer from their dream employers.

Several people told me that they were really concerned about their qualifications because they had low SAT scores. They were thinking about re-taking it. They wanted to do everything in their control to improve their chance with employers such as McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting, etc.

When we had mock-up interview practices, we were told that we needed to demonstrate passion. People were taking the "passion advice" very seriously. The investment banking and equity research wannabes were starting saying to interviewers that they had a calling for stock market since they were five years old. Just like Warren Buffet, they started picking stocks when they were in elementary schools.

The consulting wannabes were talking about how much they loved problem solving, and how they conducted their thinking the McKinsey way. That’s how their minds were wired by mother nature. They were born to work for McKinsey.

My examples might be exaggerating a little bit, but not much. After talking to many investment banking and management consulting wannabes, I can tell you that most of them didn’t get into banking or consulting because they had a true passion for these two professions.

They got into these two lines of work because 1) they could potentially make a lot of money 2) they would have the flexibility to make lateral moves to other career paths down the road 3) they didn’t like what they did professionally before business school. They wanted to do something different.

I also don’t understand why employers such as McKinsey and Google cares so much about candidates historical academic record.

San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a very interesting article: Google Talent Search: Error 502? Google has come out to dispute some of the statements in the article, which was included in the "Update" section of the article. I encouraged you to read this article and form your own opinion.

This reminds of an excellent talk given by Tom Siebel at Kellogg School of Management. Here is my favorite quote from his talk:

"You graduate from one of the best business schools on the planet.

Once you get out of here, it wouldn’t make any difference at all.

There is no correlation between business success and grades, test scores, or the schools you graduated. None. "

Here is the entire video recording of Tom Siebel’s talk. (You can hear the aforementioned quotes at about 9 minute 30 seconds mark.)

 

Related posts:

Excellent resources:

Tags: MBA · Recruiting & Job Hunting

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bing // Nov 24, 2009 at 12:34 am

    It is interesting to compare Google and McKinsey's hiring practice to how the Imperial China chose civil servants. I guess test score is a good indicator of discipline and conformity—two necessary ingredients for any large organization to sustain. Still, compare to Microsoft, I think Google is doing a relatively good job in maintaining a healthy balance between conformity and creativity. Don't know anything about McKinsey. I guess that is a good indicator that I am not born for that job 🙂

  • 2 Bing // Nov 24, 2009 at 5:34 am

    It is interesting to compare Google and McKinsey's hiring practice to how the Imperial China chose civil servants. I guess test score is a good indicator of discipline and conformity—two necessary ingredients for any large organization to sustain. Still, compare to Microsoft, I think Google is doing a relatively good job in maintaining a healthy balance between conformity and creativity. Don't know anything about McKinsey. I guess that is a good indicator that I am not born for that job 🙂

Leave a Comment