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GMAT™ Examinee Spotlight: Nick Maynes

The road to success on the GMAT™ exam isn’t always a straight line. But with a strategic study plan, the right resources, and carving out the time you need to master the concepts, you can achieve the score you need to make your business school dreams a reality take giant strides toward achieving your career goals.

mba.com is teaming up with Admit.me Fellows, a free comprehensive admissions support resource for under-resourced underrepresented minorities and women, to highlight the stories of GMAT examinees from underrepresented backgrounds.

Meet Nick Maynes 

Nick Maynes is an Admit.me fellow, graduate of the United States Military Academy West Point, and U.S. Army Veteran from El Paso, Texas. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy West Point.

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Read on to hear why Nick is pursuing his MBA, his GMAT prep journey, and his advice to prospective applicants beginning their own journey to business school.

What’s your background?

Nick Maynes: I am a Hispanic male, a U.S. Army Veteran, and I grew up in El Paso, Texas. Service to this country is in my blood. It’s a proud tradition I inherited from both my grandfathers, so I decided to attend West Point, where I felt I could best serve my country while still pursuing a top-tier education. After graduating from West Point, I served as an Army Officer in the 82nd Airborne, and most recently as an assistant professor at Howard University.

Why are you pursuing your MBA?

NM: My long-term goal is to build a public, college-preparatory boarding school in El Paso, Texas, for students born into low-income households and unstable family structures. This passion has driven me to pursue an MBA to gain the entrepreneurial knowledge and requisite business acumen to construct an organization that simultaneously balances its revenue and expenses while tackling the systemic problems that our underserved students face.

What was your GMAT preparation experience like?

NM: I originally started my business school journey in May of 2019, hoping to apply Round 1 of that year. I studied for the GRE for 3-4 months, using a couple different test prep courses, and took the test in mid-September. I scored in the high 200s, which I believe is equivalent to the mid-400s on the GMAT. I felt discouraged, but I knew I just had to work harder and smarter. At this point, I knew I was not going to apply Round 1, and that I would probably have to reevaluate my plan. I took a practice GMAT the next day (scored slightly higher than mid-400s), and I decided to pivot and move forward with the GMAT.

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In November 2019, I enrolled in a local in-person GMAT prep course. I began tracking the number of hours I studied a week, creating an online flashcard system, and sticking strictly to official guide problems. The course ended near the time when COVID locked our country down, so I could not take the test when I was ready in April. I continued to study, and I took the test in person in August 2020. I scored in the mid-700s. I felt great, but honestly, I wanted to do a little better. I took it one more time, and I scored in the low 700s. With Round 1 right around the corner, I had to move on from the test.

Confident with my final GMAT score, I applied to 11 schools Round 1. I received eight interview invites, resulting in three full rides (1 x top 10, 1 x top 15, and 1 x top 20) and two waitlists (1 x top 3 and 1 x top 10). Currently, I am in the decision process on which business school I am going to attend. I am waiting to hear back from my top choice school that I am waitlisted on. I was admitted to my second choice school with a full ride.

After completing my final GMAT, I tutored somewhere between 15-20 other Admit.me fellows to help them overcome the standardized test hurdle. I have also been personally mentoring six of my best friends from the Army as they go through the GMAT/business school application process for the 2021 year, and I have begun helping one of my senior cadets at Howard University start the application process for the deferred programs so that he can attend a top school following his Army career. In addition, I was able to form a partnership between Admit.me and other organizations, hoping to help both the underrepresented minority (URM) candidates and veteran communities.

What advice would you give to others?

NM: I genuinely think anyone can overcome the GMAT with the proper study plan, support structure, and discipline.

As for URMs applying to higher education, I believe two of the most valuable tools I had throughout the process were 1.) a team/tribe of other like-minded individuals moving towards the same goal, pushing me every week to stay true to the course, and 2.) mentors who demystified the entire process. The goal of going to a top business school seems lofty at first but working towards it a little every day is the secret to success.

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