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Advice for College Senior

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Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2008, 17:17
I'm currently a senior at Dartmouth and going through corporate recruiting and I've been accepted into the Tuck Bridge Program for after graduation.

I was wondering, what kind of job should I be looking to get? I didn't get any big-name firms, but I did do some internships previously- one at Merrill Lynch, Heritage Foundation and 2 at Tuck Business School.

So far, I'm looking at some smaller investment banks and investment management firms hoping to get some experience in either mergers and acquisitions/business transactions or wealth management. I'm hoping to get a joint JD/MBA with an emphasis on strategy on the MBA side and Corporate Finance/M&A on the JD side...I'd like to get a job at a consulting firm afterwards to get more experience and then eventually start my own diversified financial services firm (financial consulting for institutions, wealth management for individuals).

I'm also a black male, if that makes a difference; I'll probably start studying for the GMAT in January with hopes to take it right before graduation in June...just so its out of the way while I'm still in an academic mode/not working 80 hours a week.

I'm hoping to get into Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Northwestern, Stanford, Wharton or Tuck. Thanks!
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2008, 18:55
Read these boards, see the things people are sweating in their applications (myself included) and address them for yourself. You're in fantastic shape. Go get 'em tiger!



(plus all the obvious: get some good extracurriculars, have a career path mapped out, etc.)
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2008, 19:09
The important thing to do right out of college is to find out exactly what you want to do. As I'm sure everyone on here with work experience can attest to, a job that sounds really interesting can often turn out horrible when you're doing it everyday. I think you'll find your perspective and career goals will change quite drastically in the first few years.

Spend your time trying to get exposed to as many facets of your field of interest as possible. When opportunities arise (especially leadership opportunities), take advantage of them! Talk to as many people as possible about their careers, what they like, what they don't, etc. Make connections.

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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2008, 19:38
Thanks. I know for a fact that I want to do something involving solving problems for different clients. Particularly in regard to growing/expanding business and maybe helping individuals with making financial decisions. I also know I want to own my own business.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2008, 20:34
You're ambitious, and have some good ideas about what you want to do. I don't know what the Bridge Program at Dartmouth is, but it sounds good. For your goals, I'd think you can't go wrong with a job in investment management or management consulting. Find a shop where you'll get a good business education via mentoring and your career aspirations will work out.

One point, given your goals, I see the inclusion of the JD as a waste of time. (This is coming from someone who almost applied to a JD/MBA program.) This is much more useful for aspiring law practitioners who may want to venture into business down the road than it is for aspiring businessmen who want some kind of "edge" by knowing more about law. The truth as I see it is, for a businessman, if you need to know about legal issues you will hire lawyers, and through the process of these experiences will gain legal "experience" as it relates to business. The formal JD courses are of little practicality in this regard.

Best of luck.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 06:10
cougarblue wrote:
One point, given your goals, I see the inclusion of the JD as a waste of time. (This is coming from someone who almost applied to a JD/MBA program.) This is much more useful for aspiring law practitioners who may want to venture into business down the road than it is for aspiring businessmen who want some kind of "edge" by knowing more about law. The truth as I see it is, for a businessman, if you need to know about legal issues you will hire lawyers, and through the process of these experiences will gain legal "experience" as it relates to business. The formal JD courses are of little practicality in this regard.


I agree with this as well. In addition, I once had an interviewer at a consulting firm say that they prefer their consultants not have JDs because they don't want their clients to think that they are also receiving legal advice that they can rely on.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 06:51
There are BIG advantages to working at a smaller firm earlier in your career, particularly in service industries.

1) you probably don't have a lot of people above you: you're probably not doing crap work like photocoppying, you might even have some responsibility.

2) you get to see everything: if you work at Citi or GS or Bain or BCG you might be assigned to an industry specific team, this can result in being 4 years out of college knowing only one specific industry. Can be great if you're into specialization, not so great if you're looking to see some different things and broaden your perspective.

3) some smaller firms have very interesting compensation packages.

As far as EC's go I would say that you should find something you really like (sports, community service, alumni associations, etc.) and get as involved in it as you can. if you like sports captain a team, help run a league, coach youth teams, if you like community service get on the board of an organization, lead an initiative at work, take a week off to go to new orleans and build houses, if you can get other people to go with you even better.

The point of all this is that when you submit your essay for somewhere you can back up your claims with EC's that go along with what you're saying. For example my Tuck essay said I'd contribute to the community/culture because of my background playing hockey and being very involved with it, my experience coaching and officiating and my passion for the sport. If I'd said that and didnt' have extensive EC's for hockey listed the discontinuity would probably hurt my application, but instead it shows a continuing commitment to a passion.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 08:11
I think others have covered the career aspect so just two things:

1) Take GMATs soon. It's much easier to prep for them while you're still used to studying/exams and don't have the craziness of full-time work. I think it took me much longer to prep when I took the exam in January than it would've if I'd done it before I started work.

2) ECs. like others have said, do something you actually like. It's easier to express your passion/interest about something you actually like instead of something you're doing just to get into bschool. Whether it's travel, hockey, dancing, whatever - if you like it, you'll be able to speak about it more effectively than something you don't like but perhaps just sounds more impressive.

My two cents :)
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 08:57
Apply to Kellogg ,that way you only have to take the GMAT for the JD/MBA program :)
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 10:32
Thanks for all the advice! I spent forever studying for the LSAT and preparing for law school in general so I guess thats why I was thinking I should still go ahead and tack on a JD, but a lot of people have been echoing what you have been saying.

In terms of ECs, I founded a non-profit organization that helps homeless and very poor children get into college with SAT preparation, tutoring, etc. as well as taking a homeless shelter Christmas shopping. I'm going to try to get somewhat involved with that more when I graduate just because being Chairman of the board already it'd make life infinitely easier, but I'd also be interested in maybe doing something with helping kids get off the streets by playing sports (maybe tennis, lacrosse, squash something like that) and then encouraging them to pursue higher education.

So basically I'm gathering that MBA applications is way different than Law school in that its not so GPA/GMAT heavy? Thats good to hear!
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 10:36
I actually have another question.

I have a brother who is currently a COO of a small investment management firm. Prior to that he worked at another small wealth management firm for 2 years and worked at an energy firm for 3 years before that. (So 5 years total of WE).

He's convinced he can't get into business school because of his GPA (2.4 from VCU) and I'm trying to tell him he needs to give it a shot. He's not the best test taker in the world, but as a black male what would his propsects be if he were to score in the 600s? I know thats broad, but realistically I'm not sure if he can score close to 700...but I'm sure he can score somewhere in the 600s.

In terms of extracurriculars, I don't think he had any but thats because he had to work full-time to pay his way through school.

I'm trying to get him to apply to Tuck as I go to Dartmouth and know the admissions people very well (I'm doing Tuck Bridge and I go to them often for advice on career plans). I'm not sure if thats doable, but I would think that would be his best shot at a top school.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...he seems to be someone I think would benefit from consulting services.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 10:43
mcds wrote:
I actually have another question.

I have a brother who is currently a COO of a small investment management firm. Prior to that he worked at another small wealth management firm for 2 years and worked at an energy firm for 3 years before that. (So 5 years total of WE).

He's convinced he can't get into business school because of his GPA (2.4 from VCU) and I'm trying to tell him he needs to give it a shot. He's not the best test taker in the world, but as a black male what would his propsects be if he were to score in the 600s? I know thats broad, but realistically I'm not sure if he can score close to 700...but I'm sure he can score somewhere in the 600s.

In terms of extracurriculars, I don't think he had any but thats because he had to work full-time to pay his way through school.

I'm trying to get him to apply to Tuck as I go to Dartmouth and know the admissions people very well (I'm doing Tuck Bridge and I go to them often for advice on career plans). I'm not sure if thats doable, but I would think that would be his best shot at a top school.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...he seems to be someone I think would benefit from consulting services.


The typical way of offsetting a low GPA is a strong GMAT, but it sounds that isn't to be relied on. A score in the 600s is probably good enough on its own for his profile but probably not enough to offset a 2.4. His professional credentials sound outstanding, so maybe one way to address the low GPA would be to take a few continuing education classes and make sure he aces them. If his poor grades were in quant heavy classes then this is probably especially important.

Regarding extracurriculars, his excuse is fine for college but won't really fly post-college. He should try to get involved in something he likes (and might be already without realizing that it can count as an extracurricular).
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2008, 10:44
mcds wrote:
So basically I'm gathering that MBA applications is way different than Law school in that its not so GPA/GMAT heavy? Thats good to hear!


Absolutely. The MBA admissions process is quite holistic, as trite as that sounds.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 12 Dec 2008, 06:12
It seems like you've made a lot of good decisions to this point, so I would just trust your judgment and go wherever you can see yourself learning a ton and hopefully getting a few promotions to signify that experience. Schools are going to be fighting over you if you maintain your current trajectory. Best of luck!
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2008, 19:27
I actually don't really agree with this. There are pluses and minuses to working at a small firm. Plus: you likely have tighter connections with the people, you might get more responsibility sooner. Downsides: it can be more limiting in terms of opportunities and growth, likely less and not as structured training, and there might not be as many young people.

I think that it's better to go to a larger firm early in your career so you get exposed to a ton of opportunities and then once you figure out what you are really interested in you can go to a firm that does just that. I also think it's important to point out it would be very unusual for someone to work in only one industry in consulting. That kind of goes against the entire generalist idea....

Sleepy wrote:
There are BIG advantages to working at a smaller firm earlier in your career, particularly in service industries.

1) you probably don't have a lot of people above you: you're probably not doing crap work like photocoppying, you might even have some responsibility.

2) you get to see everything: if you work at Citi or GS or Bain or BCG you might be assigned to an industry specific team, this can result in being 4 years out of college knowing only one specific industry. Can be great if you're into specialization, not so great if you're looking to see some different things and broaden your perspective.

3) some smaller firms have very interesting compensation packages.

As far as EC's go I would say that you should find something you really like (sports, community service, alumni associations, etc.) and get as involved in it as you can. if you like sports captain a team, help run a league, coach youth teams, if you like community service get on the board of an organization, lead an initiative at work, take a week off to go to new orleans and build houses, if you can get other people to go with you even better.

The point of all this is that when you submit your essay for somewhere you can back up your claims with EC's that go along with what you're saying. For example my Tuck essay said I'd contribute to the community/culture because of my background playing hockey and being very involved with it, my experience coaching and officiating and my passion for the sport. If I'd said that and didnt' have extensive EC's for hockey listed the discontinuity would probably hurt my application, but instead it shows a continuing commitment to a passion.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2008, 21:21
Thanks for the input! I'm definitely applying to big firms, but with the way the market is right now I might have to dip down a bit. I'm only really looking at firms >50 that are relatively reputable, but I'm trying to keep my options open.

And I'd like to get financial experience before going into generalist consulting so that way I can set up shop with expertise + knowledge I can bring from other fields.
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Re: Advice for College Senior [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2008, 09:02
cougarblue wrote:
One point, given your goals, I see the inclusion of the JD as a waste of time. (This is coming from someone who almost applied to a JD/MBA program.) This is much more useful for aspiring law practitioners who may want to venture into business down the road than it is for aspiring businessmen who want some kind of "edge" by knowing more about law. The truth as I see it is, for a businessman, if you need to know about legal issues you will hire lawyers, and through the process of these experiences will gain legal "experience" as it relates to business. The formal JD courses are of little practicality in this regard.


The call on this is a tricky one. First, as a college senior I think the one thing that is inevitable is that your viewpoint on what you want to do in the world will change. Secondly, JD MBA programs are often a good way for applicants with minimal professional experience to get into MBA programs, as it is the common thing for the JD side. Downside is, it is really damn tough.
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Re: Advice for College Senior   [#permalink] 17 Dec 2008, 09:02
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