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Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses

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Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 08:30
Hi All,

I was hoping to get some opinions with regards to building an alternative transcript. In a nutshell, I have a crappy GPA. Really crappy in fact. I dont know what it works out to in the US System ( I studied in the UK) but I've seen it translated as low as 2.0. I've read all the "What can I do about a low GPA" threads and the thing which comes up again and again is building an alternative transcript. Fine. I can do that.

So here are my options:

I've been accepted onto a part time MSc Finance program from a good university which I could do whilst continuing to work. Thing is, it doesnt really scratch the MBA itch that I have and would take 18 months to complete. If I were to do the MSc, I would be 30 by the time I finished (With 7 years work experience) and, assuming I applied to MBA programs right away and was accepted, would matriculate at 31.

My other option is to decline the MSc and the tuition costs it would incur, take UCLA pre-MBA courses in stats, calculus etc, and apply for MBA's matriculating in 2014. I would be 29 matriculation if I were accepted.

What would you guys do? Do the MSc and put off the MBA for a while knowing that doing well in the MSc will take care of the horrible GPA? Or say screw it, the MBA is what I want and these pre-MBA courses, alongside my profile and GMAT will be good enough.

I've included a more comprehensive overview of myself below. Really looking forward to hearing your views!

Thanks a million.


I’m 27 years old and am from Northern Ireland. Growing up I was fortunate to live in 13 countries (mostly Asia but with spells in S.America and Australia) and travelled to many more (35+).

Work Experience:

Currently just under 5 years. Would be 6 or 7 depending upon when I decide to matriculate.

1 years 6 months: After graduation I was employed by (and co- founded) a start-up which focused on providing VC, Executive management expertise and international marketing to small to mid-stage growth companies within the oil and gas sector. We had a VC fund of $5million, which I raised funds for, and my work took me to Norway and Singapore regularly. The partners have recently wound up the business as they have been offered senior positions with other start-ups (they are both VP level within the industry)

6 months: I worked for an executive level figure within a multinational asset manager to create, develop and market new investment vehicles. These focused upon the alternative energy space and were marketed to institutional investors in Europe alongside the larger Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds.

3 years Worked for another multinational asset manager, the investment arm of one of the world’s largest banks. Joined at the Analyst level and was promoted to Associate after 1 year and 3 months. Initially worked in global strategy but requested a move into institutional sales as I wanted to have a more direct and perhaps tangible effect upon the balance sheet, along with wanting to interact with fund managers, investment analysts etc more. Primarily worked on pitches and research for our emerging market focused products.

Present (4 Months): Business development manager, raising assets from institutional investors for an Asian based investment firm with responsibility for clients in the Uk, Netherlands and Ireland.


College: I played rugby for the college team; I also managed one of the intramural teams (Got the squad together, liased with other teams, secured sponsorship etc). Assisted with coaching of a local junior school rugby team in the area. Was a member of the university investment club.

After College: I sit on an alumni committee for my university which gets events going in and around the capital and which also seeks to increase alumni involvement with the university for mutual benefit. Participate in various charities and do volunteer work. I have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity and have helped to build an orphanage in Vietnam. I continue to travel as opportunity allows, and hobbies include golf and rugby.

GMAT: 720. I may be able to push this higher with dedicated study and practice. I’m looking to matriculate in 3 years.

Target Schools

Stretch: NYU, Duke, Darden,Ross, Tepper

Sweet spot/Fall back: UNC, Emory, Georgetown, Texas @ Austin, Rice, Marshall
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Re: Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 09:02
Interesting question!

My response comes from the perspective of my previous experience where I was the Director of MBA Admissions for over 15 years.

I recommend pursuing the MSc Finance, and here's why:

- The MSc Finance would both demonstrate your abilities and give you an additional credential to add to your resume. This will also make you more employable post-MBA.
- The MSc Finance will be beneficial to you in your current professional role, and this could lead to promotions, etc., which will in turn, enhance your MBA application profile.
- The MSc Finance will also give you a new separate graduate-level GPA which can be juxtaposed to your undergraduate degree. Assuming you will do well in your MSc Finance, you can point to the discrepancy between the two, and discuss how that indicates how you were immature as an undergraduate, but how you are more mature and responsible at this point in your life/career.
- Online courses taken on an "ad hoc" basis will provide you with some additional grades, but no additional credentials. Even if these grades are A's and are added into your GPA, the impact will be minimal.
- The difference between matriculating at 29 versus 31 is negligible. I do not recommend waiting beyond 31 - 33, however.

If I can help further, let me know. You have a fascinating background, and I am certain that many MBA programs will be very interested in you!



Wendy Flynn
15 Years as Director of MBA Admissions - Now Working For the Applicants as the MBA Admissions Coach
Wendy Flynn is the MBA Admissions Coach, providing comprehensive MBA admissions consulting services. As the former Director of MBA Admissions for 15 years at a top-30 MBA pgoram, Wendy holds deep expertise in admissions issues for Full-Time, Executive and Professional (Part-Time) MBA Programs. Through her blog, MBA Expert Insights, she brings the view of the Director of MBA admissions to MBA applicants and others.
MBA Expert Insights Blog:
Member of the AIGAC, Association of International Graduate Admissions Counselors

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Re: Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 09:05

I am a few years younger to you, and sometime in teh future eager to apply to top MBA.

I was wondering if you can share which degree classification did you receive. I have graduated from UK too with 2.2 degree in engineering. Obviously if you do not mind. PM me or post here, whatsoever is convenient to you.


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Re: Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 10:47
Bearing in mind you're from North Ireland, I am guessing the MSc in Finance would be from a UK Uni? Because there does seem to be a big drop off in terms of brand name recognition of UK Universities. Even those ranked 5-10 suffer when compared to the top 5 I think. So depending on where you're studying, it may not be that useful. Also Adcoms may look at the fact that you have an MSc in Finance and think why do you need to do an MBA right after finish it.

I think the most important thing to ask yourself really is whether you actually want to do an MSc in Finance. If you are doing it for the sake of getting a good quantitative grade as part of your application, then I don't think it's worth it. You're better off taking some online classes that others have had success with like the UCLA extension courses and building up a solid quant profile with calculus, macro, micro, and other similar subjects. I think that would be enough to let the Adcom know you can handle the quantitative side of an MBA. Finally the most important thing would be to write a good Optional Essay explaining why you got a bad grade and how you rectified it or learnt from it.

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Re: Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2013, 20:59

If your intention to do an Msc. Finance is to make your profile seem better in the eyes of the adcom then I would advise you to not waste your time, effort and money on this. The fact that you are already 29 should weigh even more heavier. MBAs are getting younger. Wasting 2 years on a part-time degree learning finance for the purpose of getting into an MBA makes no sense. You already know you want to do an MBA, then why wait for 2 more years, especially at this point on your caeer? This in my opinion would reflect very poorly about your judgement. Doing a part-time masters would also impact your ability to perform well at work. The experience and skills you gain from your work is infinitely more important for you at this stage in your career.

Score well in your GMAT and if you have time take the MBA online courses from UCLA. Own up to the fact that your Grades were bad in UG. Most of us would belong to the category of smart but lazy during UG or smart but lost our ways during UG. Address those areas.

PS: I have low UG GPA, did Part-time Msc. in Finance and am also doing UCLA extension courses.
Re: Alternative Transcript - MSc Finance vs Courses   [#permalink] 30 Apr 2013, 20:59
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