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Can my law school GPA kill my chances? [#permalink]
24 Jun 2004, 09:21
I need some advice here. My undergraduate GPA was 3.3 at a top 30 university (liberal arts degree). After school, I worked for 2 years as a financial analyst at an investment bank and was promoted 4 times during that time. While I was working, my bank paid for me to take two accounting classes at Harvard Extention School (got 2 As).
But here is the kicker, for unexplainable purposes, I quit my job and decided to apply to law school. I got into a 2nd tier school and have just finished my 2nd year there. My GPA from each progressive semester is as follows: 2.4, 2.67, 3.0 and 3.18. Right now my average GPA is about 2.8 (for those of you who may use this to solve a GMAT question, I must let you know that some of my classes were P/F).
My professional experience during law school has not been oriented towards business (i.e. clerk for judge, pro bono experience, etc.). I have tried to weave myself back into the banking industry during school, but the top banks exclusively hire MBA students during the summer. I really want to get into a management consulting program, but am really distraught over my current law school GPA. How much will these grades impact my admission chances?
Further, I have yet to take a calculus class and wanted to know whether enrolling now would be "greatly" beneficial. Any insight into this situation and the weight of my GPA would be greatly appreciated.
My hunch is that the hardest thing for you will be explaining why you dropped out of the working world and went to law school. "For unexplained purposes" won't fly on a b-school app. Seriously, ideally you can show that you have made careful decisions (they don't need to have been perfect, just not reckless), and that an MBA is now the nextlogical step. If law school merely looks like a diversion that you decided to take for the heck of it, they may wonder if your approach to b-school is the same. So, be sure that you can articulate why exactly it is that you want to go to b-school now, after going through law school.
Your GPA will certainly make it harder (and may add to adcomms' thinking that this was a casual lark for you), but at least you're showing improvement over time. You'll need to provide a solid reason why your grades haven't been better.
I don't know how much a calculus class would help, but it certainly won't hurt IF you can do well in it. If you have absolutely no quant or business background, consier also taking something like an accounting or an econ class. Those subjects will help you not only demonstarte your analytical skills, but also let you show that you're serious about business topics.
I'm in a similar situation. I did pretty well as an undergrad 3.6, but have done not as great as a law student 2.8, but at top tier Ivy League Law School. I'm wondering how badly this would hinder my chances of getting into a top tiered "part time" program, such as Chicago or Northwestern. I'm thinking about doing this as I practice law. Finally, why would law school be seen as a diversion, is graduate work, instead of industry work, looked down upon? Don't many people get MBA's with the hope to make a career change as well, i.e. a diversion from past practice?
Having gone to law school won't by itself hurt your chances. You just need to have a solid story for why you were interested in law and are now interested in gettng an MBA. Really, a bigger challenge might be explaining your low GPA in law school. You want to convinve adcomms that you'll be more serious about academics and/or better able to handle the workload this time around.