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Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances?

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Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2010, 11:19
Hi all,

Been reading this forum for a while and have gotten quite a lot of great information on careers-related topics, especially with MBA schools. So thought I'd toss in my situation to get a feel for what kinds of expectations I should have based on your opinions.

I've been out of school for almost 3 years, finished my undergrad in business at a top undergrad business program in Ontario, Canada, final two years' GPA average of 2.8-2.9 on a 4.0 scale, have a few F's and D's but some have been retaken, and also took on an additional two courses in advanced audit/assurance post-grad, getting a B+ and A- in each. Right now, debating taking an additional course or two to build on that alternative transcript before my MBA apps.

I was heavily involved in extracurriculars, holding a few exec positions during my 2nd and 3rd years for our accounting society, and ultimately as President during my 4th year. Served other ambassador/liaison/BoD type roles for various industry organizations (accounting-related) as well.

I've been working at a CA firm (non-big 4) for two years now, but absolutely cannot stand the nature of public accounting (audit, tax, etc.) and am looking to resign relatively soon to pursue further studies at an MBA school. I've tried to 'stick out' the CA process for 2 years now, hoping to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but ultimately the drive and motivation to go through with the 3-4 years work exp, exams, etc just isn't there for me anymore.

Looking to apply to Ivey, Rotman, Schulich, Queen's, and McGill. My purpose of MBA school is to compensate for a wasted year of undergrad business studies (as my 4th year was entirely accounting courses), and study the areas that I have strong interest in. Not sure what my area of interest is right now, but I realize now that spending my undergrad years on such a "vanilla" specialization (i.e. accounting) was a waste, for me personally. I was driven by the CA industry and immersed myself into as many areas of it as I could, through my extracurriculars and via attending conferences, institute board meetings, etc. But the real-world work experience is definitely an eye-opener, and I realize now after 2-3 years post-grad that I want something more out of my life. I want to explore my interests and passions in business (whether it be consulting, finance, marketing, international business, etc), and I feel that an MBA can help me do that.

What are my chances? I'm hoping my low GPA (which is under the 3.0/B cut-off for most schools) won't break my chances, given my strong leadership-type extracurriculars in school. I've taken a lot of pretty advanced-level accounting/finance courses, so I figure I have a leg-up on other arts-majors to demonstrate that I can handle the rigors of more "quantitative-based" courses that I'll get in MBA school. As well, I don't have extensive work experience, but I have learned a lot given the small-size and "hands-on" nature of my firm. As for my GMAT, I'll be looking to take that sometime in March/April, aiming for a 650-680 at least. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2010, 07:26
i have the same gpa issue. but otherwise my profile is a bit different. can't speak for your case directly, but i did get into a couple of pretty decent schools (european...i'm sick of local canadian schools to be honest).

so my undergrad was even worse than yours...i had about a 1.9-ish GPA (i think that's some sort of a record low on these forums probably...my gpa was just high enough to graduate and avoid academic probation) but i had a good excuse for the adcoms since i was accepted into U of T on a full scholarship at 15...then graduated at 19 and just partied all thru school. i admitted my mistake and made it clear to them that this was a completely different time in my life.

i also have about 6 yrs work experience come this summer, which helps to back up my point that i've "grown up" since my undergraduate days. it helps that i've had some good management experiences in my current role and really helped turn the business around and directly drive the company's profitability.

i also got a 760 on the gmat, which i also used to back up my point that i'm smart enough for the mba, just didn't do anything during undergrad cuz i was a young kid...now being older and wiser and more responsible, i'm looking forward to really accelerate my career with an MBA.

also, after talking to the guys at ivey, they basically told me my gpa wouldn't be an issue and that they'll focus on my work experience and achievements, as well as the 760 gmat a lot more than my undergrad gpa, and that i have enough strenght in those to be competitive as an applicant. but i was only going to apply as a back up to ivey if i didn't get into my top choices.

anyways, good luck on the apps!
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Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 21:59
I'm not sure if you've already applied (since the deadlines passed for all those schools) or have offeres waiting etc.

All I can say is that for general business, Schulich and Desautels are the two strongest. Rotman is very financed focused. When I went there, they basically made it sound like I'll eat, sleep, and breathe finance and accounting. If that's not for you, neither is Rotman.

I don't know enough about Queen's to say anything about their MBA program.
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Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 08:35
Hey KDub, have you found the answers you were looking for?
I'm in a similar boat on GPA and work experience and looking at what my options are. Ideally I would like to move away from Canadian schools like Dr. Satisfaction.
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Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 15 Sep 2010, 16:49
magnetictempest wrote:
Hey KDub, have you found the answers you were looking for?
I'm in a similar boat on GPA and work experience and looking at what my options are. Ideally I would like to move away from Canadian schools like Dr. Satisfaction.


Nope - nothing to note as of yet. I've decided to gain a couple of years more experience before I start applying to MBA school... or at least another year or two to make my application more competitive. I write my GMAT in about a week so we'll see how it goes from there.
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Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2010, 23:59
Yes most top Canadian schools (IVEY, YORK and U of T included) require a B average in last two years of undergrad. Check with the school if there are willing to make any "exceptions". I know a a couple of folks, with GPA lower than 3 who got into Ivey and York, a couple of years back. I suppose the rest of your application and GMAT score has to be stellar in order to make a case for yourself.
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Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances? [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2010, 04:22
Hi Kdub,
I am in a similar situation, My gpa for the first 2 yrs was not good AT ALL! with one dashing "D" as well,
never bothered to retake the course (it was first yr, chemistry I think) but like others have said most Canadian schools will look at your last 2 years of gpa, (first 2 yrs was bad also cuz of a major car accident) so if you have a solid reason adcoms will consider it, and thankfully I was able to smarten up by the end of my undergrad, btw I went to york for my undergrad, and there has been a strike every 4 yrs or so !!
I had a meeting with Schulich's Admission's counselor and the lady told me a good Gmat score around 650+
and 1 or 2 accounting courses would help, (this lady was on the admission committee, so when you go to these meetings they dont just have you meeting with alums/current students who may not have any say in your admissions) my undergrad was in Fine Arts,
I am also looking to move away from Canadian schools, family might move to States.
Best thing to do is try to have a meeting with uofT/schulich/Western Admission counselors, and then invest money in extra courses.
Good luck!
Re: Canadian MBA schools, low GPA - what are my chances?   [#permalink] 02 Oct 2010, 04:22
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