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chance of getting into a top cali school

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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
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chance of getting into a top cali school [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 15:19
I am starting to study for the gmat, and hopefully I am not too late to start to consider b-school for 2008.

I would like to try for ucla, usc, or stanford, but I am not sure if my under grad grades, work exp, are good enough.

I graduated from a mid tier cali school undergrad, U. San Diego, major comp sci, but not a great gpa, 2.9. I was able to get an internship at a large investment bank in nyc, my junior summer, but b/c of sept 11 and bank downsizing was not extended an offer.

hopefully this is what makes me unique...
I decided to follow my dream of being a professional day trader. I started with my own capital in an office, taught myself, made a good amount of money over the last 4 years, surpassing profit goals every year. I managed a trading office, operations, risk, etc, and was in charge of IT. I was self employed thru my trading and employed by my firm. I also ran my own IT business in addition to this throughout college and work.

I think that I have a decent story, but definitely unorthodox when it comes to work experience. I am not sure if this will hurt or help me when applying to a top school. I don't have a big name investment bank, but hopefully going about thing on my own and having success will be good enough.

One thing that I know I have to do is nail my gmat with a score close to 700 otherwise my chances are pretty slim.

Any feedback on my chances of getting into the above schools would be greatly appreciated.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 16:32
That sounds like pretty intriguing work exp to me. One thing that might trip you up is finding good recommenders, since it sounds like you don't have a supervisor.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 16:38
You are definitely not to late to apply this year. Getting a high GMAT score, well above a schools average, will help to offset your GPA.

I have heard mixed things about day trading, if it was an extra curricular or hobby I would ignore it entirely but since its what you do for a living then you need to sell it as being very successful. Schools may wonder why you want an MBA if you were so successful day trading so clear career goals that make sense with your background is a must. It would help to have figures and percents, make sure you give a clear picture of how you performed...and if it was much better than the markets then that will look good if not any better than what the indexes did then it will be a tough road.

Not to discourage you but honestly I don't think that day trading is what schools mean when they talk about unique people. Those are people who have some very different about their background, like being an ex profootball player, broadway actor, assistant to a president (he got into harvard without a bachelors), a mother of four who runs her own company, or a silver star winning navy seal...basically something that they see on very very few applications and makes them say wow thats interesting. Make sure you don't play the unique aspect of it up to much, focus more on following your dream and how you have been a success so far and hope to build on that with an MBA from their school. `

If you write your essays right they may reward you for your taking a risk on your dream. Stanford is a long shot for most people even with high GPAs, 750 gmats, and positions at highly regarded you may want to focus on the others.

Oh one sticking point I see for you...Recommendations. Usually schools want a supervisors rec. So make sure you do some research on how to approach that. If you tour the schools that may be something to ask an admissions officer.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2007, 17:19
I am somewhere in the middle of the other 2 posters. Daytrading is not particularly unique in the MBA applicant pool.

However, if you are running your own firm with employees, that's VERY good. They like entrepreneurial stuff. My hunch would be to play up the entrepreneurial/manager aspects -- that's where you'll stand out.

Solid career goals are a must.

As for recs, I remember reading on various FAQs that you'll want to ask clients. I think the schools recognize that being your own boss provides some challenges for recs, and they will give you guidance. Pelihu, another entrepreneur who's headed to Darden this fall, can probably give you some ideas.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Jul 2007, 12:01
THanks for the advice.

Day trading has such a negative connotation since the dot com days that most people think that you are not serious about what you do, or that you are going to go postal on your coworkers and jump out the window after you lose millions.

Trading is a very a disciplined profession and by no means extracurricular. Money and risk management is key all combined with not letting your emotions getting involved of course while watching 5 things at once. Being able to go out of your comfort zone, but still in control is what makes a good trader. It is not the same as working for a bank and trading the banks money, your money is on the line ever day and you start from 0 profit and loss everday.

Anyways, I took a risk after graduating college and worked very hard to be successful. 1 out of 10 people that attempt to be traders, fail. Recently, after 5 years of trading, I have realized that although the freedom and money is great, trading is not something that I want to do long term. I have always been an entrepreneur, and would like to run my own company and getting an mba gives you those skills. If it wasn't for trading actually I wouldn't be considering biz school. If I had worked a real corp. job I wouldn't have been able to save much money and the experience would not have been quite as risky or unique.

Hopefully, in my essays, I can prove that I have had a unique profession and was successful at it.
  [#permalink] 26 Jul 2007, 12:01
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