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Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind

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Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2014, 12:41
Hey guys,

Pretty new to this forum. I've been a lurker for a while, but wanted your opinion on my aspirations to get into a decent MBA program. Here is my rundown:

White Male - currently 29 - B.S. in Applied Mathematics - 2.44 GPA (horrible...I know)

Dropped out of college at 18 (had not even finished a semester) from UMass - Amherst. Grandmother died who practically raised me. This was a tough one. Ended up working in the fishing industry and moving furniture for a good 3 years or so and decided I would go back to school.

I enrolled at a community college close home at the time and spent four semesters there. I finished with a 3.71 GPA with A's in Calc 1 and 2, Micro and Macro, and two Stats courses while working full time. I then decided I wanted to close off that chapter of my life where I began in college and transferred back to UMass. Yes, I could have gone elsewhere (almost ended up at Univ Southern California), but it was important to me to bring closure to that dark period when I was 18.

Spring 2008 -Settling back into school at UMass was great. Picked my classes and I was ready to go. About halfway through the semester, my dad's business takes a hit and I find myself traveling two plus hours most weekend to help him stay above water. I struggled tremendously that semester with an F and a couple C's.
Fall 2008 - Things were going much better, but I was still going home a bit on the weekends to help out my family. I let my grades slip a little around finals and managed a few A's in my courses. Ended around 3.0 for the semester.
Spring 2009 - My parents sell their home, but shortly after my father's business takes another hit. I am traveling home every weekend to either a) help him build the new house or b) keep the business afloat so we can finish the house and have a place to live. Talk about bad timing :( My grades slipped once again and I got a C- in Linear Alg and C+ in a 500 level calc based Stats course. This was not going the way I had planned.

Over the course of that summer, I convinced my dad to sell his business and managed to help my family live a more sustainable life. They had a good amount of land, and we worked to build and farm and promote more conscious choices when it came to financial matters.

Fall 2009 / Spring 2010 - I took 4 500 level math courses (Applied Linear Algebra, Numerical Analysis 1 and 2, Partial Differential Equations Honors level) and received B/B+ in all courses - I consider this a huge win after all that happened in the previous semesters and proved to myself I could actually hack it as a math major.

Luckily the grades from when I was 18 got reset from a "Fresh Start" program since it was so long ago, but I still ended up with a 2.44 GPA. Combined with the traveling across state most weekends and a general lack of focus, it was a rough ride).

Do admissions view both school's GPA together? Or is it on a more granular level than that of "how did he do in certain classes?" If they did, my GPA would be more towards a 3.1 which isn't AS bad.

Fast forward to today, I have 3+ years of work experience at the same job out of college (small software company in Boston), but will be about 4.5 the time the Fall 2015 enrollment comes around. I have been promoted from Technical Engineer to Senior Technical Engineer, then to Implementation Team Lead and lastly to Manager of both Technical Support and Implementation - all while undergoing an acquisition integration with a larger competitor. I have helped to not only help our product lines improve, but have also greatly increased the efficiency in cross department collaboration and year over year increased our legacy system renewal rates. I've also put into place procedures to better track and decrease revenue churn for our SaaS product line, currently decreasing monthly averages by 70% compared to the percentages before I was involved.

I know that my key here is to study like hell for the GMAT, which I am. I have been scoring well on my CATs (700+) and sit for the exam August 23rd. I also have a green light on recommendations from my current supervisor (VP Support) and either our CEO or COO (who are both Booth alums) - they all love my production and value I bring to the company.

I don't have time for an alternative transcript, but also I don't know if that would necessarily help because I have done well on all of the classes that are usually suggested to take and I clearly have the quant chops to deal with the demands of business school.

IF YOU'VE READ THIS FAR (thank you for your interest!), what are my chances on a quality MBA program? I pretty much have to stay in the Boston area and want to go full time. Right now my list is BC and BU, but I might actually stretch and try to apply to MIT and possibly Tuck. Am I nuts to do so, or does anyone think I have a shot?

And yes...I have read the "Low GPA" threads, but it isn't the same in getting your own personal evaluation. I'd like to thank everyone for their time in helping me through this as well (if anyone dares to step to the plate) :-D
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Re: Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2014, 13:16
The admissions team reviews GPAs in the context of the major and difficulty of courses, so you have some breathing room. As someone who is also a UMass Amherst alum who also struggled with "real world problems", I think that your odds of BC / BU / Babson are very good, assuming a 700+ GMAT.

However, for schools like Tuck and MIT, a low GPA or GMAT is very difficult to surpass unless you have some insane/very unique work experience and/or recommendations. I was also very attached to the Northeast initially and applied to Tuck and MIT (waitlisted then dinged at both), and both schools unfortunately are not very low-GPA friendly (IMO MIT is very metrics/stats driven, so your odds would be low there).

If you want to discuss further, let me know. I'm glad to help!
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Re: Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2014, 17:03
Thanks for the feedback!

Yea im kind of tied to Boston since my SO ia considering law school in the area. If I chose to apply outside of the area, I would look to Tepper, McDonough or Kenan-Flagler. I feel like those are reasonable reaches.

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Re: Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2014, 18:17
May I ask why not Duke, Darden, and NYU then?
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Re: Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2014, 08:08
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Hi - Thanks for your post.

I'm was sorry to read about your Dad's problems - it was really nice of you to help him out, but in terms of the MBA it was a little bit to your own detriment (grades suffering). You can attempt to offset with as high a GMAT as possible. I agree that taking additional courses now, given that you've already done stats etc would not be worthwhile.

There are lots of factors that come together to make a candidate attractive to an Adcom. Schools like MIT and Darden don't like to lower their average GPA/GMAT generally - so the GPA could be a dealbreaker unless you had some sort of extraordinarily compelling WE or Volunteer work or life story etc. Most of your narrative was about your GPA. You've got two separate incidents in which your grades suffered - when you were 18 and then when you transferred back to UMass for the second time. I wonder if it is even worth including your first experience in your story since UMass did not include it in your GPA...is it in your transcripts?

In terms of WE you said:
I have 3+ years of work experience at the same job out of college (small software company in Boston), but will be about 4.5 the time the Fall 2015 enrollment comes around. I have been promoted from Technical Engineer to Senior Technical Engineer, then to Implementation Team Lead and lastly to Manager of both Technical Support and Implementation.
Working for a smaller company vs' a traditional feeder company is always a little more difficult for the Adcom to assess. You've had some great promotions - how much responsibility to you have, how many people are you managing - what type of impact have you had in your current role (compared to other people in a similar role)?

What about extracurricular/volunteer work?
What are your post-MBA career goals? This is actually an important point because at whatever school you apply to, adcom and career services will want to know if they can place you. You would be 32-ish when you graduate - were you thinking about returning to the same industry in a different role?

BU is reasonable - you might need to look outside Boston for some other programs that interest you as well.

Best,
Leah Derus
fxmbaconsulting . com
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Leah Derus
MIT Sloan MBA 2010
Senior Admissions Consultant
leah@fxmbaconsulting.com
http://fxmbaconsulting.com/

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Re: Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2014, 09:45
@Psyched

I have discussed this with SO and we agreed to put all our chances in my corner for an MBA (she was considering law school in Boston, but instead passed and agreed to possibly relocate with me).

After attending a few MBA fairs and speaking with reps, my list is currently BU and BC for local, more favorable schools and then Tepper (top choice), Fuqua, UNC, and Darden.

@fxmbaconsulting

In my current role, I manage 7 people. Nobody in my company has managed the two departments successfully (I am the first one to not have my role split into two positions). I have developed better internal processes and reporting on monthly revenue churn averages to spot the origins of the churn and how to reduce these numbers. After 6 months of the new approach, our company saw a 70% decrease in monthly churn averages. We are now 1+ year into the new system with consistent performance. I have also brought renewal rates to all time highs along with our customer satisfaction metrics. I have other solid results, but these are some of the stronger instances. I am currently working with Engineering teams to monitor the release of our new product line that will disrupt our industry. If all goes well, I will be adding the role of Release Manager to my duties by the end of this year.

I am planning to focus (where I can) on the Strategy and Operations side during my MBA education, possibly incorporating a Business Analytics track at schools where this is offered (Tepper offers this). I would like to stay in Technology, but move towards Operations and monitoring departments dealing with revenue generating streams rather than revenue retention streams. I am also open to other industries, but within that same realm of work.
Re: Eval please! Can't get past low gpa in my mind   [#permalink] 28 Jul 2014, 09:45
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