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I applied this year to HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg and Columbia. I got interviews from Stanford and Wharton (and obviously Kellogg) but unfortunately no admits. I feel I still have a strong profile. I graduated in 2005 and I am 25 and a CPA and CFE (certified fraud examiner) who works for a Big 4 accounting firm doing fraud investigations. My ECs are good and I have good leadership in and out of the work place. My GMAT was 710 (Q - 48 (84%) V - 41 (92%)). However the huge black eye on my app was my UG GPA. I majored in accounting and I have a 3.1 cumulative GPA. In addition to the low GPA I got a C in calculus my freshman year.
I want to apply R1 next year as a re-app to Stanford and Wharton bc I feel like I was close this year. I will add some other schools that may be more realistic for me.
My question is what classes should I take? Obviously I will take a calc class, but what else? How many classes should I take? I have heard of people using the alt transcript to prove their quant abilities, but can it also be used to make a 3.1 UG GPA more competitive? In addition to calc should I take stats (got a B in college) and/or maybe a soft class like Org Behavior (got C+ in college)?
The only C's that I got in business related classes are in calculus and Organizational Behavior. I got a B in Stats. I am definitely going to take a Calculus class. For my second class I can't seem to chose between OB and Stats. I have always heard that it is best to take Quant based classes when going for the alt transcript, but then I also am looking to make up for poor undergrads and my generally low UG GPA (3.1). So part of me says take Stats because it is quant based and a more traditional biz class (however I got a B in college). However, another part of me says to just try to make up for my C+ in Org Behavior and retake that class (however it doesn't seem to be a really important or necessary biz class). Also the class that I have found most like OB thru Berkeley Extension is called Organization and Management, do you think that adcoms will see that I am trying to make up my OB grade with that class?
I am really torn here. Should I try to take all 3? The OB class at Berkeley Extension is only 2 units (normal classes are 4). So it may be possible to do all 3 over the summer.
If I can't take all 3, which 2 would be the best to take in order to improve my academic background and application as a whole?
Does it matter where I take the classes? I am located in the SF Bay Area, and trying to see what will work with my schedule. I can take online classes through local community colleges or try for the UC Berkeley Extension program. I obviously know that Berkeley Extension is a better name, but does community college vs. Berkeley extension matter to the b schools?
I feel like I was really close this year and need to address this glaring issue, any advice would be appreciated.
If the schools were extending you an interview invite, your GPA wasn't likely the main reason why you got dinged. My guess is that taken as a whole your candidacy just fell short.
By all means, take 2-3 courses if you want to (and the degree of analysis you did below is overkill; just take two quant-type classes and ace them - whether online extension or in class). It will help your case marginally, but if you want to get in next year you're going to have to raise your game across the board -- stronger essays, stronger resume, stronger rec letters, and hopefully some actual progress or new milestones you've achieved at work and in your extracurriculars since you last applied.
Thanks so much for your response. I have talked with my managers at work to try to get more responsibility, and I am increasing my involvement in my community activities (mentoring and Junior Achievement) and joining a junior board. I am hoping that these things will increase the general strength of my application. However, I still feel that since I have 6 months or so before applying again that taking some classes could be beneficial.
You said to take 2 quant based courses and ace them. Is it pointless to retake Stats since I got a B in college? Is taking OB since I got a bad grade in college (C+) worthless because it is not quant based and b schools won't really care? Is attempting to take all three (calc, stats and OB) not worthwhile (I will also be working full-time, but the class schedules are flexible)?
Sorry for the over-analysis. These classes just represent a significant financial cost to me and a significant time commitment so I just want to make sure that I cover all my bases and do the right thing.
Just take a class in stats, calculus, algebra, finance, accounting, microeconomics, etc. Something math oriented that fits your schedule. Freshman level class (100 level) is sufficient. You don't need to impress the adcom with the fact that you can do differential equations and write proofs.
If anything, the rest of your candidacy will matter far more than what courses you take.
I am planning on taking an accounting class as I did not have any exposure to it in undergrad. I graduated with a 3.25 in Undergrad with a Systems Engineering Degree. However, my GMAT was a 660, thank to my standardized test taking abilities. I am working on my GMAT but also wanted to see if it would matter whether I took the class at a 4 year college such as Georgetown ($3K) VS a community college ($300)? Thanks.