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GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20

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GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2012, 05:09
Hey guys,

I'm aiming for a top 20 school ideally INSEAD or Wharton and i know my GPA is clearly a major ding so i'd like to know where i stand as i plan to apply either this fall or next of 2013.

1) Basic demographic info: 25, m, Chinese American

2) Educational Background: Business Law, 2.28gpa, still studying but i won't take it till i'm ready to get a 700+ (currently in the low 600's but i still have plenty of time).

3) Work experience: I'm currently an account manager/relationship manager at my company and manage over 80 accounts with large IB's, law firms, including M&A involved firms. I have traveled to HK,Canada, and central US for work. I didn't get a promotion but i reached out to an MD at my company and pushed to be moved as i thought i'd be a good fit. I work in the financial services/media industry and i've been in the industry for 2 years. I just recently won a global Sales lead competition out of 30 managers and will be pushing for a manager role before i apply for school.

4) Extracurriculars: Volunteered for a 1 month for a underwater Archaeological survey project along the coast of Albania. I participated/finished tough mudder, a 13 mile obstacle course. I volunteer as homeless shelters and also do community service clean-ups.

5) Short/Long term goals: Consulting or banking. I have extensive connections in both fields since my job involves meeting with bankers and consultants on a regular basis and give presentations on a group or personal level, etc.

---------
to sum up everything

2.28gpa (switched majors 3 times while working for my parents)
global winner of a sales lead competition
finalist in a university business competition
1 month volunteer for an underwater archaeological survey project in the Mediterranean
700+(gmat goal)
manager promotion (3-6month goal)
---

The main reason why my gpa was so low was because I had to work for my family while i was in school. My family owns a night club and as its a cash only business and my parents are older and get tired frequently when it gets later into the night, i was the designated to be the manager at the night club 4-5/7 days a week. After school i would go straight to work at around 7-8pm and begin stocking the bars and food. When the bartenders came in, i directed them to their stations and briefed them on the type of event/prices for the night. After the event ended, i would pay everyone and then put all the tables/chairs away so the floor and stage are available to be cleaned in the morning.

I did this job for 4 years helping my parents out as much as i could since the business at that time was the only income for my family. The club had been shut down a few times so we had to make sure to keep everything under control and turn away events that would be problematic. During the time the club got shutdown in order to pay for my own expenses and still attend school i worked 2 jobs averaging 50 hours a week. One was at UPS stocking trucks and the other was at Coca-cola driving to grocery stores to stock coke products. Due to the workload i almost failed out and switched majors a few times, but I worked every semester to increase my GPA and pass on time. My course load was always 20+ a semester and i had asked teachers to lower the credits so i could stay below the 20 mark. I also took classes in the summer.
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2012, 06:59
Hello,

Admissions to MBA is not determined on the basis of your performance in any one areas.

Strong GPA helps a candidate prove his potential to go through grilling MBA studies, but you can definitely prove the same aspect with extra strong GMAT performance ( extra strong means 720+).

Do not worry about your weaker GPA. For top 1-5 schools, this might be a concern (only concern, not a red signal), but you can easily share your story for lower GPA.

You will be a fit for top 1-20 programs with 700+ score in GMAT. Without a strong GMAT score, this would be a challenge

To utilize the available time, I would suggest you to work on grooming yourself with some leadership experiences (first at work , if not possbile at work, at EC)

hope this helps
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2012, 07:22
Thank you OasisGC! I'd also appreciate more opinions as i was seriously considering taking an extra year to increase my chances.

I have a few friends telling me it's a longshot and some telling me to go for it since, i've come such a long way. It's good to hear all isn't lost due to such a poor gpa as I work very hard each day to make myself better than i was the day before.

I'm hoping for a promotion and that's why i worked so hard to win the global competition so i could have some tool to leverage a promotion. Other leadership opportunities i'm working on right now are setting up a Asian Youth speaking group catered to highschoolers, were young professionals such as myself and others from different fields can speak about our experiences of breaking into our industries. I feel that our age and the fact that we've recently accomplished breaking into the industry, would be beneficial for kids about to enter to college and prepare on starting their career to hear our experiences. This would be for the next school year starting fall of 2012.
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2012, 07:46
Hello,

Noble work, I appreciate.

For MBA -- a;ways take varied opinions whenever confused :)

Feel free to come back to us anytime, we are here to help you
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2012, 13:01
If anyone else is available to review that would be great as well.

To clarify on my work experience, i started as an analyst at bloomberg for 6 months, then took on another analyst position at another financial services firm for 1 year, and then i asked to be moved to Account management where i applied and got the job. I've been an account manager at my financial services firm for over a year now and just won a national sales lead competition and was the global runner-up(i said global winner but it was announced today that i lost by a slim margin).
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2012, 20:08
Hi Bud,

I am going to give you my honest opinion... I think that you are a VERY long shot at a top 10 - 15 school. I recently applied and I feel that I at least have an understanding of what ADCOMs are looking for. I also applied to one lower ranked school (Emory). I attended the Welcome Weekend events at 3 different schools because I wanted to look beyond the rankings and get a feel for what my network would be and who the ADCOM was comparing me to regarding my admissions decision. That being said, the most important thing to have is a story - a very strong, very compelling story. Your GPA is part of that, as is your GMAT, your career path and your family circumstances. A 700 score is not going to cover up a 2.28 GPA; not unless you took astrophysics at MIT or were preoccupied with starting a business or other organization that became a significant success and justified your lack of academic focus. We all have circumstances. I had some major setbacks and those setbacks were the feature of my essays; however, I was not explaining my failure to achieve, I was highlighting my accomplishments. Also, your parents cannot credibly vouch for what you did while you are in college and if you include them as a recommender (ill advised), you will look ridiculous.

Here is what I think when I see your profile.

Low GPA - yeah he might have had tough circumstances, but life and business are about overcoming the odds. You didn't.
Average performer in a career where many applicants come from - why didn't you get promoted? What substantial impact have you had on your organization? Why would I select you over hundreds of others who did get promotions and had good grades, tough circumstances and a solid GMAT.

Next year I am matriculating to b-school for one reason, the network. Will I learn stuff? Yes. Do I truly care about the books? Not really. Business schools don't want to admit 'students', they want to attach their brand to people they feel would be successful without them. When I was applying to undergrad, one of my mentors told me something I will never forget. He said, "If getting into a top school would be the best thing to happen to your career, you won't get in."

Another misleading aspect of looking at GPA and GMAT ranges for business schools is that most people analyze the middle 80% and feel that if they can get within that range, then they have a shot. That is not always the case and here is why. Schools like to show that they don't just look at objective scores and they want to look at the 'total applicant', and they substantiate those claims by accepting students with GMATs in the 500's and GPAs in the 2's. If you meet these students (I was on a student ADCOM committee at a top undergrad and have been an interviewer as well) they have unbelievable stories that make their grades and others scores look meaningless. For instance, let say a girl from a war torn country in Africa, who taught herself English as a second language and helped pay for her family's living expenses, started a clean water project, which in turn reduced deaths from water born illnesses and her project is the primer that other villages are now copying. Also suppose that she took the GMAT and got a 580. If you were on the ADCOM, wouldn't you look beyond her scores? In fact, wouldn't you outright recruit her because of her passion, ability to implement, and the fact that its great public relations? Of course you would. If a school accepted a girl like this, they would publish the fact that they accepted an applicant with a 580, and all of the regular applicants who have a 600 think that they are somehow equivalent or better than whoever had a 580. Please do not think that I am saying that all applicants have saved lives such as the girl in my example, but these types of accomplishments are much more common when someone with a very low score is accepted.

When I attended the Welcome Weekends for the different schools, there was a HUGE difference in the caliber of admitted students. If you are eying the top tier, especially Wharton, you need to have a mile stone accomplishment (ideally two or three) that the ADCOM will look at and say "Wow, we want this kid at our school."

They aren't going to admit you because of what you want to do; they will admit you because of what you have done. If anyone tells you anything different, they either don't have the guts or the experience to be able to tell you the truth.

Take a year or two to develop your career, develop your charity work, improve your GMAT and retake some of the courses you bombed in undergrad. Then you might have a shot.
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2012, 22:19
Thanks a lot JCS.

I do agree with everything you say and i'm willing to work that much harder if needed including take an extra year. I have a few friends that are siding with what you have said and slightly fewer that are siding with Oasis.

As for vouching on my work at the club, i can produce reviews from clients that i have worked with throughout my years of college, bartenders, etc. who are reputable and own businesses/host events but i'm not sure how reliable adcom would view them.

I do think i've come very far but sadly i have not saved any village from some disease or my family from any particular catastrophe. My family's debt burden is extremely high and the downturn in the economy has not been good for them. This is one thing i plan to alleviate.

My story isn't one i would like to tell as i don't really see it as helping me (as its a lot of negative stuff) but nonetheless it's part the road i had to take. Being that i started out on the road pretty stagnant if not moving backwards, i made an attempt to start running down the road and catch-up to where i should be. As for developing my career, i'm working with a model/designer to launch her career. We have started a business together and i plan to use this venture to make money and develop more sales/management experience. I also plan on getting promoted at work as well and start a Asian youth speaking group. Adversity builds character and with my upbringing and my recent experiences, i've realized that its so easy to give up but that hard work pays off. It's this message i want to pass to young adults who may be in similar situations that i went through and might encounter them.

Last edited by aaagent on 06 Jun 2012, 05:27, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2012, 22:45
my initial opinion is that you seem like an ambitious guy, but a 2.28 and you leaving work after 3-4 years of FT experience both are below average for every school in the top 20. I think you are premature for applying in next year's cycle. I agree with the previous posters that said you should 1-2 (ideally 2) years to get a good, coherent story and solid career goals to show your focus and drive. this will also show you are more than your stats.
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Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20 [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2012, 05:29
thanks Thugly.

Seems like i will leans towards taking another year to work on adding more experience. I would think my chances are slim now and it would be better to apply when my chances are in my favor as opposed.

If anything changes i will update.

AAA
Re: GPA 2.28, still trying to business school top 20   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2012, 05:29
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