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Kindly evaluate my profile please - Low GPA Weakness

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Kindly evaluate my profile please - Low GPA Weakness [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 04:53
Hi,

I was hoping you could take a look at my profile below and let me know what you think my chances are at the schools I’ve listed? Any help or insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

About me:

I’m 27 years old and am from Northern Ireland. Growing up I was fortunate to live in 13 countries (mostly Asia but with spells in S.America and Australia) and travelled to many more (35+).

Work Experience:

Currently just under 5 years. Would be 6 or 7 depending upon when I decide to matriculate.

1 years 6 months: After graduation I was employed by (and co- founded) a start-up which focused on providing VC, Executive management expertise and international marketing to small to mid-stage growth companies within the oil and gas sector. We had a VC fund of $5million, which I raised funds for, and my work took me to Norway and Singapore regularly. The partners have recently wound up the business as they have been offered senior positions with other start-ups (they are both VP level within the industry)

6 months: I worked for an executive level figure within a multinational asset manager to create, develop and market new investment vehicles. These focused upon the alternative energy space and were marketed to institutional investors in Europe alongside the larger Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds.

3 years Worked for another multinational asset manager, the investment arm of one of the world’s largest banks. Joined at the Analyst level and was promoted to Associate after 1 year and 3 months. Initially worked in global strategy but requested a move into institutional sales as I wanted to have a more direct and perhaps tangible effect upon the balance sheet, along with wanting to interact with fund managers, investment analysts etc more. Primarily worked on pitches and research for our emerging market focused products.

Present (4 Months): Business development manager, raising assets from institutional investors for an Asian based investment firm with responsibility for clients in the Uk, Netherlands and Ireland.


Extracurricular:

College: I played rugby for the college team; I also managed one of the intramural teams (Got the squad together, liased with other teams, secured sponsorship etc). Assisted with coaching of a local junior school rugby team in the area. Was a member of the university investment club.

After College: I sit on an alumni committee for my university which gets events going in and around the capital and which also seeks to increase alumni involvement with the university for mutual benefit. Participate in various charities and do volunteer work. I have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity and have helped to build an orphanage in Vietnam. I continue to travel as opportunity allows, and hobbies include golf and rugby.

Qualifications:
I have been accepted onto a part time MSc in Finance at Cass Business School in London, commencing September 2013. The MBA would definitely be my preference and, if the masters won’t aid my admission, I’ll forgo it to focus on my MBA applications

Weaknesses:
Very low GPA. I don’t know what it translates to in the American system as I studied in the UK, but I’ve seen it converted as low as 2.0. No excuses, I had a hard time at college but bare sole responsibility for my own failings. I’ve worked hard to prevent it from holding me back.

I not sure which is the best way to combat this, taking several college level classes and getting A's (UCLA extension perhaps) doing the masters and putting off my MBA application for a year or two?

GMAT: 720. I may be able to push this higher with dedicated study and practice. I’m looking to matriculate in 3 years.

Target Schools

Stretch: NYU, Duke, Darden,Ross, Tepper

Sweet spot/Fall back: UNC, Emory, Georgetown, Texas @ Austin, Rice, Marshall

So:
- Is the MSc in Finance something I should pursue? My only interest in doing so would be if a) I’m very unlikely to gain admission to any of the schools listed above b) it would help my application
- Are the schools I have listed appropriate?

Thanks again, I look forward to getting your input
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Re: Kindly evaluate my profile please - Low GPA Weakness [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 05:25
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This one is a hard call! From what you describe, you are a strong candidate outside of the low gpa issue. I think you could go either route, either do the Masters in Finance or take numerous college courses to show your aptitude and that you now have the maturity to take school seriously. In fact, as I write, my low risk outlook leans toward doing the full year Masters to show you can apply yourself and truly excel at school. That said, I always take the most sure route. Attaining all A's in a Masters programs would show a new dimension, taking a host of courses otherwise would be good but not as compelling. Your target schools and possibly even other schools would be within your reach if you could overcome the gpa issue.
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Re: Kindly evaluate my profile please - Low GPA Weakness [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 05:35
Thanks for getting back to me Jane!

I should have clarified...the MSc is actually a part time program over 18 months, so I would continue to work whilst studying.

My concern with the MSc would then be adcoms asking "If you've just done an MSc, then why do you need to do an MBA right away?". By the time I finsh the MSc I would be 29.5, its an 18 month program......
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Re: Kindly evaluate my profile please - Low GPA Weakness [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 05:51
Expert's post
I see. Yes, the question of Why MBA? and Why Now? is a critical one in the application. The answer to that is that the finance degree is focused on finance, but an MBA is meant to teach you to be a business manager and business leader, and you would need to make a compelling case for why the MBA curriculum is critical to your career success going forward.
You mentioned UCLA and they do have what they call a "pre-MBA" curriculum (I actually teach a course in that program), that would be a good alternative path for you to the Finance degree, but I would not just take one class, I would take multiple classes and dedicate myself to achieving all As. This is a tough one. But, you can not change the past and that GPA, so you will need to make a tough call and hope that the rest of your application compensates. Focus on your recommendations, your leadership, initiative, extra-curriculars during this time as well.
I am usually so sure of my opinions, but in this instance since this is such a hard call, I would also seek feedback from many sources and see what you can pull together from many folks to make the best decision.

Best of Luck, I know a Rugby player has the fortitude to push this forward! (my son plays fullback).
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