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Low GPA candidate for mba, profile evaluation request

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Low GPA candidate for mba, profile evaluation request [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2011, 03:14
Hi,

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

About me:
Im 26 years old and am from a small under represented western European country. Growing up, I was fortunate enough live in 13 countries (mostly asia but with spells in S.America and Australia) and travelled to many more (35+). I speak French and English (Mother tongue).

Work Experience:
Currently three years, although I wouldn’t be aiming for admission for another 3 (Targetting 2013)
1 years 6 months: After graduation I was employed by (and confounded) 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. I believe the partners are now winding up the business as they have been approached by other successful start-ups and offered senior positions (they are both VP level within the industry)

6 months: I worked for a executive level figure within a multinational asset manager to create and develop new investment vehicles which focused upon the alternative energy industry. These were marketed at the larger Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds.

Present: Currently work for another multinational asset manager, the investment arm of one of the worlds 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 work on pitches and research for our emerging market focused products.

By the time I matriculate I will have 6ish years work experience, be 29 years old and should be at the associate director level......

Extracurriculars:
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).

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. Close to home I volunteer with children who have special needs, the elderly and have run marathons to raise money for various causes. Further afield I have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money 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 2012. I am also considering studying for the CAIA designation or perhaps CFA Level 1.

Weaknesses:
My GPA is low...I dont know what it translates to in the American system but its extremely low and unfortunately downward trending....I had two average years at school followed by a disastrous final year which made up 75% of my degree. This can be attributed to both ill health (I spent some time in hospital) and immaturity. To be honest I don’t want to get on my soapbox and harp on about it. I can’t do anything to change it and have worked hard not to let what happened in the past hold 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) or just knuckling down and getting the best possible masters degree that I can. The curriculum will include statistics etc and other quant heavy classes. It is a part time degree (I'll be studying in the evenings) and will complete it in 18 months. I am hoping to begin my application for an MBA before I have finished the MSc (I'll begin MBA apps in september and graduate from the MSc in december).

Reason to do the MBA:
It’s always been an ambition of mine. I would also like to use it to project myself into alternative energy focused Venture capital with the long term aim of starting my own fund which focuses upon high growth EM countries whilst also contributing in terms of social responsibility. I believe investing can be beneficial for stakeholders, investors and society alike and am a strong advocate of corporate social responsibility.

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: Im primarily focused on US schools. However I may apply to Insead as well. I will whittle the list below down but they are predominantly east coast schools with good access to NYC.

Stretch: Columbia, NYU, Duke, Darden, Yale

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

So:
- Will the MSc help? I doubt it would hinder my app?
- What else can I do to address my GPA?
- Are the schools I have listed appropriate

Thanks again, I look forward to getting your input
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Re: Low GPA candidate for mba, profile evaluation request [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2011, 03:52
Your profile looks interesting and is competitive for the schools you are looking to. Columbia may be a stretch due to low GPA, but the other ones are all feasible in my opinion. If you have some time, it would not hurt you to take classes at UCLA extension. Also make sure you add an additional essay talking about your low GPA.

PM me if you have any questions, I am going through the same process.

Best of luck
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Re: Low GPA candidate for mba, profile evaluation request [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2011, 05:00
Thanks Europe 2011. I agree with you that Columbia is probably out of reach, but had thought of applaying for their MBA/MIA (Masters in International Affairs) joing program.

I have heard joint programs are slightly easier to get into.....however I have no idea wether this is actually the case!
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Re: Low GPA candidate for mba, profile evaluation request [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2011, 15:00
Expert's post
Hello USquare13, thanks for your question.

You mentioned getting an MSc in Finance. If you pursue that path, the question you would have to answer for MBA admissions committees is: In pursuing your career goals, what would an MBA give you that an MSc in Finance would not? You will need to demonstrate to the admissions committees that your desired career path necessitates an MBA. If you already have the skills, knowledge, and background to achieve your career goals, then your case for admission would be less compelling. Something to think about…

In terms of your GPA, you are correct in that harping about it is not an effective tactic in mitigating it. You should quickly mention your illness, if that was part of the cause of poor grades. Better yet, do you have any other analogue that is a better representation of your academic ability and potential? Do you have other coursework you can point to? Programs will want to know that you can handle the material.

Depending on how low your GPA is, Columbia could be a reach, as well as potentially your other stretch schools. It also depends on how effectively you mitigate your GPA with other evidence that better represents your academic aptitude.

Hope this helps!

Best of luck,
Brian
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