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Low GPA, good experience, what are the options?

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Joined: 22 Oct 2012
Posts: 2
Concentration: Finance, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 590 Q V
GMAT 2: 600 Q0 V0
GPA: 2.34
WE: Analyst (Non-Profit and Government)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 1

Low GPA, good experience, what are the options? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 18:33
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Hello all!
I am currently looking for good one year MBA program that would fit my profile.
I am 30 years old. I did my undergrad in accounting from a top porgram in Canada (in French) and graduated with a low GPA of 2.3 (about average for the program I was in). I also completed a graduate degree in finance in a top Canadian university (in English) with GPA of 3.2.
I am a CPA and a level II CFA Candidate.
I have worked for 6 years in government owned company as a financial analyst, including 4 years in international development.
I also have a lot of excellent extra curricular activities.

What I am looking for in an MBA is a life experience as well as an excellent academic program. I think a year in UK or in France would fit as a cool life experience. I also would like a good international brand, since I would most likely come back in Canada or in the US to work. I would probably like to get in the investment banking industry or consulting after my MBA, and CFA.
I know my undergrad GPA is very low, but I hope my work experience, international exposure and extra curricular would help my case.
On the GMAT side, I practiced for 2 months, having scores between 630-680, but had a 590 on the real exam. I was shocked. Of course, I will be doing the GMAT again, and this time hoping realisticly to get 650+.
I am interested in these UK programs, but I am open to all the suggestions!
Cass, Imperial, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Warwick
Of course I am dreaming of LBS, HEC Paris and Ox-ridge, but I am not sure if it's even realistic...
In North-America, I would be interested in the U Boston International MBA and York MBA. If you do have other north-american 1 year MBA suggestions, please go ahead!
Thanks in advance!
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Re: Low GPA, good experience, what are the options? [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2012, 00:12
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Wanted to weigh in for you here. I think you are mislabeling your post, from the standpoint of what will hold you back more - should be "low GMAT" in the header. GPA is not something that will universally hold you back, especially if it is calibrated against norms at your university. If you used a pure 4.0 scale, 2.3 is pretty rough, but perhaps there are some recalculations to be made. Further, international GPAs are not as damaging at US schools because they can't always be sure they know how it translates over - we've had clients get in to good schools with very poor GPAs.

GMAT is another matter. For most of the schools you are listing as more of reach schools, you would need probably a 670 or higher to get a fair review. The biggest risk with a low GMAT is that they won't review it fully and fairly if the score is too low, because they feel it is a lost cause. You don't want to get "screened out," and unfortunately this is true even at lower ranked schools, because those programs feel the GMAT pressure (to get the average up) just as acutely. So the primary area of focus is going to be getting that score up.

If you can do so, I would then consider your best options in light of an ROI. If you are doing well in your career, do you want to lose momentum by going to any old program for the "experience" of it? Perhaps not. You might be better served in showcasing the increase in maturity, discipline, and focus that you have experienced since college, highlighting your work experience (and perspective gained from it) and really making an appeal to higher ranked schools. If you cast a wide net with a competitive GMAT score and amazing essays, it would not surprise me at all to see you land an interview and an eventual admit from a Cambridge type.

Anyway, I would rebuild the way you are thinking about your own candidacy. Understand what truly threatens to keep you out and what is more fluid. Know what you want out of the degree and what the ramifications are for your choices, good and bad.

Good luck!

Best,
-Adam/Amerasia
Current Student
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Joined: 22 Oct 2012
Posts: 2
Concentration: Finance, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 590 Q V
GMAT 2: 600 Q0 V0
GPA: 2.34
WE: Analyst (Non-Profit and Government)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 1

Re: Low GPA, good experience, what are the options? [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2012, 19:52
Thank you very much for the advices.
So I took the GMAT for a second time... and it went bad. Got a 600 (Q44, V29) :( . I did a 640 (Q38, V40) in a practice exam from official GMAT Prep just a week before. I just seem to always get a way lower verbal score in the real thing...
So now I have 2 options:
1- Go ahead with admission process now, with the 600 score, and hope for the best...
2- Rewrite the GMAT (3rd time) and hope to get 650 (I don't think that realisticly, after scoring 590, and 600, that I can aim for 700...), and try to get admitted in a late round...
I am leaning towards option 1. Please tell me if my plan is realistic or not.
- Apply to HEC Paris as a Stretch school (since I am a French Canadian, and I have experience in France through a canadian owned company)
- Apply to Cass, Warwick and Edinburgh as realistic schools (eventhough I read today that Warwick demands a minimum GMAT of 650, which appears surprising when compared to WBS average GMAT shown in many different rankings)
Should I even bother applying to Imperial since I read that they tend to focus on GPA more than any other school, and should I even bother applying to Oxford or Cambridge or is it simply a great waste of money and time? I sent my CV to the Cass admission advisor and got back a favourable answer, that's finaly a good news!
If I would get a 650 and apply to a late round (late say february or so), would I realy get a better chance of getting in Oxridge, LBS or HEC?
What are your thoughts? Please advice! Thank you again very much!
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Joined: 09 Jun 2012
Posts: 112
GMAT 1: 670 Q42 V40
GPA: 2.94
WE: Consulting (Manufacturing)
Followers: 1

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Re: Low GPA, good experience, what are the options? [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2012, 01:36
Hi Francois,

you shouldn't worry about you GPA. Your less than stellar UG gpa will get cleared away when they look at your graduate degree. In fact, your graduate degree will help you out in the admission process since most applicants to MBA are applying with a bachelors degree. Of course I speak of schools like Rotman, York and Kelly, not Cambridge and Oxford.

You should check out the profiles of the schools you are interested in the gmatclub calling-all-applicant thread and mba-watch over @ beatthegmat This will allow you to compare yourself to potential applicants.

Keep in mind though, as admission rounds progress, admission chances keep getting slimmer (as more and more seats are filled). So whatever you do, don't take too long.

Would not want to discourage you, but IMO with your gmat, chances of getting into LBS & Said are low. However, you never know and it never hurts to apply. At least you tried, right? HEC seems more probable. Hope this helps and good luck!
Re: Low GPA, good experience, what are the options?   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2012, 01:36
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