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Low GPA, great work experience. What do I need to do?

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Low GPA, great work experience. What do I need to do? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2013, 14:22
I'm looking to attend one of the following part-time MBA programs: UCLA, Berkley, Ross, Kellogg, Indiana- part-time mba programs that don't really require students to be on campus other than a few times during semesters. I do not want to relocate out of state but I am willing to fly in when I need to be on the campus...these programs are very flexible with that. My problem right now is I graduated from a top liberal arts college 9 years ago with a 2.71 GPA and majored in Economics. I was on academic probation during two separate semesters for failing calculus and a banking course. C- in micro and C+ in intro to stats. It's not that I couldn't handle the material, I basically was apathetic back then about college...skipped a lot of classes and rarely did homework assignments. I was just looking to "survive and advance" and take the path of least resistance. That included taking some easy courses, also. Transcript is just horrible!

Well, what do I have going for me? I woke up my senior year of college and got a decent job right after. Fast-forward to 9 years later, I am a manager in the financial services industry and have 42 direct reports...a rarity for someone my age in my industry and all of my employees are at least 20 years my senior. I've been managing for 4 years now and will definitely demonstrate leadership capability. Also, it won't hurt that I am a first generation, African-American male who will be the first in my family to attend a graduate program. Just mentioning it as I know it does play a small factor in the admissions process.

I know part-time programs are generally less selective, but realistically, what score range will I need on the GMAT given my horrible undergrad transcript, but stellar work-experience (already know essays/recommendations will need to be exceptional)? Now say I do not do well on the GMAT when I take it, do you think my experience can offset a low GPA and GMAT?Any other schools I should be considering that have great part-time, distance options?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions.
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Re: Low GPA, great work experience. What do I need to do? [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2013, 08:13
Well, you're right in general that Part-Time programs are less selective. Let's use NYU as an example:

http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-time-mba/students/class-profile/
http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/part-time-mba/community/class-profile/

As you can see, the GPA and GMAT for the part-time program are lower than the full-time. Some people can explain away a low GMAT with a good transcript, quant-heavy job, etc. And some people can explain away a low GPA by showing they've matured since college and getting a high GMAT score to demonstrate academic aptitude. I don't know how you explain away both a low GPA and GMAT without sounding like you're just full of excuses.

Take the GMAT seriously and take it multiple times if you have to. It's the one part of your application you still have control of, so make it count.
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Re: Low GPA, great work experience. What do I need to do? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 07:13
I would try to get some information on what the median GMAT score is for the programs you are targeting and try to score above that. My guess is that scoring above 720 should be good. Since it sounds like you did really poorly in some quant type classes in college, definitely be sure to do as well as you can on the quant portion of the test. If you have any free time, taking a math/finance class or two (and getting A's) could also help just show them that you're serious about school and actually have the ability to do well in courses that involved math. Honestly, for a part time program though, not sure that's necessary.

I was about 5 years out of school when I took the GMAT and afterwards decided to take some some classes to as an alternative transcript. I wished that I had taken the courses first since I felt they really would have helped me brush up on my math skills prior to taking the GMAT and I likely would have been much stronger on the math portion. Just something to note.
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Re: Low GPA, great work experience. What do I need to do? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2013, 14:53
Excellent advice, guys, and thank you for replying. Think I'm just going to do my best with the GMAT and maybe take an additional quant. course.
Re: Low GPA, great work experience. What do I need to do?   [#permalink] 30 Apr 2013, 14:53
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