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LOW GPA looking to improve application

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LOW GPA looking to improve application [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 07:47
Please help! I have a low GPA but I am about 4-5 years into my career and I really would like an opportunity to take the next step by obtaining an MBA program from a top university. I am unsure how my Low GPA impacts even my chances before I start my application process or if I should consider going back to undergraduate studies before I even consider applying to business school. I am currently looking into online programs at different universities for possibly a post bacc degree (BS in computer science/engineering from a brick & mortar school with online programs i.e. Oregon State Uni/University of Illinois) as well as masters opportunities. Unfortunately, the Universities close to my location (Baton Rouge) do not offer part-time/night/weekend masters or bachelors options, so online might be the only feasible opportunity. However, I might consider looking at different options if business schools do not look at online degrees with much respect.

Undergraduate Degree:
BA Economics (Specialized in Financial Economics) - US News Top 30 University
GPA 2.4 (No real story behind it, first time away from home and had a hard time adjusting)

GMAT:
On my practice exams I have been getting between the 720-780 range, I hope to take the exam in the following month and apply for the spring semester

Professional:
- 2 Years Shipping company, promoted to Overseas Marketing Manager as well as headed as Commercial Manager for the company's high risk, 5 million - 100 million dollar value projects. (Was Promoted to Manager role after 1 year, traveled over a dozen countries representing my company to major Energy clients i.e. Chevron, BP, Exxon, Shell, Inpex)
- 1 Year Recruited/Headhunted by a Vice President at Samsung, key role in their first project in the United States
- Current (Several Months at this point) Recruited/Headhunted by Jacobs Engineering, I entered as the youngest level III in my department, also the project contract lead on a major Exxon Mobil project

Extracurricular
- President of my Fraternity for 1 year and executive board for 3 years
- Executive board for a Cultural Organization
- Board member for the Greek Counsel
- Volunteered for several English Camps in South Korea for underprivileged elementary school students.
- Currently involved in two start-up companies, one as an adviser and other as the co-founder/coo


Desired MBA:

Most Desired: HBS, Columbia, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, Booth
Desired: Duke, Stern, Haas, CMU, UCLA,
Schools I would be willing to go to: Indiana, UT-Austin, Rice, Marshall, LSU, Michigan

MBA Reasons:

While I have experience in oil & gas/engineering, I do have a goal of getting into consulting, specifically the top companies (Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, etc) or moving into business development for a major Oil and Gas company (Chevron, Shell, etc). My final goal is to leverage my early experience in market entry, international business and cross-cultural business to be a country manager/country executive for a major American company in a Korean office or vice versa. Academically I would also like to tie in a dual masters degree (Engineering) to solidify my technical qualifications and add to my professional credibility assuming that I do not get an additional degree prior to b-school.

What do you think my chances are, and more importantly what can I do to improve my chances???
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Re: LOW GPA looking to improve application [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 20:28
Expert's post
sohard wrote:
Please help! I have a low GPA but I am about 4-5 years into my career and I really would like an opportunity to take the next step by obtaining an MBA program from a top university. I am unsure how my Low GPA impacts even my chances before I start my application process or if I should consider going back to undergraduate studies before I even consider applying to business school. I am currently looking into online programs at different universities for possibly a post bacc degree (BS in computer science/engineering from a brick & mortar school with online programs i.e. Oregon State Uni/University of Illinois) as well as masters opportunities. Unfortunately, the Universities close to my location (Baton Rouge) do not offer part-time/night/weekend masters or bachelors options, so online might be the only feasible opportunity. However, I might consider looking at different options if business schools do not look at online degrees with much respect.

Undergraduate Degree:
BA Economics (Specialized in Financial Economics) - US News Top 30 University
GPA 2.4 (No real story behind it, first time away from home and had a hard time adjusting)

GMAT:
On my practice exams I have been getting between the 720-780 range, I hope to take the exam in the following month and apply for the spring semester

Professional:
- 2 Years Shipping company, promoted to Overseas Marketing Manager as well as headed as Commercial Manager for the company's high risk, 5 million - 100 million dollar value projects. (Was Promoted to Manager role after 1 year, traveled over a dozen countries representing my company to major Energy clients i.e. Chevron, BP, Exxon, Shell, Inpex)
- 1 Year Recruited/Headhunted by a Vice President at Samsung, key role in their first project in the United States
- Current (Several Months at this point) Recruited/Headhunted by Jacobs Engineering, I entered as the youngest level III in my department, also the project contract lead on a major Exxon Mobil project

Extracurricular
- President of my Fraternity for 1 year and executive board for 3 years
- Executive board for a Cultural Organization
- Board member for the Greek Counsel
- Volunteered for several English Camps in South Korea for underprivileged elementary school students.
- Currently involved in two start-up companies, one as an adviser and other as the co-founder/coo


Desired MBA:

Most Desired: HBS, Columbia, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, Booth
Desired: Duke, Stern, Haas, CMU, UCLA,
Schools I would be willing to go to: Indiana, UT-Austin, Rice, Marshall, LSU, Michigan

MBA Reasons:

While I have experience in oil & gas/engineering, I do have a goal of getting into consulting, specifically the top companies (Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, etc) or moving into business development for a major Oil and Gas company (Chevron, Shell, etc). My final goal is to leverage my early experience in market entry, international business and cross-cultural business to be a country manager/country executive for a major American company in a Korean office or vice versa. Academically I would also like to tie in a dual masters degree (Engineering) to solidify my technical qualifications and add to my professional credibility assuming that I do not get an additional degree prior to b-school.

What do you think my chances are, and more importantly what can I do to improve my chances???


Given yourlow GPA, from an admissions perspective the point of getting the masters before the MBA is to show that you know how to apply yourself in a traditional, but demanding classroom setting. If you get an online masters it definitely would show self-discipline, but clearly it's not in a traditional classroom setting and since online degree programs are still fairly new, their rigor is not quite as credible. On the other hand, they are gaining credibility and I don't know if you are better off getting the online degree from a higher ranked engineering program (but online) or from a lower-ranked local (and traditional) school.

If you create the alternate transcript at close to 4.0 and get the GMAT score you are anticipating, I still think the "most desired" programs would still be a big stretch for you. You probably would then be competitive at the desired programs and have a good chance at the schools you are willing to attend.

To address the GPA, you need to:

* Get a high GMAT.
* Get close to a 4.0 on your future classes.
* Address the low grades in an optional essay.
* Get strong letters of recommendation.
* And present your experiences as impressively as possible through your MBA essays and interviews.

Best,
Linda

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Re: LOW GPA looking to improve application [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 04:53
Thank you for your reply it is very helpful. Also out of the programs I've done research on ,I am most interested in part-time programs...does that change your evaluation at all?
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Re: LOW GPA looking to improve application [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 21:25
Expert's post
sohard wrote:
Thank you for your reply it is very helpful. Also out of the programs I've done research on ,I am most interested in part-time programs...does that change your evaluation at all?


Yes, the average GMAT and GPA at part-time programs tends to be lower than for the full-time programs, and they are somewhat easier to get into. They may also appreciate slightly more the discipline required to complete an online masters program while working full time. . However, HBS, Stanford. and Sloan don't have part-time MBA programs.

Best,
Linda

_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

Follow Accepted on Twitter
Friend Accepted on Facebook
Subscribe to Accepted's Blog

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