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MBA Questions... [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2005, 11:57
Scott/Omari-

I plan to attend business school in the near future and have a couple of questions. Please take a look at my profile and let me know what you think.

Demographic:
White, male, 24

Education:
Top 25 U.S. University
GPA: 3.0
Major: Business

GMAT: 750 (99% overall; Quant 49-90% Verbal 42-96%)

Work Experience:
--Directly after graduation, I worked in my family's oil/convenience store business. Responsibilities were varied:
-Performed pro forma cash flow analysis for future c-store locations
-Performed regression analysis to create an effective pricing strategy against hypermarkets (Walmart, K-Mart, ect.)
-Led a team of 8 to develop marketing strategy for future grand
openings
-Developed a pricing strategy and spreadsheet to track wholesale consignment accounts.

--After 9 months or relentless pursuit, I landed a job at a large bank as an assistant portfolio manager. I currently assist 6 more seasoned Portfolio Managers manage high net worth individuals' portfolios.
-Current responsibilities include:
-Sole management of aprox. $50 Million in equities, $100 Million in Fixed Income.
-Assist in management of aprox. $3 Billion in assets.
-Developed and implemented hypothetical portfolio contest among PM's to encourage dialogue in stock/fixed income analysis
-Developed Discounted Cash Flow model tied to electronic financial statements to assist one "value" oriented portfolio manager make more informed decisions.
-Employed Markowitz's efficient frontier to individual equities in an effort to assist "momentum" oriented portolio manager in making more effective decisions.
-Developed screening spreadsheet for equities to allow portfolio managers to screen for criteria (various financial ratios) that they deem most predictive of future performance.
-In between major projects, I trade accounts, make recommendations for portfolios, and assist in risk management activities.

Community Service:
College:
-Founded and led a team of (5 at first, 15 by graduation) students to help middle school students with homework after their classes.
-Led a team of 5 students to develop a marketing strategy for a local non-profit organization that raises money for the arts.
-Participated as an energy analyst on a $250,000 fund that was started by a finance professor. Analyzed stocks within the energy sector and recommended one for purchase. Recommendation was one of 5 accepted out of 25.

Since College:
Previous 2 summers: Worked with local PGA professional to give golf instruction to those who otherwise couldn't afford it.
Last summer: Worked with YMCA to develop a golf program for kids in the area. Founded the program and led team of 4 that provides free golf instruction to encourage young kids to pick up the game.
Last 2 years: Led 2 groups of 10 on painting projects for 2 different non-profits in company sponsored "day of volunteering."

Other:
Passed Levels 1 and 2 of the CFA exam. Taking Level 3 in June 06
Scratch golfer
I have played Piano for 15 years
Started to earn my glider's license. (Airplane without an engine)

Reason for MBA:
I want to get an MBA for several reasons. I would like to pursue a career in private equity. I believe that a top program will provide me with the breadth and depth of knowledge needed as well as the networking opportunities necessary to break into this field. I love the idea of providing capital through the primary market directly to the company and also having the capability of making decision in those companies. PE, I believe, combines my love of small business with my love of finance. I also personally would like to continue my education in finance and general management. The CFA program has allowed me to do this somewhat, but I would like to be in an academic environment again to learn more about the industry and challenge myself in that way.

Target Schools:
Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Duke.

Here are my questions:

-My GPA is too low. Would you recommend retaking classes (ie. accounting, quantitave analysis) in which I didn't perform up to my ability, or does GMAT/CFA/work experience make up for it? Also, if you think I should retake classes, would I be better off retaking them at the undergraduate level or should I attempt to take classes in similar subject areas at the graduate level. (I haven't checked to see whether that's possible, though)

-Private Equity is a dificult industry to get into. Would it be more advantageous to wait on the MBA for a couple of years and try to find a job with an investment bank where I could hone my financial modeling skills and prove the sincerity of my interest? FYI: I have been an assistant PM for almost 2 years and expect a promotion to portolio manager in the near future) A promotion would mean a serious increase in assets under management. Would that increase in responsibility mean more than more to adcoms than slightly more relevant work experience?

-Also, do I have a realistic chance to get into these schools?

Sorry for the long post. If you've made it this far, I would really appreciate any insights that you may have.

Thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2005, 16:54
No worries about the long post. I was eating a burger while eating, so it served as good food for thought while I got food in my belly.

Sounds like you're on a good track. I wouldn't recommend taking any more classes, because your solid GMAT and CFA help make the gap. The only exception would be if you haven't taken a micro-econ course, that may be worth taking.

Yes, I believe attaining the promotion will heighten your chances of not only getting into b-school but also attaining the type of position you want.

The number one factor for breaking into PE is network. So, I'd highly recommend trying to find if there are any circles that you can break into and start meeting people and asking for their input on what you need to get in (I'll forewarn you that you'll hear different things from different people). Use your strong golf game to your advantage here and in b-school. Get as involved in the PE club as possible and you'll have a few opportunities come your way.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2005, 05:30
Thanks so much for the advice. A couple of more questions and I'll leave you alone. The schools I listed are among the best in the world and would look great on any resume, but given my background, do you feel these schools are realistic? And, given my desire to move into PE and barring all other personal considerations, are they a good fit? Are there any others that you would recommend?

Also, aside from passing Level 3, getting promoted, and building my network base, do you have any recommendations for improving my chances for acceptance into a top program?

Thanks again for taking the time to help!
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Nov 2005, 19:09
Yes, I think you have a shot. If you want PE, it's probably not worth looking into too many schools beyond what you've listed.

I'd probably swap Chicago for Duke based on your list.

Overall, I think you're in good shape.
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