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Need help with a final school selection...

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Current Student
User avatar
Status: What's your raashee?
Joined: 12 Jun 2009
Posts: 1847
Location: United States (NC)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: UNC (Kenan-Flagler) - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V39
WE: Programming (Computer Software)
Followers: 22

Kudos [?]: 195 [0], given: 52

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Need help with a final school selection... [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2010, 06:25
Hi paul,

I am from eng/tech background with 720 49/39. UG: 2.92 and G: 3.27 with ~6 years WE. I am trying to select a reach school and came to the following 4:
Stern, Booth,Kellog,Wharton.

Right now I am leaning toward Stern because it has the "lowest" gpa range. Wharton seems to have the highest. My gmat is competitive against all though. Booth and kellog do have higher acc. rates but I guess that's really irrelevant since it is dependent on candidates... I also understand there are other aspects of the application but all things being equal do you think Stern gives me the "best chance" or some other?

thanks
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Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Re: Need help with a final school selection... [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2010, 22:29
Expert's post
Hi shaselai,

When you are dealing with a numerical outlier like a low GPA, your best bet is to simply pick the school that is the best fit for you (or at least that you believe to be the best fit) and then go about putting together an incredibly convincing case for the reader. At the end of the day, your GPA is creating a steep uphill climb, so trying to figure out where you have the best chance is likely to be misplaced energy. Focus on fit and on showcasing fit - really making that reader think "wow, this person would be amazing here, GPA be damned" is far more important than "gaming" a few tenths of a point here or there. I repeat: far more important. (Also, and perhaps this goes without saying, but maturity, focus, and discipline need to be seminal themes in all of your b-school essays.)

Now, that said, I don't want to blow you off with high and mighty rhetoric about fit. You can still be smart about what you are doing if all of the schools are equally appealing. Some of the things we recommend when strategically selecting a school based on low GPA:

- Location. Certain demographic backgrounds (white U.S. male, Indian male) are far more prominent in major metro areas than in small towns. Sometimes angling for the smaller town can help keep you out of a massive sea of similar applicants. In this case, all of your reach schools are in major markets.

- Size. The bigger the school, the easier it is to fold in your GPA. None of these schools are tiny, but Stern is the smallest, so that actually cuts against you. You might note that Stern is actually very selective and they have slightly narrower ranges for certain stats. Booth is a big school without a huge applicant pool (the reason the acceptance rate is higher), so it can often be a place to find a nook or cranny.

- Average GPA. This is where you have started your search and it is certainly one of the elements. Ross, for instance, is quite low at 3.3, while HBS is very high at 3.7. In your case, Stern is the lowest average GPA. But honestly, this means little.

- Average GMAT. You might also look to see where your strong GMAT would help the most. Does it stand as the average? Above average? Slightly below? If you are above average, it may help a bit. This is probably your best case at Stern, but it's a thin case to make.

- Other thematic factors/career goals/etc. These are unknown in your case.

When you consider the above, we don't know that last point and so we're left to major on the minors. I would probably say Booth at the end of the day, but Stern isn't a bad second bet. Really though, it comes down to where you want to be and how well you can articulate both that passion and also all of the mitigating aspects that will make you a worthy addition to the class.

Good luck to you.

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti
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Current Student
User avatar
Status: What's your raashee?
Joined: 12 Jun 2009
Posts: 1847
Location: United States (NC)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
Schools: UNC (Kenan-Flagler) - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V39
WE: Programming (Computer Software)
Followers: 22

Kudos [?]: 195 [0], given: 52

GMAT Tests User Reviews Badge
Re: Need help with a final school selection... [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 05:30
wow thanks paul! I think I will try Booth then. I was in conflict among booth, kellog and stern for the longest time and chose Stern at first because of gpa but had second thoughts recently when I was about to start stern's app. Booth is R2 though and the March notice might conflict with other acceptances though - do schools sometimes accept people earlier?
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Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 840
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Re: Need help with a final school selection... [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2010, 08:38
Expert's post
There's probably no getting around the notification issue. Worst case, you put down a deposit at another school and then have to withdraw your enrollment when you get into your reach school ... but really, that's the dream scenario anyway. I don't mean to be insensitive to the $ that you would lose, but it's a rather small amount in the grand scheme of things.

-PL
_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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