I would very much appreciate some feedback on my application profile. My target school is Columbia but will be applying to other top 10 programs (Stanford, Haas, Wharton...). Am I being realistic? Thank you!
1. White male, 28 years old
2. Employment overview: Litigation/Forensic Accounting Consultant at reputable firm with 5 years of work experience, 2 promotions with the most recent being to a management position. Decent leadership experience, multiple engagements where I managed large teams of consultants. Expect strong LOR's from immediate manager and managing director who I have worked with my entire career.
3. Education: 3.31 GPA from smaller private So Cal university (think LMU, Chapman, Pomona), finance major. The honest story is I did not "get it" as an undergrad and did not take school seriously. Once I got an internship it lit a fire and I came back to school hungry and determined to prove myself. Last year in school had a 3.86 GPA in mostly finance, accounting, and math classes. Some of these classes were re-dos bc I had C's previously and wanted to improve my GPA.
4. Level III candidate in the CFA program, I sit for Level III in June.
5. Extra curriculars: I started a small real estate investment company in 2012 with two partners to purchase a foreclosed property, rehabilitate it, and rent it out. Currently own a 3 unit rental property with strong cash flow return. Rehabbed from a foreclosed and vacant disaster to safe clean home for 3 families. Unsure how to best present this story.
Manage personal equity portfolio in line with my interest in value investing.
Somewhat limited as far as philanthropy. Have been involved with a variety of charitable causes and events but little long term commitment. Working to continue involvement with some of the organizations I have volunteered with in the past. Home building project in Mexico, volunteer home rehab in low income neighborhoods, trying to become a mentor but it may be a bit late for that.
6. Career goal: Work as an analyst or associate at a top asset management firm or value focused hedge fund. Eventually start my own fund using a value strategy. Focus on long term approach, low risk strategy, ethical dealing with investors, and advocacy of shareholder rights.
7. GMAT: 760 (48Q, 47V), 8 IR, 5 AWA, first attempt.
I want to apply early decision to Columbia as I believe my career goals align best with their program. I plan to visit this spring, attend an information session and class visit, and meet with students and faculty. I will also be visiting Stanford and Haas, possibly Wharton as well. Considering Anderson as a semi-safety, hope that doesn't come across as naive or arrogant. I would greatly appreciate any feedback or advice.
So first of all, I think your goal of Top 10 is reasonable, and that it's good that you have your safety that is right behind. (I didn't find your auto-evaluation to be arrogant at all, just preeeetty accurate).
Your only real disadvantage I can see is your okay GPA at a decent but not great school. And I think that given your current leadership, two promotions, beautiful GMAT, and real estate work, it is something that can be overlooked. Overall, I feel that you have the basis to be a relatively strong candidate if you present your stories and goals in the right way.
I like (and the schools will like) the real-estate entrepreneurship. It's one of those "little extras" that AdComs like a lot, cause it gives you a lot of real hands-on business experience and wisdom that might in a certain sense be as useful as the more corporate stuff that you are doing. And having CFA III is most excellent a bonus
The one thing that you should definitely continue working on (and you have already noticed it) is your volunteer work. You don't necessarily need a colossal amount, but if you have some good stuff there, it'll be very good.
Other than that I like your plan of applying to 4-5 schools in Top 10 + 1 in the Top 20, it's ambitious with a safe plan set up too. That, plus some great essays and some school visits, and you are good to go, dude,
Let me know if there's any other way I can help or advise,
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