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Poor academics early on... would I be considered?

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Poor academics early on... would I be considered? [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2007, 16:24
Hello Paul,

I am planning to apply to MS in finance programs (Boston College, Washington U, U of Illinois). I understand that you primarily look at MBA admissions; however I mainly want to know if most admissions will overlook a poor academic record in light of recent achievements and effort.

Post graduate school:
I plan to work in the alternative investment/hedge fund space with a focus on Asia. My long term goal is to be part of the development of the financial sector in Hawaii(my home state), through efforts in education, community support, and bringing local talent back to Hawaii.

I am currently part of some exciting efforts locally that are reflected in my work experience and extracurricular experiences.

The bad part….
• Took 6 years to graduate with breaks in between
• Put on probation in my very first semester
• 4 course withdrawals
• 2 F’s early on in college

Essentially, I was put on probation during my first semester, took a semester off and then transferred to a community college. While attending the community college I was hospitalized for 2 weeks with liver failure and a severe viral infection. I had to drop all but 1 of my classes. However, this life threatening event really motivated me to take charge of my life. I attended another 2 semesters at the community college and then transferred back to the University. While at the university I began to put more effort in my classes and soon realized I had a natural aptitude for finance and math. I was slowly able to build confidence and work ethic. By the end of my college career I would say that I was at the top of my class in finance, although my academic record did not reflect it.

Here is my profile:

GMAT:
September 2007
700
50Q/34V 4.5AWA

Education:
BBA Finance, University of Hawaii August 2007
Cumulative GPA 3.29
Major: 3.86
2007 Award and scholarship for outstanding student in Financial Analysis
CFA 2007 Scholarship
Passed level 1 of the CFA, the finance programs might appreciate this.

My work experience:
Finance Curriculum Writer(current) – 2 months –Working as a curriculum writer for a $1.5mm grant to develop an intensive finance training program for highschool and college students in Hawaii. I am working under a curriculum committee of hedge fund managers and professors from schools across the US(UMass, Yale, Wake Forest, and others). Also, I will be able to keep this position while I attend graduate school as we conduct most of our work at home and through video conferencing.

Research Intern(current) – 2 months – Conducting research for a NY based boutique research/brokerage firm. We service many hedge funds and mutual funds.

Treasury Analyst internship – 4 months - Worked under the Treasuer/SVP at a bank.
Research analyst internship – 6 months – Japanese securities research/brokerage firm. They service many Japan-focused hedge funds and mutual funds.

Extracurricular:
Senior Member at a Finance Training Program – 1 year – After going through the program I was chosen to continue to work on this project by becoming a curriculum writer and asked to instruct the incoming students. We were able to grow class size from 6 students on average to 17 this semester. The class is typically 6 hours on Saturdays.

Financial modeling instructor for the Finance Training Program(current) – 3 months

Research Analyst Internship/extracurricular(current) – 2 months – As part of the finance program we are working with a start up hedge fund to provide students with hands on experience. I am learning the research methods and coverage, so that next semester I will be able to manage a group of student analysts.


I have a pretty odd profile with a lot of +’s and –‘s…
What do you guys think? Am I safe to apply and be considered by admissions(BC, Washington U, U of Illinois)? Or do I need to take other measures?

I am considering retaking the GMAT after more studying. I prepared for about 3 weeks and thought I was fine with Verbal(received 38 on GMATprep), but I turned out with 34 on test day.

Another idea is to take additional classes to show more consistency. I wouldn’t mind taking additional math courses next semester.

Thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2007, 22:01
On a positive note, you did graduate from The University of Hawaii. Not only have I heard they have the highest "dropout rate," but I imagine I would have had trouble doing so with all the temptations of Honolulu! LOL!
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Re: Poor academics early on... would I be considered? [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2007, 12:57
Expert's post
iokita wrote:
Hello Paul,

I am planning to apply to MS in finance programs (Boston College, Washington U, U of Illinois). I understand that you primarily look at MBA admissions; however I mainly want to know if most admissions will overlook a poor academic record in light of recent achievements and effort.

Post graduate school:
I plan to work in the alternative investment/hedge fund space with a focus on Asia. My long term goal is to be part of the development of the financial sector in Hawaii(my home state), through efforts in education, community support, and bringing local talent back to Hawaii.

I am currently part of some exciting efforts locally that are reflected in my work experience and extracurricular experiences.

The bad part….
• Took 6 years to graduate with breaks in between
• Put on probation in my very first semester
• 4 course withdrawals
• 2 F’s early on in college

Essentially, I was put on probation during my first semester, took a semester off and then transferred to a community college. While attending the community college I was hospitalized for 2 weeks with liver failure and a severe viral infection. I had to drop all but 1 of my classes. However, this life threatening event really motivated me to take charge of my life. I attended another 2 semesters at the community college and then transferred back to the University. While at the university I began to put more effort in my classes and soon realized I had a natural aptitude for finance and math. I was slowly able to build confidence and work ethic. By the end of my college career I would say that I was at the top of my class in finance, although my academic record did not reflect it.

Here is my profile:

GMAT:
September 2007
700
50Q/34V 4.5AWA

Education:
BBA Finance, University of Hawaii August 2007
Cumulative GPA 3.29
Major: 3.86
2007 Award and scholarship for outstanding student in Financial Analysis
CFA 2007 Scholarship
Passed level 1 of the CFA, the finance programs might appreciate this.

My work experience:
Finance Curriculum Writer(current) – 2 months –Working as a curriculum writer for a $1.5mm grant to develop an intensive finance training program for highschool and college students in Hawaii. I am working under a curriculum committee of hedge fund managers and professors from schools across the US(UMass, Yale, Wake Forest, and others). Also, I will be able to keep this position while I attend graduate school as we conduct most of our work at home and through video conferencing.

Research Intern(current) – 2 months – Conducting research for a NY based boutique research/brokerage firm. We service many hedge funds and mutual funds.

Treasury Analyst internship – 4 months - Worked under the Treasuer/SVP at a bank.
Research analyst internship – 6 months – Japanese securities research/brokerage firm. They service many Japan-focused hedge funds and mutual funds.

Extracurricular:
Senior Member at a Finance Training Program – 1 year – After going through the program I was chosen to continue to work on this project by becoming a curriculum writer and asked to instruct the incoming students. We were able to grow class size from 6 students on average to 17 this semester. The class is typically 6 hours on Saturdays.

Financial modeling instructor for the Finance Training Program(current) – 3 months

Research Analyst Internship/extracurricular(current) – 2 months – As part of the finance program we are working with a start up hedge fund to provide students with hands on experience. I am learning the research methods and coverage, so that next semester I will be able to manage a group of student analysts.


I have a pretty odd profile with a lot of +’s and –‘s…
What do you guys think? Am I safe to apply and be considered by admissions(BC, Washington U, U of Illinois)? Or do I need to take other measures?

I am considering retaking the GMAT after more studying. I prepared for about 3 weeks and thought I was fine with Verbal(received 38 on GMATprep), but I turned out with 34 on test day.

Another idea is to take additional classes to show more consistency. I wouldn’t mind taking additional math courses next semester.

Thanks!


iokita,

I apologize for the long delay in replying. The first-round deadlines kept me tied up until now. Schools certainly do put weak academic numbers in context if you show them a high GMAT score and significant accomplishments since school. It would help if you later retook the classes you failed and got good grades. You have the high GMAT score and you also have specific factors out of your control for your weak GPA. So I don't see problems for you, especially at the three schools you listed. I think you should get into all three. You have a distinctive profile, which helps you. Be sure to emphasize leadership in your essays.

Good luck,

_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

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

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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 20 Sep 2007
Posts: 28
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2007, 02:22
Thanks Paul! I am now a little more confident in the application process.

Right now I am really looking at Washington University, Olin MS in Finance. They have two essays, both with questions. I was wondering how I should bring up my past academic pitfalls and turn around. Or should I just touch on my achievements and what I plant to do?



Also the past year's class profile:

Total number of students: 33
Median Age: 23 years
Average GMAT: 703
Average GPA: 3.45

My GMAT is 700 and GPA is 3.29.

Thanks again for this great service!
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Posts: 4862
Location: Los Angeles CA
Followers: 43

Kudos [?]: 347 [0], given: 64

 [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2007, 14:34
Expert's post
iokita wrote:
Thanks Paul! I am now a little more confident in the application process.

Right now I am really looking at Washington University, Olin MS in Finance. They have two essays, both with questions. I was wondering how I should bring up my past academic pitfalls and turn around. Or should I just touch on my achievements and what I plant to do?



Also the past year's class profile:

Total number of students: 33
Median Age: 23 years
Average GMAT: 703
Average GPA: 3.45

My GMAT is 700 and GPA is 3.29.

Thanks again for this great service!


iokita,

That depends on what the questions ask and whether they give you an opportunity to submit an optional essay. The GPA issue is really material for an optional essay and should definitely not be discussed in more than one place in the essay set.

Good luck,

_________________

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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