Hello Stacy Blackman
Please help me answer a few questions I am considering in addition to the profile eval. I'll summarize them at the end if they are confusingly blended. I apologize for the lack of concision.
I have a 3.3 GPA from a top 15 liberal arts school and BS in Math with a concentration in Econ/Accounting/Finance (school didn't offer minors). I've taken the GMAT twice and am sitting on a 720 (50Q 38V). Is it worth retaking the GMAT when I know that a 750-60 is not at all out of the realm of possibility? With the 41V I got on the first take and the 50Q from the second I would be right around 750, but I understand that taking it too many times can be negative. I went into the GMAT hoping for a "separate myself" kind of score because my WE and my post-college volunteer and leadership experience may leave something to be desired.
I changed jobs in September and decided for multiple reasons that it was probably best to put off applying to B-school until Round 1 next fall. In fall 2012, I'll have 3+ years in Finance/Accounting, 2 of which were in FID product controls at a top 3 BB, so I'll have 4 years WE starting school in 2013. I'm looking to definitely apply to Darden, probably Tuck, possibly Booth, HBS, or Wharton (knowing H and W could be long shots), maybe Fuqua, and if I am told I probably need to... UNC, Vandy.
On the volunteer/extracurricular front, I'm doing a mentor program (iMentor), am an alumni assoc. officer, and am involved with a charity (and trying to get more involved), but this stuff is pretty new- I understand Adcom will sometimes view newer activities suspiciously as though you signed up for b-school. What else can I be doing with my time? Would the CFA level 1 be worth it? I'm thinking IB will be my first choice out of B-school and definitely will want to at least do a summer assoc. gig, but I haven't ruled out ER post b-school, so it would not be a move strictly for my b-school app. I've also heard people say that with the time you spend on the CFA you could be doing other things that are not as difficult that will actually help a future applicant more. What are some of these? I want to make the most of this winter and spring.
Also, I'd like to share and get feedback on an interesting conversation I had with the Dean of admissions at Darden at a recent event in NYC. In response to my question intro about contemplating applying with a brand new job (though in my mind I'd already decided to wait), the Dean cut me off and said to apply now. She almost made it sound like being a reapp was an advantage because Darden gives great feedback to the people who do not get in, and I suppose it shows interest and persistence too. This was a surprising response, and maybe she has an agenda for more applicants, but she definitely gave off the impression that I'd improve my chances for 2013 by having applied and been rejected in 2012. I have always had the mindset to wait until I am certain that I'm putting my best possible application together. Throwing one together now- I'm not sure how strong I could make it. Getting recommendations would be one of several issues.
Let me summarize. I'm a white male from the Deep South: 720, 3.3 in Math, 2.5 years WE in financial controls as of right now. I want to know:
1. Should I apply to Darden- my first choice- right now (I'd have 3 weeks and need to do everything except take the GMAT)?
Assuming I don't:
2. Should I retake the GMAT?
3. Should I spend Jan-June doing the CFA Level 1
4. If #3 is no, what else could I be doing in my free time to make me the strongest possible applicant when I apply in 9 months?
I really, really appreciate any feedback you can provide. Thanks in advance.