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Profile Evaluation

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Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2014, 07:06
Hello.

I'm preparing for B school apps about 1.5years in advance so I'd like to know what are my chances like and how much will these chances improve assuming I work on co-curricular activities and alternative transcripts.

Personal background: Asian, female, will be 29 at time of matriculation.

The following brief information is a rough gauge at point of application in 2016:

1) Work experience: 3 years as a banking paralegal then full career-switch to accounting for 2 years
2) GMAT: 690
3) College: One of the top Asian universities. Economics major. GPA converts to roughly 2.78. (I know it's very much on the lower end. How much can an alternative transcript help with this? Or are the Top 20 colleges all out of reach?)
4) Co-curricular: Wasn't active at all in college. None at the moment; intending to volunteer mentoring children.
5) Certifications: will attain Chartered Accountant status in 2015. Intending to start on CFA program as well.
6) Target schools: Yale, Duke Fuqua, Oxford Said, Cambridge Judge.
7) Application period: R1 / R2 in 2016
8) Post-MBA goals: Run family business and/or consulting.

Questions:
- I understand that the above profile is a far cry from what top B schools usually accept. How significant will it be if I:
1. complete all 3 levels of CFA?
2. explain my circumstance for the lower end GPA? It was a mix of factors? Losing interest in school / late bloomer (hence did not participate actively in co-curricular activities during college years as well. Also the same reason why I picked up accounting only much later and decided I will attend business school) & family financial issues (it was better that I graduated sooner and helped out with supporting the finances at home)
3. intend to attend summer schools (e.g. LSE) and do well in some classes? Will this help as an alternative transcript? In my country, the colleges do not offer non-degree program classes for non-graduating students during normal school terms.

- Also, will a GMAT score increase of 20-30 points help in negating the lower GPA at this point? Or does it not make much difference (unless it's 750 and above)?
- I am not sure if my target schools are too much of a stretch. If so, could you kindly suggest some schools that are realistic targets?

Appreciate any advice you can provide.
Thanks.
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Re: Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2014, 13:22
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With your current profile, I’d consider the schools, especially Yale, to be very high, possibly unrealistic, reaches.

Your GMAT score would be OK for all these schools except Yale, IF you had a strong GPA. But the slow career blooming plus the relatively low numbers together make these schools too high a reach, I believe.

To answer your specific questions:

1) It would help; alone it wouldn't be make or break, but together with the things mentioned below, it would enhance your profile.
2) You must explain the low GPA, and it may help a bit – especially if they know you were working during school, which is always challenging.
3) I definitely suggest taking classes and earning A’s – it will show academic capability AND commitment to your plan AND maturity to address a weakness.
4) Raising the GMAT by 20-30 points will help, if you ALSO do the things suggested above.

Overall, if you do ALL these things, I believe you would be a viable applicant to all the schools you mention except Yale (where the GPA will carry a bit more weight)—they would become reasonable reaches.
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Re: Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2014, 16:12
Raising your GMAT score will always help, and just as a note to everyone, I strongly discourage against saying, "I lost interest in school" as a reason for a low undergraduate (or graduate) GPA. You do need to explain low grades, but try to give an actual reason (medical hardship, financial pressure, perhaps an entrepreneurial venture that took off and was taking all of your time). You want to stress the POSITIVE, not make the ad com worry that perhaps you will impulsively just "lose interest" again. Take time to understand what you're saying and craft a solid narrative.

Jillian, President & Founder
MBA Ivy League
New York, NY

www.MBAIvyLeague.com
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