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Profile Evaluation.. am I dreaming?

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Joined: 26 Apr 2010
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Profile Evaluation.. am I dreaming? [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2010, 09:53
Hi All,

My profile:

GMAT: 750
28/M Accountant, CPA
Rutgers University 3.18 GPA (I know) BS Accounting

Work Ex: 6.5 years

1 - Currently working with Uncle's Tax Practice. We are the only 2 partners, and manage a staff of 4. I pretty much manage all aspects of the firm and he has taken more of an advisory role, only coming to the office to check up on things. (3.4 years)

2 - Strategist at #1 Media Agency in the world. Allocated appropriate media selection for client with capital advertising space of $400MM+. Studied client's customers' demographics and behavior. (1 year)

3 - Big 4 Financial Service Audit group. Senior Auditor - managed small staff for SOX compliance, audits of large banks and mutual funds. Spearheaded first time integrated audit approach for a small bank that went through its first IPO. Advised them on new regulations in gearing up to IPO date/launch. (1 year)

2 - Top 25 accounting firm - General accounting encompassing audit, tax, and financial analysis. (1.2 year)

Letter of Recs: Will it be unfavorable to have my uncle write me a recco as AdComm will perceive it to be biased? (We have the same last name). I haven't been in touch with mgmt from my previous firms, but they were generally pleased with my work. Can't say they will be the best reccos every as we haven't kept in touch much since working together, but hopefully they are good enough.

Activities: To be honest, not as much as I'd like as running our own firm takes so much time out of me. I've participated with GLAAD (a large LGBT organization) recently but hold no actual title, just volunteer work for their events. This might look too obvious as I started doing this just recently, before sending applications.
Aside, I purchased a rental unit in Battery Park City of Manhattan, which is making money. I might bring this up in my essay to complement everything, but understand it might not mean much by itself.

I'm very worried about my work experience (and low GPA) - it might look like I have no idea what I want to do considering I stayed about a year at each job except for my current one. Also job #2 was in advertising, something totally off-base from accounting so this might leave them scratching their heads. Plus they may question, why I'm leaving a profitable firm that I run to enter back into corp world, which I'm prepared to answer if I'm lucky enough to get an interview.

As far as what I want to do - ideally Portfolio management, CFO, or IB/PE. The third option might be a bit of a reach considering I have more accounting than finance experience. I really want to be in Portfolio Mgmt as I feel the CPA/MBA combo would be great, but it seems from research I need to go through IB first, as that is where they normally recruit from. From research, I know that come essay time I must be firm in what I want, so by application time I'll pick one and won't waver.

If I get an MBA - would my prospects in Portfolio Management or the CFO route materially decrease if my MBA concentration was in Accounting as opposed to Finance, since I figure I'd have a better shot at MBA Accounting based on my experience?

I'd like top 15, but not sure if this is realistic.

I was thinking of taking GMAT again, as I received a 750 with only 3 weeks of studying, so maybe a higher score would compensate for my extremely low undergraduate score.

Any feedback is appreciated, thanks.
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Re: Profile Evaluation.. am I dreaming? [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2010, 14:58
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Hi kizlos:
Thanks for the detail. This is the depth of information required for an admissions consultant to form a solid and initial assessment.

That being said:

    You GPA is lower but is not a serious liability. This is for several reasons - you have been out of school for a few years now and have demonstrated your quant abilities (CPA) - you have a quant degree which will deflate your GPA - you went to a very good Ivy that is generally held in higher regard than random XYZ State University.

    Normally, for a lower GPA, I would recommend CEUs at the local CC but in your case, it will not move the needle that much given the above and the fact that you scored a 750 on the GMAT. In short, don't waste your time studying again for the GMAT or taking a stats class at the local CC.

Recs are always biased.

    That is, not one would (should) ever pick someone that would throw them under the bus come rec time or "phone it in" and produce a vacuous rec. So admissions committees take recs with a grain of salt. As an analogy, they are are the mortar between the bricks (your story) and not the primary supporting evidence for your candidacy (just tertiary.)

    However, your uncle will add another question mark to the veracity of the rec. In your client-facing business, it is completely appropriate to get a few significant clients to write glowing letters of recommendation. Just keep in mind that some adcoms will want you to explain why you did not get a rec from your current supervisor. That simple fact that they ask you to explain means the adcom understands that there are exceptions to the rule. It's not a huge issue if you handle it correctly. If you would like a pro grata copy of my "How To" guide on getting the right recommendation, please PM me.

Before I get to my next point, I want to tell you that my role as an admissions consultant is to be as honest with you as possible. I get all the facts and information out on the table and you make the call. I believe that this is the role of any trusted consultant.

    So with your volunteering experience, it must be an activity that you have a personal interest in and demonstrates leadership. If it is personally relevant (ie. hits on your values, norms and beliefs) and professionally involved (ie. a LGBT professional society), that is the best type of out of the office experience as it moves several needles.

    If you do not have a formal title, that is fine. However, you want to make sure you can position yourself as someone within the organization who did not simply show up, but instead help organize. If you can't do that right now, you need to step it up and ask for more responsibility for the next big event that comes along.

    Again, please PM and I will elaborate on this point more. It's important as extracurricular experience is under weighted in the minds of most applicants. I'm glad you recognize the importance of it. I often refer to this experience as the "missing link."

Your question about the Accounting vs. Finance MBA track is really not a concern.

    The point is articulating your candidacy (via the application - essays) is about painting a picture that logically follows and builds upon everything you have done up to this point. You need to make the adcom feel that you have preparing for your short and longer term, post-MBA goals since you came home from the hospital as a newborn. This resolute path produces MBA students that know what they want to do when they get to pearly gates (or ivory tower) that is a top MBA program. So, in full disclosure, know this - that you need to lay out a specific, realistic and employable (upon graduation) game plan. When you get into the program and really figure out the dynamics of that specific MBA program, then you can "tweak" your game plan. However, until then, you have to dictate a clear vision.

    I view it as this - I am not sure how many military folks you know, but this is what is often said in those circles is that even the best-laid plans change minutes into the heat of battle. So have a well though-out game plan, but know that it changes. It's cool.

A top 15 is realistic.

    My question to you would revolve around any international experience - that is, are you open to international MBA programs? I am thinking LBS in particular.
    Of course, this goes hand in hand with where you want to end up after grad. If it is the Big Apple, then think about Yale, Tuck and Johnson (along with others in the top 15).


At this point, the only potential weakness in your profile is in articulating the career switch. However, everything has an explanation if a client learns to think critically about their transitions. This is why I always recommend a good admissions consultant.

Anyway, please let me know your thoughts. I have several guides available for free, that I wrote. This should provide you a lot more in-depth guidance than I could type in this forum! PM if you would like a copy.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

kizlos wrote:
Hi All,

My profile:

GMAT: 750
28/M Accountant, CPA
Rutgers University 3.18 GPA (I know) BS Accounting

Work Ex: 6.5 years

1 - Currently working with Uncle's Tax Practice. We are the only 2 partners, and manage a staff of 4. I pretty much manage all aspects of the firm and he has taken more of an advisory role, only coming to the office to check up on things. (3.4 years)

2 - Strategist at #1 Media Agency in the world. Allocated appropriate media selection for client with capital advertising space of $400MM+. Studied client's customers' demographics and behavior. (1 year)

3 - Big 4 Financial Service Audit group. Senior Auditor - managed small staff for SOX compliance, audits of large banks and mutual funds. Spearheaded first time integrated audit approach for a small bank that went through its first IPO. Advised them on new regulations in gearing up to IPO date/launch. (1 year)

2 - Top 25 accounting firm - General accounting encompassing audit, tax, and financial analysis. (1.2 year)

Letter of Recs: Will it be unfavorable to have my uncle write me a recco as AdComm will perceive it to be biased? (We have the same last name). I haven't been in touch with mgmt from my previous firms, but they were generally pleased with my work. Can't say they will be the best reccos every as we haven't kept in touch much since working together, but hopefully they are good enough.

Activities: To be honest, not as much as I'd like as running our own firm takes so much time out of me. I've participated with GLAAD (a large LGBT organization) recently but hold no actual title, just volunteer work for their events. This might look too obvious as I started doing this just recently, before sending applications.
Aside, I purchased a rental unit in Battery Park City of Manhattan, which is making money. I might bring this up in my essay to complement everything, but understand it might not mean much by itself.

I'm very worried about my work experience (and low GPA) - it might look like I have no idea what I want to do considering I stayed about a year at each job except for my current one. Also job #2 was in advertising, something totally off-base from accounting so this might leave them scratching their heads. Plus they may question, why I'm leaving a profitable firm that I run to enter back into corp world, which I'm prepared to answer if I'm lucky enough to get an interview.

As far as what I want to do - ideally Portfolio management, CFO, or IB/PE. The third option might be a bit of a reach considering I have more accounting than finance experience. I really want to be in Portfolio Mgmt as I feel the CPA/MBA combo would be great, but it seems from research I need to go through IB first, as that is where they normally recruit from. From research, I know that come essay time I must be firm in what I want, so by application time I'll pick one and won't waver.

If I get an MBA - would my prospects in Portfolio Management or the CFO route materially decrease if my MBA concentration was in Accounting as opposed to Finance, since I figure I'd have a better shot at MBA Accounting based on my experience?

I'd like top 15, but not sure if this is realistic.

I was thinking of taking GMAT again, as I received a 750 with only 3 weeks of studying, so maybe a higher score would compensate for my extremely low undergraduate score.

Any feedback is appreciated, thanks.

_________________


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Re: Profile Evaluation.. am I dreaming?   [#permalink] 27 Apr 2010, 14:58
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