Something I asked AlexMBAApply, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask you too. At this stage, it seems I don't have a prayer of getting into the schools I really want to. The boards have been very helpful in evaluating the top flight programs, and I think I have very good experiences. But it seems like my age is a huge disadvantage, even though I think I can contribute at a level on par with mid- to top-tier applicants. Admittedly due to the nature of my jobs (heavy travel) and my changing life circumstances, my leadership and community service are not on level. This has really complicated the school selection process a bit.
My questions are thereby related. Am I too old to be even realistically thinking for some of my "Dream Schools"? Could I realistically move into my desired investments / banking-related career paths if I didn't get into a "Dream School"? Are there other weaknesses that I might be overlooking in my profile?
Perhaps I should also add a bit of color to why my experience is as varied as it is. I originally started off at a Big 4 thinking I'd end up a public accountant, but after 3 years I found banking and investments more interesting. But switching to I-banking or investment management from public accounting isn't that easy, so I took a chance with a national banking regulatory agency to better understand the industry. I've since leveraged my experience with that position and finally work for a large I-bank, but in credit analysis rather than as a buy- or sell-side analyst or in investment management. Now I feel I am ready to make the intended switch to I-banking or into a PE firm / hedge fund / mutual fund.
Some more details >>
US Citizen, South Asian descent (which I'm guessing qualifies me as "a dime a dozen")
32 in September
Public Mid Tier (regional state university in Northeast Ohio); GPA 4.0, Finance and Economics double major. Graduated a salutatorian. Lots of leadership experiences here (see below).
Private Top Tier (Midwestern Catholic university); GPA 3.64, Master's of Science in Accountancy. Part of a competitive work-study program with a Big 4 firm (fully paid for, hard to get). Some leadership.
GMAT (6 years ago; will take again later this year):
660 (V: 42, Q: 38)
1. 3 years, staff accountant for a Big 4 firm (during the whole SoX period)
2. 3.5 years, associate bank examiner for a major regulatory agency (during the recent housing crisis)
3. 6 months to present, credit analyst at large multinational investment bank
1. CPA / attest (California)
2. Planning on CFA
EC: Lots during undergrad -- president of four clubs (including the umbrella business organization of all clubs), active with community service (actually did a food drive during graduation day), very good rapport with professors / deans / students. More intense grad school -- member of a committee, but otherwise working. Not much since -- first two jobs were travel jobs, so little time for community service; current job is a desk job, so more time. Now -- VP of two positions for local Toastmasters chapter, volunteer 2x/month at the local food bank.
Goals / Potential paths: Investment Banking (Bank M&A), Consulting (Banks), Investment Analysis (Financials), Investment Management / Portfolio Analysis
My school choices were based on:
1. GMAT, BusinessWeek Rankings
2. Personal preference (location, brand, class size)
Here's where I think I am (updated to reflect new info from other posts):
- Dream Schools / Little Chance: Penn/Wharton (#1 choice by far), Stanford, Chicago/Booth, NW/Kellogg, Berkeley/Haas, Columbia, MIT/Sloan
- Reach: Duke/Fuqua, UMich/Ross, UVA/Darden, UCLA/Anderson
- Better Chance: UNC/K-F, NYU/Stern, Notre Dame/Mendoza, USC/Marshall
My guess is that with a very high GMAT score (ie, >700), I at least have a shot at the Dream Schools (however remote) and a better chance at the Reach schools. But even then I may be kidding myself -- so I'm asking if these reconsidered levels for school choices / planned applications is realistic. If you have any thoughts or comments or recommendations, they will be most appreciated.
Thank you so much for your time and help in advance!
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