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Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA

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Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 41
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
GPA: 3.48
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Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Aug 2013, 13:37
Hello EssaySnark!

I took the GMAT several weeks ago and scored a 640 (47Q, 30V, 6.0 AWA, 6 IR). I will be retaking the exam in mid September (feeling a lot more confident now thanks to Magoosh!). I will be applying in the first round for both UCLA FEMBA and USC PM.MBA and wanted to get an honest (hopefully not brutal) evaluation about my chances of getting accepted into UCLA/USC from you guys.


Undergrad School: California State University Long Beach
Undergrad Major: Bachelor of Science Business Administration, emphasis on Accounting
Undergrad GPA: 3.48
Major GPA: 3.6
Certification: CPA License
Work Progression: 2 years @ Big 4 Firm (auditing) > 2 years @ Big 6 Film Studio (financial planning/forecasting)
Extra curricular: Active in volunteer work through employer (definitely my biggest weakness as I do not have the time to participate as much as I would like to)
Additional info: Was a former music major - classical guitar emphasis (recorded with local orchestras and performed in Europe with a guitar quartet); have two young sons
Reason for pursuing an MBA: Leverage the strategic, leadership, and presentation skills acquired through an MBA with my accounting/financial planning skills into a business development/strategy role in the entertainment industry. I have been fortunate to have met MBA who have taken similar paths's at my current employer.

Thanks!
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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2013, 12:10
Hey SOCALMBA2013! Thanks for reaching out for some input into your profile. Provided you nail the essays, your profile should be totally suitable to both of those programs. The USC P/T MBA is easier to break into than Anderson's but both are flexible on issues like the GMAT and they should be very receptive to your profile. Your grades in college are solid and your work experience and CPA are excellent preparation for the MBA.

It's also good that you're retesting - not that a stratospheric GMAT score is needed for these programs (it's not) but more because we think you can do better on the verbal. Your IR and AWA are solid and your quant is fine. A little improvement on the verbal side and you could possibly even break the 700 mark. You don't need to worry about getting a massive high total score for these programs so don't put a lot of pressure on yourself in that regard; we've even see people get in with a GMAT in the range of your first test. We still like that you're retaking it though because it shows dedication; you're not willing to settle, you want to go for broke. That counts for a lot. And a higher score always makes the adcom's decision easier.

The other reason we're happy to see a retest in the works is because you don't have to cram in a Round 1 application. The P/T programs get fewer apps and there's often space available in them much later in the season. It's not the same craziness as the F/T MBA where you need to hustle to apply as early as you can. So take your time and do it right, and you're going to increase the chances that you get a happy outcome.

The essays will matter too - and in particular, explaining why the P/T track is the right fit for you. You'll want to both explain the post-MBA goals, but also if you can, show how you'll be able to use the bschool education in real-time as you progress in your current career. Sometimes people can even point to an anticipated promotion or new responsibilities to come at X point in their futures, and build that into the "why MBA" pitch. If you can show why the MBA is going to position you for a particular future career, AND how it's going to help with whatever you're doing today, you'll be in the strongest position.

Finally, having a clear understanding of what these two schools offer and how they're unique, and integrating those elements into the essays, will go a long way. You've probably already gone on campus and done the info session etc.; make sure to reach out to the schools and learn all that you can about them. They always like to see that, and for a local candidate it's very important to do as much networking as possible.

Hope this helps - mostly we just are saying "yes yes yes" you're on the right track - let us know if there's anything we can help with and GOOD LUCK!
EssaySnark

PS: the transition from music major -> business is interesting - that's something schools often would be eager to know about - see if you can build that into the essays in some way, if possible.
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Current Student
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Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 41
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
GPA: 3.48
WE: Corporate Finance (Entertainment and Sports)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 24

GMAT ToolKit User
Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2013, 19:27
Thank you for your response! Before your reply, my goal was to try and get my apps ready for Round 1. Should I focus more time on my apps and submit them in Round 2? I also feel that a promotion to manager by the end of this year is likely. Would a promotion better my cause? Thanks again!
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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 08:22
Hey SOCALMBA2013 - In your case, based on the school targets, Rd 2 could be just fine. Round 1 is often an advantage so we certainly wouldn't discourage you from applying then, but it's much more important to be focusing on that GMAT right now. Don't spread yourself too thin by trying to do essays at the same time. The main disadvantage with delaying everything is that you won't know if your apps are screwed up until it's too late... If you try for 1 or 2 schools in Round 1 and you don't get invited to interview, then obviously something is wrong with the pitch. Submitting at least one app in the earliest round gives you a chance to correct course if you've made some blunders.

That being said, the schools always say that a stronger app in a later round is the better way to go, so if you must delay, it could work out. You only get the one chance if you do though! A Round 3 application has a lower chance of success at any school (this is slightly less true for part-time programs but it's still an issue you'd be facing).

In terms of the promotion... this one is impossible to say for sure without knowing the entirety of your profile and how you'd be pitching, but in this specific case, we can actually see some benefit to applying NOW, ***before*** the promotion. That way, you could talk about how the P/T program will be useful to you in your new position - the whole thing being future-focused. You could still do it that way if the promotion already happened but it seems like you could have more impact (be more convincing, have more to talk about) if the promotion was pending.

We're getting into application strategy here though which is misguided; we don't know your story or what you'll be saying in the essays so it's out of turn to be doing so. But we wanted to mention that possibility.

In general, just apply when you're ready - our big concern with telling people that "Round 2 would be fine for you" is that sometimes people completely take a vacation from all their application project stuff when they hear that, and then go into panic-scramble-mode a few weeks ahead of deadline. Not saying you'd do that, but it happens a lot! :-)

Image

It's much better to be working continuously on these different deliverables over a longer period of time - the quality tends to be higher overall.

Hope somewhere in there, we answered your question!! Let us know if not!
EssaySnark
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Current Student
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Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 41
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
GPA: 3.48
WE: Corporate Finance (Entertainment and Sports)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 24

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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2013, 13:17
I wanted to give you an update regarding my candidacy. I took the GMAT again and got the same score! I did worse in the quantitative section and better in verbal. Nonetheless, I submitted my app in Round 1 and I am happy about the rest of my application, especially my essays. I had a one one with the admissions director and he was pretty pleased with my resume. Also, I was selected to participate in UCLA's Embracing Diversity Event. I also had my MBA interview this past weekend and it went great. My interviewer was a 2012 alum and worked at my current company before and we clicked instantly during the interview.

This weekend, I also realized that I am the second worst represented minority, Filipino American, in all of UCLA's graduate programs. Does being an underrepresented minority actually boost my application?


Thanks!
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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2013, 14:32
SOCALMBA2013 wrote:
I wanted to give you an update regarding my candidacy. I took the GMAT again and got the same score! I did worse in the quantitative section and better in verbal. Nonetheless, I submitted my app in Round 1 and I am happy about the rest of my application, especially my essays. I had a one one with the admissions director and he was pretty pleased with my resume. Also, I was selected to participate in UCLA's Embracing Diversity Event. I also had my MBA interview this past weekend and it went great. My interviewer was a 2012 alum and worked at my current company before and we clicked instantly during the interview.

This weekend, I also realized that I am the second worst represented minority, Filipino American, in all of UCLA's graduate programs. Does being an underrepresented minority actually boost my application?


Thanks!

Thanks for coming back to this thread to give us the update, and congrats on getting that app in for Rd 1! It's also good that you tested again. While it's a bummer that you got the same-exact GMAT score, the fact that you tried again can send good signals to the adcom. It sounds like you're on a positive trajectory with all the progress you've made!

To your question: Being an underrepresented minority can DEFINITELY help - we actually wrote a a guest post for another site on exactly this topic: http://gmat.bellcurves.com/blog/2013/09/09/im-applying-for-an-mba-am-i-a-minority-candidate/ Hopefully that answers your questions about whether you're at an advantage!

Good luck with the FEMBA app and be sure to let us know how it goes for you!!

EssaySnark
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Current Student
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Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 41
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
GPA: 3.48
WE: Corporate Finance (Entertainment and Sports)
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Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 24

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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2013, 14:41
Thanks for your quick reply! I will definitely keep you posted.

Not sure if I can post this, but here is the link to UCLA's Graduate School report if anyone is interested.

http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/asis/report/aer1112.pdf
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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2013, 18:16
A 640 should be fine for USC Marhsall’s part-time MBA program.

However, a 640 is low for UCLA’s FEMBA program. Per their website (http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/degrees/fu ... -questions) 700 is their median score, 690 is their mean score, and 630-740 is their 10%-90% range.

Congratulations on submitting your application. If you are waitlisted, consider this a signal from the admissions committee that you should retake the exam.

Good luck,
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Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
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Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 24

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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2013, 18:18
Would being an underrepresented minority help my chances?
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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2013, 19:12
To a degree. Proposition 209 prohibits a state university in California from considering race, sex, or ethnicity in admission but the school can consider diverse experiences. So, UCLA is governed by Proposition 209 whereas USC is not.
Also, MBA schools have traditionally thought of blacks, Latinos and Native Americans as underrepresented minorities, but not Asian Americans as.

But since you submitted your application just wait. If you are waitlisted, then the school is sending you a signal to improve your application with a higher GMAT score.

Best of luck,
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MBAPrepAdvantage offers a free initial assessment to gauge your MBA admissions chances and the strength of your candidacy. Email us a brief description of your goals along with your target schools, resume, GPA, and GMAT score at info@mbaprepadvantage.com.

Current Student
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Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 41
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
GPA: 3.48
WE: Corporate Finance (Entertainment and Sports)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 24

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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2013, 12:19
Got the admit call yesterday! Guess my 640 wasn't too low at all. I really focused on my essays, networked extensively, and nailed my interview.
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Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2013, 07:08
Congratulations!!!!!
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MBAPrepAdvantage offers a free initial assessment to gauge your MBA admissions chances and the strength of your candidacy. Email us a brief description of your goals along with your target schools, resume, GPA, and GMAT score at info@mbaprepadvantage.com.

Re: Profile Evaluation for UCLA FEMBA & USC PM.MBA   [#permalink] 15 Dec 2013, 07:08
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