Thanks for reaching out to me. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you and I promise to be as forthright as possible in my assessment.
The first thing I would do is to ingratiate yourself with members of the admissions committees from the schools. You are going to need to build a rapport with these individuals. This is done by attending several events – either on campus, online or at some type of MBA tour. they need to be able to put your face with your name.
Also significant to your cause is a very straightforward question(s) that you need to ask a representative of each one of the schools in private. You do this through a one-on-one conversation, and not in front of a group of other prospective applicants. You will get a much more candid answer this way. The question(s) - "Should I apply to your program with my current profile?" "Is there anything that is of particular concern?" "Is there anything you recommend that I can do to address these concerns?" Basically, you would be asking them – in private – the very same questions you are asking me. If done the right way, you can expect an individual admissions committee member to be very candid. Also, be prepared to disclose the more personal reasons why your grades were so low. To be honest, I would not disclose the fact that you were drinking too much. I would focus more on the family issues. Keep in mind that you are not trying to turn this into a Lifetime Channel special. Keep it brief and keep it professional (as much is possible) when explaining this to a complete stranger you are trying to leave a good impression on.
Now before you can do that let me provide you with a few things to consider. You should definitely consider taking the GMAT again, especially if you have only taken it once or twice, or you feel that you may have left some "money on the table." think about it this way – if you can get 3 or 4 more questions correct, you are looking at breaking 700 on the GMAT. I struggled with some of my undergraduate classes, and I know that my own 99th percentile GMAT score saved me and allowed me to gain entry into several top programs. Looking at this another way - try to make the admissions committees decision that much easier. You want someone on the admissions committee – perhaps the person you established a rapport with – to be able to be advocate and go to bat for you. You have to give them some ammunition or a trump card that they can play if the decision is close. With a 2.9 GPA and a 680 GMAT score, you really do not give anyone who could advocate for you that much fodder. So do yourself a favor and retake the GMAT. And yes I am aware of the schools you are targeting – and I am still saying to retake GMAT considering the schools you list.
With respect to the quality or reputation of your undergraduate institution – there is really not too much you can do. To be honest, this is exactly why admissions committee have applicants tell personal stories or fill out the optional essay. They need to know what is going on (as I mentioned above) - just no sob stories. So while you may have gone to the University of Phoenix, what is done is done. What you should do is take some online classes at UCLA extension or Berkeley extension. Take classes related to the core – finance, accounting, stats, Econ. Of course you need to get "A" grades in any and all of these classes.
Another related point - whether or not you feel ashamed about your undergraduate performance or school's reputation is irrelevant. Why I am telling you this is because you cannot worry about things already done. I know that makes sense to you, but when speaking to any representative of any MBA program, you have to sound absolutely confident. If you made a mistake, acknowledge it and move on. Do not act sheepish in front of the admissions committee. It is not very endearing, especially when there are hundreds of other applicants who will exude confidence, and whose applications are in the same stack as yours.
When considering your short list of schools, I would also consider such a questions (essays) that they are going to ask you. If given the choice, you really want to be in applying to schools that ask you about personal circumstances, personal challenges, or your personal background – and how it has affected you as a person. While Stanford is not in your range, they ask a question "what matters most to you and why?" This would have been an excellent question for you to answer because you would be able to explain a lot of the personal circumstances, and how it has affected you as a person. You would be able to build a story about resilience, and certainly not about failure or embarrassment.
All in all, you are being realistic about your school range (school choices). If you can get your GMAT up over 700, I would say that these schools are definitely achievable with the right messaging/essays. You could probably add a few other schools like Cornell and possibly McCombs.
If you want to talk about this over the phone, please let me know. I have a lot of experience personally working with clients who have serious defects in their profile. I believe that I can help you and at the very least let us chat for an hour. Email me at MBA@amerasiaconsulting.com
and reference this conversation.
I would like an evaluation of my profile (with a story so if this post needs to moved to another thread, I apologize in advance..), looking to get a brutally honest assessment in regards to go for a full-time MBA or not. I'm looking to get into Tech consulting but I would like to ability to have multiple options available as I'll focus my coursework on Finance/Tech/Strategy if possible.
Age: 29 at Matriculation,
GMAT: 680 (45 Q, 38 V)
Education: (biggest issue) 2.9 GPA from an Online College (think University of Phoenix..the harvard of online colleges..
Extracurricular (Not related to undergrad institution):
Religious Organization volunteer. Done a wide variety of volunteer work at this organization for decades (from teaching to generating awareness etc. etc..
Project Management Institute member
2 Years as an IT consultant at a large Insurance Firm.
2 Years + at a big bank supporting financial markets.
Certification: PMP (Pretty recognized certification in IT) along with a certification of Project management as a professional development course from a university to complete the education hours for PMP exam. (Got a 4.0 GPA..
I would hope this would help offset atleast 1% of my undergrad gpa..lol )
I'll just be brief about it, I was an undergrad student at a top 100 state school where during my junior year i ran into family issues and alcohol problems. I was a 3.0 student who went on a tailspin that led to me getting kicked out after flunking 3-4 consecutive semesters. I completed my undergrad just so I can show it is done at an online college with a 2.9 gpa b/c I still didn't care at that time since I felt I would never be able to recover from my previous mistakes. I was headed down a dead end, till I was given a break and started working as a junior IT consultant on a project at a big firm. Since then, I have made in-roads in the IT industry and I work as a high level consultant in a big bank supporting financial markets. I have received great reviews from C-level executives in regards to the work that I have done and feel like I would be capable of doing great things moving forward.
The praise that I have received has also made me realize that I should make things right with my academic life. I feel ashamed about my undergraduate degree and I try to change the subject when it comes up. Anyways, I have taken the GMAT and gained a respectable score (IMO atleast) of 680.
I want to know if it is worth applying to the following schools in the top 25 list:
1. Carnegie Mellon
I have researched these schools based on their class profiles and they seem to be a little more willing to accept students with lower gpa/GMAT scores. Additionally, UNC/Georgetown have high acceptance rates compared to other programs.
Please let me know if you have any other questions about my profile and I'll respond to them.
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