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Profile Evaluation, Low GPA Considering getting BS

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Profile Evaluation, Low GPA Considering getting BS [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 07:34
Please help! I have a low GPA but I am about 4-5 years into my career and I really would like an opportunity to take the next step by obtaining an MBA program from a top university. I am unsure how my Low GPA impacts even my chances before I start my application process or if I should consider going back to undergraduate studies before I even consider applying to business school. I am currently looking into online programs at different universities for possibly a post bacc degree (BS in computer science/engineering from a brick & mortar school with online programs i.e. Oregon State Uni/University of Illinois) as well as masters opportunities. Unfortunately, the Universities close to my location (Baton Rouge) do not offer part-time/night/weekend masters or bachelors options, so online might be the only feasible opportunity. However, I might consider looking at different options if business schools do not look at online degrees with much respect.

Undergraduate Degree:
BA Economics (Specialized in Financial Economics) - US News Top 30 University
GPA 2.4 (No real story behind it, first time away from home and had a hard time adjusting)

GMAT:
On my practice exams I have been getting between the 720-780 range, I hope to take the exam in the following month and apply for the spring semester

Professional:
- 2 Years Shipping company, promoted to Overseas Marketing Manager as well as headed as Commercial Manager for the company's high risk, 5 million - 100 million dollar value projects.
- 1 Year Recruited/Headhunted by a Vice President at Samsung, key role in their first project in the United States
- Current (Several Months at this point) Recruited/Headhunted by Jacobs Engineering to be the project contract lead on a major Exxon Mobil project

Extracurricular
- President of my Fraternity for 1 year and executive board for 3 years
- Executive board for a Cultural Organization
- Board member for the Greek Counsel
- Volunteered for several English Camps in South Korea for underprivileged elementary school students.
- Currently involved in two start-up companies, one as an adviser and other as the co-founder/coo


Desired MBA:

Most Desired: HBS, Columbia, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, Booth
Desired: Duke, Stern, Haas, CMU, UCLA,
Schools I would be willing to go to: Indiana, UT-Austin, Rice, Marshall, LSU, Michigan

MBA Reasons:

While I have experience in oil & gas/engineering, I do have a goal of getting into consulting, specifically the top companies (Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, etc) or moving into business development for a major Oil and Gas company (Chevron, Shell, etc). My final goal is to leverage my early experience in market entry, international business and cross-cultural business to be a country manager/country executive for a major American company in a Korean office or vice versa. Academically I would also like to tie in a dual masters degree (Engineering) to solidify my technical qualifications and add to my professional credibility assuming that I do not get an additional degree prior to b-school.

What do you think my chances are, and more importantly what can I do to improve my chances???
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Re: Profile Evaluation, Low GPA Considering getting BS [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 16:55
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Hello there,

Take a deep breath -- it's going to be fine! Your profile is pretty strong in my opinion, and I think with a little work, you could overcome your low GMAT score. Still want to pick a breadth of schools to apply to to be safe, but you've got a shot.

Firstly, your professional experience is pretty interesting and it seems like you'll have a lot of leadership and team stories to share. Your leadership also stands out in your entrepreneurial experience and you will have excellent stories to tell from that, too! Off to a strong start!

Academically, your GPA is definitely low, as you've already pointed out. I don't think you need to go back to undergrad, but I do think it would help to enroll in a couple of b-school type courses (stats, econ, accounting, finance) and attempt to get A grades in those courses (1-2 courses should suffice). Ideally you could take these at an accredited university (in person is better than online if possible!). Also be sure to have your recommenders highlight your analytic capability. Finally, address your GPA in an optional statement - take responsibility for the fact that you lacked the maturity to take your studies seriously in college and that you had a hard time adjusting, etc. If there's an upward trend in your GPA, point that out. And point to your GMAT scores and grades in the more recent courses as proof points that you've matured and that you are academically capable.

Extracurricular - between the start-up experience and volunteer experience, plus your activities from college, seems like you are a pretty active and engaged individual. If you have any hobbies that you are passionate or especially accomplished in, you should highlight those too to add some personality to the profile.

All in all, I think if you achieve that GMAT score between 720-780 and take some supplementary courses, the foundations for a strong profile will be there. Then it's just a matter of strong execution - choosing the right stories, conveying all the right things, showing breadth and depth of who you are, etc.

Your school list is well thought out and I would choose a couple in each tier that you've come up with to apply to.

Good luck!!
Mili


Mili Mittal
Senior Consultant
http://www.mbamission.com

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