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Profile Evaluation Low GPA for Top 10 Schools? [#permalink]
09 Aug 2013, 06:56
29 Year old US born Male.
Work Experience: Current- Equity Analyst- research the consumer staples sector for a large buy side investment management firm think (Fidelity, Wellington, T Rowe, American Funds) for the past two years. Previously was in a research support role supporting portfolio managers for non-stock research and before that traded international equities and currencies.
GMAT: 720 42Q/45V
College: University of Vermont- 2.7 GPA Business Admin/Finance, had 3 really bad semesters 1 my uncle died, and the other 2 my mom spent a lot of time in ICU with an undiagnosed kidney ailment, I was young and incapable of dealing with my personal issues and school at the same time, I just didn’t go to class, without the my other 5 semesters my GPA averages over 3.3. I knew my low GPA and non-target school would hurt me so I enrolled at Boston College for their MSF program, graduated last year with a 3.75 GPA.
Extra-Curricular: Treasurer for my fraternity, managed a 200k budget. 100 hours of community service in college. I plan to get involved with a local charity to volunteer now that I have a lot of free time back in my life; I just finished the CFA program.
Targets: Harvard, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Stanford, Chicago, and Northwestern. Primarily Columbia and Dartmouth; I feel I am a real longshot for the other 6, may even be a longshot for all 8.
Timeframe: R1&R2 2014-2015
Post MBA Goal: Become a portfolio manager at Mutual Fund Company or analyst at a leading hedge fund.
Is there anything else you would recommend I do between now and applying to try to overcome my poor undergrad? I believe I will have strong recommendations; I will be able to select alumni from each school to write them for me. I am hoping my MSF GPA, GMAT, and passing the 3 CFA exams 3/3 consecutively can overshadow my 2.7 that I got when I was a lot younger and a much different person. Be completely honest; do I have any chance at getting in to just one of these 8? My company only recruits from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Wharton.
Thank you very much for you time and consideration.
Hey there galan, Thanks for dropping a line. It's a wee bit hard to say because I need more detail on your work experience especially, but I think (as you have surmised) that you may be overreaching a wee bit. Schools like HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan take maybe a handful of applicants with a GPA below 3, and usually if candidates have a low GPA, there is something in their profile to make up for it. You have some good reasons for your low GPA, but these top schools just have too many "perfect" applicants to choose from. And with your GPA plus non-target school, plus competitive industry (and your work is back-office too) these schools will be tough.
So from schools like H/W/S, Sloan, Chicago too, I'd choose only ONE that I really really wanted to go to, and then add more schools that are a bit more realistic to your list - so say you would apply to Columbia, Dartmouth, Kellogg, and Booth... then I'd still suggest you add a few more in the Top 30 but outside the Top 10... NYU and Johnson would be the first to come to mind, maybe Darden too.
Getting your THREE levels of CFA will likely help a bit (although it may take you more than a year to do that!). Many many people have the 1st level, but as you progress it becomes more of a unique factor.
The main thing you can do between now and application time to boost your profile is to do amazingly well at work - get more responsibilities, seek leadership (if possible), get amazing performance reports, quick promotions... these are things that will stick out the most.
Re: Profile Evaluation Low GPA for Top 10 Schools? [#permalink]
13 Aug 2013, 07:48
Thank you very much for the response. Let me clarify a couple things I don't know if these will make a difference. I have already passed all 3 levels of the CFA and my current work experience is considered front office; I am rating companies, meeting with CEOs, visiting companies, attending industry conferences, I follow 15 companies for my firm. I progressed from back to middle to front office, I am hoping that progression is attractive for an applicant.
I like your idea of picking one of the top schools to focus on then adding Tuck, Columbia, and a few others. I know that no school is going to be easy to get in to with my undergrad but I was just looking for confirmation it is possible, I would probably apply to HBS, Wharton, Columbia, and Tuck as my 4 top choices and look for a few others outside the top 10.
Galan, Okay great that you already have the three levels of the CFA (that will save you a lot of time! ).
If you are doing front-office stuff (sorry I misunderstood) then it does change the game a bit. You have one less disadvantage and one more advantage, and you might be able to 'make up' for your weaknesses with stellar work experience. HBS will STILL be very tough but now your profile does become more interesting.
So of course about your family tragedies, you can write about this in an essay - but briefly and to the point, balancing it out with POSITIVE proofs of your academic and intellectual capacities - and I think it will help in the schools' consideration of your application.
Good luck with your applications, and if you have anything else, just drop a line. _________________
Check out this awesome article about Anderson on Poets Quants, http://poetsandquants.com/2015/01/02/uclas-anderson-school-morphs-into-a-friendly-tech-hub/ . Anderson is a great place! Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I...