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Personal: 27, Male, Canadian, to apply at 28 (Fall 2012)
1) Full-time work experience State Street Global Advisors (current job) Performance Analyst – 2 years, Business Analysis Group (investment management division)
State Street Investment Manager Representative - 1.25 years, Offshore Alternative Investments groups, Custody (operations)
Royal Bank of Canada (largest bank in Canada) Analyst - 1 year contract in operations division
2) GMAT Score • 730 –only attempt
3) College info: • University of Toronto, Canada • Bachelor of Commerce, Major in Finance • 2.1 GPA – cookie cutter story: parents divorced, moved out with my brother midway through freshman year, divorce devastated myself and my brother more than most kids and is the reason for my poor results throughout undergrad – biggest concern is that I don’t know if this legit enough in the eyes of adcomms.
4) Extra-curriculars • Centre for Social Innovation – volunteer – focused on philanthropic 'angel' contributions for enterprising non-profits to equity investments in social purpose businesses – 2 years • State Street Philanthropic Foundation – volunteer – focused on increasing opportunities and access to services for those in need by funding charitable organizations – 2 years • Various other charity volunteer work – 3 years • Young Canadians in Finance – organizer/volunteer - networking group (400 members) – 3 years
5) Certifications • All 3 CFA exams complete, pending work experience • Canadian Securities Course (CSC) - Canadian series 7 equivalent • Conduct and Practices Handbook (CPH)
6) Target Programs Looking for best program I can get into in the US, otherwise best international school so that I can stay in Canada or go to Europe Most preferred: Booth, Columbia, Kellogg Preferred: Stern, Haas, Darden, Ross, London Business School Least Preferred: Queen’s (Canada), Schulich (Canada), Ivey (Canada)
7) Your post-MBA goal PE/VC, IBanking in Energy/Mining - on the East/North East Coast in the US, or Chicago area.
Well, thankfully: 1. The rest of your profile plus your GMAT is great 2. You have a VERY good story 3. Your proposed school list is on the dot. It has your dreams schools, plus you are covering all eventualities, which IMHO is the best strategy you can make.
But of course you gotta address the low GPA thing in an optional essay. My advice: Don't shoot for the melodrama. Tell the story truthfully and simply, being brave enough to tell the truth of what you were going through. I think it's the most effective way to reach the reader on the other side.