Hello! Could you please evaluate my profile? I'm trying to decide which schools to send my GMAT scores on test day and which programs I should be striving for/concentrating on when I start the application process in November for the Fall of 2008. Thanks!
I attended college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and graduated in May of 2005. I received two degrees in four years' time, which were a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. My overall GPA was a 3.8, and the finance degree/major GPA was 3.88. I graduated magna cum laude in both degree programs, and received an award for "Most Outstanding Student in Sociology" for the 2005 graduating class. I was able to attend SMU because of a full basketball scholarship, and lettered for four years. My senior year I was selected as team co-captain, and also earned the honor of being named a member of "ESPN The Magazine's First Team Men's Basketball Academic All-American" team (five best student athletes in division 1 men's basketball). In addition, I was also named the SMU team's most valuable player my senior season by the coaches.
During college, my ultimate goal was to earn a living playing basketball either domestically (NBA) or overseas. Therefore, I really didn't place much importance on preparing for a non-basketball career through either internships or even industry research to see what fields interested me. However, it seems I had over-estimated my value in relation to basketball as the offers I received weren't really high enough to get me to go live overseas in a foreign country for 8 months on end. So after about five months of waiting to see if the right offer would come around, I finally decided that the years it would take to eventually reach a substantial salary in basketball would not be enough to compensate me for the years of lost experience in the business world had I decided to pursue basketball (plus, I realized that my mind was my biggest asset and would always be there, while my body would start to depreciate pretty fast!). While in the process of making this decision, I served as a volunteer assistant basketball coach at my old high school in Oklahoma City. So, rather than go out and look for a job right away, I went ahead and finished the season with the team, while also taking the time to research different industries. Somehow, I ended up reading a book on Warren Buffett, after which I became enamored with the investment industry and read everything else I could on him and other successful money managers. After reading numerous books on the subject, I made the decision that ultimately that is what field I wanted to get into.
After talking with a couple of SMU alumni, it became apparent that one of the best ways to crack into the business world and learn the most about how businesses operate is through a credit analyst program at a commercial bank. Therefore, I accepted a job at Frost Bank (a regional bank with over $13 billion in assets) as a credit analyst. The program usually takes two and a half years to move up to an actual loan officer position, but I made the transition in fourteen months when I was double-promoted to assistant vice president in June of 2007, the fastest ever for anyone in the credit training program in the Dallas market. I started working at Frost Bank in May of 2006, and plan to work until July of 2008 before going to graduate school (that was a fun conversation in which I told my bosses I would be leaving, but they were supportive). Therefore, I will have two years of work experience upon entering graduate school, but only a year and a half upon applying to schools.
As far as extracurricular activities, there was the volunteer assistant coaching position at my old high school from September 2005 to March 2006. In addition, during the 2006-07 basketball season, I wrote basketball-related articles for Ponyfans.com, which is a fan-originated web site for the SMU mustangs. Also, in the fall of 2006, I traveled to Mexico on the weekends intermittently for two and a half months to play basketball for a professional team in the league down there (however, I was paid to do this so it might not be considered extracurricular in the traditional sense). Other than that, there really aren't any true extracurricular leadership positions that I have served in, which I know the admissions people like to see.
I am scheduled to take the GMAT on the 27th of October, and judging by my most recent practice scores (760 GMAT Prep 2, 740 MGMAT 5) I should score above a 720. Also probably in my favor is the fact that I have dual citizenship with both the United States and Mexico (as a condition of playing in the professional league down there, I had to get a Mexican passport). My father is half-Mexican and half-Native American; thus I am also listed on the Indian rolls as a member of the Creek tribe.
When I started working back in May of 2005, my plan was to work for two years at Frost Bank, then apply to a local school like SMU or University of Texas for the MBA program. Upon receiving my MBA, the goal is to transition into an investment management role (equities) either with some of the traditional employers (investment banks, mutual funds, etc.) or not so traditional employers (insurance companies, pension plans, etc.). To this aim, I have passed the Level I exam of the Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) program and will take the Level II exam this summer prior to enrolling in an MBA program. Hopefully once I finally get into an actual equity portfolio manager role and build up a successful track record, I will create my own investment partnership open to family, friends, and various rich people.
Taking the preceding information into account, can you please recommend which programs I should apply to, with a particular focus on which have the best finance departments? Also, do any come to mind with a student-run investment fund similar to that of the University of Texas MBA program? How about my chances at some of the elite programs like Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton? I know that two of those three are mainly "general management" programs, but it seems that if you are accepted you have to go. As an additional point, I would also eventually like to get a CPA license (and I don't have enough accounting hours to take the exams), so do any programs come to mind that would allow you the flexibility to choose two particular concentrations like investment management and accounting? Thank you so much for your reply, and I apologize for the length of this post.
P.S. Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma Age: 25