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Profile evaluation/suggestions

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Intern
Intern
Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 18
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 2

Profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2009, 09:56
Long time lurker (original member from 2006ish but changed names because my original name was a little too obvious to who I was), looking for some assistance in developing an application strategy.

Brief overview: From a small rural southern town, went to large public university (enrollment approx 5-6 times population of town I grew up in :-D ). Graduated in political science and economics spring 2006, and have worked for banks since graduating, supporting derivatives trading. I want to get an MBA to make the move into research. Short term goal would be to work in fixed income research for a sell side firm (I believe there will be a reduction in reliance on the ratings agencies for fixed income products). Long term goal would be either to move into in house investment strategy or portfolio management, or maybe moving to a buy side firm for portfolio management.

Program: Full-time MBA
Area of interest: Finance – Investment Management/Research
GMAT: 710 (92%ile), 48q 40v, AWA : 5.5
GPA: ~3.0 overall (+/- .05, took courses at community colleges that would be factored)
-I made A-A+ in precalc, calc, business statistics, intro to finite math, and some econ courses…taking this into account with my 48Q I believe my low GPA is alittle different than some (my lower grades are in non-quant courses
Major: Doubled in Political Science and Economics (relatively well-known state school)

Work experience:
- Either 4 (c/o 2012) or 5 (c/o 2013) years at matriculation.
- Current – greater than 2 years experience, well known commercial bank that had grown into investment banking, role was analyst in middle office, still operational, but more risk/p&l type work. Supported a structured credit trading desk, on trading floor with daily interaction with traders. Also, no one directly reported to me, but I should be able to pull some leadership type story out of project leadership type work, and should be able to make it sound decent.
- First job – 7 months, well known investment bank, operations analyst in trade support for credit and interest rate derivatives (off site), it was a new group and the job was a little too mind numbing, I should be able to make it sound better in essays and make it sound like a stepping stone.
- Actively searching for next role, targeting either a supervisory role in operations or maybe a move to a more front office role.
- I plan to get a solid recommendation from a supervisor at current job.

Nationality: US (Caucasian)
Age: 25 (current)
Gender: Male (married)
Extra-curricular/community:
- In college, my EC activities were pretty minor, worked some and maybe a member of a few clubs, no leadership.
- While at the first company, I participated in Habitat, I also played on the company softball team.
- While at my current company, continue with Habitat (different city). Soon, I hope to gain either leadership in a habitat role. I have also been in discussion with an established group’s national director to possibly get a chapter started in my city that helps homeless children, if this works out it could be very good for essays.
-Habitat in the city I live in also runs a work trip to El Salvadore for a few weeks that I am hoping to be a part of this summer to add alittle international experience.
- Also, member of alumni association and homeowners association; may try to get more active in these
- If I apply this fall, I will get recommendation from an EC
- Taking CFA1 in Dec.

Schools: targeting Michigan, Duke, Cornell, UVA but have Columbia and Dartmouth as a dream

I believe I can come up with a good story for my career moves and my motivation for an MBA. Also, hoping to use my rural upbringing (poor area, not many people going to school, few southerners at big MBA programs etc.) to at least capture a little diversity points.

I have thought of executing a reapplication strategy, and wanted your opinion. I was thinking of applying to only Dartmouth EA, Columbia ED, and Duke in fall of 2009 (c/o 2012) with low/no expectations. I think I should be able to significantly increase my profile over the next year (possible new role/job with more responsibility and leadership, more EC involvement/stories, CFA1 maybe 2) and then in fall of 2010 (c/o 2013) apply to Dartmouth EA, Columbia ED (djhouse81 re-applicant admit is too inspiring), Duke, and two other schools from my target list. All three of the re-application schools seem to be extremely favorable to re-applicants (Columbia accepts 25% of re-applicants, Dartmouth is the same or more, and Duke seems to have yield issues) and also make it easy for re-applicants (only one new recommender, etc.).

1. As I mentioned, I feel my chances at Tuck and Columbia are very low for this fall. I am planning to apply so that I can: get application “practice” and also show those 3 programs that I am fully committed to them. Is this a bad idea (i.e. is reapplication ever looked upon negatively)? Should I just wait and apply next fall for class of 2013?

2. If I do the reapplication strategy, what are my chances at the schools that I noted for entrance fall 2011 (Columbia ED, Tuck EA, Duke after reapplication and Cornell, Michigan, Darden)?

Any help would be appreciated.
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MBA Admissions Consulting
Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2404
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Followers: 69

Kudos [?]: 519 [0], given: 0

Re: Profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2009, 12:00
A couple of things.

First, I think you're underestimating your candidacy for the schools you mentioned. You're not a shoe-in by any means, but you should be competitive - there's definitely guys similar to you at these schools (as there are similar guys like you who got dinged). So your chances aren't exactly slim -- you're in the running; it's just that it could go either way.

Secondly, your reapplication strategy is fine. Reapplicants make up a pretty sizeable chunk of the applicant pool at any school, so it will neither hurt you nor help you to be a reapplicant (it's debatable whether it's "neutral" or "positive" but in any case it's not going to be a negative so long as you're not applying R3 and then immediately R1 a few months later). If you're ready to get in the ring this year, by all means go for it.

Lastly, I trust that you have your own reasons for the target list of schools after having done some research and figuring out what is best for you personally -- but from an outsider's view, if you're interested in a finance career, why aren't you applying to the usual suspects: Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Cornell and Yale (instead of Duke, Darden, Tuck, Michigan). Wharton will be a stretch but if you treat it as such it may be worth at least giving it a shot. Columbia, Chicago you should be in the running. NYU, Cornell and Yale you should have a reasonable shot of getting into with a strong application.
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Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com
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Intern
Intern
Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 18
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 2

Re: Profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2009, 07:24
Thanks for the reply, definitely more encouraging than I expected. I’m hoping that the applications the first year (if I need to reapply) can be beneficial for the practice (interview and essays) and also in showing commitment to my two reaches. I picked them specifically due to the perception of "re-applicant friendly"...

To tell you the truth I picked the schools because I thought I would have the best chances of getting in (obviously this isn’t the case for Columbia and Tuck, see above). The way I was thinking is that if I get into a Duke level school, then RD2 I would throw out a Chicago and NYU application. The acceptance rate at NYU kind of scared me off of lumping them into Duke/Cornell (also, their application/notification dates are a little different).

I have been thinking of possibly taking a few accounting courses to strengthen my application (GPA, never taken accounting, makes sense for goal, help with CFA, also may be something else for a reapplication essay if necessary), I wanted your view on where to take them. Do you believe taking them at UC Berkeley online would be worse than taking them in classroom at community college or local university? Online would make it easier to fit in my schedule.
MBA Admissions Consulting
Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2404
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Followers: 69

Kudos [?]: 519 [0], given: 0

Re: Profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2009, 09:49
If the online classes best fit your schedule, then go for it -- adcoms really don't care about whether it's online or not. As long as it's from an accredited university or college. That's it. And given your GPA it would help to take one or two of them, but more importantly as you said the accounting classes will definitely help you with your career goals (investment management, helping you with the CFA exams).
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Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com
Follow me on Facebook

Re: Profile evaluation/suggestions   [#permalink] 11 Mar 2009, 09:49
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