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Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink]
08 Aug 2013, 18:22
Could you please evaluate my profile for top 10 schools?
Age: 29 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: Haven't Taken 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, Wharton, Columbia, Tuck, Sloan, and Booth.
Post MBA Goal: Become a portfolio manager at mutual fund company or analyst at a leading hedge fund.
What GMAT score range do I need to be in to even be considered at any of these schools? I know each of these schools are very difficult to get in to especially with my poor undergrad. Harvard and Wharton are probably extreme reaches for me and I am more realistically hoping for Columbia or Tuck but understand those my also be out of the question.
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, a strong 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.
Basically I want to find out if it is possible to get in to one of my targets with my undergrad, I want to weigh my options before putting the time in to getting a GMAT over 700.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
My gut instinct is that you would need way above a 700 to be competitive at these schools. Your target list is basically made up of only the top business schools in the world, with 4 of the 6 in the ivy league. As you suspect, Ivy league is not going to like that you didn't graduate from a top 25 college ( I believe VT is more like top 100), and even though it was a long time ago, your GPA will be an issue. Unfortunately you can't change your UG institution nor your GPA, but you have definitely gone to some trouble to help combat your weakness by getting the CFA, which will be impressive to adcoms. Boston College is coming a lot closer, but as a caucasian male, you bring very little to the table by way of diversity compared to most applicants (the bulk of which are other caucasian males). These top schools will question your late start, since most analysts bounce out for b-school at age 25 after 2-3 years of WE. Granted you went to grad school (was this full time Master's program or part time?) If part time, it might be questioned why you have been at it so long and not yet risen to associate level especially post Master's degree. So I hate to sound discouraging, but i'd say if you posted a 700 GMAT, you would have some challenges standing out at these schools. You might put a couple of top 15 schools in the mix that are not ivy just in case. Coming from a massive feeder industry like banking and finance, you are swimming in a very deep and wide pool of applicants, many of whom will simply have a stronger profile. GMAT is not the end-all, but it's very important, especially from an older, non-diversity candidate with no international experience. Hope I am not keeping it too real.
Re: Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink]
30 Aug 2013, 07:27
I really appreciate your detailed response.
Late Start- You are right on, typically analysts go to B-School after about 3 years, I wasn't able to get an analyst position right out of undergrad, I started at the bottom I was answering phones as a retail trader for my company, primarily a customer service role. I was able to quickly move to the international trading team where the best 6 traders in the department were. I started the CFA program and MSF at BC (part time) around this time and I was able to get a promotion to a research support role. From there I built contacts with portfolio managers and landed the analyst role. I reached out to a managing director of research when I first started in the customer service role telling him I wanted to be an analyst and his response was basically "good luck, we hire 6-7 analysts a year from over 1000 applicants typically from top undergrads, our customer service center isn't a feeder for us." I am hoping I can tell a compelling story about career progression in a competitive industry at one of the top names.
Why haven’t I risen to an associate level yet?- Analysts are promoted to an associate level after 3-4 years at my firm, I only have been in the role for 2 years, by the time I will be eligible for associate promotion is when I would like to start matriculating. To go from associate to portfolio manager (my ultimate goal) my company requires an MBA. The biggest drivers for me getting my MSF were an opportunity to create an alternate transcript and my company paid for it, so worst case scenario it was a fall back if I couldn’t get in to research.
Expanding school list- Unfortunately my company recruits from only Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Sloan, and Tuck. Majority of the portfolio managers are HBS, Wharton, and Chicago graduates. I know I am not going to be the ideal candidate for any of these schools; H/W/MIT are probably even DOA but I am thinking I at least have a shot at Booth, CBS, and Tuck if everything else is great (GMAT, Essays, Recommendations, and Interviews). I have read Booth may be one of the more forgiving top schools on undergrad grades, do you have any experience with that?
Don’t worry about discouraging me or keeping it too real. I am looking for your expert opinion which you’ve given and I greatly appreciate it. Do you think my answers to your concerns of being too late and why I am not an associate yet, discussed in my essays/interviews(if granted) would relieve adcoms concerns in those 2 areas? Not that I am close to writing essays yet just concentrating on the GMAT but I was banking on the career story of going from customer service to an analyst would be a powerful one.
Let me know your thoughts to this follow up when you get a chance.
The key to your successful navigation of this will be sharing your story in a way that demonstrates tenacity and emphasizes how you were selected against all odds to get on track despite the unconventional time frame. Also speak to how your extra time with the firm, particularly having started where you did gave you a unique perspective on the industry and in particular your firm which will be valuable to your classmates and will distinguish you from one of those typical 3-year types. Also, I realize your firm has target recruitment schools but I know there are people working in your firm with an MBA who did not go to those schools. With the relationships you have built over your extra years there, i bet you could leave a crack in the door to return with a top tier MBA degree from just about any school. If not, I would be very surprised and would question the depth of relationships you have built while there. Just like they told you "good luck" when you tried to land an analyst position, don't believe them if they say the same thing about trying to get back in with a different school. I had a colleague at Goldman SAchs who got his MBA from UT Knoxville---way off the GS recruitment schedule but he made it happen nonetheless. You can too if you have to do so.
Re: Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink]
02 Sep 2013, 20:35
profile evaluation - gmat 640
Hi , i took the gmat 3 weeks ago and got 640 ( q 47, v 31 ) - 73 percentile. this was my 3rd attempt . i got 520 in 1st attempt ,and 620 in the 2nd. i have a total work exp of 12+ years - all in the finance industry. GPA 3.0, Indian Origin
Though my dream schools are MIT, NYU, and LBS. but with this low score i'm not sure which univ will suit me.
Have you considered Executive MBA route at these schools? With that much work expereince, you would likely get more out of the EMBA and it's more forgiving on the admit requirements. They are much more concerned with your career achievements vs. your GMAT score for example. Your GMAT score will likely be an issue at your target schools as you indicate.