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Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA)

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Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2013, 17:24
29 Year old American 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.

Certifications: CFA

Targets: Harvard, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Stanford, Chicago, and Northwestern. Primarily Columbia and Dartmouth; I feel I am a 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 brutally honest, can I get in to a top 7 school + Dartmouth?

Thank you very much for you time and consideration.
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Re: Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2013, 11:54
Hey galan - Welcome to GMAT Club, and thanks for asking for our input on your profile. By asking EssaySnark, you certainly came to the right place for "honest" though we really do try not to be "brutal"! (Some may argue that...!) But we have some mixed reviews for you.

First off: You need to retake the GMAT. That quant score is just not up to snuff - particularly not due to your work in finance. The schools will be expecting more, and the quant is very very low. Your overall GMAT is impressive but you got there fully from a strong verbal. Not the way to go, and not the way to help them be comfortable with your low grades from undergrad.

Next: Why are you pushing out till next year? You're already older than average for HBS - not that we're yet convinced that you're going to make it into a place like that (sorry to be so direct) - they expect a lot and we just don't know one way or another if you're 'bringing it' to the extent that such a school requires. It's hard for anyone to get into that place and you have some pretty big blemishes right now.

That being said, it's easier to go into investment management than some other highly competitive careers, and you have a nice work history already. You could be loosely "qualified" for any Top 10 school (not sure why you're carving Dartmouth out of the "top 7" - they hit #2 on The Economist's list in 2012 - it's definitely an elite program). All the schools look at the whole package and while your college grades are definitely low it sounds like you had a decent cause for all of that. They'll want to hear about what was going on but they're willing to be sympathetic when it's a significant set of issues like you were dealing with. And you did well at BC, which counts too.

You'll need to identify strong stories of leadership and achievement and put everything in the context of your specific goals - you have the type of profile for whom bschool makes sense but you also need to be looking at this entire strategy. We are VERY concerned about that GMAT score. Sorry to break the news to you. That could in fact be a showstopper issue - it's happened before. If you're pushing all this out for a year then you DEFINITELY need to retake, and we'd actually encourage you to consider accelerating your plans, retaking the GMAT in the next few months and trying for Round 2 applications this year. It gets harder to get in, the older you get, and especially that's true at certain programs.

But to be fair, we're not familiar with the details of your candidacy and there's obviously plenty we don't know! If you want to fill us in on the original idea for applying next year we'd be curious to hear it, and we can dialogue about anything you have questions on. Bottom line: Don't lose hope, there's a chance for you! We've got lots of posts on the EssaySnark blahg about applying with a low GPA; they probably don't apply to you too much since you have the BC degree under your belt but you may want to check them out (here's one to start with).

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Re: Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2013, 12:44
EssaySnark,

Thank you very much for the response.

GMAT: I will retake the GMAT, I should be able to boost my Quant, a 48Q/45V should get me around 760.

Why wait: I have another ~ 2 years left in the program with my company that I would like to finish and I have spent the last 3 years devoting all of my free time to the CFA program and getting my MSF, I would like to find a charity/non-profit that I can volunteer with and try to get a leadership story from there because I am not very strong there currently, I havent done much in that area since my undergrad.

Dartmouth is one of my top choices I was just going off of the sentiment I got from reading these forums that there are the hard and fast top 7 then there are your Tuck, Fuqua, Haas etc... My wish list is 1. HBS 2. Wharton 3. Columbia 4. Tuck 5. Sloan and 6. Booth

I am going to look over the blog when I get home tonight. You gave me what I was looking for that it is possible for me to get in to 1 of these schools with my poor undergrad; I will focus on my quant and developing strong stories of achievement and leadership. I know it is going be hard with elite schools but that is expected, I am just hoping to go 1 for 6 in applications.


Thanks,
Galan
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Re: Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA) [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2013, 14:36
Hey Galan - great responses, love seeing it. Your target list looks good but those are all supercompetitive schools; not trying to discourage you, just trying to be real. And just for the record, Haas has a lower acceptance rate than Wharton (you didn't say you want to go there but you lumped Haas into a separate category - understood that you're reflecting common sentiment, but sentiment is often off! :-) ).

About the waiting thing - while we certainly respect a desire to fulfill a commitment made to your employer, don't get too hung up on extracurricular/volunteer stuff. It can certainly make a difference on the margins and if you're going to devote a year+ to getting involved in something worthwhile, then maybe it'll add to the profile. But schools don't weigh the extracurriculars as much as is commonly believed. It is a nice-to-have, not a critical element. It wouldn't be worth delaying a year; it's not a gap that's so severe that it would need to be filled.

The obligation to your employer is different. But lack of volunteering? Nah.

That being said, it's always good to give back some - all of us could be doing more of that, so we're not about to talk you out of it!! Find a cause you believe in and dive in!

EssaySnark
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Re: Profile Evaluation (Trying to overcome low GPA)   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2013, 14:36
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