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Profile evalutation - LSE etc...

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Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 17:01
Hi,

I am currently in the midst of my MSc application and in desperate need for some guidance/information. I am applying to LSE, SSE (Stockholm School of Economics), possibly Oxbridge (depends on my GMAT, I need to retake TOEFL to increase the score by 2 points). Increasing the TOEFL score will be no problem if it becomes necessary.

I am from Norway, where I also study at the moment. The school I attend, although not very well recognized internationally, is one of the best in Norway in terms of Bachelor degrees in Economics.

0 Work exp, 21 years, will graduate in May 11. (lol) => MSc

We don't operate with the distinction/honor system in Norway (e.g. Top 5 % of class and so on), but I am fairly confident I am in the top 5 % of my class, if not the best student in it. Throughout my coursework, I have earned 11 A's and one D (in strategic management, which my school, as the only one in the world, includes as a first year undergrad course). Although I probably could get an A, or at least a B, in that course, I didn't bother. Anyway, I believe it is pretty tough to get straight A's in Norway (4 out of 265 got an A in marketing to take an example), so I am doing pretty good relatively speaking. Subsequently, I am getting pretty good references from professors.

However, I studied abroad in Australia last semester. In Australia, me and my mates didn't really do much school and this, obviously, affected my/our grades. I ended up with about 71 % average (100 % being the max score). The schoolwork in Australia was easier, but my effort was absent. This didn't really bother me, because my school only lists these grades as either approved or failed on my diploma.

The problem arises when I have to show these grades to LSE, which no doubt will request them. I am worried that my laziness in Australia will "destroy" my application, since these grades (along with my little "D") will drag my GPA down a lot. I have heard people talk about how you can explain this in your essays by telling stories about how you enjoyed life and traveled etc, but I don't know if I am able/allowed to do so in the MSc essay.

GMAT-wise, I am aiming for a 750+, which may be a stretch at the moment.. My current level is around 710-720 judging by the MGMAT CATs, but I hope I can improve this a bit.

If you are still reading this, thank you for your inhuman patience. Now for the questions.

- What score do you think I should be aiming for to give myself a chance to get in?
- If I score in the low 700's, what do you think my chances of acceptance are?
- Are my grades too poor?
- I still have one year worth of coursework to be done. How will this affect my application? I am aiming to Ace most of my courses.
- How on earth is the essay supposed be written? This is a new concept to me, and I haven't seen a concrete question in the application form nor on the website.


This post turned out to be far longer than I expected. I just want to say that this site has been a tremendous help during GMAT preparations, and that some of the people on this forum are gifts from God to GMAT-takers. I know my score will be 50-100 points better than it would be if I hadn't come across this forum.

If anybody bothers to answer, I will be utterly grateful.

Cheers
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 10:50
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your situation is a bit different than the typical MBA applicant, in that you are indeed headed in the pure academia realm, where they will tend to scrutinize grades a bit more. I think the "Austrailian slip" will be easy to explain, since the courses were pass fail, and your "getting by" with minimal passing grades simply speaks to your wise budeting of time to achieve the desired result, while making time for all that being in Austrailia offers. if you come up with some interesting takeaways from your time there to demonstrate this thinking you should be fine. As for the "D" grade, everyone has one faux pas in their record, so don't fret. sounds like it was a "weed-out" course for freshmen anyway, and you were snared in the trap with everyone else. What concerns me is your comment about the essay requirement. Are you saying they do not have specific essay questions, and are merely requiring you to write a personal statement of some sort for admission? This would not be uncommon, just trying to get clear on the requirements. If it's a personal statement essay, you would need to work in a brief walk through your history, background and inspiration for the degree and then lay out a vision for where you want to go post-grad. Just remember you are trying to stand out in your applicant pool, so be memorable and impress them with your international saavy and hunger for knowledge. Hope this helps.
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 10:52
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Sorrry forgot to comment on GMAT score. Indeed, a great GMAT score can cover a multitude of academic sins, so aim high. Honestly, anything over 700 should be more than enough to impress them.
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 12:30
Thank you very much for replying.

Regarding the essay, this is the information I am given:

"For all appliacant - please upload a personal statement that describes your academic interests and your purpose and objectives in undertaking graduate study. If you are applying for a Master's or diploma programme this is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the selectors. Please describe your academic background, strengths/interests, ambitions/research interests. If your chosen programme has more than one stream (e.g. MSc Social Research Methods) you should indicate which stream you are interested in following."

Any suggestions to how I should attack this? I really don't know what's expected nor what will impress the admissions office. I would really appreciate clues to how I can explain my poor grades in australia (I know that you mentioned some in the previous post).

The grades in Australia will be revealed to LSE, because they don't appear on my transcript. I essentially have to send them a copy of my Australian transcript. The study-abroad part of my studies will show as a "Pass" on my diploma, which I receive after graduation.

Thank's again for answering me.
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 05:27
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Here is some interesting info on the Personal Statement, or Statement of Purpose:

Statement of Purpose
The Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of your application that will tell the admissions committee who you are, what has influenced your career path so far, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here.

As the name signifies, the Statement of Purpose is your personal statement about who you are, what has influenced your career path, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here. It need not be a bald statement of facts; several successful SoPs address these questions through anecdotes, stories or by describing their hero. But whether your SoP is subtle or to the point, it must be well written to be successful. (What is a successful SoP?)
This is because the SoP is the only part of your application packet over which you have full control. Your academic and extra-curricular records are in the past. Most people only take one or two shots at the GMAT, GRE or TOEFL, and these scores could be adversely affected by conditions on the test day. It is important to choose recommendation letter writers carefully, but while you hope they give you the best possible recommendation, this is not within your control.

WHY BOTHER?
"...the SoP is the only part of your application packet over which you have full control."


The SoP is your chance to talk directly to the admissions committee. To make yourself stand out from among a multitude of similarly qualified candidates. To convince the committee that you have the spark, the thirst for knowledge that could add value to your class.

Most of us work hard for the standard tests - the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and others. We attend classes or peruse study aids. We give practice tests and do everything within our power to aim for the highest possible score. Because we know that these test scores, while not a perfect tool, are crucial to our chances of gaining admission and even a scholarship or assistantship.

The SoP or essay, on the other hand, is put off till the last possible moment. It scares us when we look at those oh-so-perfect essay examples in the admissions guidebooks and wonder how we can ever write so well. Or wonder what shining instance we can pick out of our normal, average lives to show that we are unique and remarkable. Or how to pick our way through the minefield of endless Do's and Don'ts. Or, after overcoming all these obstacles, we falter at the seemingly endless revisions, wondering if this latest draft is good enough (If I read that essay once more, I'll scream!). Finally we write something, because time's a-pressing and we have to meet the application deadline. We do our best, juggling the writing process with the last-minute paraphernalia of applying-checking forms for errors and completeness, collating the application packets, making sure transcripts, recommendations, work samples and resumes go in their right envelopes, worrying about transit times. We feel thankful when the essay is over, do a quick scan for obvious mistakes, and send it on its way.

If you do it this way, you are practically throwing away your chances of admission (see the next section, What do Schools look for in a Statement of Purpose?). A good SoP will certainly improve your chances of getting admission to the school of your choice, and even compensate for weaker portions of your application such as less-than-perfect grades. A bad SoP, on the other hand, has the potential to drag down an otherwise strong application.

If you plan correctly, you can give yourself enough time to submit a well-written, thoughtful, polished essay that will boost your chances for admission. Equally important, this is a great opportunity to look inside yourself and be rewarded by a better understanding of who you are.

Writing a reasonably good Statement of Purpose is not an impossible task. It requires care, attention and patience. And enough time for you to be able to write several drafts, show them to people and polish the essay till you get a version you are happy with.

from statementofpurpose.com
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2010, 08:01
hi,
I just took my GMAT a few hours ago. I would be obliged if you could let me know my chances of making it to good universities.

Indian Male
23 Years old at present
CGPA during engineering - 7.87(out of 10)
GMAT 680 (Q49, V33, AWA(awaited))
TOEFL 112
*I have also taken the GRE(780Q,500V)

Work experience:
-During college I have done 3 internships. The total works out to be around 1 year.
-I have been working for Tata Consultancy Services since August 2010, in the banking and financial solutions sector and my client is American Express.

Extracurricular -
Tennis Player - was the captain of my college team since my freshman year. Won few tournaments for my college.

I completed my B.E. in biotechnology in june 2010. I am looking at an MS Finance degree (fall 2011). What do you have to say about my profile ?

Thanks in advance
Mudit
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2010, 11:24
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Mudit-

Congrats on your achievements. I would say you have a shot at an MS Finance program with those credentials. An MBA would be a tougher route, since adcoms will tend to discount your experience that came before graduation, but for an MS program, they are less picky, mostly because their data is not posted for rankings like they are for MBA programs. Also, you are coming from a very broad applicant pool with your area of study, work and also your nationality. you will need to dig through your background looking for ways in which you stand out amongst other applicants with a similar background.
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2010, 16:13
Hi,

I just wrote my GMAT and scored a 720. Although I am not satisfied (I underperformed on test day), the score is well above the schools average of 690. I am thus not sure I need to retake the exam.

I have a few questions about the personal statement. I have a very weird background, as I did not initially get accepted to the university I currently attend. I was far too busy with football (soccer for you Americans) while attending high-school, because I was playing professionally and thus did not care much about school. However, I found a loophole after getting rejected and was able to sign up for all of the exams for the freshman year. That semester I became the best student of the freshman class (which I wasn't a part of), and I was soon taken in as a regular student.

Also, me and a couple of friends won a national equity investment competition. This is a huge competition with over 200 teams from schools all over the country.

Would it be a good idea to include this in my essay? I find the essay part tricky, especially since I have limited practical experience in the field.
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Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc... [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2010, 01:52
hi bryant,
thanks a lot for your response.

One more aspect is that I dont really know what schools will be looking for in an applicant. I have heard and read that applicants are required to have a strong quant background. Do you think my quant scores are competitive enough ? From your response I could make out that a profile like mine is very common.

Now that you know my scores and profile, which tier schools do you suggest I should be looking at ? and how does my CGPA out of 10 translate into a CGPA out of 4 ?

Thanks in advance
Mudit
Re: Profile evalutation - LSE etc...   [#permalink] 13 Nov 2010, 01:52
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