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I just joined this site today and am looking for some advice on getting into some schools for my MBA.
For starters, here are my stats:
Statistics: 25 White Male
GPA: 3.43 GPA from the University of San Francisco with a double major in Accounting and Finance, while being selected for their Honors Cohort Program. The program has a higher emphasis on case studies, teamwork, and leadership, and the teacher's based their program on their own MBA curriculum. We were held to the standards of Master students while being Undergraduates.
GMAT: 660. Took it for the first time today and may take it again, however I currently live in Montana and it is a 2 1/2 hour drive one way to get to the testing facility, which is a huge deterrent for me.
Work Experience: 3 years as a Financial Representative with John Hancock. I worked in John Hancock's top advisor's private firm, and learned from him directly. While I was at the firm, I specialized my practice in working with Domestic Partners and same sex couples to help them mitigate the inequalities with marriage laws in the United States. I gave several presentations on the topic around the Bay Area, and received very positive feedback from my work. One person informed me that my presentation motivated him to speak to his Congress representative about the issue. I also worked very well with businesses and professional entities.
Extra Curricular: While in school I founded and led the Undergraduate Business Council, which consisted of undergraduate representatives from each class and major to meet once a month and discuss ways in which we thought the school of business could improve. We would share those ideas with the Dean and director of the undergraduate program. I was awarded the Dean's service award for my work.
Also, I worked at several prestigious institutions while an undergraduate. One of them was SNP Communications, a communications consulting firm in the Bay Area that was hired by Fortune 500 companies to teach their executive professional public speaking and communication skills. This gave me the ability to give the presentations that I discussed above.
Currently, I am the Financial Manager and serve on the Board of Directors for AIDS Outreach in Montana. Our goal is to educate the Montana community to reduce further infections from HIV. We also strive to create and maintain a positive and safe community for young gay men in the Bozeman area to congregate and feel safe while joining the community. This currently does not happen as the community does not feel safe meeting under the pretense of being gay. We are working to change that.
Letters of Rec: I have two letters of Recommendation for my school choices. One is from my former boss for him to discuss my ability with financial products as well as my success at the firm. The other is from one of my top clients (whom I did his personal planning as well as his business), a founder and partner of his Law Firm who does Corporate law for clients such as Oracle and Apple.
I would like to go to graduate school for Investment Management and Corporate Finance, with the idea of being either a Financial Analyst or to manage money in the stock market (and both would work well with each other.)
I have the following in mind: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill University of Cal-Berkeley MIT (Kind of don't think this one will happen though) University of Washington.
Any advice you guys have for me would be much appreciated.
hi dstjonn, i think you'd be strong for candidacy at both UW and UNC. haas and sloan will be a stretch. when i look at what you've written, here are my thoughts: + decent GPA + nice focus on career goals + solid letters of reco + good leadership experience and potential based on EC involvement + mission / higher-purpose oriented work + likely to have examples of over coming adversity (can't be easy to teach HIV awareness in MT?!) - low GMAT - work that's not analytical - loose coupling of career goals to past work experience (i.e., how do you make this plausible?) - young - danger of "I/me/my" in your essays (based just on how you've written this summary) - avg "strength of program" from USF (you were honors, but it's not the same thing as an undergrad degree from Yale, as an ex)
your goal will be to play up your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses thru your essays and the content info your recommenders can work from. if you can get your GMAT up, I'd say you stood a shot at Haas, since it's a program that's very socially minded. as it stands right now, I'd say you have a pretty nice mix of programs with Sloan being the obvious stretch. IMO, drawing a tighter connection between what you're doing and what you want to do postMBA will be one of your bigger challenges. the work you're doing right now could be interpreted as sales-oriented, whereas your career goals are more management/analytical.
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to review my profile. I agree with a lot of what you have said, especially the part about my past work being sales oriented and not really analytic. I have to say, that was the main reason why I chose to leave the Financial Planning/Advising field all together. While I did enjoy the work, and the people I worked with, at the end of the day I was managing the relationships for my job and doing financial research on my own (such as researching products, laws, underwriting techniques [basic ones]) to satisfy my own personal curiosity for finance. I left because I want to pursue something that allowed me to analyse more since my previous job wasn't very intellectually challenging (it was challenging, but not in the way I would have preferred.)
Also, for overcoming adversity, I would like to ask if it is appropriate to talk about something that happened in High School for it on my essays. I know it is generally considered bad form to talk about pre-college activities, but in my sophomore year of High School I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and my GPA went from 1.6 to a 3.4 through medication and behavioral therapy. Obviously, this effected the colleges I went to because my GPA average was around 3.0 by the time I graduated. Would this be appropriate to discuss in an essay for overcoming adversity?
everything you've written makes sense. to ansr your question re: pre-college activities, please have a look at this article i wrote on red flags: http://www.thefirstread.com/mba-application-essay-tips/ one of the tips relates to pre-college stuff. your specific experience is a grey area. i can see the merit of including it, but it looks like you're positioning it as a reason for why you didn't go to a better college, which IMO, is not the right positioning. you went to a fine college. it wasn't MIT, but it's a solid 4 year degree where you performed well and made the most out of it. i dont think you want to position an apology. but if you want to use this experience to show how you've overcome serious adversity and have been on an upshot ever since, i think this could be compelling. it depends also on whether there are other, more compelling, examples to draw from. if not, then go for it.
hope that's helpful, -james young
That is very helpful. I will definitely consider that when I write my essays. I think it is the best example I have of overcoming adversity. The only other one I can think of is being an openly out (not really flamboyant, but I don't hide myself) gay professional in a world where it can still be a disadvantage. The only issue is I have never personally felt disadvantaged because of it (but maybe I will now that I don't live in San Francisco.) So I know that can be an issue, but my ADD is def. something I feel like I conquered in my life.