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Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 09 May 2011, 09:08
I'm finishing my first year FT at a BB and was considering applying to grad school in the next few years. I have a couple of general questions regarding admissions. Thanks for your help, and I'll continue to read and post on this forum as I get closer to applying.

1. From browsing a few of the threads, some posters have mentioned GPA progression. My first 2 years of undergrad, I was admittedly very unmotivated--played a lot of poker, pool--and performed rather poorly. In the ensuing years, I did significantly better, and ended up with a respectable >3.5 GPA. Does this play a significant role in admissions? If so, how does it come into play in the application?

2. I took the GMAT in early April and got a 750, but with a less than perfect quant score. I probably didn't use the right preparation techniques, and I feel that I could score higher. Is this worth retaking? I've read time and time again that the application is more about the story than it is these generally quantified terms, but will a not perfect math score have any bearing on my application, all else equal?
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 09 May 2011, 13:18
My GPA situation was a little different....Great first year and half, then I got cocky and signed up to lead a billion extracurriculars, got a second job, and added classes. Needless to say, my GPA took a downturn and I had to cut a bunch of stuff, so my last 1.5 years were significantly better than the middle.

My strategy was to say exactly that - in the "optional" essay they give you, I explained what happened without making excuses, then said the lesson that I got out of it: how to focus and do well on a few things rather than stretching myself thin. I also wrote a sentence about how I would bring this life lesson to grad school.

Seems you could do something similar - you were exploring interests outside of the classroom, and then frankly, you grew up. Seems you could make that a strength - that you're a self aware individual who now knows what you want out of life!
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 09 May 2011, 17:48
1. What's your overall GPA? A 3.5 in the last two years will certainly help, but AdComs will still care very much what your overall GPA is (mainly because that's the number schools use to average out GPAs and publish/utilize in rankings). If your overall GPA is above a three, you shouldn't worry too much (Depending on where you're applying to).

2. A 750 is fine in any means. I can't imagine your math score too bad...otherwise you probably wouldn't end up with a 750. Just keep in mind that scores will last only 5 years.



You've kept your profile pretty neutral and haven't really discussed anything deeper (such as how your overall GPA is and what the quant score breakdown is). It's all relative from person to person. A Q44 for someone may be bad and may be really good for others. It's okay to remain neutral, but just know that opinions will matter when there's no solid facts behind them. I know you're not applying yet, but just keep that in mind for future reference.
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 10 May 2011, 03:41
mvanbusk wrote:
My GPA situation was a little different....Great first year and half, then I got cocky and signed up to lead a billion extracurriculars, got a second job, and added classes. Needless to say, my GPA took a downturn and I had to cut a bunch of stuff, so my last 1.5 years were significantly better than the middle.

My strategy was to say exactly that - in the "optional" essay they give you, I explained what happened without making excuses, then said the lesson that I got out of it: how to focus and do well on a few things rather than stretching myself thin. I also wrote a sentence about how I would bring this life lesson to grad school.

Seems you could do something similar - you were exploring interests outside of the classroom, and then frankly, you grew up. Seems you could make that a strength - that you're a self aware individual who now knows what you want out of life!


Thanks for the input, mvanbusk. I'll definitely consider doing this when I write my essays.
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 10 May 2011, 03:53
Point taken. I posted those 2 general questions with the understanding that the feedback would be limited solely to these 2 criteria. I'll provide a little more detail about myself.

I'm about to finish my first year at a BB in an Ops and Tech 2-year rotational program, and have a strong interest in getting into the business side in the near future as I test for CFA certifications. As for my undergraduate studies, I think I was a bit unclear in my first question. I ended up with a cumulative of 3.56 despite being below a 3 my first year, and only regaining scholarship status my sophomore year. As for ECs, after little to no involvement in those first 2 academic years, I ended up holding leadership positions in our business honors organization, in our university's investment fund club, in a responsible business organization, and in a cultural organization that highlighted an ethnicity not my own (I liked the people, and enjoy learning about different things). I also participated in a couple of athletic organizations as well as an economics organization in a lesser capacity. Although my volunteer work isn't where I would have liked it to be, I did have the opportunity to volunteer at a number of non-profits, and to help organize a couple of fundraising events during my academic tenure.

As mvanbusk mentioned before, it may be advisable to highlight the changes in made between Freshman year and graduation. I guess I'm a little hesitant to come off as making excuses for my prior behavior, but hopefully I can effectively tread the line between making excuses and conveying my own personal growth. Thank you both for your feedback, and thanks in advance for any additional advice you're able to lend. In spite of the fact that I don't plan on applying for at least a year or two, this is nevertheless a very daunting process.


bakfed wrote:
1. What's your overall GPA? A 3.5 in the last two years will certainly help, but AdComs will still care very much what your overall GPA is (mainly because that's the number schools use to average out GPAs and publish/utilize in rankings). If your overall GPA is above a three, you shouldn't worry too much (Depending on where you're applying to).

2. A 750 is fine in any means. I can't imagine your math score too bad...otherwise you probably wouldn't end up with a 750. Just keep in mind that scores will last only 5 years.



You've kept your profile pretty neutral and haven't really discussed anything deeper (such as how your overall GPA is and what the quant score breakdown is). It's all relative from person to person. A Q44 for someone may be bad and may be really good for others. It's okay to remain neutral, but just know that opinions will matter when there's no solid facts behind them. I know you're not applying yet, but just keep that in mind for future reference.
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 10 May 2011, 06:32
Your 3.56 cumulative will come off extremely strong. I wouldn't even worry too much about your freshman year (even if it's sub-3). AdComs read thousands of these applications and will spot the trendline pretty much instantaneously as they pick up your application. The fact that you finished with a 3.56 will allow them to realize that your freshman year was just a fluke.

And couple that with a 750? You've got a killer academic history.

I know it's still a year or two away, but if I were you, I'd aim high in the ranking system. Top 10 should be doable, and top 10-20 could be your backups.
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 10 May 2011, 09:26
Thanks a lot for the positive feedback. It's reassuring to hear that my GPA won't be a significant detriment to my application profile. As you mentioned, I want to enter a top 10 in a few years (CBS is probably my top choice at this point, although I'll likely apply to HSW as reaches). I still have a long way to go as far as building a professional profile, which includes committing more time to community service (maybe big brothers big sisters--I thoroughly enjoyed tutoring and mentoring when I was in college). Did you go to Darden? I'll probably look into some of the southern schools--Darden, Duke--although I don't want to inappropriately bracket them together. Can you provide any feedback on your pre-MBA application and MBA experience?

bakfed wrote:
Your 3.56 cumulative will come off extremely strong. I wouldn't even worry too much about your freshman year (even if it's sub-3). AdComs read thousands of these applications and will spot the trendline pretty much instantaneously as they pick up your application. The fact that you finished with a 3.56 will allow them to realize that your freshman year was just a fluke.

And couple that with a 750? You've got a killer academic history.

I know it's still a year or two away, but if I were you, I'd aim high in the ranking system. Top 10 should be doable, and top 10-20 could be your backups.
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 10 May 2011, 09:47
jaschen27 wrote:
Thanks a lot for the positive feedback. It's reassuring to hear that my GPA won't be a significant detriment to my application profile. As you mentioned, I want to enter a top 10 in a few years (CBS is probably my top choice at this point, although I'll likely apply to HSW as reaches). I still have a long way to go as far as building a professional profile, which includes committing more time to community service (maybe big brothers big sisters--I thoroughly enjoyed tutoring and mentoring when I was in college). Did you go to Darden? I'll probably look into some of the southern schools--Darden, Duke--although I don't want to inappropriately bracket them together. Can you provide any feedback on your pre-MBA application and MBA experience?

bakfed wrote:
Your 3.56 cumulative will come off extremely strong. I wouldn't even worry too much about your freshman year (even if it's sub-3). AdComs read thousands of these applications and will spot the trendline pretty much instantaneously as they pick up your application. The fact that you finished with a 3.56 will allow them to realize that your freshman year was just a fluke.

And couple that with a 750? You've got a killer academic history.

I know it's still a year or two away, but if I were you, I'd aim high in the ranking system. Top 10 should be doable, and top 10-20 could be your backups.


I think you have a very decent shot at getting into CBS. As you probably know, there's really no guarantees anymore for any of the top b-schools in the nation, simply because of the number of applicants. Columbia sees thousands and thousands of applications every year, and without some luck on the side, it's going to be hard for anyone. However, in looking at what you've written, and what you propose to do before you apply, I think you'll have a good professional background as well as a strong extracurricular to back you up.

I will be attending Darden starting August (so no MBA experience just yet), but will more than happy to discuss the life of an MBA after I experience it for a few weeks. :P I think most people would agree that Duke Fuqua and Virginia Darden are really 'bracketed' within the same place. In fact, while we're at it, Michigan Ross can be seen in the same light. All three schools are excellent (obviously, more love for virginia from me but it's a biased opinion) and can get you to where you want to be career-wise. My MBA application really focused on the type of work that I did and how it affected my professional career as a whole. I come from a non-traditional background (graduated with a biology degree and worked in pharma [non-research-oriented]). So my application package really focused on how I can bring my skills to school and ultimately, to the job I want. I think in anyone's application, just try to stand out among the vast majority. For me, it was easier because I can't imagine there are too many folks with my degree and my work experience gunning for a spot in top b-schools. For you, it'll be a bit harder only because it's more of the traditional route for you (graduated probably with a business-related degree(?) and work at a BB). Do as much as you can to separate yourself out with the hundreds, if not thousand, of other applicants with similar profile. In this case, extracurricular activities will definitely help. Good thing for you is, you have the numbers to support you (your high GPA and high GMAT score). And the fact that you work at a BB also help solidify the fact that you can do the work. I think you would sit at the higher end of the spectrum when compared to other BB applicants. But anyway, sorry, I just kept on typing and typing. I truly think you have a good shot at getting into a top 10 b-school. All the best, buddy! :-D
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 11 May 2011, 08:07
Yeah, differentiation will definitely play a critical role in my overall profile. Just from browsing this site, it seems like there are so many exceptional candidates with very similar backgrounds. I actually gave up a little on some of my more unique interest--played scrabble at a pretty high level (nerdy, I know), which I might try to pick up again in a lesser capacity. Balance seems to play an important role in both this process and professional/life experience in general, and it's something I'm still growing accustomed to as a young professional.

I actually had the opportunity to speak to a couple of admissions directors from more regionally focused schools, and they offered reassurance that regional placement would not be an issue. Can you provide any additional insight on this topic, as you're attending a southern school with a fantastic national brand? I had the opportunity to visit Duke and Virginia while looking at UG, and thought both campuses were fantastic. I am, however, a little wary of attending a program far from where I'd like to work.


bakfed wrote:
jaschen27 wrote:
Thanks a lot for the positive feedback. It's reassuring to hear that my GPA won't be a significant detriment to my application profile. As you mentioned, I want to enter a top 10 in a few years (CBS is probably my top choice at this point, although I'll likely apply to HSW as reaches). I still have a long way to go as far as building a professional profile, which includes committing more time to community service (maybe big brothers big sisters--I thoroughly enjoyed tutoring and mentoring when I was in college). Did you go to Darden? I'll probably look into some of the southern schools--Darden, Duke--although I don't want to inappropriately bracket them together. Can you provide any feedback on your pre-MBA application and MBA experience?

bakfed wrote:
Your 3.56 cumulative will come off extremely strong. I wouldn't even worry too much about your freshman year (even if it's sub-3). AdComs read thousands of these applications and will spot the trendline pretty much instantaneously as they pick up your application. The fact that you finished with a 3.56 will allow them to realize that your freshman year was just a fluke.

And couple that with a 750? You've got a killer academic history.

I know it's still a year or two away, but if I were you, I'd aim high in the ranking system. Top 10 should be doable, and top 10-20 could be your backups.


I think you have a very decent shot at getting into CBS. As you probably know, there's really no guarantees anymore for any of the top b-schools in the nation, simply because of the number of applicants. Columbia sees thousands and thousands of applications every year, and without some luck on the side, it's going to be hard for anyone. However, in looking at what you've written, and what you propose to do before you apply, I think you'll have a good professional background as well as a strong extracurricular to back you up.

I will be attending Darden starting August (so no MBA experience just yet), but will more than happy to discuss the life of an MBA after I experience it for a few weeks. :P I think most people would agree that Duke Fuqua and Virginia Darden are really 'bracketed' within the same place. In fact, while we're at it, Michigan Ross can be seen in the same light. All three schools are excellent (obviously, more love for virginia from me but it's a biased opinion) and can get you to where you want to be career-wise. My MBA application really focused on the type of work that I did and how it affected my professional career as a whole. I come from a non-traditional background (graduated with a biology degree and worked in pharma [non-research-oriented]). So my application package really focused on how I can bring my skills to school and ultimately, to the job I want. I think in anyone's application, just try to stand out among the vast majority. For me, it was easier because I can't imagine there are too many folks with my degree and my work experience gunning for a spot in top b-schools. For you, it'll be a bit harder only because it's more of the traditional route for you (graduated probably with a business-related degree(?) and work at a BB). Do as much as you can to separate yourself out with the hundreds, if not thousand, of other applicants with similar profile. In this case, extracurricular activities will definitely help. Good thing for you is, you have the numbers to support you (your high GPA and high GMAT score). And the fact that you work at a BB also help solidify the fact that you can do the work. I think you would sit at the higher end of the spectrum when compared to other BB applicants. But anyway, sorry, I just kept on typing and typing. I truly think you have a good shot at getting into a top 10 b-school. All the best, buddy! :-D
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 11 May 2011, 09:49
Personally, when I think of "regional" b-schools, these are schools where they're a bit smaller, lesser known, and focuses their recruitments around the companies in the vicinity. Pepperdine and San Diego State University (SDSU) are more or less what I think about when it comes to recruiting.

Basing my thoughts on Pepperdine and SDSU, these schools attract those companies that are within the immediate area of the school. These companies tend to be a bit smaller, in comparison to a global firm. Compensation would tend to be a bit lower than your top b-school's average compensation. These are, in all due respect, proper assumptions supported by the employment report published by these smaller, regional schools.

When it comes to the top 20 b-schools (and perhaps the top 30-35), I really don't consider them "regional" anymore, especially as you move on down within the top 20 rank. Even though both Duke and UVA are more in the south, these schools attract all the top companies around the states. Sure, the job placement would be a bit more regional as most Darden grads who join a big firm tend to stick around the southern regions, such as Dallas, Atlanta, and DC. However, a lot of it really depends on the person and how much he/she wants to put in. In order for someone to get a job at McKinsey in Los Angeles, this person would most likely have to fly back and forth a couple of times to establish her interest in the LA firm. This is not impossible, but just need to have a bit more legwork done. If I were you, I really wouldn't worry too much about the location of the top schools too much (give and take some efforts being done to secure a job). If you're looking to work in New York post-MBA, I think it might make more sense to focus a bit more on the schools around that region, such as Columbia, NYC, and even Ross and Tuck. But it certainly doesn't mean that if you were to attend Fuqua, Darden, or Anderson that you won't be able to get a job in NY. Again, it goes back to how much work you're willing to put in to get that job in NY. I know my post is a bit long-winded, but I hope there's some answer that you can find to your question.
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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 22:45
Hello,

Your overall GPA seems good. If there is additional space to explain your GPA in your application you can say how you overcame your initial hurdles to get a good GPA score. As long as you indicate the learning and steps you undertook to improve the mistakes you should be fine.

750 is a solid GMAT score, so you should focus on building your application. Often people tend to overweight the GMAT and underweight how much essays count. So it would be safe for you to now start focusing on your application. Make sure you follow the ‘show rather than tell’ principle so that the admissions committee could really understand your strengths and differentiating factors.”

All the best!!




jaschen27 wrote:
I'm finishing my first year FT at a BB and was considering applying to grad school in the next few years. I have a couple of general questions regarding admissions. Thanks for your help, and I'll continue to read and post on this forum as I get closer to applying.

1. From browsing a few of the threads, some posters have mentioned GPA progression. My first 2 years of undergrad, I was admittedly very unmotivated--played a lot of poker, pool--and performed rather poorly. In the ensuing years, I did significantly better, and ended up with a respectable >3.5 GPA. Does this play a significant role in admissions? If so, how does it come into play in the application?

2. I took the GMAT in early April and got a 750, but with a less than perfect quant score. I probably didn't use the right preparation techniques, and I feel that I could score higher. Is this worth retaking? I've read time and time again that the application is more about the story than it is these generally quantified terms, but will a not perfect math score have any bearing on my application, all else equal?

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Re: Recent UG Questions [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 04:14
Thanks for the input. Although I'm eager to tackle the essays, because I'm not applying this year, I'm trying to build the more tangible parts of my profile as a candidate. It's definitely been a blessing to have this site as a resource early on, and I've gotten a better perspective of building a unique profile. In spite of the competitiveness of the candidates, and of the process as a whole, it's always refreshing how willing people are to lend advice.

FutureWorks wrote:
Hello,

Your overall GPA seems good. If there is additional space to explain your GPA in your application you can say how you overcame your initial hurdles to get a good GPA score. As long as you indicate the learning and steps you undertook to improve the mistakes you should be fine.

750 is a solid GMAT score, so you should focus on building your application. Often people tend to overweight the GMAT and underweight how much essays count. So it would be safe for you to now start focusing on your application. Make sure you follow the ‘show rather than tell’ principle so that the admissions committee could really understand your strengths and differentiating factors.”

All the best!!




jaschen27 wrote:
I'm finishing my first year FT at a BB and was considering applying to grad school in the next few years. I have a couple of general questions regarding admissions. Thanks for your help, and I'll continue to read and post on this forum as I get closer to applying.

1. From browsing a few of the threads, some posters have mentioned GPA progression. My first 2 years of undergrad, I was admittedly very unmotivated--played a lot of poker, pool--and performed rather poorly. In the ensuing years, I did significantly better, and ended up with a respectable >3.5 GPA. Does this play a significant role in admissions? If so, how does it come into play in the application?

2. I took the GMAT in early April and got a 750, but with a less than perfect quant score. I probably didn't use the right preparation techniques, and I feel that I could score higher. Is this worth retaking? I've read time and time again that the application is more about the story than it is these generally quantified terms, but will a not perfect math score have any bearing on my application, all else equal?
Re: Recent UG Questions   [#permalink] 19 May 2011, 04:14
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