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Top MBA now PhD

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Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2008, 10:50
Please evaluate my profile

Top 5 business school in US. MBA second year student
Experience 4 years in research
Very good job in summer in research and discovered I want to pursue this career and need PhD in management (marketing or strategy). I can go back to work, but really want to pursue PhD

Goal: Top 15 PhD in Management in the US

Plus point: - High GPA undergrad ~4.0
- very strong experience in research but for corperate
- top MBA program

Delta point: - Low MBA GPA ~3.0 or lower, but can push put to 3.3 when graduating. Have 2 Cs in Macro and Stats. I know it's terrible, but because with top program, no recruiter cares Stats and Macro.
- GMAT: 680, but very high in quan Q.50

Decent point: - recommendation

1) Low GPA in MBA. How to back-up?
2) Which school should I apply too, just need decent top 15 school like Yale, Wiscosin, Cornell...? Any suggestion?
3) Recommendation: I can get recommendation from top marketing professor, and one from senior manager.

Your evaluation is appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2008, 00:07
two things

1. Since you are in a top program , you have access to some big name prof. Remember one thing, in Business ( and Social Sciences in general), reco matters most , not the GMAT. Try to get access to a prof in your field in interest and if possible try to become his/ her RA.

2. Take some quant-focused ( or research methodology) courses and do well.

.... Does your school have any loan forgiveness program ( I assume you must have borrowed some money to finance your MBA, of not hten forget this)
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2008, 19:55
Kurtenhamer wrote:
Please evaluate my profile

Top 5 business school in US. MBA second year student
Experience 4 years in research
Very good job in summer in research and discovered I want to pursue this career and need PhD in management (marketing or strategy). I can go back to work, but really want to pursue PhD

Goal: Top 15 PhD in Management in the US

Plus point: - High GPA undergrad ~4.0
- very strong experience in research but for corperate
- top MBA program

Delta point: - Low MBA GPA ~3.0 or lower, but can push put to 3.3 when graduating. Have 2 Cs in Macro and Stats. I know it's terrible, but because with top program, no recruiter cares Stats and Macro.
- GMAT: 680, but very high in quan Q.50

Decent point: - recommendation

1) Low GPA in MBA. How to back-up?
2) Which school should I apply too, just need decent top 15 school like Yale, Wiscosin, Cornell...? Any suggestion?
3) Recommendation: I can get recommendation from top marketing professor, and one from senior manager.

Your evaluation is appreciated. Thanks.


my .02$

your reco from industry isn't all that important, unless your job was research oriented, so if it was make sure he makes it a good one.

i think you're a big red flag is a C in Statistics, and your MBA GPA signals to adcoms that you do not take studies seriously. As a Phd you'll have to take 3 or 4 (or even more) stats classes that will no doubt be on a whole different level than what you are used to (i.e. require calculus and linear algebra). If the trend were reversed (i.e. mediocre GPA in undergrad, and high in undergrad, it would send a better signal). It is not difficult to get good grades in MBA programs, and adcoms know this. In many programs a GPA <3.0 is grounds for dismissal.

final recomendation - don't apply to a Phd program until you've thought about it, which I can tell you haven't really thought it out just yet. You shouldn't be asking others where to apply! you should know this already based on your own research. You are just interested in brand names, which is fine for MBA but are not important for PhD; you need to work with people who share your research interests. I think fit can probably compensate for other shortcomings...
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2008, 09:24
I largely agree with anonymousegmat. Your quant score is good, but until your overall score is in the 700+ range, your odds at any school in the top 30 range are pretty low. In addition, you will need 3 recommendations for most programs, and a manager will not be a good choice. If at all possible, get ALL academics.

I will slightly disagree with him about MBA GPA, though. As an MBA, myself, I definitely agree that most of the classes are pretty easy; however, it tends not to be grade-inflated like most other graduate programs. My MBA program didn't have A-F grades or a GPA, but we were on a similar scale that ran from "No Credit" (NC) to "Distinction" (DS) that cannot be converted to a GPA. That being said, if you tried to convert my grades into a GPA of sorts, it would look pretty crappy, but not because of poor performance.

Why? Well, for one, we had many classes with optional final projects or papers. If you chose not to do them, the highest you would get in the course was a "Pass," which is right in the middle of our grade distribution, so you might be tempted to view it as a C. Some might say students taking this option were lazy or uncommitted, but in reality, taking the optional Pass in an easy course of no relevance to your intended career allowed you to focus on more analytically rigorous electives and their final projects. So for instance, in a global macro "perspectives" course that was largely just a very basic overview of how global economies work, there was a very detailed and rigorous final project that was optional. I chose not to do it, because I was taking the most rigorous electives we offered, and I had more important projects in those courses. Rather than write a paper on China's economy, I was able to focus on building a Monte Carlo-based inventory optimization tool in Excel for a Decision Modeling class, and I was also able to do some data mining and regressions on music sales to investigate whether social networking website metrics could be used to forecast album sales and came up with bundling strategies for another class. I got Distinctions in these courses, but just a Pass in my global macro perspectives course, even though I aced the midterm and final. So is that really a bad grade? Not in my mind, and not in my school's mind, which is why the transcripts specifically say our grades cannot be converted to GPAs. I think having this flexibility makes for a better learning experience.

So I don't know how adcoms will view low MBA GPAs. I think on the one hand, they understand situations like this, since they teach MBAs. On the other hand, if your low scores are in the RELEVANT courses, then that will probably be a problem. A sub-3.0 GPA in an MBA program with a C in stats is bad news.

Just my rambling two cents... :P
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2008, 19:05
possible_phd wrote:
I largely agree with anonymousegmat. Your quant score is good, but until your overall score is in the 700+ range, your odds at any school in the top 30 range are pretty low. In addition, you will need 3 recommendations for most programs, and a manager will not be a good choice. If at all possible, get ALL academics.

I will slightly disagree with him about MBA GPA, though. As an MBA, myself, I definitely agree that most of the classes are pretty easy; however, it tends not to be grade-inflated like most other graduate programs. My MBA program didn't have A-F grades or a GPA, but we were on a similar scale that ran from "No Credit" (NC) to "Distinction" (DS) that cannot be converted to a GPA. That being said, if you tried to convert my grades into a GPA of sorts, it would look pretty crappy, but not because of poor performance.

Why? Well, for one, we had many classes with optional final projects or papers. If you chose not to do them, the highest you would get in the course was a "Pass," which is right in the middle of our grade distribution, so you might be tempted to view it as a C. Some might say students taking this option were lazy or uncommitted, but in reality, taking the optional Pass in an easy course of no relevance to your intended career allowed you to focus on more analytically rigorous electives and their final projects. So for instance, in a global macro "perspectives" course that was largely just a very basic overview of how global economies work, there was a very detailed and rigorous final project that was optional. I chose not to do it, because I was taking the most rigorous electives we offered, and I had more important projects in those courses. Rather than write a paper on China's economy, I was able to focus on building a Monte Carlo-based inventory optimization tool in Excel for a Decision Modeling class, and I was also able to do some data mining and regressions on music sales to investigate whether social networking website metrics could be used to forecast album sales and came up with bundling strategies for another class. I got Distinctions in these courses, but just a Pass in my global macro perspectives course, even though I aced the midterm and final. So is that really a bad grade? Not in my mind, and not in my school's mind, which is why the transcripts specifically say our grades cannot be converted to GPAs. I think having this flexibility makes for a better learning experience.

So I don't know how adcoms will view low MBA GPAs. I think on the one hand, they understand situations like this, since they teach MBAs. On the other hand, if your low scores are in the RELEVANT courses, then that will probably be a problem. A sub-3.0 GPA in an MBA program with a C in stats is bad news.

Just my rambling two cents... :P


I just wanted to say that most of my posts may seem negative or harsh, like I am trying to keep people out of PhD programs... and to be honest, in many ways I am, because I don't think people even have a clue of what lies ahead of them. I think too many people are either:

A) trying to avoid the "real" world - to which I would say the "real" world is a cakewalk compared to a PhD program
or B) trying to ride out a bad economy b/c they got their MBA at a bad time - to which I would say you are better off financially working in an entry level job and then trying to build your way up as you ride out the recession.

I'm just getting my masters in statistics, in a more applied program rather than purely theoretical... but still the workload is unfu*king believable... (it would be bearable, but I am working part time, tutoring part time, serving on the board of a student organization and trying to squeeze some time in for my own personal research.... in other words... i am sort of modeling the life of a PhD student/Professor). It is f*cking torture... but don't get me wrong... I am loving every minute of it!!!

I just don't think most people have the determination and drive and intellectual horsepower to live this kind of life.... and this is a LIFESTYLE folks its more than a job.

anyway, i think possiblephd has the type of response that you need if you have a bad grade on your transcript - and he showed that he has already attained a good footing in his field. this is the kind of stuff you need to be coming to the plate with kids. if you can't hang with this kind of stuff... your toast.

i don't think your GMAT score is all that bad though; if you are able to develop some real knowledge on a topic and find a professor doing research on something you are interested in.... it is up to you to convince him that you can be a productive researcher. i think that can overcome a lot, since ultimately the people who make these decesions are professors not administrators... but maybe I am fooling myself b/c i only have a 710. I dunno - at some point adcoms have to look beyond scores and think about who can get some work done.


Anyway... possiblephd... you seem to know your stuff... why fiddle around w/ Excel? Get your hands on SAS or R and start rolling with the bigboys :p
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2008, 19:15
I don't think a 680 or a 710 are completely out of the running, either, considering averages at top 20ish schools tend to range all the way down to 700. Unless everyone has a 700, that means some folks are getting in with less! Same goes for the schools with 720 averages and so on. All it means is that you have to be better in other parts of your application to beat out the guys with 780s, which apparently isn't too tough, considering the averages are nowhere near that. :P
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 30 Dec 2008, 14:13
I am inclined to agree with points made by both anonymousegmat and possible_phd. You need to increase your GMAT score by at least 40 points to get into the consideration set at a "top 15" program. Your MBA GPA doesn't look great, but could be offset by a good letter of recommendation from faculty at your school. If you can bring it up to a 3.3 it will be a non-issue considering your undergrad GPA and the quality of the school you are currently attending.

More importantly, you need to (as anonymousegmat mentioned) do your research. For example, do you want to study Marketing or Strategy? They are two very different fields. What do you mean by a "top 15" school? When looking at PhD programs, who you work with is often more important that where you study. By the time you get ready to apply you need to know the following:

1. What you want to study (the specific field and sub-field -- e.g., Marketing with an emphasis in Quantitative Analysis)?
2. Who you want to work with (and why)?
3. Why do you want to do a PhD?

The question of where to apply will follow directly from the answers to the first two questions.

I would suggest you talk to professors in the fields that interest you. They should be able to point you to research and researchers that you might find interesting. It is worthing spending the time now to find the program that will fit you best.
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 04 Jan 2009, 14:11
Hi Soulutions:

It is good to be in touch with. I don't recall if you remember me. But, you and I had applied to Marketing PhD programs the same year. And, we used to connect on this forum, quite regularly. And, if I remember correctly, you are now at OSU. And, since you were going to work on Bayesian Statistics, I am guessing that you are Allenby's student.

It is so good to be in touch with you. Please reply to this post, and then, we can even connect over email. My email address is arpatil@yahoo.com

Currently, I am midway through the 4'th year in my Marketing PhD program. And, boy, am I getting worried about my prospect in academic job market, given this recession that has so suddenly engulfed the US economy. Until last year, the academic job market in Marketing was truly great.

BTW, I don't see Anurag's posts anymore. He was the Insead Marketing PhD student who used to provide us with some good guidance.

Happy new year to Soulution and to other members.

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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2009, 15:14
I was wondering if I can get some guidance as to my profile as well. I not looking to get into some top-10 Accounting PhD program, looking more in the range of 11-30:

Master of Accounting at USC (3.4 GPA)
Economics degree with a minor in statistics at a top 50 u-grad school
I had a 3.0 overall GPA as an undergrad but by GPA for the last 2 years was a 3.6 (when most of my 'major' courses were taken). I took econometric methods and received an 'A-' and somehow managed a 'B' in stochastic calculus with having only taken Calc I. Before applying to schools I would probably retake Calc I & II as well as linear algebra because its been so long.

I'm currently in my second year at a Big 4 accounting firm where I would say I'm an above average performer and I have my CPA license, although I know that doesn't count for much to these schools. I know I can get good letters of recommendation from a very distinguished clinical professor at USC whom I worked for as a TA and a good letter from the Dean of the USC school of accounting.

I think my biggest problem is my GMAT, I studied for it for about a month and got a 660, I remember not being able to get any studying done for the GMAT a week before the exam because of work, so I'm pretty sure I can pull off anywhere from a 680-690.

I was looking at the following schools - UGA, U of Florida, and UNC. I would apply to USC as the dean there has actually urged me to apply, but the cost of living here in LA is so high that it would be brutal on my wallet not to mention that it just doesn't seem right going to the same school for 2 degrees. Eventually though, I would like to end up back in Southern California. What are my chances at schools such as the 3 I mentioned above?
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Re: Top MBA now PhD [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2009, 13:05
Kurtenhamer,

What are those jobs which really require a PhD except for teaching? Does World Bank and IMF prefer someone with a phd or are ok with Masters degree or does it depend on the type of jobs within those organizations as well?
Re: Top MBA now PhD   [#permalink] 13 Jul 2009, 13:05
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