First off, thank you so much for being so active on here and in your profession. I am new to the MBA hunt, but I can already tell how passionate you are about helping people help themselves. I listened to your HBS webinar this morning on the train-ride to work and really enjoyed it.
My stats: I come from a non-traditional background (first-generation, Hispanic American) and graduated Cornell with a 3.4 Cumulative GPA in a fairly unique branch of Physical Sciences (think oceanography, meteorology, environmental sciences). I have 3 C+'s (Calc III, Linear Algebra, Physics) and a C- (Electricity & Magnetism), with A's and B's in all other courses (including an A- in Calc II, B in statistics, etc.) My grades show a significant upward trend; I transferred to Cornell and needed to adapt to its rigor; my first semester I had a 2.7, my last - a 4.2. However, an adcom at a Top-10 noted they deflate Cornell's GPA since A+'s receive 4.3's, so at least at this school, I only have a 3.15 GPA.
I also minored in the Dyson School. I have been working at a Bulge Bracket for a year now in a Trading role, and am a leader in my analyst class. I have taken several external leadership roles, too, including recruitment and volunteerism. I was also selected to be featured on my company website in a video about a typical analyst's day, and anticipate warm recommendations.
I recently took the CFA Level 1 and narrowly failed, and am now having to choose between retaking Level 1 in December or preparing for the GMAT. I would really like to get the GMAT over with, and am considering applying to MLT MBA Prep which requires a GMAT by Feb 1 to enroll. I am targeting entering in the Fall of 2015. My post-mba goals involve tying in my environmental undergraduate work and passions with my financial work history and enter the energy sector, preferably into an energy-focused hedge fund or VC firm.
My questions to you:
Would you recommend the GMAT or the CFA Level 1 retake in Dec 2013?
What score will I need on the GMAT to offset any doubts of my academic ability (due to 4 C's on transcript)?
Do you think it's worth it to retake any courses? I have a B in Calc I and an A- in Calc II, not sure if it's worth retaking...
Can I realistically think about HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Yale, & NYU
Thank you so much, Linda! I am eagerly awaiting your advice.
You're most welcome. And thanks so much for the feedback, both on my participation here and on the HBS webinar
. I appreciate it. FYI, I am doing a similar webinar for Stanford
in two weeks.
To answer your questions:
Given your plans and the MLT requirement, I recommend you focus first on the GMAT.
For the schools you mention above you ideally want 700, but that doesn't mean that these program don't accept qualified applicants with lower scores, especially given your URM status. What score do you think you can get on the GMAT?
Retaking classes: That partially depends on the GMAT. Given your upward trend and the fact that those courses were not business related and that you have a lot of other stuff in your favor, I'm really not sure. Right now, focus on the GMAT.
Yes, but whether you can do so after your GMAT, depends on that score.
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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