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Unusual Circumstance Question

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Unusual Circumstance Question [#permalink] New post 04 Jan 2013, 19:34
Hello. I am looking for some guidance. I am preparing to apply for my MBA this coming fall but have some issues I am hoping you can help with.

My profile is as follows:

Graduated from a large state school (public Ivy) with a 2.8/4.0 majoring in Economics and Political Science. Never failed a class, but I do have a few D's from my earlier days (one of which was unfortunately in calculus). GPA improved during my later semesters, where I pulled roughly a 3.2/3.3 out of 4.0.

Very active in school extracurricular activities (in the second half of my college career) - Chairman of Student Government (actually has a large impact on our campus due to state legislation), led the re-negotiation of a contract between the student government and the local bus operator for student bus pass program, Served as a sector head (Healthcare) for a student-started/student-run hedge fund, class treasurer, treasurer for two organizations, and other things.

GMAT - 720 (Q46 V44)
Worked for a year in Corporate Finance for a Fortune 50. Would have really strong letters of rec from my manager.
By time of application, will have worked a year as a Performance Analyst for a large bank. If these first few months are any indication, I will also be able to get strong letters of rec. There are several reasons for the job change including: More prestigious firm, allows me more influence over strategy and planning in my unit, location was closer to home, and a much better benefit package.

Currently assisting with the start up of a non-profit and serving as the treasurer.

Volunteer with the local animal shelter for about 3 months now. Will have about 35-40 hours over the course of the year.

My question is regarding my GPA. What's really pulling down is my first 4 semesters. Throughout college I worked around 30 hours/week to pay for school. Additionally, there was a family issue during those early years. My mother was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer (she survived and is all well now!) and I was going home repeatedly to help her out.

So, I am wondering if my GPA will hurt me or if I have fairly decent reasons to explain the lackluster performance (not excuses, I own up to the grades I got)?

My target schools (FT Programs):
Uni of Virginia - Darden
Uni of Chicago - Booth
London School of Business
Cornell
Dartmouth
Uni of Minnesota - Carlson

Thank you for your assistance! If you need any further information, let me know!
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Re: Unusual Circumstance Question [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2013, 21:22
Expert's post
Mike5055 wrote:
Hello. I am looking for some guidance. I am preparing to apply for my MBA this coming fall but have some issues I am hoping you can help with.

My profile is as follows:

Graduated from a large state school (public Ivy) with a 2.8/4.0 majoring in Economics and Political Science. Never failed a class, but I do have a few D's from my earlier days (one of which was unfortunately in calculus). GPA improved during my later semesters, where I pulled roughly a 3.2/3.3 out of 4.0.

Very active in school extracurricular activities (in the second half of my college career) - Chairman of Student Government (actually has a large impact on our campus due to state legislation), led the re-negotiation of a contract between the student government and the local bus operator for student bus pass program, Served as a sector head (Healthcare) for a student-started/student-run hedge fund, class treasurer, treasurer for two organizations, and other things.

GMAT - 720 (Q46 V44)
Worked for a year in Corporate Finance for a Fortune 50. Would have really strong letters of rec from my manager.
By time of application, will have worked a year as a Performance Analyst for a large bank. If these first few months are any indication, I will also be able to get strong letters of rec. There are several reasons for the job change including: More prestigious firm, allows me more influence over strategy and planning in my unit, location was closer to home, and a much better benefit package.

Currently assisting with the start up of a non-profit and serving as the treasurer.

Volunteer with the local animal shelter for about 3 months now. Will have about 35-40 hours over the course of the year.

My question is regarding my GPA. What's really pulling down is my first 4 semesters. Throughout college I worked around 30 hours/week to pay for school. Additionally, there was a family issue during those early years. My mother was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer (she survived and is all well now!) and I was going home repeatedly to help her out.

So, I am wondering if my GPA will hurt me or if I have fairly decent reasons to explain the lackluster performance (not excuses, I own up to the grades I got)?

My target schools (FT Programs):
Uni of Virginia - Darden
Uni of Chicago - Booth
London School of Business
Cornell
Dartmouth
Uni of Minnesota - Carlson

Thank you for your assistance! If you need any further information, let me know!


I'm glad your mom is doing well!

I think your GPA will really hurt you at LBS, Chicago and Dartmouth. For these programs even your grades during the last two years are below average and your GMAT is average. Your work experience is strong, but if I understand you correctly, you only have two years, which again is below average. Your extra-curriculars (especially in college) look great.

You are more competitive at Cornell, Darden, and Carlson, and Carlson is your most likely acceptance. If you are not accepted, I suggest you take a few business related classes or if relevant to your goals consider pursuing the CFA or another demanding credential so that the schools can see that you know how to excel academically. Obviously another year of work experience magically become part of your resume if you reapply. and as long as it reflects growth and achievement, it too will help. And put those two difficult years further into the past.

You may also be interested in Overcoming Weaknesses in Your MBA Profile

Best,
Linda
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Re: Unusual Circumstance Question [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2013, 21:34
Thanks for your guidance. I am beginning 2 math courses (one of which is Calculus) and fully expect to get A's in both of them.

Would you advise taking the GMAT again to try to boost my score higher?

Also, how much help is the alternative transcript?
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Re: Unusual Circumstance Question [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2013, 21:50
Expert's post
Mike5055 wrote:
Thanks for your guidance. I am beginning 2 math courses (one of which is Calculus) and fully expect to get A's in both of them.

Would you advise taking the GMAT again to try to boost my score higher?

Also, how much help is the alternative transcript?



Mike,

A higher quant score would help, but it's hard to say buy how much. If you get A's now in calc and another business related math course, I'm not sure that won't help more than a higher GMAT. I'm just not sure. so the question becomes how much time will it take? how confident are you that you can raise it?

I can't quantify how much an alternative transcript will help. However, given the circumstances surrounding your undergrad career, a few recent A's in quant classes will say a couple of things: 1) When not working and going to school and dealing with serious illness in your family, you can do well academically and in classes related to business. They will lend credence to the argument you will make that the low grades were due to the unusual demands you were facing. 2) your quant skills are probably better than reflected in the GMAT because you aced these classes.

I see a lot of upside there.
You might be interested in 3 Steps for Handling a Low Undergraduate GPA.

Best,
Linda
_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

Follow Accepted on Twitter
Friend Accepted on Facebook
Subscribe to Accepted's Blog

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