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What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals

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What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2013, 01:10
Greetings,

Please analyse my profile and help me with your advise.
Age: 27
Nationality: Ecuadorian
GPA: 90.3/100 - I was Top 5 in all my classes.
Bachelor's degree: Economics with an additional focus on International relationships. I also have a Minor in International Finance. I graduated in 2011, but took my last class during 2009. The gap is because I was received a scholarship for an exchange program to Japan for 1 year. So, I spent 2010 in Japan.
GMAT: 600 (Q39, V33) - Low, but I think I can explain this. First, I've never been good test taker. For example, I generally can solve most maths problems under normal circumstances. I used to do some tutelage to some of my friends during my University days. So, my maths skills aren't bad. In addition, I'm not good at grammar (by this, of course, I mean checking errors and the like), even in my own language. That said, I've never had issues when communicating in English. I've been learning the language since I was two years old. I can speak fluidly, and I can also write in a coherent and cohesive way. Plenty of my undergrad courses were in English, and plenty of my teachers were from America and England and I got significant praise from them. In fact, 2 of my Finance teachers praised me for my academic papers and they worked at places like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Bank of Tokyo. So, to summarise, I don't think my GMAT score is a faithful indicator of my actual capabilities.

Work Experience: 1 year in the Finance Department of a small, yet very competitive Aerial application company. Despite its size, there was a lot of work, and because the company didn't have many employees, the work-load per employee was rather heavy. Working under pressure was an everyday thing. In fact, even though we were supposed to work 8 hours per-day, I could find myself working for 12 hours on a regular basis. However, the philosophy of the Finance Department was always results oriented, so I had to learn how to keep up with it and in few months I became very productive, to the point I even helped in other areas like Accounting and Logistics. So, I didn't work those 4 extra hours because I wasn't efficient, but because I was trusted with plenty of work. In addition to those points, I also had a great relationship with everyone in the company and especially with my bosses. More than once I was praised for my hard-work and reliability.

International Experience: As I mentioned before, I studied in Japan during 2010. Most of the courses I took were business related - some of them focused on the Asian Market. Other than interacting with Japanese people, I got to interact with people all over the word, since the exchange students ranged from America, to Africa. I think I can say I have, at least, 1 friend on every single continent.

Future Plans: I'm not planning on re-taking the GMAT any time soon, despite my average grade. Right now, my main aim is to gain experience in finance-related jobs (i.e. investment banking and the like) in America, Europe or Asia. The stock market in my country is very, very small. So, there's no much experience for me to gain here. For this end, I've decided to enter a MSc Finance programme, so that I can break in to the financial world. I was planning on entering an internship as soon as I'm done with my masters, show my capabilities and hopefully find a stable job. Once I've gained a significant amount of experience (i.e. 3 years or more of working at IB), I'll retake the GMAT and aim for an MBA at a top university.

Something I didn't mention earlier was that one additional factor for my low GMAT was not enough preparation. I originally planned for 3-months study (which is why I quit my job), but upon reading how most BS required a fair amount of professional experience I was very disheartened. I was actually slightly depressed and lost my focus. By the time I pulled myself together, it was already too late and I couldn't study enough to warrant a high score. However, as far as I'm concerned, that's in the past and I'm currently focusing in the future, which is why I'm aiming on learning plenty and gaining experience.

So, taking all of that wall-of-text into account, I'd like to know what BS could help me further my goals. I'm not currently looking for high-paying jobs, but jobs that will add to my growth as a professional, so that I can apply for the big jobs later - I do need to make a living, of course.

I was thinking on Vanderbilt or Villanova, but I think my GMAT and my lack of experience won't get me into those - and even if it could, I think their admissions for this year are already closed. I was also looking at EDHEC, Rotterdam, Hult, Washington amongst others. But I'm not really well-versed in BS.

I'll be looking forward for your advise.

Thanks in advance for your time.
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Re: What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2013, 04:50
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Well Danteus,
The answer to all your question is simple, even if it's the one you don't want to hear (but deep down know): Retake the GMAT. Frankly speaking, a 600 will pretty much kill your chances to get into any of the top programs. And why would you settle for less??

With the GMAT there are no excuses or reasoning. Your score is your score, and actually if you got a 600 with poor preparation this is good news, because it means you can get much higher. Which I would suggest trying to do before you apply.

Good luck!!!
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Re: What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2013, 13:51
It's not that I want to settle for less, really. However, my issue is that I took the GMAT 4 days ago and I cannot retake it until a month from now, and by then, from what I've seen, most schools would have already closed their applications for the 2013 programs.
Not to mention I don't really have much money on me, and the GMAT costs $250 - not to mention the GMAT office in my country is located in the capital, meaning I'd have to pay for the travelling expenses and for a place to stay. So, along with the GMAT fees that could go up to $300-350. That's another reason why I don't/can't retake the test.

If I take the test much later, then I'll be applying for the 2014 programs and that would mean, the way I see it, I'd be wasting another year. As I've said, I'm not gaining much experience here. So, it's not as if can do much if I wait until 2014. That's why I'm set on getting on a program this year. So, I can get on an internship, find a job and gain experience. I'm sure that, even if I don't get to a top program, with good grades, good disposition and good results in internships I can find a decent to good job and gain experience.

As I said, I will be retaking the GMAT - for sure - and I'll be aiming high this time around. I'm planning on a Harvard MBA. That's pretty much set in stone. However, as things are right now, what I'm looking for is something that will serve as a stepping stone for me to enter the Finance world. So, it's not that I'm not aiming big, but I want to pave the way before I make the jump into the big things.

That's I wanted recommendations into schools that could serve as stepping stones that could serve the purpose I've detailed. I just received an offer from Hult, and I've read good things about their program. So, that's one business school I'll be applying to. But I'd like to widen my options if possible.

Anyhow, thank you very much for replying. After I saw the huge wall-of-text I had written, I thought no one would reply. I'm really grateful you took your time to read it, and to share some advise with me.
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Re: What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2013, 04:05
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Danteus,

I understand your logic, and in a certain way it does make sense. But I still would advise to apply for 2014. Let me explain my logic. First of all, you are pretty late for this year. For final rounds of applications, there are very few places open left, and most of them will be filled by folks who are on the waitlist, so you are at a distinct disadvantage to other applicants, and especially as an International student. At this point in time, by the time you hear back from the Adcoms it may even be too late for you to get a visa!!!! Anyhow, the problem is that if you accept a low ranked school this time around (which you will have to) you will likely set a pattern that will not be to your advantage. I mean you will pay lots of money to go to a so-so program, which will in all likelihood only lead you to a so-so job afterwards, and then you will be in no better position than you are in today (other than being in the US, hopefully with a work visa). Now, the position you are in right now may not provide you with everything you need, but still, you have a job, and it is in finance, which is a good start.

And I feel that from this "Safe Haven" of your job, you can do several things (maybe all): First improve your GMAT which is a must to get into a better school (which is a must to get a better job). Second to try and take initiative and get promoted, and succeed in this job. Or if you feel like it really isn't providing you with the experience you need, start looking for a more relevant job now (in Finance in Ecuador) which would also boost your profile.

And believe me, I totally understand this feeling of "I'm wasting my time" and your rush to move and do something, etc... But you know, the school application and corporate world is a very stabilized meritocratic system in a certain way. You go to the right school and you get the right test scores which gets you into the right graduate program which gets you into the right job. But if you try and skip a step in the chain, the system will not reward you for the most part. That's why I still think you should hold your horses on this year, and do what you can to make your profile as strong as humanly possible before applying next year (more volunteer work, more leadership, a promotion, more responsibilities, a great GMAT score, a better TEOFL score, a job change if necessary)...

Hope this helps...
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Re: What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals [#permalink] New post 09 May 2013, 11:55
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Danteus,

I feel that Jon has given you very solid advice and I concur with my colleague. Your GMAT is too low, even at some of your safer choices. It sounds like you have the intellectual firepower to do better based on your undergrad performance, so don't throw in the towel on the GMAT. Some of my clients took it 3-4 times before getting into a top 15 school.

And by this time 2013 is not a good option (not when you initially posted either), so take your time and get committed!

Suerte!

Alex
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Re: What BS would best fit my current situation and future goals   [#permalink] 09 May 2013, 11:55
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