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What classes should I take? Acctng...Math?

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What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 15:47
I was a history major in college, and have not gone beyond college level pre-calculus. I did take Micro/Macro econ in college as well...but I have a feeling that doesn't count for much. I really don't want to be rejected from B-schools simply because I don't have enough quant knowledge. Should I take a Stats course? Calculus? Accounting? What do you guys recommend

Btw...my top choice schools are Yale, Tuck, UCLA, Duke.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 16:48
Maybe you can consider taking the CFA Level I exam (http://www.cfainstitute.org/). Although the CFA is for financial analysts, the Level I test is rather broad, covering finance, economics, accounting, and some statistical concepts. If you can take this and pass, it will give you a good foundation in finance/accounting before starting your MBA. It might also look nice on your CV, given that you are a history major. It will show that you are serious about a career in business. My background is also unconventional, and I think that my passing the CFA exam gave me an extra boost in the application process.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 19:53
I've been out, um, enjoying Fuqua's team culture, so don't have the energy to post in much detail here. But if you do a search, you can find all kinds of stuff on what kind of classes to take and where to take them.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 05:41
It partly depends on what you want to do -- if you are interested in anything other than finance, basic business courses like accounting and statistics should work for you. If you are interested in finance, then you may consider the CFA, but the CFA is a real beast and is complete overkill for anyone not intending to do finance as a career. I would say you probably need 3-4 A's in hard quant classes at good schools (e.g., not community colleges) and a >80% on the GMAT to clear the quant hurdle at top schools. I also majored in humanities, and although I passed CFA I & II (pretty intensive quant that is relevant to b-school -- certainly much harder than the GMAT), I have received several dings this year. Quant is defintely the weakest aspect of my profile (everything else is strong), so I am guessing that even having an "alternate transcript" in the CFA exams was not enough. Plan to spend the time and blow the doors off the GMAT if you are applying to super competitive schools.

I am starting to also think that it really depends on where you went to school. If you were a history major at Havard, then Harvard is definitely the key aspect of your profile. No one will care what you majored in. If you went to a state school like I did, then you will probably face a bias in the application process. Some people tend to assume that you are just some "dumb liberal arts major" who could not get into engineering or business school as an undergrad. I thought passing the CFA would be enough to overcome this, since the compound probability of clearing the first two exams is ~16%, but apparently I was wrong.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 08:57
Holy crap...3-4 classes in hard quant? I don't know if I'll have the time for all that with the GMAT...

I went to UCLA....I don't know what people think of my school. It's got a good rep in SoCal...hah.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 09:14
VictoryMBA wrote:
Holy crap...3-4 classes in hard quant? I don't know if I'll have the time for all that with the GMAT...

I went to UCLA....I don't know what people think of my school. It's got a good rep in SoCal...hah.


Well, I guess it may depend on the quality of the schools you plan to apply to. I am not familiar with the admissions standards of the schools you listed -- the bar may be slightly lower there, but I doubt it's much lower than the m7. I think UCLA offers an intro. to business series of classes in their extension program -- I have seen it mentioned here -- you may want to search the archives and / or PM kryzak. I understand the program is fairly well regarded as a way to get an alternate quant transcript.

UCLA is a good school -- most people call it a Public Elite. I personally put it at the high end of the 2nd tier (where the first tier is the uber elite schools like Harvard, Yale, etc.). If you look at the western half of the United States (perhaps excluding Texas), UCLA is a top 5-7 school. You've got Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley in tier 1 and Claremont McKenna, UCLA / University of Washington and a few other small private schools at the high end of tier two. Beyond that list, it starts to fall off pretty rapidly in my opinion. I am sure the admissions commitees at the schools you are applying to know this and are searching for geographic diversity, so UCLA may actually end up being an advantage for you (but no one really knows for sure).

One other thing I would mention is that as a humanities major, the essay section of the application is home field advantage for you. Utilizing your above average writing skills (I am assuming this is true) should give you an advantage in the app process, so make sure you devote a sufficient amount of time to the essays before applying. Good luck.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 09:59
As a CFA Charterholder, I'd like to make a couple of comments on the CFA designation. Also for your reference, I posted some similar comments a few months back as well.

http://gmatclub.com/forum/p422927#p422927

The CFA is a highly specialized designation. Unlike law, where passing the bar allows one to practice anything from personal injury to medical malpractice to environmental protection, the CFA is much more narrow in scope. In general, the CFA designation is respected (and understood) in the following forums.

Anything investment management related:
1) portfolio management
2) equity/fixed income/derivatives research and investing
3) hedge funds and fund of funds investing (pretty much regardless of strategy)
4) risk management (to a lesser extent)
5) treasury (to an even lesser extent)

Outside of this, not too much value (at least from a $$$ perspective). That includes i-banking, PE, and VC.

From an MBA admissions perspective, here's my take. Although I have not been accepted to a program as of yet, I am waitlisted at NYU and UCLA, and have interviewed with Columbia and USC (am waiting to hear back on the decision).

Depending on who you talk to on the admissions committee, or interview with, these folks are not necessarily all too familiar with the CFA. Trust me when I say this, this frustrates me to no end. In part, I believe this has to do with the marketing that the CFA Institute does, or lack thereof, in the b-school arena. Nevertheless, the situation is what it is.

A couple of brief stories:
*My friend interviews with adcom at Georgetown - she did not know what the CFA was AT ALL.
*I interviewed with adcom at USC - she knew that the CFA involved passing a couple of tests, but that's about it. In my opinion, that's as good as her knowing nothing about it. Each test requires ~250 hours+ of study time and 4-5 months of preparation. Probably even more time is needed for somebody with a non-traditional background, like yourself.
*Another friend just got back from interviewing at Yale. The 2nd year student came from a non-profit background and was going into marketing. He had no idea what the CFA was.
*The same friend met with the AD at Cornell. Essentially he didn't know what it was about.

I realize these are brief, isolated stories, but nevertheless, for somebody like myself that knows about the endless hours and dedication that one needs to pour into the CFA, ultimately it is not recognized to the extent that it perhaps should be at these top institutions. I think that the CFA is probably categorized with the CPA, CFP, CA or similar designations. Not to take anything away from those that have these aforementioned designations, but the CFA is a beast and is truly in a league of its own.

My recommendation - take a calculus course (and get an A or B in the class).
1) It shows that you are a highly self-aware candidate.
2) I think some schools even "require" this as a pre-req for admission (e.g., UCLA)
3) You can potentially mention this aspect in your essays (perhaps the optional essay). "I am making a transition from career x to career y, I have started taking the appropriate steps, by 1) taking a calc course, 2) applying to b-school, etc..."

That being said, you'll also need to show yourself on the GMAT, in particular in the quant section. Scoring over 80% is a victory and will demonstrate that you will be able to "hang" with the quant aspects of the program.

Best of luck.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 10:09
Yes, I agree here -- I think I probably should have focused more on the importance of passing these exams when writing my essays. Anyone who has the charter know that it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to earn those letters. In fact, having passed L2 and having read through the entire L3 curriculum, I think it's fair to say I know more about finance than a lot of recently graduated MBAs who studied the subject. It seems that the significance of passing these exams was somewhat lost on the adcom. 250 hours might be a decent estimate for someone who already has a finance degree, but that's pretty low for someone with no background at all. I don't think I spent less than 300-350 hours on either exam. Clearly, just passing some tests is not enough to qualify a person for b-school, but I am a bit miffed at the whole thing -- if these exams were not enough quant for the m7, then what is?! Perhaps I should have skipped the exams and spent the 700 hours doing something else to help my candidacy... I probably could have cured both AIDS and cancer with that much time.

ryguy904 wrote:
As a CFA Charterholder, I'd like to make a couple of comments on the CFA designation. Also for your reference, I posted some similar comments a few months back as well.

http://gmatclub.com/forum/p422927#p422927

The CFA is a highly specialized designation. Unlike law, where passing the bar allows one to practice anything from personal injury to medical malpractice to environmental protection, the CFA is much more narrow in scope. In general, the CFA designation is respected (and understood) in the following forums.

Anything investment management related:
1) portfolio management
2) equity/fixed income/derivatives research and investing
3) hedge funds and fund of funds investing (pretty much regardless of strategy)
4) risk management (to a lesser extent)
5) treasury (to an even lesser extent)

Outside of this, not too much value (at least from a $$$ perspective). That includes i-banking, PE, and VC.

From an MBA admissions perspective, here's my take. Although I have not been accepted to a program as of yet, I am waitlisted at NYU and UCLA, and have interviewed with Columbia and USC (am waiting to hear back on the decision).

Depending on who you talk to on the admissions committee, or interview with, these folks are not necessarily all too familiar with the CFA. Trust me when I say this, this frustrates me to no end. In part, I believe this has to do with the marketing that the CFA Institute does, or lack thereof, in the b-school arena. Nevertheless, the situation is what it is.

A couple of brief stories:
*My friend interviews with adcom at Georgetown - she did not know what the CFA was AT ALL.
*I interviewed with adcom at USC - she knew that the CFA involved passing a couple of tests, but that's about it. In my opinion, that's as good as her knowing nothing about it. Each test requires ~250 hours+ of study time and 4-5 months of preparation. Probably even more time is needed for somebody with a non-traditional background, like yourself.
*Another friend just got back from interviewing at Yale. The 2nd year student came from a non-profit background and was going into marketing. He had no idea what the CFA was.
*The same friend met with the AD at Cornell. Essentially he didn't know what it was about.

I realize these are brief, isolated stories, but nevertheless, for somebody like myself that knows about the endless hours and dedication that one needs to pour into the CFA, ultimately it is not recognized to the extent that it perhaps should be at these top institutions. I think that the CFA is probably categorized with the CPA, CFP, CA or similar designations. Not to take anything away from those that have these aforementioned designations, but the CFA is a beast and is truly in a league of its own.

My recommendation - take a calculus course (and get an A or B in the class).
1) It shows that you are a highly self-aware candidate.
2) I think some schools even "require" this as a pre-req for admission (e.g., UCLA)
3) You can potentially mention this aspect in your essays (perhaps the optional essay). "I am making a transition from career x to career y, I have started taking the appropriate steps, by 1) taking a calc course, 2) applying to b-school, etc..."

That being said, you'll also need to show yourself on the GMAT, in particular in the quant section. Scoring over 80% is a victory and will demonstrate that you will be able to "hang" with the quant aspects of the program.

Best of luck.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 12:11
Victory,

I would recommend taking Calculus and/or Accounting this summer or fall. You can then talk about the classes in your applications and maybe include the grades in your R2 apps. You can also talk about how you want to register for another class (maybe Stats) in the spring to further prepare you for the beginning of school. I think taking 1-2 classes and aceing them would be a great idea to demonstrate your commitment and alleviate any fears about your quant skills (and doing well on the GMAT quant section would help too). Also, keep in mind that almost everyone school has a summer "math camp" that students can take in order to brush up on their quant skills.
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Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2008, 13:16
Wow..maybe the CFA level I exam didn't really affect my acceptance. It seemed like the adcoms at Minnesota knew what the CFA was. Anyway, even if it didn't help my application, I don't regret taking the test. I think having prepared for that test will definitely give me a leg up when it is time to start classes.

sudden wrote:
Yes, I agree here -- I think I probably should have focused more on the importance of passing these exams when writing my essays. Anyone who has the charter know that it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to earn those letters. In fact, having passed L2 and having read through the entire L3 curriculum, I think it's fair to say I know more about finance than a lot of recently graduated MBAs who studied the subject. It seems that the significance of passing these exams was somewhat lost on the adcom. 250 hours might be a decent estimate for someone who already has a finance degree, but that's pretty low for someone with no background at all. I don't think I spent less than 300-350 hours on either exam. Clearly, just passing some tests is not enough to qualify a person for b-school, but I am a bit miffed at the whole thing -- if these exams were not enough quant for the m7, then what is?! Perhaps I should have skipped the exams and spent the 700 hours doing something else to help my candidacy... I probably could have cured both AIDS and cancer with that much time.

ryguy904 wrote:
As a CFA Charterholder, I'd like to make a couple of comments on the CFA designation. Also for your reference, I posted some similar comments a few months back as well.

http://gmatclub.com/forum/p422927#p422927

The CFA is a highly specialized designation. Unlike law, where passing the bar allows one to practice anything from personal injury to medical malpractice to environmental protection, the CFA is much more narrow in scope. In general, the CFA designation is respected (and understood) in the following forums.

Anything investment management related:
1) portfolio management
2) equity/fixed income/derivatives research and investing
3) hedge funds and fund of funds investing (pretty much regardless of strategy)
4) risk management (to a lesser extent)
5) treasury (to an even lesser extent)

Outside of this, not too much value (at least from a $$$ perspective). That includes i-banking, PE, and VC.

From an MBA admissions perspective, here's my take. Although I have not been accepted to a program as of yet, I am waitlisted at NYU and UCLA, and have interviewed with Columbia and USC (am waiting to hear back on the decision).

Depending on who you talk to on the admissions committee, or interview with, these folks are not necessarily all too familiar with the CFA. Trust me when I say this, this frustrates me to no end. In part, I believe this has to do with the marketing that the CFA Institute does, or lack thereof, in the b-school arena. Nevertheless, the situation is what it is.

A couple of brief stories:
*My friend interviews with adcom at Georgetown - she did not know what the CFA was AT ALL.
*I interviewed with adcom at USC - she knew that the CFA involved passing a couple of tests, but that's about it. In my opinion, that's as good as her knowing nothing about it. Each test requires ~250 hours+ of study time and 4-5 months of preparation. Probably even more time is needed for somebody with a non-traditional background, like yourself.
*Another friend just got back from interviewing at Yale. The 2nd year student came from a non-profit background and was going into marketing. He had no idea what the CFA was.
*The same friend met with the AD at Cornell. Essentially he didn't know what it was about.

I realize these are brief, isolated stories, but nevertheless, for somebody like myself that knows about the endless hours and dedication that one needs to pour into the CFA, ultimately it is not recognized to the extent that it perhaps should be at these top institutions. I think that the CFA is probably categorized with the CPA, CFP, CA or similar designations. Not to take anything away from those that have these aforementioned designations, but the CFA is a beast and is truly in a league of its own.

My recommendation - take a calculus course (and get an A or B in the class).
1) It shows that you are a highly self-aware candidate.
2) I think some schools even "require" this as a pre-req for admission (e.g., UCLA)
3) You can potentially mention this aspect in your essays (perhaps the optional essay). "I am making a transition from career x to career y, I have started taking the appropriate steps, by 1) taking a calc course, 2) applying to b-school, etc..."

That being said, you'll also need to show yourself on the GMAT, in particular in the quant section. Scoring over 80% is a victory and will demonstrate that you will be able to "hang" with the quant aspects of the program.

Best of luck.

_________________

MBA Blog: University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management- http://unconventionalapplicant.blogspot.com/

Re: What classes should I take? Acctng...Math?   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2008, 13:16
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