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# Worth it to take additional classes to improve profile?

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22 Sep 2012, 18:55
I've majored in Finance, but have taken very few quantitative classes (mathematics, statistics, probability, etc). What's the general consensus on taking additional classes to improve one's chances of acceptance into a top 20 program? Is it worth the time? My GPA is 3.7, so I would strictly be doing it to show that I can handle quantitative coursework. Or this unnecessary if I get a strong quant score on the GMAT?

Alternatively, I was thinking of studying for, and taking part 1 of the CFA... not sure what is the best use of my time. What do you guys think?
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22 Sep 2012, 20:40
ZED07 wrote:
I've majored in Finance, but have taken very few quantitative classes (mathematics, statistics, probability, etc). What's the general consensus on taking additional classes to improve one's chances of acceptance into a top 20 program? Is it worth the time? My GPA is 3.7, so I would strictly be doing it to show that I can handle quantitative coursework. Or this unnecessary if I get a strong quant score on the GMAT?

Alternatively, I was thinking of studying for, and taking part 1 of the CFA... not sure what is the best use of my time. What do you guys think?

I'd say it's unnecessary since you majored in finance. I barely took any quant classes in undergrad and my grades in some of them left much to be desired. I didn't take any additional classes, but I did score well on the GMAT quant section. I still got into Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg. Don't worry about beefing up an aspect of your profile that doesn't need it.

I wouldn't take Level 1 of the CFA unless it's something you want to do for your career. You don't really need it for admissions purposes given your good GPA in finance.
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23 Sep 2012, 06:03
cheetarah1980 wrote:
ZED07 wrote:
I've majored in Finance, but have taken very few quantitative classes (mathematics, statistics, probability, etc). What's the general consensus on taking additional classes to improve one's chances of acceptance into a top 20 program? Is it worth the time? My GPA is 3.7, so I would strictly be doing it to show that I can handle quantitative coursework. Or this unnecessary if I get a strong quant score on the GMAT?

Alternatively, I was thinking of studying for, and taking part 1 of the CFA... not sure what is the best use of my time. What do you guys think?

I'd say it's unnecessary since you majored in finance. I barely took any quant classes in undergrad and my grades in some of them left much to be desired. I didn't take any additional classes, but I did score well on the GMAT quant section. I still got into Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg. Don't worry about beefing up an aspect of your profile that doesn't need it.

I wouldn't take Level 1 of the CFA unless it's something you want to do for your career. You don't really need it for admissions purposes given your good GPA in finance.

Thanks for the feedback, cheetarah. I'm just trying to think of ways to improve my profile, as I'll be applying next fall and have some time on my hands. Already started to study for the GMAT but wanted to see if there were other things I could work on.

Congrats on the great admits! Actually, those schools, along with CBS, would be my top choices. I would be all ears if you were to share some of the wisdom/advice on apps for those 3. I'm planning to visit all of my top schools next month to get a head start for the process.

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23 Sep 2012, 06:39
All depends on your test scores, and even if your Q turns out low, I would retake a GMAT/GRE before taking a quant class.
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25 Sep 2012, 22:43
ZED07 wrote:
cheetarah1980 wrote:
ZED07 wrote:
I've majored in Finance, but have taken very few quantitative classes (mathematics, statistics, probability, etc). What's the general consensus on taking additional classes to improve one's chances of acceptance into a top 20 program? Is it worth the time? My GPA is 3.7, so I would strictly be doing it to show that I can handle quantitative coursework. Or this unnecessary if I get a strong quant score on the GMAT?

Alternatively, I was thinking of studying for, and taking part 1 of the CFA... not sure what is the best use of my time. What do you guys think?

I'd say it's unnecessary since you majored in finance. I barely took any quant classes in undergrad and my grades in some of them left much to be desired. I didn't take any additional classes, but I did score well on the GMAT quant section. I still got into Wharton, Booth, and Kellogg. Don't worry about beefing up an aspect of your profile that doesn't need it.

I wouldn't take Level 1 of the CFA unless it's something you want to do for your career. You don't really need it for admissions purposes given your good GPA in finance.

Thanks for the feedback, cheetarah. I'm just trying to think of ways to improve my profile, as I'll be applying next fall and have some time on my hands. Already started to study for the GMAT but wanted to see if there were other things I could work on.

Congrats on the great admits! Actually, those schools, along with CBS, would be my top choices. I would be all ears if you were to share some of the wisdom/advice on apps for those 3. I'm planning to visit all of my top schools next month to get a head start for the process.

Focus on the other aspects of your profile beyond academics. How is your work experience and leadership? Are you a career changer? Have you started doing things that align with your intended career path. The best things you can do to improve your profile are to kill it at work (go for leadership roles and promotions if available), study hard and do well on the GMAT, and get some solid ECs under your belt. If you haven't been active in anything outside of work since undergrad then take a page from your college book and re-engage in activities that are similar to what you were involved in then (but beer pong doesn't count ). This will help you show a track record of involvement in this particular area. If you're already doing all of these things then just keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track.
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26 Sep 2012, 15:13
[/quote]
Focus on the other aspects of your profile beyond academics. How is your work experience and leadership? Are you a career changer? Have you started doing things that align with your intended career path. The best things you can do to improve your profile are to kill it at work (go for leadership roles and promotions if available), study hard and do well on the GMAT, and get some solid ECs under your belt. If you haven't been active in anything outside of work since undergrad then take a page from your college book and re-engage in activities that are similar to what you were involved in then (but beer pong doesn't count ). This will help you show a track record of involvement in this particular area. If you're already doing all of these things then just keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track.[/quote]

Thanks, Cheetarah. A lot of good points. I think I have most of these covered. Not sure if I'd be considered a career changer... I went through an IBA program at a regional bank and now am in corporate banking. Overall goal is to get into PE, with a short-term goal of strategy consulting out of school. I've heard that trying to get into PE straight out of school with no direct experience is an exercise in futility and may get you dinged by admissions due to likely negative impact on placement rates. I'm originally from Europe and would like to end up there eventually, ideally capitalizing on emerging market opportunities. Just struggling to find a way to develop my "international/global story" given that I don't have any international work experience and have been here for over 10 years.
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26 Sep 2012, 16:15
ZED07 wrote:

Focus on the other aspects of your profile beyond academics. How is your work experience and leadership? Are you a career changer? Have you started doing things that align with your intended career path. The best things you can do to improve your profile are to kill it at work (go for leadership roles and promotions if available), study hard and do well on the GMAT, and get some solid ECs under your belt. If you haven't been active in anything outside of work since undergrad then take a page from your college book and re-engage in activities that are similar to what you were involved in then (but beer pong doesn't count ). This will help you show a track record of involvement in this particular area. If you're already doing all of these things then just keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track.[/quote]

Thanks, Cheetarah. A lot of good points. I think I have most of these covered. Not sure if I'd be considered a career changer... I went through an IBA program at a regional bank and now am in corporate banking. Overall goal is to get into PE, with a short-term goal of strategy consulting out of school. I've heard that trying to get into PE straight out of school with no direct experience is an exercise in futility and may get you dinged by admissions due to likely negative impact on placement rates. I'm originally from Europe and would like to end up there eventually, ideally capitalizing on emerging market opportunities. Just struggling to find a way to develop my "international/global story" given that I don't have any international work experience and have been here for over 10 years.[/quote]
Have you traveled abroad, do you have family abroad, or have you worked with clients in multinational companies? Any of these will help explain your interest in emerging markets. I was born and raised in the US but used my family ties in West Africa as a basis for my long term goals. It's not a stretch as long as you can make some type of connection to the area of the world you're interested in (and it doesn't have to include previous in country work experience). Corporate banking --> consulting --> PE would definitely make you a career changer. Figure out what the skill gap is between consulting and what you're doing now. Figure out ways to use your time outside of work to prepare yourself to move in that direction. You could offer your expertise in finance to a local small business. You could join the board of a non-profit organization in a finance capacity. You could mentor university students who are interested in finance. Any of these would show that you are working towards building the skillset necessary to be a consultant. Then it makes the switch from corporate banking more logical. You can say, "I've developed my interest in this line of work by doing A and B. Now I need an MBA to learn C and D to complete my skillset."

You have a year (which is a lot of time and not a lot of time). Research your short and long term goals and then try to find activities that interest you and also align with the skills needed to be successful in those career fields. HTH.
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09 Feb 2013, 11:34
Hi ZED07.

I agree with Cheetarah1980 when he/she suggested that you "Focus on the other aspects of your profile beyond academics" - like gaining work experience and leadership.

Instead of taking formal classes outside of work, how about using that time to gain additional leadership, strategy, and team building skills? Consulting a struggling nonprofit or small business with some of its financial, operations, and marketing challenges could be just the trick to elevate your profile.

Consider partnering with a volunteer organization such as SCORE, Net Impact, USALC, or Taproot. These orgs provide strategy consulting assistance to emerging organizations in need. They partner with volunteer professionals like yourself to provide this assistance.

Thank you again & good luck,

Maxwell Roper
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14 Feb 2013, 20:23
Related, what if you're just not good at standardized tests and expect a low quant score? Could recent courses in calculus and/or stats make admission people not focus too much on a lower quant score? I've earned 4.0 on recent classes, but I'm testing low on GMAT practice.
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14 Feb 2013, 21:29
It is probably better than nothing and shows dedication but unless you get a really low quant score (below 44) I am not sure that you need to explain it and take a class

As long as your profile/essays are solid the quant score should not be the big focus (unless a qualified admissions consultant disagrees with me and throws my point out out if the window).

However if the class helps you score or do better on the test that may be a double positive.
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15 Feb 2013, 07:34
Can I go for choice C: neither of the above.

With a 3.7, I don't see how adding more classes into the mix will really help you out. I mean it can't look bad, but if your purpose here is only to improve your candidacy, I feel like this is pouring energies into the wrong thing. Same thing for the CFA, esp if we are talking about level 1 (which a lot of candidates have). Sure, it can't hurt, but if you want to make efficient use of your time to invest in improving your candidacy, I'm not sure if this is the best way.

Of course if you want to take the CFA anyway or the classes, by all means, do that, it's great!
I would just focus on the GMAT, and do whatever it takes to get as high a score as possible. Otherwise it's like trying to ride two horses at the same time, and you many find yourself being taken in two separate directions.
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Re: Worth it to take additional classes to improve profile?   [#permalink] 15 Feb 2013, 07:34
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