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Advice on how to mitigate early college struggles on transcript

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Intern
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Joined: 09 Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Location: United States
GPA: 3.61
Advice on how to mitigate early college struggles on transcript  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2018, 01:46
Hi mbaMission,


I'm a recently graduated senior from one of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Wharton with a final cumulative GPA of 3.61 (3.80 departmental) in Government / Public Policy. I understand that I'm likely asking questions a little early for my own admissions cycle, but I just wanted to get some perspective as to how I can put my best foot forward over the next couple years before applying to business school a couple years down the fall. My goal is to attend Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, or MIT Sloan.

When I first began my undergraduate degree, I suffered an illness towards the end of the semester which really hurt my undergraduate performance in Calc II - I ended up getting a D. However, my academic performance even in quant classes was fine (but not amazing) other than that. I continued to take advanced and some graduate level math, statistics/econometrics, finance, and even some higher-level proof-based math classes, earning mostly Bs and B+s with some As and a statistics minor along the way. Despite being a government / public policy major I took one of the most quantitative courseloads and heavy courseloads in my major class, which allowed me to write an extremely quantitative and well-regarded thesis but also contributed to a slightly lower departmental / cumulative GPA (I took 6 more classes than the average person in my major does over the course of college, but 3.61 does seem a little low for a major like Government / Public Policy).

My questions are: Should I be concerned about how admissions counselors will view my quantitative/academic performance and if so, what steps should I take to mitigate this issue? My thesis advisor has stated that he would be willing to write a letter of recommendation to any graduate school I apply to corroborating my work ethic and quantitative/analytical abilities, but I've often heard professors should not be business school recommenders - thoughts on asking him to be a recommender? Is it worth taking courses online or a community college in higher level math to mitigate my academic history as a liability? Am I still competitive for these schools assuming a competitive GMAT (750+)?

I understand this is quite a bit, but thank you so much for your help and insight in advance.
Intern
Intern
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Joined: 09 Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Location: United States
GPA: 3.61
Re: Advice on how to mitigate early college struggles on transcript  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2018, 02:03
Also, if it makes a difference - I have spent the previous three summers working in corporate strategy for a large well-known media firm, analytics at a well-known sports brand, and investment banking at a bulge bracket. For work experience post-graduation I will be working in a corporate strategy role for the large well-known sports brand.
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Re: Advice on how to mitigate early college struggles on transcript  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jul 2018, 19:07
Hi JD251192,
Good for you for thinking so far ahead!

One D should not keep you out of a top MBA program. Your overall GPA is still quite strong, plus there will be an upward trend on your transcript I assume. Your first priority should be getting an above average GMAT (750 would be an ideal target), and especially making sure you have a strong Quant score (around a 49 raw score). Your second priority should be making sure you can show strength in Calc II level coursework -- it sounds like you've already done this, though it also can't hurt to "retake" the course sometime before you apply. The third priority is demonstrating quantitative skills on the job, which it sounds like you'll be able to do pretty easily given the nature of the full-time role you're starting.

When it comes time to apply, you'll want to write an Optional Essay explaining the illness and highlighting what you learned from the experience. I also lean towards using professional recommendations, especially since by the time you apply your professor's recommendation is unlikely to be very relevant.

Keep us posted if you think of other questions along the way, and also be sure to check out our long-term planning guide: https://shop.mbamission.com/products/mb ... ning-guide

Kate

JD251192 wrote:
Hi mbaMission,


I'm a recently graduated senior from one of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Wharton with a final cumulative GPA of 3.61 (3.80 departmental) in Government / Public Policy. I understand that I'm likely asking questions a little early for my own admissions cycle, but I just wanted to get some perspective as to how I can put my best foot forward over the next couple years before applying to business school a couple years down the fall. My goal is to attend Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, or MIT Sloan.

When I first began my undergraduate degree, I suffered an illness towards the end of the semester which really hurt my undergraduate performance in Calc II - I ended up getting a D. However, my academic performance even in quant classes was fine (but not amazing) other than that. I continued to take advanced and some graduate level math, statistics/econometrics, finance, and even some higher-level proof-based math classes, earning mostly Bs and B+s with some As and a statistics minor along the way. Despite being a government / public policy major I took one of the most quantitative courseloads and heavy courseloads in my major class, which allowed me to write an extremely quantitative and well-regarded thesis but also contributed to a slightly lower departmental / cumulative GPA (I took 6 more classes than the average person in my major does over the course of college, but 3.61 does seem a little low for a major like Government / Public Policy).

My questions are: Should I be concerned about how admissions counselors will view my quantitative/academic performance and if so, what steps should I take to mitigate this issue? My thesis advisor has stated that he would be willing to write a letter of recommendation to any graduate school I apply to corroborating my work ethic and quantitative/analytical abilities, but I've often heard professors should not be business school recommenders - thoughts on asking him to be a recommender? Is it worth taking courses online or a community college in higher level math to mitigate my academic history as a liability? Am I still competitive for these schools assuming a competitive GMAT (750+)?

I understand this is quite a bit, but thank you so much for your help and insight in advance.

_________________

Kate Richardson
mbaMission Senior Consultant and Chicago Booth Alum
http://www.mbamission.com
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