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Author Message
Manager
Manager
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Joined: 07 Sep 2011
Posts: 67
GMAT 1: 660 Q41 V40
GMAT 2: 720 Q49 V39
WE: Analyst (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)
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New post 21 Aug 2012, 20:56
I'm currently planning on building an alternative transcript starting this Fall with UCLA extension. I'm already enrolled in one class there, but there are other kinds of courses that I want to take that UCLA extension doe not provide- a variety of economics classes such as macro theory (which I got a C in during my undergrad). But Harvard Extension does. So I was wondering if it would look OK to build an alternative transcript off of two different institutions? Also- Harvard Extension has different pricing based on options: non-credit, credit for undergraduate, and credit for graduate. Will choosing the non-credit option suffice (as I see no reason why I should choose credit for graduate)?

Thank you,
Christina
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Posts: 10
Location: United States (NJ)
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V45
GPA: 3.3
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
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New post 21 Jun 2018, 13:28
BUMP
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New post 22 Jun 2018, 09:48
Hi Avi2017,

Looks like @chris558's question is almost six years old (!), but I'm assuming your bump suggest that you're interested in what Chris originally asked about.

First, it is fine if the courses are taken via two different institutions, so long as both are reputable (which in Chris's example, they are). If you wanted to be really proactive, you could spend one sentence in the Optional Essay mentioning why you elected to go with two different institutions, which in this case was dictated by the institutions' course offerings relative to the courses you needed to take, skills you needed to build, and soft spots in your transcript you needed to address.

If you're building an alternative transcript, then presumably there is some weakness to your grades and transcripts that you do need to address, so you should be planning on some sort of Optional Essay already. Keep in mind that "essay" can be a strong or even misleading word; if you're explaining your academic situation and the steps you've taken / experience you have that address these weaknesses, it will often come in the form of a couple of paragraphs, rather than a whole "essay."

Keep in mind that Optional Essays need to be carefully worded. You do not want to come across like you're making excuses for poor undergraduate performance. You can provide context if that context is serious enough, but otherwise you should own it, articulate how you've grown, and detail the specific professional and academic strides you've made in the areas of weakness or concern. Also consider where and how your recommenders can buttress these areas of concern.

For example, if your grades in quantitative courses were weak, make sure your quant / analytical work is apparent on your resume, highlighted by your recommenders (among other qualities, of course), and touched on in the aforementioned Optional Essay. You should also aim to get A's in the courses you take for the alternative transcript.

As for Chris's second sub-question, it's fine to take a non-credit course so long as it's (a) equally legitimate and rigorous as comparable for-credit courses and (b) you still receive a grade in the course. If there is any give-up to the non-credit course, then I'd instead encourage you to take the "credit for graduate" option (and again, get A's).

Hope this helps!

Best Regards,
Greg

Avi2017 wrote:
BUMP

_________________

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MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 30 Jan 2017
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WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
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New post Updated on: 26 Jun 2018, 11:10
Please see post below

Originally posted by Avi2017 on 26 Jun 2018, 11:06.
Last edited by Avi2017 on 26 Jun 2018, 11:10, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2017
Posts: 10
Location: United States (NJ)
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
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GPA: 3.3
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New post 26 Jun 2018, 11:09
AvantiPrep wrote:
Hi Avi2017,

Looks like @chris558's question is almost six years old (!), but I'm assuming your bump suggest that you're interested in what Chris originally asked about.

First, it is fine if the courses are taken via two different institutions, so long as both are reputable (which in Chris's example, they are). If you wanted to be really proactive, you could spend one sentence in the Optional Essay mentioning why you elected to go with two different institutions, which in this case was dictated by the institutions' course offerings relative to the courses you needed to take, skills you needed to build, and soft spots in your transcript you needed to address.

If you're building an alternative transcript, then presumably there is some weakness to your grades and transcripts that you do need to address, so you should be planning on some sort of Optional Essay already. Keep in mind that "essay" can be a strong or even misleading word; if you're explaining your academic situation and the steps you've taken / experience you have that address these weaknesses, it will often come in the form of a couple of paragraphs, rather than a whole "essay."

Keep in mind that Optional Essays need to be carefully worded. You do not want to come across like you're making excuses for poor undergraduate performance. You can provide context if that context is serious enough, but otherwise you should own it, articulate how you've grown, and detail the specific professional and academic strides you've made in the areas of weakness or concern. Also consider where and how your recommenders can buttress these areas of concern.

For example, if your grades in quantitative courses were weak, make sure your quant / analytical work is apparent on your resume, highlighted by your recommenders (among other qualities, of course), and touched on in the aforementioned Optional Essay. You should also aim to get A's in the courses you take for the alternative transcript.

As for Chris's second sub-question, it's fine to take a non-credit course so long as it's (a) equally legitimate and rigorous as comparable for-credit courses and (b) you still receive a grade in the course. If there is any give-up to the non-credit course, then I'd instead encourage you to take the "credit for graduate" option (and again, get A's).

Hope this helps!

Best Regards,
Greg

Avi2017 wrote:
BUMP


Hello,

Thank you so much for the information! I have a few more questions-

1. Which one is more highly regarded? UCLA Extension or UC Berkeley Extension? Both have Math for Management and other courses.. I am not sure which one to take, and are similarly priced.

2. Based on my profile below, do you think I need an alternative transcript? My goal is to get into Harvard/Stanford/Wharton full time MBA 2 years from now. Also, what are my chances of getting in these schools?

Profile

Undergrad- The Ohio State University
GPA - 3.3
Major- Double Major - Finance/Accounting
Minor- Economics
Age- 26
WE- 4.5 years

Jobs held-
1 year Big 4 Valuation (Ernst & Young)
6 months Duff & Phelps Valuation (New York)
3 years Investment Banking- M&A in Tech and Media (New York)
Current Job- Manager in Corporate FP&A- M&A Special Projects team. (This is an elite team at the firm where I have significant responsibility impacting major decisions of the firm)

GMAT- 770
CFA- Taking Level 1 in December. Level 2 next year.

Volunteer & EC-
Founder & President of a top business organization at The Ohio State University (Won the Outstanding New Student Organization award in 2013)
One of the Advisers in a Finance Scholars organization, a renowned club that helps students learn finance
Big Brother (Big Brother Big Sister)

Please advise
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New post 26 Jun 2018, 16:29
1
Hi Avi2017,

Thank you for the follow-up note. Here are my observations:

1. If the courses and content look similar, then I do not view there as being a meaningful difference between UC Berkeley Extension and UCLA Extension. If I were really forced to choose, maybe Berkeley by a subconscious hair given the brand tends to carry a little more weight. But adcoms are not going to be critiquing "Berkeley versus UCLA" for a couple of extension courses. (Full disclosure: I did my MBA at UC Berkeley.)

2. You have a fantastic GMAT score and some strong experience. That's a very nice foundation. But only applying to H/S/W would be too aggressive.

(a) I don't see a ton to your story beyond the GMAT score and job. I know you can't capture everything in a Profile Review, but I'd encourage you to give HBS's Who Are We Looking For? post a read. Unless there's groundbreaking depth to that Big Brother, Big Sister experience, I don't quite see where your differentiated "Engaged Community Citizenship" comes into play.

Being light in the way of ECs and light in the way of story beyond the GMAT/job makes an already extremely difficult task even more difficult. By all means feel free to shoot for the stars, but I'd encourage to approach the process with appropriate expectations. And I'd encourage you to take the opportunity over the next couple of years to try to build out the parts of your profile that currently lack. I don't quite see the differentiators beyond the nice job and score.

(b) A 3.3 GPA is on the lower end for these programs -- probably around the 10th percentile for a given H/S/W class. Your GMAT score settles some questions about that, but you are more or less in the high GMAT / low(ish) GPA club if we're talking H/S/W, where class averages run in the 3.6 to 3.7 range. If there are courses in which you struggled, then I do believe that remedying those via additional coursework would represent credible steps on your part.

You might also give these Poets and Quants articles about the top feeder programs to HBS and Wharton a read (links below). They're a few years old now, but they underscore how concentrated the HBS and Wharton MBA classes are in "prestige" undergraduate programs.

https://poetsandquants.com/2011/08/15/t ... ss-school/
https://poetsandquants.com/2011/08/07/t ... a-program/

(c) HBS and Stanford tend to trend a little younger than most other top programs. You don't see quite as many folks with seven years of work experience at enrollment as you do elsewhere, which is what you'd seemingly have at enrollment. (The average work experience for students at HBS and Stanford are closer to four years.)

Long story short, you have a fantastic foundation with your GMAT score and jobs, and you can certainly consider including these schools in your strategy. (You'll have to decide whether it's worth to include all three, as that could tip you too aggressive overall.) But H/S are in their own league, and while Wharton is potentially more in range, I'd still encourage you develop a more balanced school strategy. Even with a more diversified list of targets, you will still absolutely need to build out your story and profile beyond the jobs and score (along all of the usual super-specific why MBA, why now, why this program, and short- and long-term career goal articulations in your future essays and applications).

Thanks!
Greg

Avi2017 wrote:
AvantiPrep wrote:
Hi Avi2017,

Looks like @chris558's question is almost six years old (!), but I'm assuming your bump suggest that you're interested in what Chris originally asked about.

First, it is fine if the courses are taken via two different institutions, so long as both are reputable (which in Chris's example, they are). If you wanted to be really proactive, you could spend one sentence in the Optional Essay mentioning why you elected to go with two different institutions, which in this case was dictated by the institutions' course offerings relative to the courses you needed to take, skills you needed to build, and soft spots in your transcript you needed to address.

If you're building an alternative transcript, then presumably there is some weakness to your grades and transcripts that you do need to address, so you should be planning on some sort of Optional Essay already. Keep in mind that "essay" can be a strong or even misleading word; if you're explaining your academic situation and the steps you've taken / experience you have that address these weaknesses, it will often come in the form of a couple of paragraphs, rather than a whole "essay."

Keep in mind that Optional Essays need to be carefully worded. You do not want to come across like you're making excuses for poor undergraduate performance. You can provide context if that context is serious enough, but otherwise you should own it, articulate how you've grown, and detail the specific professional and academic strides you've made in the areas of weakness or concern. Also consider where and how your recommenders can buttress these areas of concern.

For example, if your grades in quantitative courses were weak, make sure your quant / analytical work is apparent on your resume, highlighted by your recommenders (among other qualities, of course), and touched on in the aforementioned Optional Essay. You should also aim to get A's in the courses you take for the alternative transcript.

As for Chris's second sub-question, it's fine to take a non-credit course so long as it's (a) equally legitimate and rigorous as comparable for-credit courses and (b) you still receive a grade in the course. If there is any give-up to the non-credit course, then I'd instead encourage you to take the "credit for graduate" option (and again, get A's).

Hope this helps!

Best Regards,
Greg

Avi2017 wrote:
BUMP


Hello,

Thank you so much for the information! I have a few more questions-

1. Which one is more highly regarded? UCLA Extension or UC Berkeley Extension? Both have Math for Management and other courses.. I am not sure which one to take, and are similarly priced.

2. Based on my profile below, do you think I need an alternative transcript? My goal is to get into Harvard/Stanford/Wharton full time MBA 2 years from now. Also, what are my chances of getting in these schools?

Profile

Undergrad- The Ohio State University
GPA - 3.3
Major- Double Major - Finance/Accounting
Minor- Economics
Age- 26
WE- 4.5 years

Jobs held-
1 year Big 4 Valuation (Ernst & Young)
6 months Duff & Phelps Valuation (New York)
3 years Investment Banking- M&A in Tech and Media (New York)
Current Job- Manager in Corporate FP&A- M&A Special Projects team. (This is an elite team at the firm where I have significant responsibility impacting major decisions of the firm)

GMAT- 770
CFA- Taking Level 1 in December. Level 2 next year.

Volunteer & EC-
Founder & President of a top business organization at The Ohio State University (Won the Outstanding New Student Organization award in 2013)
One of the Advisers in a Finance Scholars organization, a renowned club that helps students learn finance
Big Brother (Big Brother Big Sister)

Please advise

_________________

Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
Sign up for a Free Consultation!

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 30 Jan 2017
Posts: 10
Location: United States (NJ)
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V45
GPA: 3.3
WE: Investment Banking (Investment Banking)
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New post 26 Jun 2018, 22:49
AvantiPrep

Thank you!!

1. What do you suggest I do for ECs besides what I am already doing? I am advising non profit organizations via Tap Root as well actually.. but these are one off events at the moment.

2. My FP&A Special Projects Manager position is actually at Verizon.. and I work closely with our Ventures team to advise on M&A. I can leverage this in my essay and say how my decisions impact not just entire Verizon corp, but also have a domino effect throughout the broader telecommunications industry. This specialization in Telecommunications can give me an edge over others coming out of straight finance.

3. Do you think taking 10 classes and getting all A's in UC Berkeley Extension classes would help enough to negate my 3.3 GPA? I have A's on many of my Advanced Classes in Finance, Accounting and Economics on my undergrad transcript. Also, do you think showing that I pass CFA levels at one attempt show hard work and intelligence?

4. Do you suggest I get a "Business Fundamentals" certificate via UC Berkeley instead of taking individual classes?

5. In terms of my story, my story is that I worked in investment banking, and am now already being groomed into a telecommunications leader at Verizon. I am the youngest manager here.. I have significant responsibility. I need the MBA to arm myself with the right skill set to better develop strategy on how I can take Verizon farther. I need the MBA to grow within Verizon, and to transform my company into something much bigger. Is this a good story for Harvard/Wharton?

6. In terms of school strategy, what top schools would you say are within reach given my profile, that place well in private equity/wall street?

Thank you... please help because I am HIGHLY MOTIVATED to get into Harvard/Wharton and WILLING TO DO ANYTHING IT TAKES for this. If there is anything I can do in next 2 years do improve, I am willing to do it. Please point out exactly what I should do to improve my chances. I understand that I am going against the time clock here a little bit.. but I am using that time to really increase my chances.
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New post 28 Jun 2018, 12:40
Hi Avi2017,

Thank you for your follow-up note and questions. Please see below for my responses:

1. Working with TapRoot is a valuable addition. If you're engaged with Big Brother / Big Sister and TapRoot, that begins to sound a little better than sporadic activity with only one, which is the feeling I got from your original post. What I'd recommend, however, is to deepen your engagement with those organizations. Rather than participating in one-off events, consider how you can take on more impactful, consistent, or leadership roles. This is something you can also explore at work, whether getting involved in (leading?) certain community impact initiatives or, on the professional side, raising your hand for certain initiatives that might be business related but are outside of your core job responsibilities (shows initiative, impact, leadership, etc.)

2. Thank you for the additional info. That is all good to know as you begin to look ahead to articulating your work experience and career goals, unpacking the value of your experiences, and telling your story.

3. I admire your willingness to work, but 10 classes is a little extreme : ) You might start by thinking about two courses, and you'll usually want to consider courses that (a) you might have underperformed in during college and (b) are quant / business relevant. If you feel like you got A's in most of those courses, then you might consider an "alternative transcript" path that is more specifically geared toward business and business prep, such as HBX CORe: https://hbx.hbs.edu/courses/core/

4. Please see previous comment.

5/6. For career goals, I am seeing "grow within Verizon" in one comment (#5) and "Wall Street / PE" in the other (#6). Either way, what you've shared in your post is a very preliminary, raw, and general blurb about what direction your story and goals might generally or directionally take. Developing your application strategy, story, and career goals requires time and introspection, and will require a great deal of refinement and a great deal more specificity than what you've shared below.

I hope these two very detailed posts have been helpful. As far as helping to select schools (beyond general guidance), further develop your story or goals, or "point out exactly what you can do" to improve your profile -- those are all things I work with clients on! So at this point, after two extremely in-depth responses, that would be the most appropriate next step if you'd like to carry the conversation forward : )

Best Regards,
Greg

Avi2017 wrote:
AvantiPrep

Thank you!!

1. What do you suggest I do for ECs besides what I am already doing? I am advising non profit organizations via Tap Root as well actually.. but these are one off events at the moment.

2. My FP&A Special Projects Manager position is actually at Verizon.. and I work closely with our Ventures team to advise on M&A. I can leverage this in my essay and say how my decisions impact not just entire Verizon corp, but also have a domino effect throughout the broader telecommunications industry. This specialization in Telecommunications can give me an edge over others coming out of straight finance.

3. Do you think taking 10 classes and getting all A's in UC Berkeley Extension classes would help enough to negate my 3.3 GPA? I have A's on many of my Advanced Classes in Finance, Accounting and Economics on my undergrad transcript. Also, do you think showing that I pass CFA levels at one attempt show hard work and intelligence?

4. Do you suggest I get a "Business Fundamentals" certificate via UC Berkeley instead of taking individual classes?

5. In terms of my story, my story is that I worked in investment banking, and am now already being groomed into a telecommunications leader at Verizon. I am the youngest manager here.. I have significant responsibility. I need the MBA to arm myself with the right skill set to better develop strategy on how I can take Verizon farther. I need the MBA to grow within Verizon, and to transform my company into something much bigger. Is this a good story for Harvard/Wharton?

6. In terms of school strategy, what top schools would you say are within reach given my profile, that place well in private equity/wall street?

Thank you... please help because I am HIGHLY MOTIVATED to get into Harvard/Wharton and WILLING TO DO ANYTHING IT TAKES for this. If there is anything I can do in next 2 years do improve, I am willing to do it. Please point out exactly what I should do to improve my chances. I understand that I am going against the time clock here a little bit.. but I am using that time to really increase my chances.

_________________

Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
Sign up for a Free Consultation!

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Re: Alternative Transcripts &nbs [#permalink] 28 Jun 2018, 12:40
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