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Chances of Booth/Kellogg Admission with Weak Undergrad

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Chances of Booth/Kellogg Admission with Weak Undergrad  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jan 2020, 19:24
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I plan to apply to Chicago Booth and Northwester Kellogg's Part-time MBA programs this fall or next winter. I do have a Bachelor's in computer engineering, but my academic record is weak. I realize that this may be the easiest question to answer on this forum, but I would like the experts to weigh in and, if possible, help me with strengthening my admissions applications.

The story goes that I was enrolled in the undergrad engineering program at a prominent University in India. In the winter semester of my freshman year, I was faced with an unfortunate circumstance that I did not know how to cope with (it's too personal to share the exact details here) and, as a result, I failed all but one class that semester. This was also the time that I had decided to transfer to a US university because I did not like the theory based instruction style at the school (they taught programming on the black board). So, throughout the sophomore year, I performed well and also cleared the core classes out of those failed earlier so I could transfer to a good US school, despite of the looming circumstances described earlier.

The transfer worked out very well and I got admission to a small but renowned engineering speciality school. I started out great and my GPA rose to a respectable level. However, in the last quarter of my senior year, the situation worsened so much that it was enough to make everything around me seem irrelevant or meaningless. I lost my purpose and failed another class. It took some time but I learned to cope up with such dreadful circumstances and also recovered from this failure as well, this time replacing this failed class with an A grade.

Since then, I have been working as an engineer at a renowned, Fortune-100 technology company, where I have risen up the ranks from a mere contributor to a team leader. In that role, I have even served as a functional lead for two products with a combined revenue figure in multi-million dollars. Moreover, my company has put me on the management/leadership training track and as part of that, they sponsor me for business trainings (which is basically an introduction to an MBA squeezed into a couple weeks) at universities and admitted me to their highly selective in-house leadership training program.

I want to pursue the MBA to gain a strong credential and the required knowledge/expertise to serve in business leadership oriented positions at my company, basically bridging the gap between the trainings I get from my employer and my career goals. I am pursuing the top-MBA programs because I want to learn from the best and surround myself with the smartest people one can find. Period.

The question for my peers and the experts here is - given my academic background, what do you think my chances are for admission to the part-time MBA programs at Booth or Kellogg? Do my professional achievements offset the academic shortcomings? And what can I do to strengthen my overall applications and my chances to get into these programs?

I sincerely appreciate your time and advice. And good luck to all of my peers and those planning for b-school admissions.
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Re: Chances of Booth/Kellogg Admission with Weak Undergrad  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jan 2020, 00:31
achmetj, you would be aware that GPA matters quite a lot for admissions. However, the hurdle rate is usually much lower for the part-time programs.

For reasons mentioned here, we don't speculate on school selection chances. That being said, you should definitely try to overcome the GPA hurdle.

The professional profile and how you pitch your goals/career plans matters a lot for such programs. So, put in a strong application and you should have a decent shot, generally speaking. Of course, aided with a strong GMAT score.

Also, make sure to use that Optional Essay very well to explain the situation as closely as you can - I know it might be pretty tough, but honesty and transparency goes miles.

Hope this helps some.

Cheers,
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New post 26 Jan 2020, 14:47
Thanks for your response MG4MBACrystalBall

I learned about the HBx Core program offered by Harvard Business School Online. This course has three classes - financial accounting, business analytics and economics - and is tested at the end. In your opinion, would you recommend this course for offsetting weak undergrad performance as in my case?

Thanks,
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New post 26 Jan 2020, 14:52
I would also like to hear from other experts on the original post. I am tagging the ones that I know of. mbaMission StacyBlackman
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New post 26 Jan 2020, 19:56
achmetj, HBx does have some credibility in the system. So, even though expensive, could be worth it.
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Re: Chances of Booth/Kellogg Admission with Weak Undergrad  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2020, 20:52
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I agree with the advice that you've received. If I were reading your application, my main concern would be that the situation would repeat itself where your grades will be going up and down.

So I feel your main task is to help me understand why that will not happen again.

I don't really think it's such a big deal from the perspective of your statistics, yes GPA matters but if you have a good GMAT that will satisfy any concerns about your ability to get the work done. On that note your primary focus should be on getting an outstanding GMAT that is above the average for those part-time programs. I'd say a 700 would be what you'll be shooting for.

So, as mentioned, the only other concern would be stability. So I would use the optional essay to elaborate why the conditions that led to your academic ups and downs no longer apply and how you might handle them differently.

I think what concerns me is not so much the freshmen year but the senior year. So it would be important to know more about why that happened. I'm kind of confused because you said things were going great and then you became hopeless or something.

I wrote a Blog on this topic,

https://mbaessaycoaching.com/2019/06/22 ... ow-grades/

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Chances of Booth/Kellogg Admission with Weak Undergrad  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2020, 19:40
MBAPrepCoach wrote:
I agree with the advice that you've received. If I were reading your application, my main concern would be that the situation would repeat itself where your grades will be going up and down.

So I feel your main task is to help me understand why that will not happen again.

I don't really think it's such a big deal from the perspective of your statistics, yes GPA matters but if you have a good GMAT that will satisfy any concerns about your ability to get the work done. On that note your primary focus should be on getting an outstanding GMAT that is above the average for those part-time programs. I'd say a 700 would be what you'll be shooting for.

So, as mentioned, the only other concern would be stability. So I would use the optional essay to elaborate why the conditions that led to your academic ups and downs no longer apply and how you might handle them differently.

I think what concerns me is not so much the freshmen year but the senior year. So it would be important to know more about why that happened. I'm kind of confused because you said things were going great and then you became hopeless or something.

I wrote a Blog on this topic,

Posted from my mobile device


Thanks for your reply MBAPrepCoach.

To answer your question, the senior year debacle occurred due to worsening of the same circumstances that had continued up until a couple years ago. Needless to say, there are experiences in life that one never knows how to deal with until they hit him/her. It's only when you have lived through such experiences that you develop the skills to cope with that nagging stress, and it takes time. Honestly, I don't want to tell the admissions teams at these schools about this situation and attribute the weak academics to it, only because I feel it's so personal. And that's where I need professional help and advice to successfully present my case to the admissions at these schools.

Moving on, looking into the MBA Math course, I think I am going to do that instead of the HBx Core, because it's letter graded than simple pass/fail, and it comes more highly recommended from many people. That combined with my engineering work experience and a strong GMAT score (hopefully) should help me secure admission to Chicago Booth. Your thoughts?
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Re: Chances of Booth/Kellogg Admission with Weak Undergrad   [#permalink] 07 Feb 2020, 19:40
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