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Could you please share your thoughts on my chances at my target schools? I feel I am a pretty strong candidate given my work exp, undergrad, extra-curricular commitments. If anyone in a similar situation (previous or current) has any thoughts I'd be glad to hear them.
Target Schools: Cornell, NYU, Columbia, Wharton, Chicago, Duke (amongst others)
Why these schools?: I currently work in Sales/Trading at a major bulge-bracket I-bank (Merrill Lynch). I would like to further hone my skills further into asset management/selection primarily in alternative assets and prefer programs that offer significant opportunities for MBAs to specialize in this area. In my discussions with these schools I’ve learned that many offer both breadth and depth of finance elective courses which cater to my aspirations. After graduation I would like to work at an asset mgmt firm and then one day start my own investment management fund/firm.
My background: Atlanta GA, from Colorado/Montana
American, white, male, currently 24 (26 on matriculation Fall ’09)
Undergrad: 3.1 Goizueta (Emory) 2 majors: Finance, and Decision Information Analysis
GMAT: Not yet taken, indicated for high 600s closing on 700. Shooting for 710+
Work experience: I graduated from Emory in Spring ’05. Currently I’ve been working for 2 years, at matriculation I will have 4 years of post-graduating work experience. I also worked (nearly) fulltime while in college.
Current: Investment Analyst for Merrill Lynch in the areas of Sales/Trading. It is a very international office with many clients overseas. The position itself has a pretty typical I-bank description, but the international exposure is immense in my group.
College: (1) (2 years) Teaching Assistant: Taught, created new courses, graded exams/projets
(2) (4 years) Research Assistant: Worked with Assoc Dean, several professors
(3) (1 year) Marketing/Strategy Internship @ Bloomingdale’s
Current: Theme – I strongly believe in giving back to my Alma Mater through a direct and personal one-on-one approach. I prefer to see the direct impact of my contributions to the lives of my peers and have coordinated my time and efforts accordingly.
(1) (2 years) I am an alumni mentor for current BBA students at Emory
(2) (1 year) Panelist for BBA Career Mgmt office: Sales/Trading and Finance Interviews
(3) (2 years) Active member of Emory Young Alumni Association
College: I stayed quite busy and took many leadership positions in addition to working several jobs to pay for college. I do know that my GPA is slightly lower than my targets school's average, but I feel that my other involvements and leadership roles show strength.
(1) Social Chair, VP, and then President of my Fraternity
(2) Treasurer of the Interfraternity Council
(3) Business Editor and Founding Member: Emory Political Review
(4) FAME: Freshman Advisor/Mentor
(5) Men’s Water Polo team
I think your choice of target schools is entirely appropriate given your finance background and desire to go back to that field post-MBA. Overall I think you have a background/profile that is interesting enough to give you good fodder for an application.
The one potential hole I see is that since college you've had some decent extracurricular involvement, but no real leadership (if I'm reading your message correctly). Think about how you can go beyond being a participant and actually take on a leadership role in some way.
Re: the GMAT, don't overestimate its importance, but it would be ideal if you could score at least 700. Once you hit that mark, don't feel tempted to take it again to try and gain 10 or 20 extra points.
Thanks for your input, it's always nice to hear I don't have delusions of grandeur. Glad to know I'm on the right track. I'll work on modifying my current EC activities to include more leadership roles.