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Male, 24, Planning to apply in 2014, Canadian (Persian)
Undergrad - Bachelor of Commerce, Major in Marketing Management. School Ranking: ARWU World 201-300. Top 10 in Canada. Top 3 Comprehensive in Canada. GPA: This is where things get interesting. Overall 2.75 GPA. Last two year: 3.55 GPA. Last year: 3.85
My first couple of years at undergrad were abysmal. I essentially wrote mid terms and finals. Did not attend classes, no assignments. I was going through some stuff: Personal problems coupled with financial issues (had to defer payment for several semesters), which amounted to health issues. However, I do not want to use this as an excuse. All of this could have been avoided if I had matured and understood what I was doing. Not taking responsibility for my actions led me into the mess, and I am not about to do it again. In my last two years, I smartened up. (You can call it life altering circumstances, but really, it was me finally understanding that I had the ability to turn everything around.) I started caring about my work, going to classes, and committing myself to classes while working 20 hours a week. I actually managed a 4.0 in a class (Theory of Finance) which had a class average of 1.3.
Work experience: 2 years to date, 4 years by application time. After turning things around, I managed an internship in between my 3rd and 4th year as a Marketing Intern. My first job out of school was for a think tank of sorts in Toronto (conferences, reports). I began as a Marketing Researcher, and was promoted to Marketing Project Manager within 2 months. I resurrected a failing brand/project, and launched two successful ones which are now pillar programs at the company. In my time there, I also managed the sales team for 2 months while the company was looking for a new sales manager. This included coaching, pep talks, interviewing, and hiring. Met a number of influential people in this position, and opened up a conference in New York City.
After a year, I received a call from the company in which I had done my internship and decided to jump ship. My current company is an engineering/manufacturing firm based out of Germany. Company has 29 production sites around the world and 40 sales/marketing offices around the world. (700m euros in sales) In my role, I wear two hats: I handle all marketing activities in Canada (campaign development, media planning and buying, coming up with creative, and handling trade shows.) I also work in the Business Development function, handling Western Canada. In this role, I advise engineers, consultants and architects. Am in charge of the western budget with the ASM for West Canada. There has been talks with the President that I move into a solely marketing role in a year or two as we keep expanding in Canada.
Career Path: Marketing and marketing strategy is really my passion. I have my reasons why I am in this line and plan on staying in it. I would like to start working with a consumer facing brand, and the long term goal is to eventually start an Agency with the people I meet along the way.
More details: Ran my own business for a summer (hard to prove this though.) Played soccer throughout high school (Don Boscoe NCAA Showcase MVP). Avid reader. I know that I need to step up my extra-curriculars if I am to have any chance.
Now that that's over (sorry for the length), here is what I need help with:
1. Can I make up for my overall GPA? 2. What should I aim for in my GMAT? 3. Should I take a calculus/statistics course to show my proficiency? 4. What schools should I look into based on my profile? Is Kellogg a pipe dream? Is Kelly achievable? Are there any under-the-radar Marketing programs which are known and respected in the industry?
Thank you in advance for reading through all of that if you have. I appreciate your willingness to lend your expertise to us in such a manner.
Last edited by forevertfc on 01 Mar 2014, 09:59, edited 1 time in total.
Your initial poor performance in UG shouldn't be a cause for concern because you clearly overcame it and reversed the trend in grades. If you can couple this with a good GMAT score (good= near the average of your target schools), then you should be competitive. I say this because you have a clear vision for what you want to achieve which is very logically connected to your past. B-schools like to see that your career path has been intentional and not haphazard. Also, I see evidence of leadershp and teamwork, two very important skills for business school applicants to demonstrate. Another thing that will be attractive to b-schools is your ability to speak the language of business as well as engineering--sounds like you interfaced between these two groups professionally which is also a great skill. Make sure you speak to WHY marketing is your passion and not only the fact that it is your passion.
Re: Profile Evaluation - Appreciate all guidance [#permalink]
01 Mar 2014, 09:59
I thought I would update this and ask for your assessment.
I wrote the GMAT today - for the 2nd time - and score a 750 (Q47 V47 IR8). Is this any good for my target schools or do I need to retake? (Is my Quant too low?)
I've revised my post career goals a bit as I want to go into strategy consulting, with the main focus on sales and marketing strategy. The goal is still to start my a firm at some point, though I think this career path will set me up in a better position to do so.
The schools I am looking at now: Kellogg, Kelley, UCLA, Duke.
Am I competitive? Any other schools I should consider?
I'm also contemplating looking at consulting services for my admissions process. Will I gain from doing this? Thanks!
Thanks for all the detail in your post. To address your specific questions: 1. Can I make up for my overall GPA?--yes you can. With a high GMAT score, you can help eliminate concerns about your ability to hang in with the rest of the class in what will be a very intense curriculum. Also, posting good grades in quant classes and finance classes as you have will help. Schools don't just look a the overall GPA but also at the rigor of the classes and your upward trend in grades is worth noting in your application. Don't expect them to interpret this upward trend--also don't bombard them with a litany of excuses. Your story is very typical of students in college, so you don't have to over-explain it.
2. What should I aim for in my GMAT? these days, it's best to get a 7-handle on your GMAT if you expect to overcome academic weakness from the transcript and be competitive. At a minimum, I would aim for the mid to upper area of a school's 80% GMAT range (vs. their posted average GMAT score).
3. Should I take a calculus/statistics course to show my proficiency? Schools often require that you have had some calculus prior to matriculation, so yes I think it can't hurt to take a business calc class. Plus it will help you be better prepared as a student (beyond just impressing the adcom, that is).
4. What schools should I look into based on my profile? Is Kellogg a pipe dream? Is Kelly achievable? Are there any under-the-radar Marketing programs which are known and respected in the industry? Tough to say without the due dilligence, which I am sure you are conducting. It's always good to have a couple of reach schools in the mix along with a couple of mid-road and a couple of safety schools. Most schools will have solid marketing training, but as you note, schools like Kellogg have a particularly strong reputation in this area. do your research, visit schools, talk to alumni and you will find a handful which match your desired criteria.