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Very low GPA, would like to hear your thoughts

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Joined: 24 Apr 2013
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Very low GPA, would like to hear your thoughts [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2013, 05:52

I was hoping you could take a look at my profile below and let me know what you think my chances are at the schools I’ve listed? Any help or insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

About me:

I’m 27 years old and am from Northern Ireland. Growing up I was fortunate to live in 13 countries (mostly Asia but with spells in S.America and Australia) and travelled to many more (35+).

Work Experience:

Currently just under 5 years. Would be 6 or 7 depending upon when I decide to matriculate.

1 years 6 months: After graduation I was employed by (and co- founded) a start-up which focused on providing VC, Executive management expertise and international marketing to small to mid-stage growth companies within the oil and gas sector. We had a VC fund of $5million, which I raised funds for, and my work took me to Norway and Singapore regularly. The partners have recently wound up the business as they have been offered senior positions with other start-ups (they are both VP level within the industry)

6 months: I worked for an executive level figure within a multinational asset manager to create, develop and market new investment vehicles. These focused upon the alternative energy space and were marketed to institutional investors in Europe alongside the larger Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds.

3 years Worked for another multinational asset manager, the investment arm of one of the world’s largest banks. Joined at the Analyst level and was promoted to Associate after 1 year and 3 months. Initially worked in global strategy but requested a move into institutional sales as I wanted to have a more direct and perhaps tangible effect upon the balance sheet, along with wanting to interact with fund managers, investment analysts etc more. Primarily worked on pitches and research for our emerging market focused products.

Present (4 Months): Business development manager, raising assets from institutional investors for an Asian based investment firm with responsibility for clients in the Uk, Netherlands and Ireland.


College: I played rugby for the college team; I also managed one of the intramural teams (Got the squad together, liased with other teams, secured sponsorship etc). Assisted with coaching of a local junior school rugby team in the area. Was a member of the university investment club.

After College: I sit on an alumni committee for my university which gets events going in and around the capital and which also seeks to increase alumni involvement with the university for mutual benefit. Participate in various charities and do volunteer work. I have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money for charity and have helped to build an orphanage in Vietnam. I continue to travel as opportunity allows, and hobbies include golf and rugby.

I have been accepted onto a part time MSc in Finance at Cass Business School in London, commencing September 2013. The MBA would definitely be my preference and, if the masters won’t aid my admission, I’ll forgo it to focus on my MBA applications

Very low GPA. I don’t know what it translates to in the American system as I studied in the UK, but I’ve seen it converted as low as 2.0. No excuses, I had a hard time at college but bare sole responsibility for my own failings. I’ve worked hard to prevent it from holding me back.

I not sure which is the best way to combat this, taking several college level classes and getting A's (UCLA extension perhaps) doing the masters and putting off my MBA application for a year or two?

GMAT: 720. I may be able to push this higher with dedicated study and practice. I’m looking to matriculate in 3 years.

Target Schools

Stretch: NYU, Duke, Darden,Ross, Tepper

Sweet spot/Fall back: UNC, Emory, Georgetown, Texas @ Austin, Rice, Marshall

- Is the MSc in Finance something I should pursue? My only interest in doing so would be if a) I’m very unlikely to gain admission to any of the schools listed above b) it would help my application
- Are the schools I have listed appropriate?

Thanks again, I look forward to getting your input

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Affiliations: Columbia, Wharton, LBS
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Schools: Harvard, Stanford, LBS, Columbia, Wharton, HEC Paris
Re: Very low GPA, would like to hear your thoughts [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2013, 17:50
Thanks for your posting.

To be direct, you have a very interesting background that a lot of business schools would find compelling, even with your low GPA. To combat this, I recommend starting to take classes over the summer and in the fall -- and so that you can have as many classes under your belt by the time you apply -- apply R2 so hopefully we can show at least four classes with very high grades. Business schools will weigh these heavily especially as your GMAT score is high and you have done many interesting things in work and life.

I would not recommend pursuing a MFin. It is a very different degree than an MBA and based on what you present here, I believe it is too focused for you. I also think you would have a better peer group in MBA programs. Lastly, I think you would benefit much more from an MBA degree than an MFin degree.

As for which schools to apply to I like your list very much and it has the schools that I would have recommended. I recommend that you also consider Anderson (as I have worked with a lot of second chance people who have gotten into school there) and Cornell (they really like candidates with unique backgrounds). I know these schools may seem like stretches, but if you address your grades and present very strong applications (they have to be great as you have used all room for error in your grades).

Good luck.

Kimberly Plaga
Senior Admissions Consultant
Manhattan Review

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Re: Very low GPA, would like to hear your thoughts [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2013, 20:28
Hi JDonaghy13, simply put there's nothing like an outstanding GMAT score to make schools forget about your GPA. Obviously the GPA is important, but taking a couple of courses will only raise it by a small margin. It could help but it will be a slow road. If, however, you get a 720 on your GMAT as you indicated you're aiming for, then the GPA was a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. I had an under 3.0 GPA and ended up getting a tuition waiver (scholarship) because of my high GMAT score, so it's definitely doable.

Since I'm not familiar with all the admissions aspects, I'll abstain from answering your questions about schools. I just wanted to mention that the GMAT can make the GPA an afterthought instead of a primary concern.

Best of luck!

Ron Awad
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor
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Re: Very low GPA, would like to hear your thoughts   [#permalink] 25 Apr 2013, 20:28
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Very low GPA, would like to hear your thoughts

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