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Prepping for B-School: GPA, "Story" and More

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Khayembii Communique, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Khayembii Communique

    Khayembii Communique Senior member

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    I didn't see a thread on this, maybe we could start a general b-school prep thread, I don't know. I'm not even considering applying for a few years, but after I take CFA L1 in June I'm going to be focusing on GMAT studies for a couple months and I'd like to start prepping as much as possible for when I do apply.

    My first questions are regarding GPA. I graduated from a non-target with a 3.02 GPA, BS Civil Engineering and second Economics major. Not the greatest GPA I know. This was a combination of personal problems culminating in a very bad semester, lowered expectations based on ignorance, and a lack of understanding myself and how I learn best (i.e. I'm terrible at sitting through lectures and learn best on my own reading books, though now I know how to sit through that kind of stuff but didn't back then).

    Let's say I'm planning to Top 10 MBA progs.

    1. Would such adcomms take into account that I went for a "harder degree" which explains, at least in part, a lower GPA?

    2. I am taking one or two graduate level courses in Spring 2013 at the same school from which I graduated, in which I'm planning on receiving A's. The courses I am taking are high-level finance courses (FWIW I'm trying to get into finance); I am getting the professors to allow me to override the prerequisites and enroll in the courses. Would this be a sufficient number of courses to "build an alternate transcript," and offset my poor GPA?

    3. When applying for jobs, can I place my "graduate" GPA on my resume? Can I place it on applications? Would this be unethical because I only took two courses?

    4. On passing the CFA L1 (and possibly L2) exams by the time I apply, would this contribute towards offsetting my GPA? How heavily would adcomms weigh the CFA?

    5. I guess my plan is to take at least the two uni courses, pass CFA 1 and maybe 2 and knock the GMAT out of the park to make up for the GPA. Would that be sufficient?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012


  2. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

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    I would believe the admissions committee will look at all your achievements and take everything into account. But most schools give heavy weight to GPA or GMAT score.
     


  3. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    I haven't applied to business school but to my knowledge:

    1. not really. Though if you went to MIT majoring in civil engineering they think highly of quantitative aptitude,.
    2. I don't know.
    3. I think this would look silly.
    4. What's a CFA? Is that an accounting licensing exam?
    5. No offense, but at your GPA NO. You'll need to demonstrate other things too like leadership in the workforce. I actually heard the 2 things business schools look for the most are GMAT and great WE.

    Try expanding your applications to the top 25. WIth your GPA it is going to be hard to get into a top 10, unless you are a URM(underrepresented minority like black, latino, or female).
     


  4. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    Actually I do know the answer to 2. No, getting 2 As will not affect your GPA enough to become anywhere near the median of the last incoming class of any top 10. This is reflected in the statistics. Good luck man.
     


  5. Khayembii Communique

    Khayembii Communique Senior member

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    Well I know this, but I was just trying to avoid getting dinged based on GPA. I know GPA is just a single factor they take into consideration as well. I know I can ace the GMAT and I'm working on building a solid resume based on volunteering, leadership, work ethic, etc. I've worked hard the past few years at being good at my jobs, but not excelling to the extent that top b-schools require, though I think I have time in the next few years to do this.

    I'm not taking the courses to improve my GPA; I'm taking them to build an alternative transcript...
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012


  6. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    It'll be a steep uphill battle for you man, they think strongly of grades and if you're not at least a manager, forget about it. Seriously, blanket the top 25. Actually, blanket the top 40 if you still want to go, just to be on the safer side.
     


  7. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    but the alternative transcript is to offset the gpa. it's saying "these are the grades I get now that are a better measure of my ability". So 1, they will lump that in, albeit with less weight than your ugrad gpa, and come up with a kind of "new gpa" that they will use to compare you against others. 2, I doubt two classes will mean shit to telling them what kind of grades you would get in business school.

    Are you sure you want to go to business school? I'm getting a bad vibe here....
     


  8. CunningSmeagol

    CunningSmeagol Senior member

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    Your prep should start with these questions:

    How old are you?

    Where did you go to school?

    What do you plan to get on the GMAT (like, what actual number)?

    What is your work experience?

    Do you have a compelling story?

    Business schools do not care about things like CFAs, alternative GPAs, and excuses for getting bad grades at a non-target school. Those are available to literally anyone. You really need a hook that makes them think, "wow, we cannot get this person anywhere else." They want to build diverse classes, sure, but they're only going to bend the usual standards and risk their quantitative averages (that feed into the rankings), especially at the top 10, for someone who is really special. Is that you?

    If you had a good GPA, 750+ GMAT, went to a good undergrad and worked at a company they know or founded your own, then yes, you'll probably get in even though they get thousands of applicants with the same credentials.
     


  9. Saturdays

    Saturdays Senior member

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    Precisely this. Quit the CFA unless you are keen on working as an Asset/Wealth Manager, Schools want the high GMAT and good GPA. They will obviously be looking at a multitude of criteria, for instance how have you progressed in your career, what do you superiors and managers have to say about your work. What have you done outside of work? Are you a self starter, have you several important instances of experience to bring into discussion with your peers.

    They also look at you and what you goals are post-MBA, they care about what their students get into after they graduate.

    I'm not gonna paint it great for me either, I have a 3.02 as well and did Finance at a State school. I got a job as an FA in a F500 and am currently studying for the GMATs so that maybe I can prove that i've changed my old habits and developed better ones. I'm also trying to get my foot in the door into new roles that are highly valued by an MBA school. I am confident that I can get into a school like U of Michigan, I've seen people in my situation or worse get in. Although ideally I would like to go to an Ivy to please my father, and to open a wider scope of opportunity. The company I work for is well affiliated with some Ivy schools and may be able to assist me should I prove I am a valuable asset to them.

    A lot of this is my own wishful thinking, but based off the experiences of multiple acquaintances, and hopefully with my situation I can make the better of it.
     


  10. Biscotti

    Biscotti Senior member

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    Fuck I thought I was bad with a 3.55 and a job in the particular industry; good luck bud...
     


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