Choosing an MSF: What are my chances and how to make a decision?

Hey everyone,

I'm currently an undergraduate student at a non-target school that has a much more infamous reputation for its partying than it does for its education. I initially had gone to a smaller Jesuit university for its medical program, where I was majoring in Biology. Only went the medicine route because of familial pressure. Did okay for the first couple of years, then got disinterested and my GPA suffered as a result. Transferred back home to this non-target school and joined business school for Finance, as I had always wanted to do. Been here two years, now in my senior year. Came in with a transfer GPA of 2.82 and have gotten a 4.0 during my 2 years, raising my cumulative GPA to 3.25 - should be 3.31 by the end of this last semester. I recently took the GMAT and earned a 780 - 50Q, 48V, 8IR. I had an internship this past summer with a Fortune 500 pharmaceuticals company, working in Corporate Strategy. They asked me to stay on as a part-time student employee during the school year, and I accepted - this is my current job. They have offered me a full-time position upon graduation but I'm not certain if this is the industry I would like to be in.

I want to eventually end up in the PE/VC/HF markets and realize that an IB analyst position is one of the most straightforward ways to do so. However, networking sucks at my school, and its presence on the Street is non-existent. I am planning on taking Level 1 of my CFA in June and am currently applying to MSF programs to utilize their networking, presence and reputation. My current list is:

Boston College
Fordham University
Claremont Mckenna
Syracuse
Vanderbilt
West Virginia
Villanova
University of Texas
Purdue
SMU
Ohio State University
Duke MMS

I realize MSFs place mostly regional; I'm fairly flexible, but I would love to be in either the NYC/Boston area or California. Location matters, but I'm looking for the best job with the most upwards mobility potential.

I've been doing my research on this site, and been following @"TNA" pretty heavily as he seems to be the subject matter expert; from my research, these seem like the best programs. I was just wondering if I could get comments on my chances at getting in and if these really are the programs that will give me the best shot. If there is a better path for me to take, I would like to get everyone's opinions. Cheers!

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Comments (18)

Jan 19, 2014 - 1:02pm

Hey man, I'll give you some advice in a little bit. Just walking out of my apt right now.

Jan 19, 2014 - 1:16pm

Edit - I will just respond now.

So you have a 3.3 GPA, 780 GMAT and F500 work experience.

1st thing I want to say is why do you not want to accept your job FT? Seems like a good gig and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You are in the pharma industry, with some moving around in your firm and a decent MBA you might be able to achieve your goals without the masters. Food for thought.

As for schools, here are my predictions.

Boston College - In
Fordham University - Don't apply
Claremont Mckenna - 75% In
Syracuse - Don't apply
Vanderbilt - Most likely in
West Virginia - Don't apply
Villanova - In
University of Texas - In
Purdue - Don't apply
SMU - Only apply if you absolutely want Texas and need a back up school
Ohio State University - In
Duke MMS - In

Now this advice is assuming you don't need sponsorship. If you are international then some of the above will change as schools try and moderate their % international. Most will remain the same though.

So if you want to be in NYC/Boston and Cali, obviously apply to Claremont, Boston College, Villanova, Vanderbilt and Duke. Realize Duke is going to be a management degree and have one of the strongest brands up there. This will open you up to a wider range of placement opportunities than a focused MSF degree would. Probably will be "easier" in the sense that classes on the whole will be less quantitative.

You don't mention if cost is an issue? I think with your profile you will get scholarship money at a variety of places. All the schools I think you will get into have solid brands so you will have to decide if money trumps brand in certain circumstances. If you are applying this year I would suggest you get started ASAP as most schools have already finished R1 and are prepping for R2.

If you have any other questions just let me know. Good luck!

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Jan 19, 2014 - 1:35pm

Thanks for the prompt reply man, appreciate it. Definitely have given me solid food for thought. The only reason I don't want to accept the F500 position is because I'd really like to end up in the PE/HF/VC industries and I'm not certain if a pharma corp strategy position will lead me there. Also, I have a very excellent relationship with my boss, who's an EVP, and he is fully aware of my MSF plans. He's repeatedly assured me that the full-time offer will remain even after the MSF.

Fortunately cost is not an issue and I'm a US citizen so neither is sponsorship. I've started my applications and should have them completed in time for R2. I have just two more questions:

1.) Do you think the fact that I've missed R1 will be largely detrimental?
2.) Is there new MSF program at USC-Marshall worth applying too?

Jan 19, 2014 - 1:49pm

1) I think your application is strong so no, R2 wont be an issue.

2) I think USC is worth applying to, but it is untested at this point. If you want Cali I would definitely throw an app in. Just make sure if you get in you check out the class make up. From what I have heard and what I have gotten from speaking with admissions is they are looking for the best stats, international or not. So I have a feeling that the 1st year might be overweight international students. If you are fine with being in a class like that then cool.

The upside is that if they do this you will have a lot less competition since you don't need sponsorship. I know a guy who is doing another specialized masters there and he has had nothing but good things to say. Great alumni also.

  • 1
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Jan 19, 2014 - 5:29pm

MIT might be worth a shot, but I think it would be tough. Gpa is low and the transfer gpa is going to raise questions. I'd give it less than a 50% shot. If time isn't an issue then might throw in an app.

Jan 19, 2014 - 5:32pm

TNA:

MIT might be worth a shot, but I think it would be tough. Gpa is low and the transfer gpa is going to raise questions. I'd give it less than a 50% shot. If time isn't an issue then might throw in an app.

The application is free as well since he/she is US candidate. I think as long as OP addresses the GPA the gmat score speaks enough for the intelligence component. 50/50 odds? Those are pretty good to get into one of the 2 premier MSF programs.

Jan 19, 2014 - 5:48pm

BBParty:

TNA:

MIT might be worth a shot, but I think it would be tough. Gpa is low and the transfer gpa is going to raise questions. I'd give it less than a 50% shot. If time isn't an issue then might throw in an app.

The application is free as well since he/she is US candidate. I think as long as OP addresses the GPA the gmat score speaks enough for the intelligence component. 50/50 odds? Those are pretty good to get into one of the 2 premier MSF programs.

Jan 19, 2014 - 5:50pm

I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that you wouldn't combine the two GPAs. Meaning that you'd have a GPA from your first school of 2.8 and your GPA at your second school would be 4.0. Is this not how it is done everywhere?

Are you any more decided on your future career direction than just PE/HF/VC?

I don't think that working on the CFA is the best use of your time and/or resources.

[quote=patternfinder]

Of course, I would just buy in scales.

[/quote]

See my WSO Blog | my AMA

Jan 19, 2014 - 10:29pm

When I transferred to my new university, the grades I had received at the old one were also transferred. On my current transcript, it does differentiate between a transfer GPA of 2.82 and an institution GPA of 4.0, but the last line still remains Cumulative GPA of 3.24. That's the one I assumed I should be using on my applications wherever it asks for cumulative GPA. Should be the case, correct?

Jan 19, 2014 - 11:16pm

No worries. I'll email admissions and see what they say.

Jan 21, 2014 - 10:08am
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