(low gpa) Math/Econ vs Business....guidance needed.

I needed some insight/recommendations regarding banking/consulting.

I currently attend the University of Michigan, majoring in econ with a minor in math and communications
I screwed up my freshman year here pretty bad and ended up with a cumulative 2.4 GPA.

I have two choices; first to stay in the econ program and try to salvage my GPA by the time junior year rolls around, or second, to do well this year and apply to the Ross School of Business and end up graduating in 5 years. If I were admitted to Ross then my GPA would start from scratch, not to mention better recruiting and networking. As someone here mentioned, if you go to a school with a top ranked business school than you'd automatically have to "redeem" yourself for not being in it to banks/consulting firms. Not only that, but i'm inclined to reapply as I am much more interested in the bschool curriculum than the more theoretical Econ material.

Top notch grades this year would have to be a given.

Work experience so far

6 Week internship at Bain & Co, Seoul (through networking)
6 Week internship at a tiny local start up company
4 Week internship/workshop at China Unicom

Active member of 1-2 Clubs (leadership in 1)

2400 SAT score

Even if we assume top grades for the rest of school + retaking courses, the highest GPA i would be able to get by junior year would be around a 3.6-3.7 in the Economics department. Would this GPA be enough to land interviews at mbb/bb (assuming good work experience)?

If so, than would you guys still recommend that I apply to the Business school? I'd have to stay an extra year. On the positive side it would give me more time to study abroad + gain work experience, but i'd have to shell out another year in tuition + board.


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Comments (6)

Sep 20, 2008 - 11:14pm

I think that companies would be a bit forgiving with your freshman year GPA provided you do well the remaining years. I agree that Ross > LSA, but your work experience looks good particularly the Bain Internship and the SAT score is a definite plus, but I wouldn't put it on your resume in your Junior Year and maybe Sophmore Year. I don't know your financial situation, but personally I wouldn't transfer to Ross and sacrifice my time and more importantly money. There's also the possibility that you don't do well at Ross, so I'd also consider that as well. My overall advice is try to do as well as possible to get your GPA up to a 3.5+ by then it doesn't really matter whether its 3.6 or 3.7 or whatever and continue to get good work experience and network that's key especially in the current economy.

Sep 20, 2008 - 11:23pm

Ask yourself:

  1. Are you sure you want to pursue something in business? Ross is a target school: UMich alone? I'm not sure. I think it's an obvious choice if you do want to go into business (and you're sure).

  2. Will you do the same thing? Make sure you don't make the choice and realize you still aren't as motivated to study.

In the mean time, you can mitigate the dollar cost. Think about becoming an RA (free board). If that's something you'd consider, it might help ground you and give you more time to work on your grades.

Good luck, man.

Sep 21, 2008 - 2:01am

Keep in mind - Ross is also a very competitive program. I've heard of people getting rejected with a 3.5 GPA... so you will definitely have to stand out in some other way that leads the admissions people to look the other way when it comes to assessing your GPA. With that said, it is by no means the end of the world. You have strong test scores and work experience (especially for a sophomore). Not only that, but nowadays people with more quantitative backgrounds, with an understanding of finance (not necessarily a major in it) are certainly looked at as a plus. Have you considered trading?

Sep 21, 2008 - 3:01am

Thanks for all the great advice.

I've been interested in going into business since high school; interning only solidified my decision to study business.

Getting a degree in economics would save time and money (money, not as much of an issue; instate) and would arguably enable me to take a broader range of classes during my time in college (a more "well rounded" education). Looking at the curriculum, however, i feel that I would be much happier learning through the more "hands on" approach the bschool takes.

As alpha stated, Ross is a target whereas michigan as a whole is not. This is one of the main reasons why I want to apply to Ross. Michigan is a big state school; I feel like I would need to differentiate myself to be competitive. Not only that but my GPA would reset and i'd be given a fresh slate in the bschool.

Of course, admissions is very competitive. I'm hoping that a high gpa this year and my work experience will offset my terrible freshman year and pull me through.

If I get rejected/decide to stay in the econ program....will a 3.5+ be competitive enough to land me some interviews?
I thought that one needed a 3.8+ GPA to be considered by BB/MBB...

Sep 21, 2008 - 11:56am

i know a few places that would give you a look just because of your SAT score. Don't underestimate the power of that when applying to places. Think hedge funds...they like raw intellect.

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