M7 MBA with a star studded CV, apart from an undergrad 3.15GPA / high 2:2 degree(mitigating medical circumstances)?

hlrd's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 23

Hi everyone,

I graduated from Warwick university 4 years ago, which is a top target and highly competitive uni for Wall Street, for my undergraduate with a high 2:2 degree (converted to 3.15 GPA). I suffered from debilitating social anxiety and mental health illness and considered taking my life a few times during my degree, which affected my degree results. However, a Big-4 accounting firm took a gamble on me and I joined as a graduate associate at just 20 years old, in London, straight after graduation.

I became one of their best graduate recruits in UK and completed both my ACA(coveted chartered accountancy professional degree) and CFA in less than three years. Became one of their best and youngest, if not the youngest Assistant Manager and look forward to my upcoming promotion to manager level next year. All this happened in 4 years and I am just 24. I am confident about scoring very high marks in GMAT and have excellent credentials from high-school to professional career, including extracurriculars, apart from my low undergrad GPA.

DO YOU GUYS THINK I CAN SECURE A M7 MBA PROGRAMME OR GET RECRUITED AS A SENIOR ANALYST AT A BB INVESTMENT BANK, CITING MY LOW UNDERGRAD GPA DUE TO MEDICAL/MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES?

Comments (16)

Aug 6, 2018

From someone who's struggled with mental problems myself, congrats on all you've accomplished and best of luck in the future

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Aug 6, 2018

i dont want to be a debby downer and congrats on recovering from a 2.2 but tbh the whole young angle is most likely since your birthday is in late sept and you start the grad scheme in at start of sept? being made manager after AM2 in 5th year is standard. CFA & ACA at same time whilst awesome (and which i didnt do) are not that infrequent also.

edit: also kids who start on the 5 year qualification path straight from school become younger assistant managers too i believe.

my main qs is why you didnt ask for grade review due to mitigating circumstances?

i think your best bet is to stay in UK, transfer to CF M&A team after you finish AM2, dont bother going to Audit Manager level its just a waste of time. Dont listen to partners who try and sell it. TRANSFER TRANSFER TRANSFER.

Transfer as Executive, work 1-2 years until Manager (maybe) and then see if you can transfer as Analyst2. Maybe even after 1 year. If not work till you're like ED and then see if some boutique picks you up.

i havent seen people go to BB but ive seen people go to v.prestigious MM boutiques after 2 years in CF after starting in Audit...and some even to PE after wards after a long enough journey.

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Aug 6, 2018

I transferred to Corporate Finance from Audit as soon as I became Assistant Manager. But is it not difficult moving to M&A with my low undergrad GPA? Despite the prestigious university, I've been told that its hardly possible. The grade review only works if you are within 58-60 and they award you the 60. I fell marginally short at 57.5. But now you see why the Big 4 accounting firm recruited me.

Aug 6, 2018

Regarding my age, my birthday is in February and I skipped a grade once. I started university at 17 and graduated at 20.

Aug 6, 2018

you went from Associate to AM1? in the case it is impressive. i havent heard of that before. or do you mean you finished school early and hence entered uni at 17?

are you in the M&A team atm in your Big 4? or T/S? If M&A just try and get as good exposure as you can. If T/S try and either transfer to M&A team using internal network or try and leverage T/S into lower ranked boutique.

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Aug 6, 2018

to answer your original qs - i think there are most likely enough Big 4 audit background people already for M7... no doubt the sponsorship issue will make things hard to for US employment subsequently....true Big 4 rock stars create new firm wide incubators & initiatives; create leadership networks; transfer to CF & then transfer to bank then transfer to Portfolio manager /PE etc. being just good at your job and doing ACA & CFA isnt really that remarkable in the grand scheme of things. cant remember the website but there used to be one where you could read the profiles of m7 applicants...and they were top notch above & beyond mostly.

not speaking from experience - was no where near "rock star" and only picked myself up after quitting...but have def seen a few in my time.

i think the other alternative route for you is to continue in Big 4 M&A (ideally) type team then go to LBS for MBA after 5-7 years then join some Corporate Development team in industry.

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Aug 6, 2018

Dont you think the 2:2 (although with mitigating circumstances), will be a red flag when moving to a MM boutique or the MBA at LBS like you suggested?

Aug 6, 2018

tbh - i dont know. the only people with 2.2 i knew where internationals who just glossed over it and hustled into good positions in their home countries or ended up being wastemen in UK (of which you are neither).

you have nothing to lose by moving up the ladder of Big4 M&A whilst trying to see what options you can get in terms of boutique / MBA.

if after 1-2 years in M&A you cant get a MM/boutique offer just kick ass till youre like Assistant director or Senior Manager then apply to LBS.

i dont know the grade reqs but from what i can see from googling your CV/GMAT / References & Essays are what matters...not your undergrad from 7-8 years ago.

https://www.mastersportal.com/studies/17010/master...
again, i could be wrong but if i am then there literally is nothing wrong with kicking ass all the way to partner or w/e. as i said, if you're in the M&A Big4 team you might not get the sexiest of exit opps...but you will get them if you hustle. plenty of proof on linkedin. once you made 1-2 moves and youre like 5-8 years out of uni no one will care. Just put down that you're a graduate, ACA, CFA etc.

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Aug 6, 2018

I would be open to top ~20 ish US programs + (HEC) LBS INSEAD + Oxbridge, but waiting cannot hurt. Your records look flashy except GPA, and lateral hire makes you high leverage, but once you're in full-time MBA, you got to eat what you can find, and the competition will make your stardom risky on resume, plus you're super young even with all the stardoms.

All I say is, there will be a time when you're begged by b-schools as a sure hire, and your firm may sponsor you into MBA too. By then your resume weakness will be watered down, and you'd have a lot more surety in the backend. Likely more scholarship $$$ too by then. My 2 cents from M7

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Aug 7, 2018

I work in Corporate Finance so was hoping to switch to a BB or MM boutique. Would you suggest working there for a couple more years and try to move into M7? Did you go to a M7 MBA yourself, if you dont mind me asking?

Aug 7, 2018

Yes went to m7.
Just a warning that bb in is usually 2 years before burnout - $ is great, life is misery. So be careful of what you are wishing for, because you may get partners with your current trajectory

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Aug 8, 2018

The M7 is a stretch, but not impossible if everything else lines up. The ACA and CFA will really help you. Obviously you need a high GMAT.

I'd have to know more, but I'm not sure I would talk a lot about battling depression and suicidal thoughts in your application. You would want to provide some context for the low GPA and then focus on how well you've done since recovery.

Fit , what you've done outside of work, and what you've accomplished to earn those promotions are very important.

I asked a recent Kellogg grad who co-chaired the Kellogg student admissions committee, what surprised her about admissions as she served on the committee. Her response: how little difference there is between some of those accepted and some of those rejected.

If you're interested in the interview, please check out From Hospitality to Kellogg MBA to Accepted MBA Admissions Consultant. .

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

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Aug 8, 2018

Thanks a lot, thats useful advice! Would you say adding a few more years of work experience, especially in the investment banking sector and being committed to my start-up business outside of work would add bit more weight and surety in my application as well?

Aug 8, 2018

hird,

You're most welcome.

The short answer is yes.

I didn't notice a post MBA goal in your original post. But if IB or entrepreneurship is something you think you would like to do post-MBA, then yes, doing so would be helpful. It would also put more time (and achievement) between you and your undergrad record.

Basically anything that shows you assuming more responsibility either in terms of asset value, complexity, and people will help you as will any responsibilities that prepare you for your post-MBA desired career.

Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting

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Aug 9, 2018
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