MBA Admissions - Researching business schools to apply for

PallMall's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 28

I am researching business schools to apply for next year, however I am a little concerned regarding my UG grades. Here are the schools I am considering and my scores / grades:

I earned a 3.0 GPA at a top 50 US private school, though my major school (International Relations) was rated in the top 5 nationally. Following that I did a master's degree in Politics at a top 5 UK university, before going to work for a year for the UK Civil Service and had internships with a top three US Wealth Management firm, the US Senate, and in Parliament thanks in large part to extensive networking prior to that. Currently I have been working for two years in London in Consultancy for a Big Four firm in Strategy.

I took the GMAT once already and scored a 720, though that was without prep and I plan on retaking it.

The schools I am looking at are:

US -
Columbia
Johnson Cornell
Yale SOM
Tuck Dartmouth
Darden UVA
Duke
Northwestern
Booth Chicago
Owen Vanderbilt (Safety)

Europe -
LBS
Insead
Said Oxford
Judge Cambridge

Thoughts? Any no chancers on the list? Recommendations?

Thanks in advance

Comments (7)

Nov 30, 2010

I identify two major red flags:

1) Your low GPA. If your post-grad GPA was higher, that might mitigate this problem. If not, you may look to take a pre-MBA type accounting or statistics course at a local university. Do your best and get a 4.0, which can help establish you as a) serious and b) smart enough to compete at bschool.

2) You already have a masters, and yet you want an MBA? The adcoms will be all over this, so you better have your story straight with regards to a) what are your long term goals, b) why your background to-date has prepped you for these goals, and c) why getting an MBA is the final crucial component to achieving your goals.

Additionally, there are a lot of people who write MBA essays like "I want to be a banker". In a time when career switching is incredibly difficult, I would recommend you strongly think about crafting your story about why you want to get into the business of politics or something that is in-line with your background. It makes you appear less risky. Bschools do not like to admit applicants who have unrealistic goals.

Once you are admitted you can focus on anything you wish. But the schools will probably view a 3.0 politics major as a long shot to land a spot in banking.

720 GMAT is fine and you certainly don't need to retake. But a 770 is the type of score that can gain admission based on its own merit.

Your list is pretty extensive and you might want to spend some time weeding out schools that aren't a good fit, while adding a few safety schools. Apply first round, visit the schools, and really understand what makes them different from each other.

My $0.02 good luck!

Nov 30, 2010

First, thank you for your feedback.

1) As far as accounting goes, I earned the CIMA certificate (Business accounting, Economics, Ethics, etc.) And passed every exam on the first time. Regarding my master's, in the UK we don't do GPAs, I earned a 2:1 which is roughly equivalent to a 3.4 to 3.7.

2) Master's in the UK are extremely different than the US, loads of people do a taught master's after their first degree, to improve their profile (for instance undergraduate degree subjects do not matter nearly as much, I have friends who studied classics or history and got graduate FO roles in IB, S&T, etc).

Finally regarding banking, I have no interest in it. I plan to stay in consulting, however wish to make the move to MBBB.

Nov 30, 2010

You have a good shot - your admissions will boil down to your essays, recs and interviews. You must have a sincere, authentic story. I agree there is no need to retake the GMAT unless you are bent on trying to secure scholarship money.

Good luck.

Nov 30, 2010

Your use of "top" this and "top" that is pathetic.

Dec 1, 2010

Seekingalpha2, Cheers on the advice.

James Bond - Seriously, you wasted time posting that? I used "top" twice and it was relevant to give an overview of my degree / qualifications. Try maybe going outside or finding a friend to help with that bitterness.

Dec 7, 2010

Most B-schools ask for GMAT score when you apply for MBA programs. GMAT score is actually one of the most important factors in determining gaining entry into the B-school abroad. We advise you to prepare well in advance for your GMAT, you agree that B-schools largely depends on your GMAT score. You can even join a prep school that prepares you to do well in your GMAT.

Dec 8, 2010
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