MBA Chances & Program Selection

I'll cut to the chase:

GPA: 2.9 Big Ten Uni - Econ/Biz Admin degree
Extracurricular: couple clubs on campus, fraternity, charity work--nothing to write home about
GMAT: 700
WE: Couple years at a large commercial real estate firm (analyst-->associate-->senior associate) (want to eventually switch to PE or Asset Management that invests in alternative assets, natural resources, real estate, and some tech stuff) or get a cushy Corp Fin job at F500 company (stable, good for my relationship with future wife, etc.)
Strong letters of rec from CEO of my first real estate firm and directors of my current firm
Took 3 supplementary classes at UPenn in quantitative finance, corporate strategy, other business topics -- got A's in all of them
Also volunteer for non profit in my city part time (10 hrs a week)
Manage my family's business as well--nothing crazy, <5MM under management (choose real estate assets to invest in, mostly value add stuff, and see it through to completion)

Schools I am looking at:

UT Austin - McCombs
UNC - Kenan Flagler
Notre Dame - Mendoza
Washington University in St. Louis - Olin
Cornell - Johnson
Carnegie Mellon - Tepper
Emory - Goizueta
Georgetown - McDonough
USC - Marshall
Vanderbilt - Owen
Boston College - Carroll
Michigan - Ross
UVA - Darden
NYU - Stern

Any thoughts or suggestions on how I can IMPROVE my candidacy given my low GPA from a big ten university and not IB work experience, etc? Are these schools even possible or should I be looking at less prestigious programs / not get an MBA at all....

Comments (2)

Most Helpful
Jan 4, 2019

You have a nice range of schools on your list. Assuming that you intend to apply later in 2019 to start a program in 2020, you have time to address any areas of weakness in your profile.

First and foremost, I would encourage you to retake the GMAT. At the lower tiered schools you list, a 720+ GMAT would help adcom to look past the less than stellar undergrad GPA.

What will be most important for you is to be able to articulate your narrative (short and long term goals, why MBA? why now?) and identify the resources at each school you apply to that will allow you to address areas for development. You will also want to show adcom that you will be a contributor to their program during your two years and even as an alum. If you decide you want to pursue alternative assets in natural resources, there is likely a much shorter list of schools that will meet your needs. (We worked with a client with similar stats who is now at Cornell Johnson looking to pursue roles in investments in natural resources.)

Kudos for you for thinking ahead. Much of the 'improvement' to your candidacy will be on deep thinking regarding your future and spending time connecting with schools. Once you know the direction you want to take, you might consider engaging in 'extra curricular' opportunities related to that area of interest.

Need help thinking about your self-assessment? Join Stratus for our free webinar next week.

    • 2
Jan 6, 2019
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Linda Abraham
President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting