MBA, GMAT, life goals - and I'd perfer not to be an assistant for life.....
May 17, 2007 10:51 AM   Subscribe

MBA, GMAT, life goals - and I'd perfer not to be an assistant for life.....

I am 25 years old and working as an assistant at a prestigous investment firm that encourages people to move up within the company. I have a degree in Economics, but with a barely 3.0 gpa at a small public school no one has heard of. I have spent one year at another firm working on the equity side now I am on a niche fixed income area. At my current position, education is paid based on a model of 100% for a B and 125% for A's, thus you actually get paid to get an education. I am much more mature now than when I did my undergrad and I think that I would like to get my MBA. For awhile I considered doing a CFA, however I think in the end I do not want to be an analyst, so I am considering the MBA route instead. I would have to do a part-time program locally in Boston and obviously take the GMAT. Bascially what kind of advice would you give me? Where could I go with an MBA within the investment field? What kinds of positions? I've considered even moving to the recruiting end of things. How do I begin to prepare for the GMAT given that I took Calculus in college my freshman year? (im not as concerned about the verbal section) How do I work out the timing of this all? Are there things I haven't fully considered? What things could I do personally to increase my knowledge of the industry? Thank you in advance for your help on this because I feel as though Im having a quarter-life crisis.
posted by Carialle to Education (5 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If you're thinking that your GPA will hold you back from getting into prestigious programs you're interested in, one strategy might be to take a class or two at a local school as a non-enrolled student. You could take classes in math or some subject that would improve your test scores and make you a better candidate, and many of the schools you might be interested in attending may allow you to take classes without enrolling. In Boston, check out the Harvard Extension School.

If you can get As in a couple of post-undergrad classes, grad programs will look favorably on that and may overlook a less-than-stellar undergrad GPA, figuring that your more recent academic performance is a better indicator of your likely grad performance.
posted by decathecting at 11:28 AM on May 17, 2007

Download the free practice GMAT, see how you score. Add 30-50 points if you're serious enough to take a prep course or do an intensive self-study.

Then you'll see if you're a female with a 700 and a 3.0, who can maybe get into even a top program regardless of work experience, or how much lower you need to aim.

A 3.0, while not great, isn't really a limiting factor if you can get some other things going for you. I know a woman with a 720 and a 2.4 who got into Wharton's full-time program.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh, and the GMAT tests basic, basic math. You won't need calculus or the like for the test, and unless you want to study derivative pricing or something related, you won't need it in business school (past taking very easy first derivatives in economics courses, from time to time).

Also, to extend my previous comment, if your numbers work out, you may wish to consider leaving your firm to attend B-school on a full-time basis. When I attended scholarship receptions at school, 90% of the attendees were women. I'm not editorializing, here-- I'm merely stating that part-time programs make people miserable, and that you may not have to pay anything remotely approaching full-freight as a full-time female student.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:26 PM on May 17, 2007

I agree with all of the answers so far. First, for most part-time programs (even at good schools) your GMAT score is not nearly as important as it is if you were applying to the full-time program. Evening, or executive MBA programs are cash cows for business schools and the main criteria is getting people who can pay the high prices.

Generally I tell people to only do an evening or an executive MBA program if it is specifically rewarded within their organization. If your goal is to change careers or employers, then I would strongly recommend trying to get into a full-time program.

Along those lines, as Kwantsar said, getting in to a prestigious MBA program is as much about your work experience as it is about your undergrad GPA. As long as you score highly on the GMAT, if you have high quality work experience (which it sounds like you do) you should be able to get into a quality program.
posted by bove at 12:33 PM on May 17, 2007

I will be starting a full-time MBA program in August. My situation was very similar to yours: comparable GPA, company that would have paid for a part-time program, uncertainty about my next career move.

I took three quantitative courses at a local state university to supplement my undergraduate English major. I think this was an important step because it proved my analytical capabilities to the admissions committees and demonstrated my intent to pursue further studies.

I first took the GMAT using only self-study to prepare. I did well, but knew that I could do better. I paid up for Princeton Review and raised my score to ~90 percentile. Again, I think this helped a lot with the admissions committees in light of my below average GPA.

However, before pursuing any coursework or GMAT preparation, I would talk to people within your firm who have jobs that interest you. See what path they took to get there. An MBA might be the answer, but there could be a much more direct route.

Good luck!
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 3:35 PM on May 17, 2007

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