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Accounting -> MBA profile Evaluation

This topic has 3 expert replies and 0 member replies
syousuf3 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Accounting -> MBA profile Evaluation

Post Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:43 am
Hi I would love to get thoughts on the competitiveness of my profile.

Stats:

Age: Recently turned 24
Sex: M
GPA: 3.1ish (general upward trend with really low 2.76 in final year)
Ugrad: Top Canadian School (Bachelors in Accounting)
GMAT: Projecting 690-720 (Aim will be for higher)

Experience:
2 years post ugrad and 8 months internship experience in well known Pharma company (Pfizer, Bayer, GSK) in various accounting / finance roles. Despite having no formal management rotational program for my company in Canada , I have been able to gain exposure and experience in varying roles. I started as a Credit Analyst for 7 months and then shifted to Financial Analyst (budget planning) for 7 months and now have been working as Fixed Asset Accountant for past 10 months. I will be starting a new role in the next month as General Accountant (cost accounting). I have taken on increased responsibilities during my positions and can further elaborate if necessary. I am also pursuing my CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) designation which I should have completed my work experience requirement for by summer 2017 (Exams completed).

Management Experience:
On a high level I have led teams of 3 - 4 people for the entire Fixed asset inventory count for two legal entities across multiple offices/plants in Canada. Also was lead on internal control process change for capitalization of tax costs to capital assets and led the training to colleagues in the Shared Service Center. I am also managing an intern student for a 6 month period but that is the extent of my management experience due to very limited headcount and the majority of transactional accounting being performed in shared service centers overseas.

Recognition:
Received company Award from Tax Dept for exceptional performance on Capital Asset Review Engagement ($500)

EC:
I am a mentor for a Student Organization in my undergrad business school and help current students to navigate through their professional careers and answer questions etc. Also I regularly attend Networking Sessions at the school with other Alumni to help the students develop necessary skills for the business world.
I am also an executive member of Not for profit organization that helps build food baskets for the local community (this past year built over 1000 baskets). I am also a volunteer with national cancer foundation and will become a team lead volunteer in the near future for the different events that we organize during the year.

Target Schools:
Duke
UCLA
Cornell
NYU
Western Ivey
USC

Post MBA Goals:
I would like to use the MBA as a bridge to shift my career from accounting to management consulting. I want to leverage my background to shift towards more high level corporate strategy. I realize there is a gap in my current skill set / knowledge and the MBA will help ease the transition. I networked and made a conscious effort to gain broad experience within my company so that I am dynamic and will have different experiences to draw on in my MBA and post MBA career.

Questions / Concerns
My biggest concern is my gpa as my last year was really low. I will write the optional essay to explain the circumstances around why my performance was so poor. I am hoping that since I passed my professional exams that it might help offset any concerns regarding my intellectual capabilities. I will likely build an alternate transcript with a couple of quant courses. Also even though my changes in position seem lateral, my pay from starting till now has doubled so does that help show progression or no?

I know I am a little early as I do not plan to apply till most likely 2018 but are the schools on my list attainable for my profile ( yes there are some clear reaches and I will need to add couple of safer schools too). What elements of my profile can I strengthen to increase my chances at schools in the 10-20 range. Thanks for all the help!

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Edison@VeritasPrep MBA Admissions Consultant Default Avatar
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Post Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:42 pm
Thanks for sharing.

It would help to play up more of your experiences working with teams, collaborating on projects, and leading across functions. Substantiating with figures to demonstrate scale of responsibilities and accomplishments would also help.

Your extracurricular activities, particularly of being an active alumni, acting as a mentor, would be great to highlight.

It is also important to present a convincing case why you will be marketable to consulting firms post-MBA. Research on the companies/roles that would find your knowledge/experiences skills attractive, and show how an MBA will be a necessary and logical next step towards achieving this goal.

Your salary growth will help demonstrate that you have done well with your work. As you explain your GPA, present how you have grown and how you will do better in a similar situation next time.

All the best and look forward to hearing updates!

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Edison@VeritasPrep MBA Admissions Consultant Default Avatar
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Post Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:51 pm
You may also find tips from the blog entries below helpful:

http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2016/07/how-to-address-a-low-gpa-in-your-mba-applications/

How to Address a Low GPA in Your MBA Applications

A low GPA’s is one of the foremost concerns among those applying to business school. Even having a GPA that seemed “okay” in undergrad now probably seems a little mediocre if you’re aiming for a top MBA program. And if your GPA is actually low, you’re sure to be even more concerned.

With no way to actually change this aspect of your profile, how can you address your GPA concerns?

1) Present a Strong GMAT Score & Additional Credentials
The best way to mitigate a low GPA is to get a great GMAT score - scoring above the average of your target program will alleviate any potential concerns the Admissions Committee may have about your academic potential to keep pace with the school’s rigorous curriculum. A higher score could boost your chances for admission, and even scholarships. Thus, investing the time, effort, and resources to maximize your potential to score as high as you can on the GMAT makes sense.

Obtaining credentials such as a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) title or taking on additional courses at your local community college are also helpful in showing that you will be able to handle the coursework of business school, as well as contribute to, and reap the benefits of, your future class discussions.

2) Provide Context
Sometimes life circumstances - including illnesses, family responsibilities, or competing priorities - can have a negative impact on one’s GPA. If this is the case, the optional essay can be a good space to discuss your situation. In doing this, it is better not to come off as making excuses. Instead, use this opportunity to play up other highlights of your profile or lessons you have learned from your experience.

For instance, running the family business during an emergency while also attending school is a life experience that instills responsibility and maturity at a young age. Likewise, juggling studies and team practices to represent your school in a particular sport can give context as to why your GPA does not reflect your full potential, while also playing up other dimensions of your profile and helping you stand out.

3) Showcase Your Unique Qualities
Another way to make your MBA application more compelling is to make sure that you present strong, unique qualities or experiences that you can bring to the school. This could be in the form of your diverse background, or through your involvement in an interesting cause. If your GPA is below the norm at the school you are applying to, it is very important to justify why they should accommodate you with a spot. Thus, you need to be able to convince the Admissions Committee that you will be able to truly enrich the experiences of your peers, and of the school community, as a whole.

Identify the specifics of the MBA program you are interested in and show them how you have done well in similar environments. Substantiating this with concrete accomplishments and demonstrated impact will help present how your goals at school, and post-MBA, are both worthwhile and achievable.

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Edison@VeritasPrep MBA Admissions Consultant Default Avatar
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Post Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:54 pm
http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2016/05/steps-to-a-stronger-mba-profile-in-6-months/

Steps to a Stronger MBA Profile in 6 Months

Once you have finally decided to pursue an MBA, you will naturally start assessing your chances of actually being admitted. Undergraduate academics and GMAT score aside, most business school applicants will fret as to whether their extracurricular activities and overall profile are impressive enough for their dream schools, especially as these aspects of an applicant’s profile are not as straightforward to quantify and compare.

How then can you improve your profile in the last six months?
Should you rush to get registered in additional community organizations? Should you learn a new language or a musical instrument? Should you go on a trip to the wilderness or join a religious mission?

As a rule, the Admissions Committee will consider the length of time and level of involvement with the activities you participate in when they weigh these as part of your profile (just as any potential employer would during a job interview). On your end, you should consider the limited time remaining towards the deadline, and the demands of polishing up your whole application package while focusing on fulfilling your current work and personal responsibilities.

Below are some practical tips to strengthen your profile:

1) Do More with Current Involvements
You may feel that your current activities are not as impressive as they really are and, thus, do not make you stand out as an applicant. One way to address this is to look for the chance to introduce something new to your profile that would make your potential future contributions to the school unique.

For instance, you may be the leader of your undergraduate alumni branch - from this, you can find an innovative way to link up across other chapters, and strengthen alumni engagement and knowledge transfers across your entire network. Or, you may be involved with donation drives for the less fortunate; try to find new ways to boost your funds or at least organize activities that can better showcase your leadership and teamwork skills.

Initiatives such as these give more credence and value to your current activities, without having to start from scratch.

2) Do the Same Thing for a Different Audience
This should be relatively easy to do - look for some opportunities to leverage your long-running interest or hobby to demonstrate more involvement and impact on the community. As an example, you may be singer who performs regularly at a club. You may use this talent and volunteer to sing for several worthwhile causes. In this way, you can enrich your stories about your singing talent (or at the very least, the audacity to perform in front of an audience!) and make them more interesting for the Admissions Committee.

Taking this point further, let’s say your lack of international exposure is perceived to be a weakness - look for ways to at least show how open-minded and internationally aware you are by getting involved with the expatriate community, nearby refugee camps, or by performing with multi-cultural groups.

Use these tips to help strengthen your business school applications and set your current activities apart from those of other MBA candidates, and to further your own personal development, as well.

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