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GRAD SCHOOL AND REFERENCE DILEMMA

This topic has 2 expert replies and 1 member reply
scottd123 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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24 Jun 2013
Posted:
2 messages

GRAD SCHOOL AND REFERENCE DILEMMA

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:19 am
I am new to this whole forum thing, but I would love to lay out a bit of my situation and see what you fine folks have to say. Currently, I am working full time as an account representative at an environmental service firm(a good job,) but have recently discovered (through a variety of situations/books/experiences) that my passion lies in a combination of finance, small business and non-profit consulting, and private equity management. Now, I am in the midst of studying for the GMAT and I see a big benefit to the knowledge I could obtain and connections I could make from going to a respected B-school (For me this would mean getting into Ross (as I live in Michigan) or possibly the online program from UNC...or any other suggested programs?) From what I have been reading, everyone seems to say that the full time programs produce more benefit for the student than those of a part-time MBA. Do most people agree with that sentiment? Secondly, is working full time in my current job a possiblity while doing a weekend/online MBA? And lastly, what do folks recommend about getting letters of recommendation when you are essentially saying to your employer, "I want you to endorse me to go to business school so I can pursue my passion in a different area."

If you have any insight on these inquiries I would love to get your feedback! Thanks!

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:19 pm
[This is a cross post - noticed you posted in different places so didn't know which one you preferred!)

Hi Scott!

Welcome to the forum! Thanks for providing a little background on where you're headed and what you are looking for in an MBA. If you are restricted by geography, you could do a lot worse than going after Ross. Personally, I think that program is fantastic and better than its ranking suggestions. If you're in Michigan and are already looking at an online degree, you may want to consider a part time program in Chicago (e.g. Kellogg or Booth). It's possible but it's a lot of time spent going back and forth. Something to consider though!

However, to your point about FT vs. PT, it really comes down to what you're using an MBA for. If you're staying where you are, then PT is generally ok. Or if funding is a huge concern. However, if you're looking to switch careers (like you are) then FT is the way to go. You get more experiences, the internship, and structure around the career search process. If FT is possible, I am a strong advocate for it. It isn't right for everyone but I think it would help you far more than a PT program.

To your second question about working during a PT or weekend program - yes. You can. Tons of folks do it every day and while it will be busy, it's designed to be do-able.

To your final point - engaging your recommenders is a little art and a little science. For example, you don't have to tell them your short and long term goals and, if you don't, you have to make sure they're prepped to not mention them at all. You don't want to have the issue where your essays say one thing and your recommender another. On the other hand, if your recommender really is a table pounder - be honest with them and soften the blow. If, however, you feel neither of these solutions are good ones, then don't reach out to them. Find substitutes that are equally impactful and explain it in the optional essay. But know this - you won't be the first person to ask an existing employer to endorse a career change, and you won't be the last!

I hope this helps and if you have any other questions - please let me know!

Bhavik

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Thanked by: scottd123
scottd123 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
24 Jun 2013
Posted:
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Post Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:09 pm
Wow,

Thanks Bahvik for the detailed response! This was really helpful for me and definitely some information that I will consider moving forward.

I guess my next question would be about my MBA program chances. I did not receive the highest GPA in college (a 3.1 to be exact.) I have been working for about three years and also do some volunteer type stuff. What would you think my GMAT score would need to be approximately for me to get into a Ross or another top 20 B-school? (I keep saying Ross because my family are big Michigan fans and I also like their program.)

GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:49 pm
Hey Scott,

My pleasure! Ok, so the GMAT is a tricky question. There are two things you need to understand about how the GMAT is viewed.

1) Statistically: rankings take into account things such as GPAs and GMATs. Therefore, schools care very much about their averages. Therefore, between the key metrics, you shouldn't be dragging the school down.

2) Academic Rigor: essentially, can you handle the program. They use the GPA and GMAT together to figure out if you can cut it at their school. After all, they don't want to let in someone who's going to struggle when there are thousands of applicants who wouldn't, right?

Your GPA at a 3.1 is definitely on the lower side but not THAT low. If it was below a 3.0, I'd be concerned. However, a 3.1 can be offset by a solid GPA. So if we're looking at a school like Ross where the average GPA is 3.4 and the average GMAT is 703, you're going to have to compensate in the GMAT department to offset the GPA. So if you get a <700, you're going to have to explain things. If you get around a 700 - 720, you're good. And anything above is great. So essentially, you should be aiming for a 700+. I know everyone aims for that but you have the GPA to consider.

A 700+ score would keep the door open at most of the top 20 and let your story take it from there.

Lastly - Ross is a fantastic program and we think they've got a great formula towards the MBA. They also value fit and culture so the application process there really values story and identity. Things beyond simple metrics. Go Blue!

Bhavik

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