Building an Alternative Transcript

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Building an Alternative Transcript

by sw22 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:00 pm
Hi,

I just graduated this December with a dual-degree in Marketing & Entrepreneurship from a Top 50 Undergrad Business Program. However, my GPA was low (2.6). I managed the B range in most of my business courses, however there were a few grades here and there that dragged me down (C range).

I'm looking to apply to a Top 25 MBA school in 2012-2013. I've read about using an alternative transcript as one way to mitigate the damage done by my weak GPA. I have a few questions regarding this:

-Would starting to build the alternative transcript now be too early (4-5 years before applying to MBA school)?

-How much does the quality of the institution where the alternative transcript is built really matter? I'm not thinking a Community College but also not thinking a prestigious University either.

-Typically, how many courses should I look at taking?

-What types of courses should I be taking given that I'm looking to pursue either a Marketing MBA or General MBA? I did well in Calculus, however Statistics was lacking, as well as a few general business courses. The other courses that hurt me were entirely unrelated to my business degree.


-Overall, is there really true value in putting the time, money, and effort into completing one of these transcripts? Do admissions officers really value them?

Thank you so much for your help and I apologize for the length of this post.

Best,

Scott

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by Lisa Anderson » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:28 pm
Dear Scott,

Alternative transcripts can be helpful if you never got higher than a B- in your quantitative coursework and your raw quantitative GMAT score is less than 45. Similarly, it can be helpful to demonstrate your ability to succeed in the classroom if you had extenuating circumstances that affected your performance in college. Since you are not looking to apply for 4-5 years, then you have some time to decide whether or not taking some additional courses is worthwhile.

You would ideally want to take the courses about the year before you apply to business school so the performance is more indicative of how you will perform in business school. Where you take the courses is not really important, whether it is a community college or university, but what you take and how you do is critical. If you are trying to demonstrate your quantitative aptitude, then it is best to take math (finite math, college algebra, calculus) and/or statistics courses. You must have a strong grasp of math in order to succeed in your core finance and statistics courses.

The best thing you can do now is to build a successful track record in your career with progression and do well on your GMAT. Once you know where you stand on those two critical components, then you will have a better idea regarding an alternative transcript.

Good luck,
Lisa
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by sw22 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:29 pm
Thanks for the response Lisa, I appreciate it. I guess this is something I'll have to give more consideration further on down the line.

I'm just a little confused as to what courses to take, I'm thinking I could demonstrate more statistical proficiency, as well as take an additional business course or two.

Thanks again.

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by appy.india » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:34 am
Hi Lisa,

I am planning to pursue a Diploma for Graduates from a very reputed Univ through distance learning, to create an alternate transcript. But I have few basic doubts.

1> I read in some other forum that Adcom will not even ask for transcripts of part time courses. Is this true? So only mode to highlight is in essays?

2> Would the Adcom kind of feel like I din't have much work load and I could pull of some courses on the resum? My work ex is my strongest point as I am working in a Start up from inception and involved in every aspect of marketing, operations and project management. I take up a lot of responsibilities and am afraid if the courses would dilute my resume.

Please advice on this.
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by Lisa Anderson » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:07 pm
Dear appy.india,

I'm not sure where you saw the post on transcripts, but most schools will want to see transcripts for any college level courses you completed for a grade--even those taken without working towards a degree. If you are not earning a grade in these courses, then those are not going to help you demonstrate your academic aptitude for business school admissions purposes. To your other point, if you feel the coursework will hinder your professional obligations, then you might want to reconsider taking the courses. Your job is more important than some online courses as it is your livelihood and professional accomplishments are critical to your application also.

Good luck,
Lisa
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by jbermanvt » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:16 am
Hi Lisa,

I have been preparing to apply to business school for a little while now. I have gotten a 680 on the GMAT, have strong work experience as an IT Consultant for a Big Four accounting firm and have very strong community service experience. My one weak area is my undergraduate GPA which is a 2.94 from a strong state university. I am considering building an alternative transcript and am going to sign up for courses at a local university.

My question to you is, is one class sufficient or is it better to take two? Since I will be working on my applications during this same time, one is obviously my preference.


Thanks!

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by Lisa Anderson » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:42 pm
Dear jbermanvt,

I guess it depends on what course you are taking, what your GMAT score is and what your transcript looks like. I think it is usually best to have at least 2 so that the argument can't be made that your performance in the one course is an anomaly. You can always plan to take the course in the spring and just note that in your optional essay if you are worried about the time commitment of more than one right now. It won't give greater evidence to demonstrate your ability to manage your time and succeed in the classroom for application purposes, but a spring class will indicate your level of commitment.

Good luck,
Lisa
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by kpurohit28 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:00 pm
Hi Lisa,

I also am considering an alternative transcript for my MBA application, as I am looking to apply for Fall 2012. I am currently in the process of studying for my GMAT.

As jbermanvt posted, I have an almost identical situation where I have very strong work experience as a Business Analyst & now Consultant for a large company as well as entrepreneurship experience with the start of my own side business. I also have very strong community service experience as well as contacts with folks who can provide excellent recommendations. However, with all that being said I am extremely nervous about my college GPA of 2.92 from a leading state school. I am nervous that my GPA will really hinder my chances of getting into a Top 15 school.

As further background, my BA was in Biology and I did a minor in Business Foundations. My low GPA is solely due to my Biology degree, which I have not even remotely used once I graduated (I had once aspired to be Pre-Dent). I have requested my transcript from school to refresh my memory on the Business classes I took, but I know I did fairly well on most those classes (most A's, some B's and maybe just one C). Do you think it's worthwhile for me to build an alternative transcript, and if so what classes would you recommend that would be most applicable to my situation.

Thank you!!

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by Lisa Anderson » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:05 am
Dear kpurohit28,

The best way to mitigate a low GPA is with a high GMAT score. After that, an alternative transcript can also be helpful if you have a pattern on your transcript of earning less than a B in quantitative courses or not doing well in semesters where you had other time commitments. Most business school faculty and admissions committee members prefer to see math courses like college algebra, finite math and calculus on the alternative transcript--especially if you did not do as well in your quant coursework. If you did well in quant courses and scored well on the quant section of the GMAT, then you can take some business courses as both preparation and demonstration of your ability to succeed in the classroom. I do encourage you to stick with more quantitative business courses though, like finance, statistics and accounting.

Good luck,
Lisa
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by wishingonastar87 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:12 am
Hi Lisa,

I had a question about my alternative transcript. The local community college that I am planning on taking classes has recently been issued a warning and has also almost lost its accredidation. Do you believe it would be in my best interest to withdraw my application and apply to a different college around my area? (by the way, I was taking computerized accounting, macroeconomics, and intermediate accounting.) Thank You kindly.

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by deedee_deedee » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:34 pm
Hi Lisa,

I enjoy reading all your posts. Thanks for all the help you provide. Can you please let me know if I need an alternate transcript. A little background:

GPA - 2.87 (downward trend) from a top 10 engineering school in the US
GMAT - 730
Graduate Master's GPA in Engineering - 3.7. However, I took 5.5 years to complete this as I took classes on and off in the evening part-time program while working full-time during the day. Does this help offset my poor under grad GPA or does the fact that I took 5.5 years to complete it make my academic history look worse?

Experience - 7/8 years

What is an alternate transcript? Is it one where I take a few undergraduate level classes in statistics, economics or accounting. Or do they have to graduate level classes. Is getting an A crucial? Do I need to take such classes.

Aiming for Kelley, Emory FT MBA.

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by Lisa Anderson » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:43 pm
wishingonastar87 wrote:Hi Lisa,

I had a question about my alternative transcript. The local community college that I am planning on taking classes has recently been issued a warning and has also almost lost its accredidation. Do you believe it would be in my best interest to withdraw my application and apply to a different college around my area? (by the way, I was taking computerized accounting, macroeconomics, and intermediate accounting.) Thank You kindly.
Dear wishingonastar87,

If the school is still accredited while you take the courses, then you should be fine to take the courses there. Just be sure to get several official copies of your transcript as soon as the grades are final so that you have them for application purposes. If you would rather not take that risk, and you know of another college where you can take similar courses, then take your business there. It is really up to you and your risk tolerance.

Good luck,
Lisa
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by Lisa Anderson » Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:52 pm
deedee_deedee wrote:Hi Lisa,

I enjoy reading all your posts. Thanks for all the help you provide. Can you please let me know if I need an alternate transcript. A little background:

GPA - 2.87 (downward trend) from a top 10 engineering school in the US
GMAT - 730
Graduate Master's GPA in Engineering - 3.7. However, I took 5.5 years to complete this as I took classes on and off in the evening part-time program while working full-time during the day. Does this help offset my poor under grad GPA or does the fact that I took 5.5 years to complete it make my academic history look worse?

Experience - 7/8 years

What is an alternate transcript? Is it one where I take a few undergraduate level classes in statistics, economics or accounting. Or do they have to graduate level classes. Is getting an A crucial? Do I need to take such classes.

Aiming for Kelley, Emory FT MBA.
Dear deedee_deedee,

An alternative transcript is a transcript of coursework, taken for a grade but not towards a degree and after you have completed a bachelor's degree. The purpose is to demonstrate your ability to succeed in the classroom, especially in quantitative courses, when you might not have done so well during your undergraduate career. Most of the time, these are undergraduate courses and earning an A is best (but certainly nothing less than a B). Whether or not you should build one depends on if you feel you need to show the admissions committee you can perform better in some quantitative coursework or just perform better in general. In reviewing your transcript, look at which courses you earned less than a B in and see if there was a trend, like quant classes. If so, then take a calculus and statistics class. If there was not a quant trend and you think you should build the transcript, then you can take some business classes like accounting or finance.

In my humble opinion, I'm not sure an alternative transcript is necessary in your case based on the information your posted. However, I haven't seen your transcripts to say with certainty. Your GMAT is strong and your graduate GPA is solid, so those numbers do balance the undergrad GPA to some degree. You should plan to write an optional essay on your undergrad GPA though explaining the downward trend, especially if there are mitigating circumstances there, as well as the length of time to complete your master's degree.

Good luck,
Lisa
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by deeptideepti » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:58 pm
Hi Lisa,

Thanks a lot for your response. Do you think mentioning that I took evening classes on and off when I took courses towards my master's degree as I was working full-time and had other commitments is a good enough reason for taking 5.5 years to complete my Master's program while working full-tome. Or does this reflect badly on me?

I am thinking of making it a positive in the optional essay. I am thinking of saying that although my undergraduate GPA is not good, I took evening classes
while working full-time as time permitted and eventually earned a Master's degree with a good GPA.

Regards

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by deeptideepti » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:29 pm
Hi Lisa,

Also, would it help if I take pre-MBA classes at the local univ versus undergraduate business classes if I do plan on pursuing an alternate transcript.
Being 29 years of age, I find it awkward to sit in an undergraduate class with a bunch of 19 year olds. Also, I feel the pre-MBA classes would prepare me for my MBA.

Regards