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MBA undergrad GPA for admissions

H. P. Flashman wrote:

SpareTime wrote:

Should’ve used this one. Cuz then you could’ve rubbed in the fact that they didn’t make it…

SpareTime, you seem to be overly defensive about your past.
The more you defend, the more you will be provoked.
 

I think the only way it is even remotely possible for you to get into a good or even mediocre b school is to kill the GMAT and to find a finance job asap.
This means you need to start networking for an entry level gig, and then bust a$$ to get ahead.

SpareTime wrote:

You’re right, itera. I would never hire 19 year old me. But I’m not sure why you think I’m lying when I say I’ve undergone a fundamental shift in my character.

He’s not saying you are lying, he is just saying your odds are severey stacked against you for this main reason:

While you may have had the potential to be a 4.0 student, you werent. And even though you had this change of character 2 years in and are a superstar now, there is a HUGE pool of candidates that were ALWAYS superstars that you are going to be compared to for candidacy… People that didn’t stop going to class and slack off out of boredom… People that stuck thorugh it.

Props to you for turning your outlook on life into one of determination when you were 19/20, but just realize there are counteless others out there you are competing with who have been doing it since kindergarden. Consistancy is a much overlooked trait.

SpareTime wrote:

Thanks for the helpful advice. When anybody asks a question like this there will be nasty, unhelpful remarks, and nasty helpful remarks. Having a polite, helpful remark in there is definitely a bonus :) How long did you spend on the GMAT? Did you go to classes or did you do self study?

I spent about 140 hours on the GMAT - more on verbal than on quant.  It was all strictly self-study as I was fresh off the L3 study season.  Took the test just a few weeks ago and now I’m onto essays.  I would certainly recommend classes to anyone that struggles with motivation.  If you needed classes for the CFA program, it’d probably be wise to look into them for the GMAT.  I didn’t take classes for any of the CFA exams.

...word is bond...

dwheats wrote:

SpareTime, you seem to be overly defensive about your past.
The more you defend, the more you will be provoked.
 

I think the only way it is even remotely possible for you to get into a good or even mediocre b school is to kill the GMAT and to find a finance job asap.
This means you need to start networking for an entry level gig, and then bust a$$ to get ahead.

Like I said, text doesn’t convey tone well. I’m not defensive, but I do prefer that people answer the actual question that I asked. There seems to be an overarching opinion that because I asked about top MBA schools, that must mean that I want/think I can get in. I even put a big disclaimer about how I’m simply curious.

I appreciate the advice though. I’m not going to look for a finance gig for a couple years until I’m done the 3 CFA levels, unless something really lucky lands in my lap before then.

villnius wrote:

SpareTime wrote:

You’re right, itera. I would never hire 19 year old me. But I’m not sure why you think I’m lying when I say I’ve undergone a fundamental shift in my character.

He’s not saying you are lying, he is just saying your odds are severey stacked against you for this main reason:

While you may have had the potential to be a 4.0 student, you werent. And even though you had this change of character 2 years in and are a superstar now, there is a HUGE pool of candidates that were ALWAYS superstars that you are going to be compared to for candidacy… People that didn’t stop going to class and slack off out of boredom… People that stuck thorugh it.

Props to you for turning your outlook on life into one of determination when you were 19/20, but just realize there are counteless others out there you are competing with who have been doing it since kindergarden. Consistancy is a much overlooked trait.

True that. I think of it as a sunk cost now. I can’t change it but I can change what I do now and in the future. I’ll just have to be proportionally better, whether or not it’s for a decent finance job or a decent MBA.

cgottuso8190 wrote:

I spent about 140 hours on the GMAT - more on verbal than on quant.  It was all strictly self-study as I was fresh off the L3 study season.  Took the test just a few weeks ago and now I’m onto essays.  I would certainly recommend classes to anyone that struggles with motivation.  If you needed classes for the CFA program, it’d probably be wise to look into them for the GMAT.  I didn’t take classes for any of the CFA exams.

Ya I’ve been doing self study for CFA, and I piecemeal my study out pretty effectively so I actually prefer self study. Plus I don’t think there are any CFA classes out where I’m from. This province produces about 10 new CFA per year (I know because they send emails out with their names every year). Good luck with your applications!

10 CFA Charterholders per year? Are you in the Yukon? You probably want to relocate somewhere with finance jobs, or be searching there. That’s ON and AB.

Anyway, I think you over estimate the value of MBA. Just get a job, hammer away. That’s all you need. You’re going to be starting in some garbage admin role with your background so only busting ass will get you a decent spot. Take some crap job no one wants and just be the best at it. If you think you’re walking into the IB team at RBC with your background, you’re not. You’re going to be a wealth management assistant or some other terrible job. That’s where careers start for folks like us.

I started in a really crappy role. Now I’m in a great role, and moving to a better role very soon. It can be done as a hacksaw guy. But I didn’t get the opportunity due to the Charter or MBA or MSc (though the Charter helped, I never end up doing an MBA). I got it through working hard and adding value.

And that’s probably a more sustainable path for you anyway with a kid. Doing full time MBA, earning no dollars while paying out $60k isn’t exactly fun with responsibilities.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

SpareTime wrote:

I appreciate the advice though. I’m not going to look for a finance gig for a couple years until I’m done the 3 CFA levels, unless something really lucky lands in my lap before then.

This makes zero sense to me.
The CFA is no where near as useful without a job to complement it.
Jobs are were you apply what you have learned and learn to tweak what you’ve learned in it to real life situations.

Also, work experience in related role > CFA, 9 times out of 10.

geo wrote:
10 CFA Charterholders per year? Are you in the Yukon? You probably want to relocate somewhere with finance jobs, or be searching there. That’s ON and AB. Anyway, I think you over estimate the value of MBA. Just get a job, hammer away. That’s all you need. You’re going to be starting in some garbage admin role with your background so only busting ass will get you a decent spot. Take some crap job no one wants and just be the best at it. If you think you’re walking into the IB team at RBC with your background, you’re not. You’re going to be a wealth management assistant or some other terrible job. That’s where careers start for folks like us. I started in a really crappy role. Now I’m in a great role, and moving to a better role very soon. It can be done as a hacksaw guy. But I didn’t get the opportunity due to the Charter or MBA or MSc (though the Charter helped, I never end up doing an MBA). I got it through working hard and adding value. And that’s probably a more sustainable path for you anyway with a kid. Doing full time MBA, earning no dollars while paying out $60k isn’t exactly fun with responsibilities.

Yes, the opportunity cost of an MBA would be high. Which is why I’m trying to figure out whether or not I should even keep it on the radar.

And yes, I will be relocating. I live in Saskatchewan, and without considering IG and Sunlife financial advisory type places, there’s only a handful of legitimate wealth management firms. Of course, a CFA in Saskatchewan sure stands out … but only because nobody knows what a CFA is here. We’d be relocating even if I wasn’t getting into finance. We can handle the cold, we just hate how friggin loooooong it lasts.

dwheats wrote:

SpareTime wrote:

I appreciate the advice though. I’m not going to look for a finance gig for a couple years until I’m done the 3 CFA levels, unless something really lucky lands in my lap before then.

This makes zero sense to me.
The CFA is no where near as useful without a job to complement it.
Jobs are were you apply what you have learned and learn to tweak what you’ve learned in it to real life situations.

Also, work experience in related role > CFA, 9 times out of 10.

I can’t relocate for a couple years and there’s essentially nothing for finance in Saskatchewan, so there’s not much point in looking until I CAN relocate (which will be in a couple years when I’m done the 3 levels, hopefully). Like I said, if I get something really lucky landing in my lap that’s great, but I doubt thtat will happen here.

Relocating without a firm lead on a job is very, very risky.

dwheats wrote:

Relocating without a firm lead on a job is very, very risky.

Well obviously I’m not going to relocate until I have a job. But I’m not going to look for jobs in Calgary right now because I can’t move to Calgary right now. In a couple years I can, so I will.

^ Why can’t you relocate right now? This is a new fast paced job market where a couple of years now in a good role will make a difference later!

^ Yup. More so than any MBA/CFA program.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

Because 2 or 3 extra years in a finance job is not worth the opportunity cost of leaving right now. In a couple years it’ll be different. In order to make clear why the opportunity cost is not currently worth immediate relocation I would have to outline the various personal details of my family’s situation, which I’m not going to do. So just trust me on this one.

Go call up local companies then and get a job in their corporate finance department. Better than wasting time. Take some entry level crap job and see what opens up internally. Saskatchewan is a decent job market in corporate finance. Entry level stuff should be out there.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

Sparetime, I went through this process almost a year ago, working on applications and wondering if I’d get in with my profile.

You’re super defensive and got some red flags, namely your attitude is going to hold you back. Saying stuff like “fundamental shift in life” and “I could have gotten 4.0 if i TRIED”, “I’m going to jump 100 pts on the GMAT”, “just trust me on this one”  is not going to get you anywhere. In fact it will turn someone who should be your advocate into someone who will openly question you. It smacks of arrogance, whether you mean to convey that or not. One thing Admission Councils hate is arrogance, to them talk is cheap, you want them to put you in the “accept” pile? prove things. You’ll find that working in Finance too. And frankly, you’ve been called out on several threads already. Be humble, employers and MBA schools are looking for people who want to learn and dont’ think they know everything already. You’re going to be working in teams, these people are going to know more than you. They don’t need you to hold them back and assert your no-experience suggestions in decision making discussions. If you’re out of your depth, the best thing you can do is shut up and let the people who know, talk.

Now for some (hopefully) helpful advice.

Sure, keep MBA on your radar, but I warn you against going to any program that is not top tier Canadian. Sorry but I don’t think you’re going to make a top American school. Not because of your grades per say, (they do matter), but your work experience and personality just won’t be enough. Going to a lower tier school is not going to help you, yes, it can be done, but the marginal value vs cost is not worth the time. Network isn’t strong enough and you’re not earning for X years, facing very uncertain payoffs. You’re married and have a kid, it won’t be the smartest call. If you’re interested in wealth, just go out and network. These jobs have low-ish barriers to entry. Go to a family firm and offer your services as an apprentice. Pitch them your value add. Network with people you know and try to get professionals to coffee chat with you. If you want corporate or high-level… aint’ going to be easy at your age and with your work experience. CFA and GMAT can only cover you so much. They can hire CFAs with MBAs, WITH work experience, to do the same job. Less training is a perk to employers. Your best chances are network and get in through the back door. But first, drop the attitude and figure out what you really want to do in finance. 

I’ll tell you right now no one cares if you’re L3 or a Charter holder with an MBA. Experience is king on the street. 

"Verdict: TRUE" - Fact Check

mk17 wrote:

Sparetime, I went through this process almost a year ago, working on applications and wondering if I’d get in with my profile.

You’re super defensive and got some red flags, namely your attitude is going to hold you back. Saying stuff like “fundamental shift in life” and “I could have gotten 4.0 if i TRIED”, “I’m going to jump 100 pts on the GMAT”, “just trust me on this one”  is not going to get you anywhere. In fact it will turn someone who should be your advocate into someone who will openly question you. It smacks of arrogance, whether you mean to convey that or not. One thing Admission Councils hate is arrogance, to them talk is cheap, you want them to put you in the “accept” pile? prove things. You’ll find that working in Finance too. And frankly, you’ve been called out on several threads already. Be humble, employers and MBA schools are looking for people who want to learn and dont’ think they know everything already. You’re going to be working in teams, these people are going to know more than you. They don’t need you to hold them back and assert your no-experience suggestions in decision making discussions. If you’re out of your depth, the best thing you can do is shut up and let the people who know, talk.

Wooah….dude. I never said “I could have gotten 4.0 if i TRIED” or “I’m going to jump 100 pts on the GMAT”. I said I was a jerk off in undergrad and didn’t perform nearly as well as I could have (if you see that statement as arrogant…so be it I guess), and that I was confident that with studying I could improve my GMAT from my first dry sample run by up to100 points (because that’s what I’ve been told by people who’ve done it). I did say “fundamental shift in life” because it’s true (otherwise I wouldn’t even be here), and I did say “just trust me on this one” because believe it or not I’d prefer not to outline every detail of my personal life. I know you don’t like me from whatever thread that was last year…but I don’t even remember what it was about. 

But regardless, this AF information-gathering-out-of-curiosity is not my actual MBA application, believe it or not. I’d be in trouble if it was. I’m not too concerned if you think my personality will hold me back, because if online conversations were accurate representations of people’s personalities, this world would have gone to hell and back by now. Plus, if we were speaking face to face, and I asked you “Hey do you think a good GMAT and a lot of volunteer experience can make up for my ****ty undergrad when applying for MBA’s?” I doubt you’d say “You’re arrogant and you won’t make it because of your personality.” You’d probably just stick with the helpful advice without the random bitterness thrown in there about my “attitude”. I’m a complete nobody in the world of finance with no connections, no current prospects, and nothing to set me apart from a field of highly intelligent individuals…but I want to change that, and I believe I’m capable of changing it. I’ve never said any different, but if this smacks of arrogance to you then I apologize for offending you. And I reply to every post not because I’m defensive, but because I feel like it’s rude to ask a question and not respond when somebody answers.



geo wrote:
Go call up local companies then and get a job in their corporate finance department. Better than wasting time. Take some entry level crap job and see what opens up internally. Saskatchewan is a decent job market in corporate finance. Entry level stuff should be out there.

What’s a typical entry level salary for something like this, in your opinion? Job postings almost never post salaries it seems.

FWIW I was looking to transition into Finance and got my MBA from a non-top tier, but nationally recognized local school.  I networked and took a retail Wealth Management job that I viewed as a stepping stone.  Ive worked my ass off doing really well and a couple years later am I’m now a Level 3 candidate. Currently, Im in the process of transitioning to a much better job in investment management and the only reason I got a look was becuase I had an MBA and passed L2.  Every candidate had to have at least these two credentials.  Not a top MBA, just a recognizable MBA.  Its not a top 1% finance job but a big step up and tons of potential.  My two caveats are that my transition was from Banking to Finance so it translated better than education, and my old company paid for the majority of the MBA.  Theres def. a cost/benefit analysis you need to seriously consider with your MBA but theres nothing wrong with looking at all the options.  Good luck.

SpareTime wrote:

geo wrote:
Go call up local companies then and get a job in their corporate finance department. Better than wasting time. Take some entry level crap job and see what opens up internally. Saskatchewan is a decent job market in corporate finance. Entry level stuff should be out there.

What’s a typical entry level salary for something like this, in your opinion? Job postings almost never post salaries it seems.

~$60k. If you can manage to convince them that your CFA studies are worth something, perhaps more. Depends on how lucky you get

A retail banking spot would also be better than nothing if you want to be doing wealth management stuff later. Sell hard and see if you can make a name for yourself.

People that are truly good at what they do are looked after and will find opportunity coming at them. You need to start doing something in your next field and see if you’re any good. Not everyone is.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

geo wrote:
SpareTime wrote:

geo wrote:
Go call up local companies then and get a job in their corporate finance department. Better than wasting time. Take some entry level crap job and see what opens up internally. Saskatchewan is a decent job market in corporate finance. Entry level stuff should be out there.

What’s a typical entry level salary for something like this, in your opinion? Job postings almost never post salaries it seems.

~$60k. If you can manage to convince them that your CFA studies are worth something, perhaps more. Depends on how lucky you get A retail banking spot would also be better than nothing if you want to be doing wealth management stuff later. Sell hard and see if you can make a name for yourself. People that are truly good at what they do are looked after and will find opportunity coming at them. You need to start doing something in your next field and see if you’re any good. Not everyone is.

Interesting. That’s higher than I would have thought, although…ya, I would have to convince them that passing the first CFA test meant something. 

Sell-side Sensei wrote:

FWIW I was looking to transition into Finance and got my MBA from a non-top tier, but nationally recognized local school.  I networked and took a retail Wealth Management job that I viewed as a stepping stone.  Ive worked my ass off doing really well and a couple years later am I’m now a Level 3 candidate. Currently, Im in the process of transitioning to a much better job in investment management and the only reason I got a look was becuase I had an MBA and passed L2.  Every candidate had to have at least these two credentials.  Not a top MBA, just a recognizable MBA.  Its not a top 1% finance job but a big step up and tons of potential.  My two caveats are that my transition was from Banking to Finance so it translated better than education, and my old company paid for the majority of the MBA.  Theres def. a cost/benefit analysis you need to seriously consider with your MBA but theres nothing wrong with looking at all the options.  Good luck.

I suppose it’s like the CFA in that way - having an MBA won’t get you any jobs, but there are some doors that are open that wouldn’t be without it. It’s good to know that the world doesn’t end if your MBA isn’t from a top school. The more I think about it the more I think it wouldn’t be wise to pursue an MBA unless I was already in the field, and had an employer sponsoring me. I’m sure with relevant work experience I’d get into a better school and the opportunity cost would be lower. Thanks for the advice and good luck with the new job.

Most mid-level, senior-level jobs in Banking/Finance require some form of undergrad degree (preferably business or finance-related) and a graduate-level designation (CPA,CFA,MBA - they don’t really care which…) and WORK EXPERIENCE!

Coming from a teaching background, the best thing you can do is take up some job that is somewhat relevant to the career you are interested in and gain the experience necessary. You have to consider what is your opportunity cost of studying the CFA and not gaining any of the required work experience to use the designation? Also, if you are truely set on wealth management, you’ll need a CFP or PFP as well…which requires 3 years of financial industry work experience.

As a teacher, you are probably making ~45-50K a year. With level I and teaching experience you could easily convince some HR at one of the big 5 banks that you are good with people and they’ll give you a financial advisor related job with similar pay but can be used towards your CFA/CFP/PFP work experience. It will also give you an opportunity to see if sales/wealth management is right for you.

You seem to be putting a lot of weight on the credentials you are seeking rather than work experience. Credentials are suppose to supplement work experience NOT replace it.

It’s a super competitive industry, I graduated with an economics degree, CFA L1 and CSC completed and I still started as a teller where the primary reason I got the gig was because of previous sales experience - they didn’t really give two ****s about the rest. Fast-forward two years and a couple promotions later I’m finally in a position where I can really leverage my education. Sometimes you really do have to start at the bottom, so suck it up, get your ass in gear and do it.

^ Teacher up here with two years experience does $70k. After ten years its $100k. Solid pension. Two months off. Hence why I told him not to discount teaching.

But if that’s not what he wants to do, then that’s not what he wants to do.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

clearlycanadian wrote:

It’s a super competitive industry, I graduated with an economics degree, CFA L1 and CSC completed

LOL

Inducted into the AF Hall of Fame, class of ‘17

Former Scotia bank CEO Rich Waugh started as a bank teller in Winnipeg, born to a fire fighter. Get your foot in the door, stop worry about papers, and work your ass off and things will happen for you, if you’re good. If things don’t happen, then find another career. Yeah, a retail bank job is not ideal, but you won’t get a good finance job from teaching even if you finish the CFA program.

Companies like to make money. If you make them money, good things will happen for you. If you cost them money, at best, you’ll go nowhere. That’s pretty much the game.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

former trader wrote:

clearlycanadian wrote:

It’s a super competitive industry, I graduated with an economics degree, CFA L1 and CSC completed

LOL

The guy works in retail. CSC is gold to them. Its posted on the wall, with great pride, of every retailer banker I’ve seen.

“I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

I think you have received some very good advice in this thread. 

My opinion, get a job in finance. Work very very hard. You can use an MBA to re-brand yourself. But make sure finance is really what you want before you jump in.

And IMO, shelling out 100K for a second tier B-school probably is not worth it. Again, get a job in finance, figure out if this is the career you want to pursue, and best case scenario the company pays for the MBA. If the company will pay for it, second tier is a start.

So to summarize: you are in a finance-job dead zone with wife + kid, you can’t move anywhere, you have no connections to network, everything you have on paper looks bad (terrible GPA, job expereicne, etc..), you want to wait until passing L3 to even look for a finance job. And your argument on why you should get a good shot is ” I am a changed man, and I don’t care if you believe me, but I know it is true”.

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

geo wrote:
former trader wrote:

clearlycanadian wrote:

It’s a super competitive industry, I graduated with an economics degree, CFA L1 and CSC completed

LOL

The guy works in retail. CSC is gold to them. Its posted on the wall, with great pride, of every retailer banker I’ve seen.

I only brought it up to reflect that the bank saved a grand from not having to pay to have me licensed.

However, I do have to say, I’ve seen quite a few people use the letters after their name on their emails/business cards as if they cured ebola or something.

^ Wow.  Using CSC after your name is a new low.

Inducted into the AF Hall of Fame, class of ‘17

itera wrote:

So to summarize: you are in a finance-job dead zone with wife + kid, you can’t move anywhere, you have no connections to network, everything you have on paper looks bad (terrible GPA, job expereicne, etc..), you want to wait until passing L3 to even look for a finance job. And your argument on why you should get a good shot is ” I am a changed man, and I don’t care if you believe me, but I know it is true”.

I guess you didn’t read the first post. I was curious if I have a shot, and even if I had a shot I wouldn’t be applying for many years when I could move and establish a network and get a job in finance. I never made an argument on why I should get a good shot. I have no idea whether or not I’ve got a good shot. I wanted to know what the typical entrance requirements were for the top b-schools. Most people actually helped answer this question, which I appreciated.

Nonetheless, I’ve decided an MBA is unlikely to help unless I’ve already been in the industry for a little while, and even then for wealth management it likely isn’t helpful enough to cover the opportunity cost. I came to this conclusion a while ago, but I understand reading posts is long tedious work and it’s just easier to post some unnecessarily hostile response without actually following the conversation.