What are the odds?

I’ve been a lurker here for a while, and I’ve probably posted a few times but for the most part I’ve been silent. So first, thanks for all of the posts over the last few years - this site has been a huge help to a guy who didn’t know much a few years ago, and probably still doesn’t know enough now. Anyway, I have a question for you all. First, I should give you some background. I dropped out of high school when I was 17. I won’t go into detail, but I didn’t have a great upbringing, I didn’t realize the value of hard work, etc. It took me a while to get my things together. Eventually, I went to a community college for a couple of years, and then had to take an extended break to save some money to finish up undergrad. I transferred to a real school and wound up in the fund of funds industry a few years ago. I love what I’m doing now, but to be entirely honest, I need to know more. My degree is in math, so I entered this industry without a solid understanding of the basics. I’ve picked up quite a bit, but I want to go back to school for an MBA. I did well on the GMAT (over 700), I’m doing well at work and expect to have letters ready from not just my boss but probably the head of our research department, I’m sitting for level 3 in June, and I genuinely think I have an interesting story to tell the admissions people. What scares me to death is my age. I’m 29 now, and I don’t know how schools will view that. In finance, I’m pretty much over the hill. I don’t want to be in the fund of funds world my entire life. I feel like this is a career for people who are tied of working close to the markets (nothing wrong with that - I just want to get closer myself). My bosses and people I work with have almost all done MBA programs at top schools (Northwestern, Chicago, NYU, MIT, Harvard, etc.), and they all seem happy with my work and have told me that I’d get a letter of recommendation if I want to go back to school. My question is - do I really have a shot at getting into a good school here? By good I mean top 10-20. I’d be taking a huge gamble by going back to school in my early 30s, I know that. I started out behind the field, so I can accept doing things in an unconventional way if it means that I can get further in life down the line. I’m looking for an honest assessment from people who have been through the MBA process, who have worked for major firms and have an idea of how someone with my background would be viewed. What I’m not looking for is random ragging on me for dropping out of HS, or for taking time off from college - I’m not happy that those things happened, but if you walked a mile in my shoes, you might understand. Things have been difficult, but I’ve worked so hard just to get to where I’m at now, and I’m not really interested in stopping here. Can I get into a top school, and if so, what do I need to do to get there? If you’ve made it this far in the post, thanks a ton for reading, and thanks in advance for your help.

Im 27, level 3 candidate, state school undergrad, and currently in “syndications & structured finance”. Didnt graduate with the best grades (had a lot going on then, work, personal life, etc.) Will be 28 in a few months but planning on applying to b-schools next year after cfa level 3…so by the time I get acceptances and arrive at b-school i’ll be just shy of 30…my profile will most likely be similar to yours. I think if it’s a top 20 school (preferably top-10) then its definitely worth it and you will have a chance if you tell your story right via the essays, etc. I’ve narrowed my own list down to 5 schools from the top 15 and while I was browsing through their acceptace criteria I came across one school which had admitted 1% of 800+ students who had a gpa lower than 2.5 (cant remember which one it was). These 8+ people obviously told their story right. And before you think 1% is a shot in hell I’d like to point out “most” people with GPA’s less than 2.5 dont bother applying to top-20 schools or dont have the ambition to do so. So they aren’t representative of a large portion of applicants from the candidate pool. So I guess it all boils down to killing the GMAT, your story (work experience, ambitions, no HS/college, or low GPA) and how you tell it. I’m looking at Booth, Wharton, Stern, & Cornell…can’t decide on a 5th one yet. So far Cornell is my safety school.

Go through each schools website and look at acceptance criteria and class profiles. Sometimes these schools are not very transparent so you can check the schools facebook page and ask students there too. But I think you definitely have a chance. If your in the CFA program (passed atleast 1 level) then you dont need to show additional support of interest in a further education. But when potential MBA students have low grades or no college education, a lot of them are advised to build alternate transcripts. You do that by applying to local/respected schools and taking advanced level difficult classes and aceing them. 3-4 classes should suffice.

go to London Business School ! the best in the world i think :slight_smile: