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Importance of academic grades to MBA applications

 
#1 Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
30/06/2006 14:01

anon to deleted (#0)

Hi,

I have just completed a degree in business and obtained a mid-to-high 2:1. I start a graduate job in accountancy in September. Although I have no set future plans, one thing I was thinking of was maybe do an MBA after 3-4 years or so (by then, I should be ACA qualified). I believe this would be the best way to get into consulting, right?

But I'm wondering how important academic grades are to getting accepted into top business schools. I mean, do they really want somebody who got a first at uni, or do they mainly look at GMAT scores and work experience? I got a good 2:1 and strong A-Levels (do A-levels matter in B-School applications?)

I know it's probably a bit early to think about these things but I am curious...

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#2 RE: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
30/06/2006 14:46

beth to anon (#1)

You don't NEED an MBA to get into consulting!

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#3 RE: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
30/06/2006 15:25

anon to beth (#2)

Hi beth, thanks for your message.

I want to get into strategy consulting, and I thought my chances would be quite slim unless I had a first in my undergraduate degree or do an MBA? My academic credentials are good, but not exceptional.

If an MBA is not needed to get into consulting, what are the other ways I can improve my chances in the next few years? Would ACA help me do you think?

Thanks in advance.

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#4 RE: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
30/06/2006 15:42

b-skewler to anon (#3)

Its good that your thinking about the next step. Theres no harm nor no substitute to planning. Now with regards to grades it really depends on which business school your applying to. I know the schools in the states want to know what percent of your year you came in, which makes it extremely difficult for us people in the UK. This is because I think 60 percent of graduates achieve a 2.1. Moreover as they want your entire gradelist, they shall also look at your first year results (which do not count at most univs here) aswell as the modules that you didn't do so well in.

At the sametime though a mid 2.1 is equaivalent to anywhere between a 3.2 GPA to a 3.5 GPA. Usually the average GPA for B-skewl students is 3.3-3.4. So basically your grades aren't going to make much of an impression. They shall simply be a check on that particular criteria.

And there are only a few persons out there like beth who believe you do not need an mba to get into a top strat house. Its quite simple, American organizations which the strat houses are have a huge emphasis on an MBA. They are an MBA style culture unlike British orgs which are big on the ACA. Now its up to you to make your desicion what you feel is good. I'd suggest after your ACA, to move into industry or a different field to distinguish yourself. The Big 4 alone hires 3000 graduates for ACA, out of which many once they qualify apply for an MBA.

Lastly do take a look at the type of fees top b-skewls charge and the opportunity cost. You may not feel its worth it once you qualify becos you shall see your salary suddenly increase multifold. Unlike accoutants consultants and bankers are able to do mbas as for the first few years they are paid very well indeed.

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#5 RE: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
30/06/2006 16:46

beth to b-skewler (#4)

Am interested.... as I used to work for a strat firm, and have no MBA and a degree from a red brick. In a totally irrelevant subject.... But, I didn't go to interview saying 'I'm sorry I don't have an MBA' I went saying 'I've just spent 2 years in Russia doing this and it was amazing and look what I can do for you after the experience. So is an MBA imperative? Wonder if that is a fallacy

Which isn't a recommendation to move to Russia incidentally

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#6 Re: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
12/07/2006 04:47

Beng

Of course an MBA is not "necessary" to get into a top-tier strat firm. But it sure helps. I've worked for a couple of top-tier firms, and was actively involved in recruiting for one of them (part of my firm building/firm development/whatever you choose to call it). Maybe 60-70% of new hires came from B-schools, with the rest coming from other Gradudate programs (Law, PhDs, etc.). Undergraduates are hired only for Analyst positions, and are actually expected to quit after 2-3 years to pursue a Graduate degree then come back. Non-university hires are typically made only at the Partner level...and they're hired because of their relationships, typically bringing in a "book of business".

You are right to pursue an MBA. It'll dramatically improve your chances. But you are not asking the right question. The right question is -- "How important is it to go to a top-tier B-school?" That's a topic for another thread.

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#7 RE: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
12/07/2006 15:32

Tuppence to Beng (#6)

Never seen the value of an MBA myself. If you consider the opportunity costs (both fees and lost salary) is well in excess of £100k, then you need to be darned sure it will repay itself.

I work in a large operational consultancy, and we hire MBAs in the £50 - 65k range, this after having done their year at Cranfield, LSE, or wherever. Some valuable work experience would be far preferable, IMHO

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#8 Re: Importance of academic grades to MBA applications
12/07/2006 16:59

Beng

Maybe the economics of attending B-school doesn't work out in the UK...but it certainly does in the US. Entry-level (MBA) starting salaries here for a Strat firm would be in $100-140k, a signing bonus of $20-30k, and a performance bonus of 5-25% of your base. In addition, if you Intern with a Strat firm and they offer you a full time job, some firms even pay for your 2nd year tuition in lieu of the signing bonus. Forbes Magazine releases an annual ranking of top B-schools based on their years of payback. In the US, the average payback is 3.1 years. 30% ROI on my B-school investment sounds great to me. See the article for yourself:

http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2003/1013/078.html

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