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Case Study: African American Woman With Economics Degree And Less Than Stellar Grades

No matter how much we believe in the work that we do here at EXPARTUS, there is nothing that compares to the real life stories from the people we have worked with.

One of our clients, who’s currently enrolled at Kellogg, never thought about attending business school until recently. Though she didn’t have strong grades, we worked with her to ensure that her application would make the admissions committee take notice. 

Here’s her story on how she went from applicant to admitted student! 

What was your background career before applying for an MBA program? What made you want to earn an MBA?

When I began my college career, I attended Carnegie Mellon and earned a Bachelor’s in Economics. I knew I wanted to work in the financial markets, but I wasn’t quite sure what exactly I wanted to do within that field.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, I worked for five and a half years in asset and wealth management. However, a few years in, I realized I was at a pivotal point in my career. At first I wasn’t sure whether I should just switch jobs or actually go back to school.

African American Woman With Economics Degree

I wasn’t much of a school person growing up. I honestly never thought I would go to business school. Then, after working a few years in the financial sector, I realized that earning a business degree from a top school would be the best way to position myself for the type of career I wanted.

That was when I turned to researching MBA programs.

African American Woman With Economics Degree

What were your concerns about applying to an MBA program?

I had two concerns, but my grades were my primary issue. I was a decent student, but not outstanding by any means. I knew that if I wanted to get into a top school, I would need to figure out a way to overcome this.

My second concern, though less important, was finding a school that fit what I wanted to do and was the best place for me to grow and learn. As much as I wanted to be a part of these esteemed institutions, I also wanted to make sure that they were the right choice for my career.

What brought you to EXPARTUS?

I had a close friend that had worked with EXPARTUS to help him get into Wharton. When I told him my concerns about my grades and the schools being a strong match, he recommended EXPARTUS.

I also wanted someone who was going to hold me accountable and set out what I needed to get done in order to be accepted to the top schools. My friend said that an EXPARTUS consultant would be great at that – and he was right! 

Can you describe your experience working with EXPARTUS?

Honestly, I have nothing but great things to say about my time with EXPARTUS! Having my consultant work with me ensured I was held accountable. I needed someone who expected deliverables; someone who would sit there and explain the steps and how to accomplish them. I found all of that when I worked with EXPARTUS.

Not only did I need structure to keep me accountable, I also needed it because I was working at the same time I was applying. It can be hard to come home from a full time job and then have to plan what you need to do for your business school applications. My consultant not only laid out the plan, but she was also extremely responsive. I always felt like I had someone on my side to help me through it.

It really made all the difference in my being accepted to school! 

How did EXPARTUS help you overcome the challenges/concerns you had?

One of the things I appreciated most about working with my consultant, is that she didn’t sugarcoat what the challenges would be. She let me know that with my grades alone, I wasn’t likely to be accepted at one of the top schools. The great part of this critique though, was that she didn’t just tell me this, she then laid out the plan on how we would overcome it.

First, she recommended that I retake the GMAT to increase my score. I needed to have an excellent GMAT score to combat my grades. My consultant helped me find a GMAT instructor that used a different style of teaching and helped get the information across in a manner that made it easier for me to understand.

Once we had the GMAT score handled, my consultant then worked with me on the best way to craft my story. She helped me to figure out what about my work and past we could focus on and highlight to have the greatest impact. Even better, my consultant worked with me before my interviews and helped me decide what I was going to say to impress the admission committees. 

What advice do you have for someone else who was in your same position?

I would tell them that they need to be willing to give this 110%. Business school is a huge investment, and you want to be committed to all of the hard work that this process will take. My consultant was great about helping you focus and convey your passion, but you still have to be willing to give it your all.

One of the best parts about working with EXPARTUS is that they make sure you are as prepared as possible to face any issue that can arise during the application and interview process. I felt so much more prepared and ready once I had worked with my consultant.

Another piece of advice I would give to people looking to go to business school is that you are going to be at this school for the next two years of your life. You want to choose a school that makes you happy.

You are investing a large amount of money into this education, and the school needs to be worth the investment. Make sure you choose a school that fits your needs. Cost is important, but I don’t think it’s as important as the degree you are going to get.

How much more will you earn by going to a top school with the focus on what you want to learn?

What was your admission outcome & was working with EXPARTUS was worth it?

I applied during the second round and was accepted to a few schools, but ultimately chose to attend Kellogg. I knew I wanted to focus on a school that had the type of curriculum, opportunities, and networking for the career that I planned on having.

If you are an entrepreneur, you want to go to a school that is top for entrepreneurship. For me, I knew I wanted to focus on both finance and being client focused and people oriented.

It was a debate for me between Yale and Kellogg, but in the end I chose Kellogg since it had more of the financial background that I was looking for.

I definitely think working with EXPARTUS was worth it! Since business school is a big investment, I wanted to make sure I got the most out of it.

That required putting in money from the start so that I could attend one of the best schools. I would not have been able to get in to Kellogg without EXPARTUS and my consultant.

If you dream of going to a top school and want to work with people who understand that and will work with you from the start to accomplish it, then you should absolutely work with EXPARTUS!

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