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Taking a class or two before applying to MBA programs. Good idea?


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So I'm 30, and applying to MBA programs.  I graduated from college several years ago, and have a very spotty undergraduate record with some very bad grades.


Now, I'm doing what I can to offset it - studying hard for the GMAT, crafting a careful addendum to explain my grades, securing excellent letters of rec, highlighting my leadership experience over the past several years, etc.


I'm also wondering if it's worth my while to take a couple of night courses this fall as I apply. I took no business or finance courses in undergrad.  I did take a few economics classes, and didn't get the best grades.  I took Calculus II my freshman year and got an A, and that was the last time I took any math.


I live in Chicago, and I work full time as a consultant, though I could go down to part time for the duration of the course if I wish.


It's too late for me to sign up for UIC courses (apparently they started this week).  I did meet with an advisor at Northwestern Continuing Studies, and we agreed that an intro to stats and a microeconomics class would be a good fit.  I'm meeting with with the continuing ed advisor at University of Chicago tomorrow.  I'm not sure what other opportunities there are in Chicago for challenging coursework.


Any thoughts or advice??  My experiences with continuing education has been mixed.  If it will help with my applications, I'll do it, but I would like it to be worth my effort, time, and money.





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Many MBA students have never taken a business or finance class in undergrad.  Only 30% of entering Columbia MBA students were business majors; that figure was 28% for Wharton, 17% at Stanford and 23% at Dartmouth.  So I don't think you have to worry about not having business or finance classes.  You have the experience and most of your classmates won't have taken business or finance, either.


Now it might help your GPA and your case if your GPA is very low.  I would say if you have a 3.2 or higher, don't bother.  Also if you test well and you think your GMAT score will be really high, I also wouldn't bother.  If your GPA is <3.0, then you may want to take the classes just to prove you can handle graduate level work.  But you also must remember that they won't see your grades by the application deadline, unless you take two classes in the fall - most deadlines are between January and late March/early April.

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