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730 GMAT Please evaluate my profile

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Intern
Intern
Joined: 13 Jun 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Washington DC
Schools: Booth, Wharton, Tuck, GSB, HBS, Fuqua
WE 1: 1.5 years working at family business (healthcare)
WE 2: .5 years working for lobbyist
WE 3: 2 years Business Development for Defense Contractor
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

730 GMAT Please evaluate my profile [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2011, 15:40
Hello I am very eager to get back to school and I'm hoping my profile is strong enough to get me into a top 10 program.

I took the GMAT twice, the first time: 640, Q41 V37 6.0W; second time: 730, Q47 V44 5.5W

My undergraduate was at a Liberal Arts school called New College of Florida where I accomplished a double major in International Relations and Economics. The thing about New College is it uses a non-traditional grading approach that doesn't include ABCDF grading, meaning we don't have a GPA. New College uses a narrative evaluation system where each class has the teacher evaluate your performance from a pass fail perspective supplemented by minimum 500 word detailed narratives of your academic performance and progress in that class. Of course there were tests and they were evaluated in the traditional manner, in fact the pass fail threshold was typically at 80% or B (in that you must get a minimum 80 to pass). I excelled highly, and this is reflected in my academic profile from New College. I think that my academic background is something that could be a positive rather than a negative and will set me apart from the masses of GPAs. Most of the Adcom members i've spoken with (booth, fuqua, johns hopkins) told me they would want to see all my evaluations and I actually look at them as a way to better demonstrate how I do academically (think of them as 32 academic letters of recommendation).

Post graduation I worked for 2 years for our family business (1.5 years in the office, .5 years in DC working for a lobbyist). My family's business is in the healthcare field but that is not my concentration or interest which is why I changed fields and started doing Business Development for a Defense Contractor in Washington. While working in my current capacity I have spent extended periods in Iraq, Jordan and UAE. By the time I matriculate I will have 2.5 years experience working at that job. During the 2 years I worked at my family's business I also worked a second job and volunteered my time for the local historical society helping to curate and manage their museum.

I speak French and Italian and am currently taking Portuguese night classes after work because I would like to focus on Brazil post MBA.

As a result of my academic experience, which included rigorous writing requirements and a senior thesis, i know I have strong writing abilities, so assuming I put together strong essays is my profile strong enough to get me into the top 10 b-schools? I know they are looking for unique candidates with varied backgrounds and from what i've read there are not many MBA candidates coming out of the Defense industry and my academic background is quite unique relative to the candidate pool. Thoughts?
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Re: 730 GMAT Please evaluate my profile [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2011, 12:41
I think there are two ways to look at 'unique-ness'. The first is the way you're looking at it (the glass half-full method): you're unique because no one else has similar profiles as you; therefore, you stand out among the thousands and thousands of applications that, for example, HBS sees each year. The other way, or the glass half-empty method, is equally valid - why should adcoms risk their chance of admitting you when the next guy that graduated from UPenn, worked at JPMorgan's advisory department for 3 years (+ a promotion from analyst to associate), with a solid 3.7 GPA and 710GMAT, is applying to HBS? This is an important distinction that one has to keep in mind. Is being unique really all that great? Can this 'unique-ness' translate into transferable skills that the applicant can use when going through recruiting? Keep in mind that b-school rankings are not just based on GMAT and GPA, but employability. To admit someone knowingly that he/she can't get a job is like trying to revive a dead horse. So enough with my weird metaphors.

I think you do have a unique profile and that you do have a shot at getting into top 10. However, really keep in mind that no one's a shoo-in for such a competitive environment anymore. When you look at the 9000 applicants to HBS or 5500 to Kellogg (I made up those #s, don't hold me to them), some will bound to be non-traditional, or 'unique', thus the real question is how does one stand out from the unique of the unique? That's one of those questions that cannot be answered. On one hand, it's too hard and ambiguous. On the other, it seems almost too easy - you're already unique!! My point here is that while you have a shot, also keep in mind the type of mentality that all other applicants have. One will certainly argue that everyone's unique and that's true to a certain extent. Bring out your own specialty in your application and craft those essays with an intent. With your verbal score, I'm sure you can kick those essays ass easily. Good luck! This was a long-winded answer and isn't warranted, but I just kept on typing and typing.
Re: 730 GMAT Please evaluate my profile   [#permalink] 28 Aug 2011, 12:41
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