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A thread for applicants from over-represented pools

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A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 17:15
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Hi. This thread is dedicated to queries of applicants from over-represented pools such as Indians and Chinese.

I'm an Indian applicant and obviously, in order to stand out from the other Indian applicants, I need to show something extra in almost all aspects of my profile.

Anyways, here's my profile in brief:

Age at matriculation: 28
GMAT: Not yet taken. Scheduled in August.
GPA: 7.27/10
Undergrad: Mechanical Engineering
WE: Worked at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India for 10 months. Working for the govt. of India as a mechanical engineer since 2008. Received fast-track promotion (in 3 years) last year.
Level 1 candidate in the CFA program, result expected this July.
Extra-curriculars - Not much to talk about. Some small-time engagements during college. Nothing much really.

Target schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Sloan, Booth, Haas, Fuqua, Kellogg, Stern, Tuck, ISB, Yale, Cornell, Ross.

I know that's a lot of schools but I'm simply planning to bomb them all. This is my must-do year so I'm planning to apply to all the top ranked schools and hoping to sail through in at least one of them.

I write well and I'm hopeful that with a few months of research on various MBA programs, I shall be able to write some pretty good essays. I have also spoken to my recommenders and I hope the recommendations will shape up just fine as well.

Here's the catch:

I'm severely lacking in extra-currs (extra-curse?) and I believe that given some time, I can take part in a few activities around me and try to buttress that area of my app. Another thing I'd like to demonstrate is my ability to lead and bring change.

Now the question is, given my profile and the fact that I belong to an over-represented pool of applicants, should I apply in Round 1 or Round 2? For the time being, I think it'll be best for me to just work to improve my profile assuming that I'm going to apply in R1 and as the deadlines approach, then I will decide whether to submit in R1 or to postpone to R2.

Although, the plan seems ok, the fact that I'm from an over-represented pool of applicants in which there are so many great people with awesome profiles a lot of whom are going to apply in R1 is weighing heavily on my mind and I'm just not sure what to do.
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Re: A thread for over-represented pools of applicants [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 17:22
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I think the sooner the better. When I first started I wondered if I should do Round 1 or Round 2. I think sooner is better but that does not mean rush to submit a round 1 application you can perfect in time for Round 2.

You would be well served to follow your plan to research the schools and understand who you are and what you want. Reach out to the students/alumni at schools. Figure out how your background fits with your career goals and brainstorm your achievements at work to prep for essays and interviews. You do write well so just work on know who you are, what you want, and how you will fit and contribute to the school. Good luck!
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Re: A thread for over-represented pools of applicants [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 17:29
explorer21 wrote:
I think the sooner the better. When I first started I wondered if I should do Round 1 or Round 2. I think sooner is better but that does not mean rush to submit a round 1 application you can perfect in time for Round 2.

You would be well served to follow your plan to research the schools and understand who you are and what you want. Reach out to the students/alumni at schools. Figure out how your background fits with your career goals and brainstorm your achievements at work to prep for essays and interviews. You do write well so just work on know who you are, what you want, and how you will fit and contribute to the school. Good luck!


Thanks for the prompt reply. I think that's what I'm going to do although I still do not have a firm view on this. BTW, do you know when the schools start reading apps? I mean if I submit my app 10 days prior to the deadline, will the schools which do not have rolling admissions start reading my profile or will they wait for the deadline to pass?
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 17:56
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It varies by school. Columbia will review them as they come in so that really falls into the sooner the better category. I am not 100% about every school but if they are not rolling then I believe they will start reviewing after the deadline. At least that is what I heard. For what its worth, I submitted my App like 2 hours from the Round 1 deadline for Ross, Tepper, Booth, and Johnson and I was invited to interview at all those schools. Not sure how that is relevant but I figured I'd mention it.

I can't say I know exactly when they review but CBS is definitely the sooner submitted the sooner it is reviewed. The process is a bit of a blackbox so I wouldn't worry too much about the process after you submit, just focus on what you can control ie Resume, essays, goals, & recommenders (which you have). The demands of the application process seems to grow as you get into it so start early.

One blog I found useful for helping me understand the app process and essays, even better than the books I read did:

http://essaysnark.blogspot.com/

I am not saying this is the end all be all. This is a great resource for info on the process and bschool essays but you still need to develop your knowledge of the schools and yourself that I mentioned before. This is my second year of applications and I am still learning new things about the application process. This forum is a great resource as well.

In the effort of honesty, I used essaysnark's essay editing service. I'm not advocating using an admission consultant. Using an admissions consultant can be hit or mess and you need to decide what is right for you.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 18:22
Well, the more I think about it, the more confused I get. Sometimes I think I might just put off my dream schools (H/S/W, Kellogg, Yale, Sloan, Booth) till R2 and start my app cycle with other schools (Haas, Fuqua, Ross, Cornell, Tuck) in R1. I've heard that one's apps start getting better and better, school after school. I hope that might just play its part. I don't know. I'm totally confused. lol
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 18:59
When you mention over represented in terms of Indians and Chinese, do you mean from the countries of origin as well? I'm a Chinese from South East Asia, am I put under this category?
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2012, 19:52
calvin1984 wrote:
When you mention over represented in terms of Indians and Chinese, do you mean from the countries of origin as well? I'm a Chinese from South East Asia, am I put under this category?


I think it depends on your country of citizenship and where you have spent the majority of your life.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 09:23
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finmaster wrote:
Target schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Sloan, Booth, Haas, Fuqua, Kellogg, Stern, Tuck, ISB, Yale, Cornell, Ross.

I know that's a lot of schools but I'm simply planning to bomb them all. This is my must-do year so I'm planning to apply to all the top ranked schools and hoping to sail through in at least one of them.


That's a very long list of schools. Personally, I wouldn't have been able to complete 15 quality applications last year if my life depended on it. Nor would I have wanted to.

You'll get quicker as you move on through subsequent applications, but I still spent 40-60hrs on my best application and probably even longer on my first.

Why don't you take the GMAT, see how your score compares to the aforementioned schools, and then apply to your top 4-5 choices? I think it would be wiser to pour your heart, soul, and time into just a handful of applications instead of spreading yourself thin across 15.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 09:28
@finmaster: what kind of activities are you considering?
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 09:46
rni wrote:
@finmaster: what kind of activities are you considering?


Well, I myself am completely in the dark on that one. I have started volunteering at a nearby org. and will see how it shapes up. Also, I', planning to eengage myself in a few other activities/hobbies in the coming months.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 10:29
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finmaster wrote:
rni wrote:
@finmaster: what kind of activities are you considering?


Well, I myself am completely in the dark on that one. I have started volunteering at a nearby org. and will see how it shapes up. Also, I', planning to eengage myself in a few other activities/hobbies in the coming months.

hmm..the purpose of ECs is not to get a 'tick mark' for your application but to do something that you really like.I think that the adcoms can see right through such activities that are taken just to impress them. You have clearly started community service and ECs 5 months before the application deadlines. Given the plethora of indian candidates who use similar tactics there are a lot of chances that this may backfire. Again, this is just my opinion and others may differ.
Also,you have not taken the gmat yet and do you plan to balance your new ECs/Work/Gmat/community service?

AND why did you take CFA Level 1 ? It is clearly not aligned with your current work stream (Mechanical)

In the end.. 15 colleges !! you would want to slim that down ..
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 11:42
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rni wrote:
finmaster wrote:
rni wrote:
@finmaster: what kind of activities are you considering?


Well, I myself am completely in the dark on that one. I have started volunteering at a nearby org. and will see how it shapes up. Also, I', planning to eengage myself in a few other activities/hobbies in the coming months.

hmm..the purpose of ECs is not to get a 'tick mark' for your application but to do something that you really like.I think that the adcoms can see right through such activities that are taken just to impress them. You have clearly started community service and ECs 5 months before the application deadlines. Given the plethora of indian candidates who use similar tactics there are a lot of chances that this may backfire. Again, this is just my opinion and others may differ.
Also,you have not taken the gmat yet and do you plan to balance your new ECs/Work/Gmat/community service?

AND why did you take CFA Level 1 ? It is clearly not aligned with your current work stream (Mechanical)

In the end.. 15 colleges !! you would want to slim that down ..

Agree with this assessment 100%. Finmaster it seems as though you're just throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks instead of developing a targeted application strategy.
If you want to get involved in some more ECs and hobbies, feel free to do so because it's something you're truly interested in. I doubt that these activities (unless they are very similar to activities in which you've been engaged in the past) would be a compelling piece of your application and like rni said they could actually come across as disingenuous.

First take the GMAT and see where that lands you. You might need a retake which would take time away from working on your applications. Take some time to think about your goals, why you want an MBA, and what type of program you'd be happy at. Do you want to be in a big city? If that's the case, then Johnson, Ross, and Tuck aren't the places for you. Do you want a smaller class? If so, then Wharton and HBS are not the right schools. These are basic criteria that will eliminate some schools right away. After that you want to look at each program and determine what suits you. Are you a fan of case method? Do you want a structured curriculum or more flexibility to take electives when you want? What type of student body do you want to be immersed in? If you haven't even thought about these questions then you need to start ASAP. Start with with the school websites. You will get a good idea of the general program structure. See what clubs the school has that align with your interests. You may even want to email a few current students to ask questions about their experience. Also if you can't visit then go to admissions events in your area. This will give you a chance to meet alums and get a feel for a school. Participate in live chats with admissions officers to learn more about each school's application process.

As it stands you seem a bit scattered. Slow down a bit and put some more thought into building your candidacy and where you will apply. As MDF said, it is more effective to put together 4-6 quality applications that are tailored to each school, then to submit 15 haphazard applications. Good luck!
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 20:09
rni wrote:
finmaster wrote:
rni wrote:
@finmaster: what kind of activities are you considering?


Well, I myself am completely in the dark on that one. I have started volunteering at a nearby org. and will see how it shapes up. Also, I', planning to eengage myself in a few other activities/hobbies in the coming months.

hmm..the purpose of ECs is not to get a 'tick mark' for your application but to do something that you really like.I think that the adcoms can see right through such activities that are taken just to impress them. You have clearly started community service and ECs 5 months before the application deadlines. Given the plethora of indian candidates who use similar tactics there are a lot of chances that this may backfire. Again, this is just my opinion and others may differ.
Also,you have not taken the gmat yet and do you plan to balance your new ECs/Work/Gmat/community service?

AND why did you take CFA Level 1 ? It is clearly not aligned with your current work stream (Mechanical)

In the end.. 15 colleges !! you would want to slim that down ..


I understand what the point of listing EC's is. The thing is, I will have to try and bring some change in the organisation that I work for. I will try to do it and if I succeed, I will then list it in my app, otherwise, I'll just let it go.

The keyword is 'change'.

Look at it this way; if I am able to bring even a small change in an organisation other than my job in the coming 5 months, it could also make some adcom say, "Well, okay it's five-six months and he has obviously done this to tick the box, but at least he has done something rather than nothing."

If I cannot bring any positive change; I'll simply not list that stuff in my app.

That is the whole point of applying to a large number of schools. The probability of one adcom appreciating the effort is higher and all I need is one adcom.

As far as CFA is concerned, well, there were a few things which prompted me to take part in the CFA program:

1. I don't know how my Indian CGPA of 7.27/10 from my university will be taken by the adcoms. There's no rule of thumb for that. I wanted a quant-intensive course which has a strong reputation in the adcoms' country and which could give them a fair idea of my ability to handle the MBA workload. This of it as a way of telling the adcoms, "I have the ability to handle the tough coursework you guys will throw at me for two years."

2. Related to '1' above, my performance in mathematics during engineering wasn't anything to write home about. I needed something to buttress that with.

3. Although I do not seek a career in finance, my participation in the CFA program (and the knowledge of finance that comes with it) along with my technical work-ex of five years and the MBA degree should make me a pretty strong candidate as far as finding job in a consulting/general management position is concerned. Put simply, it increases my employability.

After graduating from their B-school, I will be a manager from a great school having a core technical work-ex and equipped with a pretty decent knowledge of finance. That does increase my chances of becoming more 'employable' at the end of two years.

Think of it as a way of telling the adcoms, "You guys don't have to worry about finding me a job at the end of two years.".

Coming to the point of applying to a large number of schools, well, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure about all of these schools straightaway. I might end up not applying to 2-3 of them. Right now, I'm only at the 'research' phase. In another 30-40 days, I shall have a fairly good idea of which schools to eliminate, if any. However, I can safely say that I will not eliminate more than 3 schools. Probability does count.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 22:34
finmaster wrote:
I understand what the point of listing EC's is. The thing is, I will have to try and bring some change in the organisation that I work for. I will try to do it and if I succeed, I will then list it in my app, otherwise, I'll just let it go.

The keyword is 'change'.

Look at it this way; if I am able to bring even a small change in an organisation other than my job in the coming 5 months, it could also make some adcom say, "Well, okay it's five-six months and he has obviously done this to tick the box, but at least he has done something rather than nothing."

If I cannot bring any positive change; I'll simply not list that stuff in my app.

That is the whole point of applying to a large number of schools. The probability of one adcom appreciating the effort is higher and all I need is one adcom.


Sounds like a good plan . Which year are you targeting - 2013 or 2014? applying in 2013 doesn't seem plausible.. because you haven't taken the gmat (and toefl) and have not started the applications
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 22:43
rni wrote:
finmaster wrote:
I understand what the point of listing EC's is. The thing is, I will have to try and bring some change in the organisation that I work for. I will try to do it and if I succeed, I will then list it in my app, otherwise, I'll just let it go.

The keyword is 'change'.

Look at it this way; if I am able to bring even a small change in an organisation other than my job in the coming 5 months, it could also make some adcom say, "Well, okay it's five-six months and he has obviously done this to tick the box, but at least he has done something rather than nothing."

If I cannot bring any positive change; I'll simply not list that stuff in my app.

That is the whole point of applying to a large number of schools. The probability of one adcom appreciating the effort is higher and all I need is one adcom.


Sounds like a good plan . Which year are you targeting - 2013 or 2014? applying in 2013 doesn't seem plausible.. because you haven't taken the gmat (and toefl) and have not started the applications


2013 it is. I haven't taken the GMAT. Have got it scheduled for 23rd August. I have already taken the TOEFL in April and scored 113.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 22:46
finmaster wrote:

As far as CFA is concerned, well, there were a few things which prompted me to take part in the CFA program:

1. I don't know how my Indian CGPA of 7.27/10 from my university will be taken by the adcoms. There's no rule of thumb for that. I wanted a quant-intensive course which has a strong reputation in the adcoms' country and which could give them a fair idea of my ability to handle the MBA workload. This of it as a way of telling the adcoms, "I have the ability to handle the tough coursework you guys will throw at me for two years."

2. Related to '1' above, my performance in mathematics during engineering wasn't anything to write home about. I needed something to buttress that with.

3. Although I do not seek a career in finance, my participation in the CFA program (and the knowledge of finance that comes with it) along with my technical work-ex of five years and the MBA degree should make me a pretty strong candidate as far as finding job in a consulting/general management position is concerned. Put simply, it increases my employability.

After graduating from their B-school, I will be a manager from a great school having a core technical work-ex and equipped with a pretty decent knowledge of finance. That does increase my chances of becoming more 'employable' at the end of two years.

Think of it as a way of telling the adcoms, "You guys don't have to worry about finding me a job at the end of two years.".



CFA wouldn't benefit much if you have planned for General Management/ Consulting ...and you need to devote 2 more years (assuming you pass all in the first attempt) for a certification you don't need.
if you are worried about your low math scores.. you can try and score a 50/51 in the GMAT ..that will do the trick
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 22:59
finmaster wrote:
Coming to the point of applying to a large number of schools, well, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure about all of these schools straightaway. I might end up not applying to 2-3 of them. Right now, I'm only at the 'research' phase. In another 30-40 days, I shall have a fairly good idea of which schools to eliminate, if any. However, I can safely say that I will not eliminate more than 3 schools. Probability does count.

the essays of all the schools are quite different and demanding. You will need to devote a lot of time and energy to get one application right. And don't depend on quantity alone..you need to worry about quality too..

You need to choose your school intelligently and something that fits your profile. And as a CFA candidate you already understand the concept of diversification :-D

You have just picked up the list of top 15 and listed them as your target schools. You need to really slim that down to around 5/6.
Reason : Again use the concept of 'correlation' . If you do not get an interview call from H , then there is a high probability that you won't get one from S/W . Ditto for other tiers! So try and do a fit analysis after getting a gmat score . and then apply in those where your probability of succeeding is high!

Economically speaking .. I believe the application fees of all these colleges is around 200$ .. so you will be investing 200*15$ ..convert that to INR ..1.7L only in the apps.. hmmm..
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 23:07
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finmaster wrote:
rni wrote:
finmaster wrote:
I understand what the point of listing EC's is. The thing is, I will have to try and bring some change in the organisation that I work for. I will try to do it and if I succeed, I will then list it in my app, otherwise, I'll just let it go.

The keyword is 'change'.

Look at it this way; if I am able to bring even a small change in an organisation other than my job in the coming 5 months, it could also make some adcom say, "Well, okay it's five-six months and he has obviously done this to tick the box, but at least he has done something rather than nothing."

If I cannot bring any positive change; I'll simply not list that stuff in my app.

That is the whole point of applying to a large number of schools. The probability of one adcom appreciating the effort is higher and all I need is one adcom.


Sounds like a good plan . Which year are you targeting - 2013 or 2014? applying in 2013 doesn't seem plausible.. because you haven't taken the gmat (and toefl) and have not started the applications


2013 it is. I haven't taken the GMAT. Have got it scheduled for 23rd August. I have already taken the TOEFL in April and scored 113.


hmm..so now that you are only talking about the community service (presumably) seems that your plans of pursuing a hobby are already out of the window. Nevertheless, as long as you can show devotion and success to anything you are passionate about,it will always be counted.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 23:18
rni wrote:
hmm..so now that you are only talking about the community service (presumably) seems that your plans of pursuing a hobby are already out of the window. Nevertheless, as long as you can show devotion and success to anything you are passionate about,it will always be counted.


Well, I guess the coming 50 days will give me a better idea of what the picture looks like. Fingers crossed.
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Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2012, 23:24
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finmaster wrote:
rni wrote:
hmm..so now that you are only talking about the community service (presumably) seems that your plans of pursuing a hobby are already out of the window. Nevertheless, as long as you can show devotion and success to anything you are passionate about,it will always be counted.


Well, I guess the coming 50 days will give me a better idea of what the picture looks like. Fingers crossed.

yep..ur gmat score, L1 result. All the best for both!
Re: A thread for applicants from over-represented pools   [#permalink] 16 Jun 2012, 23:24
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