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Advice for Schools - Engineer

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Current Student
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Joined: 24 Apr 2013
Posts: 66
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V38
GMAT 2: 700 Q44 V41
GPA: 3.55
WE: Engineering (Manufacturing)
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Kudos [?]: 12 [0], given: 27

Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2013, 07:41
I am going to apply this Fall to several different schools. I have a tentative list but I'm worried I may be overly optimistic about my odds at some of these schools. I'm looking to apply to 5-6 total, no more.

My profile:
-25 year old American male
-Graduated in Industrial Engineering at a large state school
-3.55 undergrad GPA, 3.84 major GPA
-700 GMAT (44Q, 41V) - expect an 8 in IR and a 6 in AWA
-Four years work experience (at matriculation) in an engineering position (my job requirements are diverse
-Moderate extracurriculars (I'm also really into homebrewing)
-No explicit leadership experience in job or extra curriculars (there is no room for promotion within my small department); my roles and responsibilities within my job have increased and evolved over my time here though.
-I'm personable and interview well, that should help me (especially being an engineer)

My short-term goal is to go into management consulting after getting my MBA. I think my industrial engineering background is a natural fit for consulting since it is rooted in profitability, productivity and sustainability; I would sell my engineering background as demonstrating my problem solving capabilities. Ideally I'd try to work for McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc. - I need to do further research to see who is most friendly towards engineers. I'm hoping to get some international experience in the position as well, particularly in Asia.

I'm not dead-set on consulting, but I'm not sure that general management is appropriate just 4 years work experience...I'd go with the consulting angle for my essays I think.

Long term goal is to transition back into a more traditional management role, I think that consulting would give me a wealth of knowledge and experiences, not to mention a vast network, which should make me marketable. I am interested in entrepreneurship down the road but am not sure in what capacity yet.

Duke and Northwestern are my two most desired schools. I'm applying to Harvard as a big stretch, but I would certainly go if I got in. I had Wharton on the list for the same reason, but I'm worried they are both unrealistic. I was thinking that UNC is a good safety school.

Are there any other schools that seem like good fits for my profile? The only schools I'm set on right now are Fuqua and Kellogg, I'm very open to other suggestions.
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Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 08:23
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Hey Jeff,

Your goals and personal story make sense. They're not exactly exciting (I don't mean that to be rude) in that countless other applicants will be playing the same angle. Not all will be engineering, but some will be. Pay attention to this - you want a hook - you want something to make them remember your application as distinct from the countless others.

Ok - but on to your real questions, eh?

Work experience - I get that you don't have the opps for promotion but since you've been there for years, I think there are ways to structure your resume to show clear progression and trajectory along with key leadership themes. As an engineer, you'll have a lot more on the "thought" and "eminence" side than "people" but that doesn't make them any less important!

Academics - you have a good GMAT (you're in the 700+ club so that's nice!) and your GPA (both overall and major) is average / above average so that's good too. I don't think you'll have any issues on this component.

So on to schools. For you, yes, HBS and Wharton are both stretches. Actually, Wharton is more engineer friendly so perhaps you should consider switching there. I think you should definitely apply to a stretch like a H or W - if you don't try, you won't know!

If your goal is consulting (and yes, consulting will definitely give you the skills, network, and marketability you're looking for) then you want not only the placement, but also the education to help you be successful.

Let's split this into a few buckets keeping the above in mind:

Stretch: Wharton (I know you said HBS but this is my suggestion)
Realistic Stretch: Kellogg
Varying Degrees of Aligned: Columbia, Tuck, and Duke
Safety: McCombs or UNC (UNC tends to feed specific firms and specific service offerings in addition to general management - McCombs is less specific in that regard so it would get my vote)

I hope this is helpful. Let me know your thoughts!

Bhavik
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Current Student
avatar
Joined: 24 Apr 2013
Posts: 66
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V38
GMAT 2: 700 Q44 V41
GPA: 3.55
WE: Engineering (Manufacturing)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 12 [0], given: 27

Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 09:00
CriticalSquareMBA wrote:
Hey Jeff,

Your goals and personal story make sense. They're not exactly exciting (I don't mean that to be rude) in that countless other applicants will be playing the same angle. Not all will be engineering, but some will be. Pay attention to this - you want a hook - you want something to make them remember your application as distinct from the countless others.

Ok - but on to your real questions, eh?

Work experience - I get that you don't have the opps for promotion but since you've been there for years, I think there are ways to structure your resume to show clear progression and trajectory along with key leadership themes. As an engineer, you'll have a lot more on the "thought" and "eminence" side than "people" but that doesn't make them any less important!

Let's split this into a few buckets keeping the above in mind:

Stretch: Wharton (I know you said HBS but this is my suggestion)
Realistic Stretch: Kellogg
Varying Degrees of Aligned: Columbia, Tuck, and Duke
Safety: McCombs or UNC (UNC tends to feed specific firms and specific service offerings in addition to general management - McCombs is less specific in that regard so it would get my vote)

I hope this is helpful. Let me know your thoughts!

Bhavik


Hello Bhavik,

Thank you for your feedback. I agree with you about my personal story not being particularly exciting. I haven't yet determined what my "hook" will be! Do you have any advice?

I agree with your school choices, I think I can work with that list. I would probably replace Tuck with Ross.

Is it best for me to put all of these applications out in R1, or should some wait until R2? I feel like I have plenty of time to get my essays in order, I'm more concerned about perfecting my resume first.
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Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 09:45
Expert's post
Hey Jeff,

You should definitely be focused on your resume first - that's an integral part to preparing your recommenders. Those two components need to be underway before you worry about essays. You're on the right track there.

Ross is a great option there too. Also, their focus on experiential learning can really give you some compelling experiences to talk about during your interviews. We love Ross and one of our consultants bleeds blue and yellow - he probably loves it more than the rest of us combined!

Story - Unfortunately, I can't say this offhand in this forum. I don't mean that to be frustrating but generally when we develop stories with our clients, the conversation takes 1 - 2 hours depending on how many schools we are working on. And that's just story. That isn't the assessment or school selection or anything else. That is solely the story session. We would need to have a much more thorough understanding of you before we could find the hook that is unique, realistic, and compelling. Sorry - I know that isn't the answer you were hoping for!

R1 v. R2 - If you're applying to 5 - 6 schools, spread it out. I would say do HBS, Kellogg, and maybe 1 or 2 of your "varying degrees of aligned" in R1. That will get your applications out to the majority of the programs you're targeting in R1 which is your goal. Then, in R2, do the remaining "varying degrees of aligned" and your safety. This will not only help you space things out, but keep your recommenders from being overwhelmed. There are ways to tweak the above but generally, I would say the majority of your focus goes into R1 with strategic de-prioritized schools in R2.

Does that make sense?

Bhavik
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Current Student
avatar
Joined: 24 Apr 2013
Posts: 66
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V38
GMAT 2: 700 Q44 V41
GPA: 3.55
WE: Engineering (Manufacturing)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 12 [0], given: 27

Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 10:20
CriticalSquareMBA wrote:
Hey Jeff,

R1 v. R2 - If you're applying to 5 - 6 schools, spread it out. I would say do HBS, Kellogg, and maybe 1 or 2 of your "varying degrees of aligned" in R1. That will get your applications out to the majority of the programs you're targeting in R1 which is your goal. Then, in R2, do the remaining "varying degrees of aligned" and your safety. This will not only help you space things out, but keep your recommenders from being overwhelmed. There are ways to tweak the above but generally, I would say the majority of your focus goes into R1 with strategic de-prioritized schools in R2.

Does that make sense?

Bhavik


Yes it does, thank you. One last question: When is the deposit deadline for R1 at most schools? Would I know the R2 decision before I'd have to put a deposit down? That part is still unclear to me.
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Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 11:10
Expert's post
My pleasure. So unfortunately, no, you wouldn't know R2 decisions. Best case you would have interview invitations by the time R1 deposits are due.

Now, there are two things to this. For one, I mentioned your R2 schools should be your lower priority ones and specifically because of this reason. The thought would be if you got into one of the 3 - 4 schools in R1, it wouldn't matter the decisions in R2 because you would go to one of the R1 schools before the R2 schools anyway. Now let's say by the time you apply to R2 schools things have changed and, for some reason, one of your R2 schools is where you're dying to go. Well, in that case, you would probably still put a deposit down on the R1 school you have as a back up and if you get into the R2 program, you'd lose out on your deposit. It's seems like a lot of money but in the grand scheme, it really isn't. A lost $2K deposit against a $180K MBA has to be kept in perspective, right? However, if you think long and hard about how you prioritize your schools (visits, interviews, research) you can mitigate the risk of this happening.

The other annoying thing about the way the rounds work is that you will need to be working on your R2 applications the moment you submit your R1 apps. The deadlines for R2 follow, in most cases, on the heel of R1 decisions and if you would wait until then, you'd be in a bad spot! For example, if you get R1 decisions mid-December and R2 decisions are the 1st of January, you can't put everything together (including your recommendations) in just 2 - 3 short weeks.

What would be ideal is if all the schools got together and established a common schedule - but - that isn't going to happen :)

Bhavik
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Current Student
avatar
Joined: 24 Apr 2013
Posts: 66
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 660 Q44 V38
GMAT 2: 700 Q44 V41
GPA: 3.55
WE: Engineering (Manufacturing)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 12 [0], given: 27

Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 11:40
CriticalSquareMBA wrote:

The other annoying thing about the way the rounds work is that you will need to be working on your R2 applications the moment you submit your R1 apps. The deadlines for R2 follow, in most cases, on the heel of R1 decisions and if you would wait until then, you'd be in a bad spot! For example, if you get R1 decisions mid-December and R2 decisions are the 1st of January, you can't put everything together (including your recommendations) in just 2 - 3 short weeks.



Plus the fact that R2 deadlines are right after the winter holidays! Not convenient.
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Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 12:11
Expert's post
I suppose that's just another test - do you want an MBA enough to miss the marathon of holiday movies? :)
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Re: Advice for Schools - Engineer   [#permalink] 18 Jul 2013, 12:11
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