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Am I doing something wrong in my applications?

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Joined: 26 May 2009
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Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2009, 18:48
Just found out that I went 0 for 2 in round 1. Got dinged by HBS and Sloan, without interview. Am I doing something wrong? I'm looking to go into marketing.

Here's my profile:

GMAT: 740 (50 Quant, 40 Verbal, 6 AWA)
Undergrad GPA: 3.68 at top US public engineering school
Master's in engineering at same school
WE: 5 years at engineering/tech firm (have a patent pending)
Decent extracurriculars (leadership roles in volunteering and church related things)
Age: 29
Ethnicity: Asian American

Applying to Kellogg, Wharton, and Ross in round 2.

Am I missing something? Any input would be appreciated.
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Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009
GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2009, 19:29
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Hard to say.

First, lets be clear. HBS is a shot in the dark. Heck, half the people who even get in will tell you they don't know how they did. So, a denial without interview at HBS is hardly something to feel bad about. You have a lot of company in that boat. And, to be fair, Sloan is no cakewalk either. So before you beat yourself up too much, keep that in mind.

Now as far as your overall stats go, you are competitive - so there's no reason you shouldn't be a viable candidate (at least on paper). That said, there is a lot more to it than just your GPA and GMAT. Certainly, there are number of well qualified engineers with high GMAT scores such as your own.

Id be more concerned if you had applied to five in R1 and received no invites -- but two (one of which is virtually a guaranteed denial) isn't much to really draw any meaningful conclusions from. As someone once said to me "Dude, thats an N of 1."

Nevertheless, if you think your essays might not be up to par, have someone look at them. It can't hurt.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2009, 19:33
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milias wrote:
Just found out that I went 0 for 2 in round 1. Got dinged by HBS and Sloan, without interview. Am I doing something wrong? I'm looking to go into marketing.

Here's my profile:

GMAT: 740 (50 Quant, 40 Verbal, 6 AWA)
Undergrad GPA: 3.68 at top US public engineering school
Master's in engineering at same school
WE: 5 years at engineering/tech firm (have a patent pending)
Decent extracurriculars (leadership roles in volunteering and church related things)
Age: 29
Ethnicity: Asian American

Applying to Kellogg, Wharton, and Ross in round 2.

Am I missing something? Any input would be appreciated.



You applied to some very hard schools. Heck not just HBS. MIT's interview rate stands at just 18% per BW. On paper you look good, but it's how you address it. How do you stand out among the crowd, how do you stand out among your own peer (male engineer).

What makes you you, what makes you interesting, what besides grades and engineer should a reason the school should accept you?

Ask yourself that, then look over your application to see if any of that stuff was in your essays.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2009, 19:59
Thank you for the kind words. I probably need to take a step back and reassess what my career goals are and how best to frame them in my essays. Guess I'm going to be doing some serious soul searching over the holidays. I'll have two weeks to come up with the best essays of my life. Fun stuff.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2009, 20:00
GoBruins wrote:


You applied to some very hard schools. Heck not just HBS. MIT's interview rate stands at just 18% per BW. On paper you look good, but it's how you address it. How do you stand out among the crowd, how do you stand out among your own peer (male engineer).

What makes you you, what makes you interesting, what besides grades and engineer should a reason the school should accept you?

Ask yourself that, then look over your application to see if any of that stuff was in your essays.


Time for you to start a admissions consulting firm. :)
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2009, 20:22
I think GoBruins hit it on the head about being able to go beyond your profile and stick out among your peers. From your post, it sounds like your leadership roles in non-work activities might be something worth emphasizing. I don't know about Ross, but Kellogg and Wharton both have essays prompts that would allow for plenty of elaboration on ECs. Probably the biggest lesson I learned out of R1 is that just having a strong background with an average app (essays+interview) isn't enough. Keep charging forward though, still plenty of time for R2!
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 06:38
Just curious. Are Asian male high-tech folks an overrepresented demographic in b-school applications?
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 06:50
Age 29 sticks out when applying to HBS, fwiw.

MIT iirc charts leadership potential against academic ability, so while it sounds like you're strong in one, how well did you convey the other?
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 07:01
milias wrote:
Just curious. Are Asian male high-tech folks an overrepresented demographic in b-school applications?


Indians and Chinese are.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 07:03
Class2012 wrote:
Indians and Chinese are.


Thanks. That probably explains some of it, but it's not something I can change/improve, unfortunately.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 11:12
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I think application volumes are up a lot this year, especially at certain schools, due to the poor economy and job market. With a bigger applicant pool, this year could be a more competitive year than normal.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications? [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 13:55
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Looking at pools that are over-represented is pointless. Admits are about 10% of applicants for top schools.

Consequently, humans are an over-represented pool. So long as you are competitive with the stats they have available, just put your best into representing yourself. As you say, if you fall into a demographic it is tough luck as you can hardly change it. I often feel it is a way of preparing to fail while maintaining a high level of self esteem.
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Re: Am I doing something wrong in my applications?   [#permalink] 20 Jan 2010, 13:55
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