I took the GMAT around a month ago and have been researching B-schools since. While I have managed to put a dent in awesome ignorance, there are quite a few questions that I can't seem to wrap my head around. So here are 25 years of my life compressed into a post. Hope I don't bore you to death.
I am a Computer Science Engineer from India (surprise, surprise). Vital stats:
Bachelors in Engineering, Mumbai University (not a stellar univ but not substandard either): 63%
GMAT: 780 (Q-51, V-46)
GRE: 1520 (Q-800, V-720): Not very sure how I can leverage this.
My main concern about my acads is my Undergrad GPA. I tried a online credentialing agency's GPA converter and it puts me at 3.6/4. But I doubt that is a great representation. I was around the middle of my class and the guy who ranked first had 75-76% (damn him).
Extra-currics at Undergrad:
General Secretary of Student Government: Highest elected position and led a team of 14 other secretaries
Overall-Coordinator and Publicity Manager for a 2-day technical Festival: Led a team of ever 200 volunteers and achieved several tangible improvements over previous years.
Captain, College basketball team: Went from not making the team in freshman year to captain in my senior year. Though our team was mediocre at best, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and learnt so much.
I work in the consulting arm of one of the Big Four in a Business/Tech role. Was given significant responsibility in my first project. Was the only developer from my firm responsible for delivery of a million dollar project. Led and coordinated efforts between client and vendor teams on 3 continents.
As a result, was promoted from analyst to consultant 12 months ahead of schedule (a rarity).
Extra-currics after Undergrad:
Founder and Editor of a Magazine: I come from a country where a newly empowered youth has a lot to say, but doesn't always have a platform to get it out to others. This magazine is aimed at students and young professional who are interested in what goes on in the world around them and want to get the word out on something they are passionate about.
So far we have been able to solicit articles from students and alumni of some India's finest colleges and have focused primarily on political, social and economic issues. The magazine has a growing readership of 5,000 and is stocked by India's largest book store chain. We have been able to get advertisements from some large Indian corporates and are close to breaking even.
Distance Running Enthusiasts: I enjoy running and have run 4 half marathons. Through a tie-up with a children's foundation, I have also trained around 80 under-privileged children in the past 3 years for local races. We also teach the kids the importance of staying fit and staying away from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
Post MBA, I would want to work in the Technology/Media sector and gain an understanding how of companies in these sectors function the world over. In the long term, I would want to return to India to start my own enterprise in the tech/media sector with the goal of empowering the youth and facilitating their involvement in mainstream policy-making and governance.
If you've managed to get this far, you're probably a bit of a distance runner yourself.
My major questions at this stage are:
1. What schools should I be looking at in the United States?
2. My acads are definitely not stellar. How will this affect my chances at a top school? What can i do to offset this?
3. My work-ex is in the IT sector and I am an Indian male. How worried should I be about over-representation?
4. Finally, I will have 36 months of work experience at matriculation if I apply this year. Would it be advisable to wait a year, progress at my job and maybe get some international experience?
Thanks for getting through this. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Hi, Pranay. Yes, I made my way through this without a problem! It is either because I am amazing or I took it in a sprint
First, your strengths: the 780 GMAT, the entrepreneurial magazine, the college leadership positions, the current community involvement. These will all help you stand out from the rest of the applicant pool.
Your GPA is not great, it's true but the GMAT does dispel any concerns they may have about your academic ability. I suggest you apply this year to a select few schools that you greatly like and in the meantime sign up for some courses to build an alternate transcript to counter the 63% (which for the sake of argument, I would consider a 2.7-3.0 since you were in the middle of the class).
To counter the quandary of over-representation, do not waste one essay on a story that thousands of other guys will be telling (ie., anything unremarkable in the Indian IT sector). Instead, focus on those strengths and show the admissions committee that you are not ordinary!
Jennifer Bloom, CPRW
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