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Could you help me with some application strategy? I've been reading your advice and you seem to be a total expert in the application process. I am trying to figure out if I am applying to enough or the wrong schools.
My situation: I am in the food industry and am being sponsored by my employer to pursue an MBA (they will pay my salary and tuition for the two years I am in school). I have an undergraduate and graduate degree in Food Science with a 3.6 and 3.8 GPA respectively. I recently took the Gmat and scored a 780. For the last three years I have been in my companies management development program which has meant that I have spent a year in Sales and Marketing, a year in Production and Research and a year as an Operations Team Leader. Prior to that I have pursued internships on two different continents. As far as extracurriculars, I was one of the most successful intercollegiate debaters in history. I run marathons and compete in triathalons. I am a board member at a local non-profit and have saved them from going under. I have pretty good examples of leadership and impact at work. My goal is to return to my company and transition into an Operations and Strategic Planning role with an ultimate goal of executive leadership.
My question is: am I applying to the right or enough schools. My preliminary plan was to apply to MIT, Stanford and Harvard in the first round. I know these are fiercely competitive schools: am I being over-confident?
Do you see an area of my profile that I can improve to have better chances at these schools?
Thanks for your help Hjort. You advice means a lot to all of us.
I would not call myself a total expert but I suppose I have a pretty good idea of the terrain. As usual, I urge everyone to perform her own due diligence.
The raw ingredients sound very good as I read your message (and your employer will pay!). My main concerns are about what you would expect: execution of your applications and portfolio selection.
I see no problem with the schools you start with as long as your are fully prepared to appy to more schools. I would almost certainly include at least one of the Midwestern ultra elites in the first or second round.
I really appreciate your reply.
I think that I am lucky in that I have an employer that is willing to foot the bill. Do you think that might help my application?
I was considering applying to Northwestern but also Tuck. Is there a reason why you suggested Northwestern and Chicago in particular?
I don't think the fact that you are being sponsored will make much difference beyond the signaling effect (they obviously think you are a worthy candidate because they are willing pay tens of thousands of dollars for your education). I mentioned the two Midwestern ultraelites because they are two of the best schools in the world so you should have some pretty strong reasons for excluding them from consideration. Further, the food industry and the Midwest seem to be a natural match.