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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2014, 13:59
CriticalSquare wrote:

2) I don't really know what you're up to in terms of community involvement - feel free to fill me in there
3) When it comes to your job, you really need to get the experiences and leadership a recruiter would want to see - what have you been up to in your 1st year? What do you see coming up for the next year?



First off, I can see that my supposition about your excellent replies was 100% correct. To follow up:

2. I speak with the directors of finance-related charities in my city and organize community service days where finance employees from my office come in and volunteer. Once such charity teaches financial literacy to high school students and another helps low-income job seekers work on interview skills, resumes, etc. I participate in these days every month and also do some additional volunteering outside of this such as e-mentoring and volunteering once a month with the Ronald McDonald house. Overall it adds up to 5-10 hrs/month that I contribute myself.
3. I've taken on a bunch of new duties since I've been working and have taken a leadership position on a pretty big project, i.e., building synergies between teams and driving the project towards completion. My year-end review said that my duties are manager/VP-level. I just plan on continuing to build on this and doing the best work that I possibly can every day.

Hope this helps to elucidate. Your points about looking for duties that would appeal from a strategy perspective are particularly helpful. I will think about everything that you have said.
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2014, 00:36
Hi,
First thing first, Thanks for this wonderful thread!

I need help in understanding my chances at Top 10 B-Schools (Sept 2015 entry). Below are details of my profile:

Academics
B.Tech 2005 (Electrical Eng) : 71 % (Gold Medalist)
M.tech 2008 (IIT Delhi, India) : 8.44 (GATE exam All India Rank 46 out of ~30,000 candidates)
GMAT : Planned, July 2014; based on GMAT PREP +ve about 720

Work Ex
• Years: 7 years (As on Sept 2014), Research and Development, Tata Motors Ltd., India
• Designation: Manager (Development)
• Profile: Working on product development area, mainly on the new generation of Hybrid and Electric Vehicle development
• Achievement: Few publications in the conference/magazine which are very well acknowledged in the respective field (E.g. SAE, IEEE, ATZ etc). I am a Talent Pool employee in the present company (~15 out of 40,000 employee every year get into talent pool) and got to attend Executive Management Training program at one of the premium Indian B School (That’s where started realizing importance of doing MBA to complete my skill + knowledge set for future endeavor and in the career progress)

Extra Curricular
• I worked as a full time "SBI Youth For India” fellow (2011-2012) in the rural development space. It’s a 1 year fellowship, with a focus on rural development. I took a sabbatical from my present employer and worked on livelihood project. 28 fellows were selected from all across India. I could publish one paper on the work done under this fellowship in STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT FORUM of IIM Kozhikode (Under Top 8 B school from India); titled “Rural Local Retail: An innovative, self sustainable Social Business Model in Vegetable Business”
• Completed Paragliding pre-pilot level
• Completed French Level 1 certification

Certification
No international level certification; however Level 2 patent specialist Under TATA GROUP IP Management Program.

Target Program
Harvard……………………………… Stanford, MIT, LBS, INSEAD; As my school research is not extensive I would also like to know which are other schools where my profile and career goal would match

When you plan to apply
R1 Oct 2014

Your post-MBA goal
My long term goal is to start up a company in the area of Product Development ( To give a perspective, product development company like 3M)
With my work experience and Technical Education background I have developed the knowledge set required for such a venture however I am looking at following aspect to be covered by attending B-School:
1. Present and past student Network and prospective business partner
2. School name and the creditability with that to start new venture
3. Skill set to manage the business and required exposure
4. Peer Learning and divers thinking

If this doesn’t happen in immediate future (Post MBA) then I would like to join a Management Consultancy firm or a corporate position in Strategy and Planning vertical; which in long term would help me in setting up my firm.

I would like to understand how fair are my chances in Ivy-8 or above mentioned schools?
And which other schools you find would suitable for my profile?

I guess that’s all !!!

I sincerely thanks for all your time and efforts and waiting for your reply. (Moderator + Consultant)

HarryIITD
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2014, 09:54
Background
• Rich experience in Design, Innovation and Competitive Product Development.
• Due to keen interest in Design in general and Transportation Design in particular, pursued Engineering education to earn Masters in Design (Product Design &Engg.) from I.I.Sc. Bangalore (Indian Institute of Science) and also pursued professional career in Vehicle Design with two Top Automotive Companies in the World and India respectively.
• Experience evolved working through corporate design gates/processes & interaction with various stakeholders and vendors; close participation through cross functional teams in business processes like product definition, product planning, market positioning & innovation activities.
• In-depth understanding of design tools & methodologies; System/Process Design & IPR landscaping.
• Undertook initiatives in multidisciplinary/multicultural environments & in navigating uncertainty/handling ambiguity, championing customer focus & multidimensional problem solving with full confidence.
• Worked as a design lead and design jury member on various professional assignments.
• Wish to integrate formal knowledge in design with a penchant for enterprise creation to start an organization devoted to creating next generation mobility solutions. An MBA education in this regard would go a long way in helping me realize this objective.

Academics
• BE (Mechanical Engineering) 2003: 70%
• Masters in Design (IISc, Bangalore) 2008: 6.9/8.0 (10 students accepted into the prestigious design program every year from a pool of 10,000+ applicants)
• GMAT: 730

Professional Experience
• Years: 6 years (as on August 2014) in the Design Studio and R&D Centre and prior 2 years (2004-2006) at General Motors.
• Designation: Manager (ADVANCED DESIGN)
• Profile: Responsible for Exterior Design of Next-Generation Passenger Vehicles. Several projects are in production and have been displayed in International Auto Shows.

Achievements
• Responsible for exterior design of next gen vehicles (3); responsible for design of concept vehicles (2) showcasing the future vision of the company.
• Lead the future vision activities of the department through the design function.
• Exposed to vision/pre-concept research/positioning/branding/conceptual development/production design/systems development/integration and marketing aspects of full scale product (vehicle) development.
• I have completed one full ‘level 6’ (new platform) production vehicle program with exterior and interior design.
• Lead team in simulated enterprise creation & management workshops with spectacular results.
• I also mentor junior members of the team.

Extra-Curricular
• One of the top 50 innovators selected in India Innovation Growth Program in 2014 (Partners: Department of Science and Technology Govt of India; Lockheed Martin Corporation USA; Stanford Business School; University of Austin Texas)
• I am also an active member of the design team working on CSR activities of my organization in rural school development and modernization.
• Design Jury for one of the most prestigious design competitions in India for the year 2013.

Certification:
Several relevant to Product Development and Business Development through Design, several in core competencies and allied fields.
For example:
Interpretation by Design (BMW Germany); Customer Centric Workshop by RoadsAhead Consulting India; Trend & Design by Style-Vision Asia (France); Design Thinking Action Lab (Stanfordx); Innovation & Commercialization (MITx); several core design domain courses from MITx including the X-Series Certification in Air Vehicle Design; Courses from Harvardx; etc..

Target Program:
Harvard or any one of the top 5 B Schools in the world

Planned Entry
R1 October 2014

Post MBA Goal
Vision is to start a mobility solutions company.


I wish to understand my chances to be accepted in an HBS type of program (Ivy League) and look forward to your most realistic assessment of my profile.
Sincere thanks in advance for your time and effort! And many thanks for offering such a platform for aspirants like us!
Warm Regards
JSW
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2014, 11:09
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@BmoreNerd,

You're very welcome! I'm glad you found the feedback helpful. Thanks for providing the additional info - it's great to get a little more context and insight into what you're up to.

So to point #2 - it's great that you're involved and even better that you're getting other people involved with you. As you look over the next couple of years, think about how to grow that impact. Impact doesn't mean more time. Maybe you could partner with one of those organizations to help them operate more efficiently or effectively. Maybe you could serve as junior board member or spearhead some initiative for them. You're starting from a great base - 5 - 10 hours a month is a solid start. Now think about how to take that to the next level. While showing up makes a difference, think about how you can make an impact.

As for point #3 - your relative performance to your peerset is key. You used a little corporate jargon in your response (that's ok, I do it too :)) but what I honed in on was your performance as a manager. That's what you're going for and it goes back to my comment around best v. different. Seems you're on the right track!

Good luck and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out!

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2014, 11:39
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@HarryIITD,

Thanks - I'm really glad you find our posts on this forum helpful! Also, I really appreciate all the detail you provided! Ok, so let's get into things...

Academics: You tick off a lot of the main boxes here. Difficult major (+ advanced degree), strong performance, and great school. However, you haven't taken the GMAT yet. I know you're expecting a ~720 but until you have that score in hand, this is all hypothetical. I only say that because we run into this a lot. Please don't take that to mean I don't think you'll GET a 720 :). But I just wanted to stress that it counts when you have it in hand. The GMAT plays a really big role in the admissions process - as I am sure you know. But if you get a solid score, then your academics are in good shape!

Professional Experiences: There are some things about your professional profile I really like. You have resource management experience. You're in an industry and role that are relatively uncommon. Specifically, you aren't in IT consulting. You've also been externally recognized as a top performer. Things like that are a great proxy for quality of experiences and potential recommenders you could count on. I also like how you're a thought leader. It balances you out. You're a thinker AND a doer. And when you do, you do well. I like it!

Involvement: I really like the fellowship. It actually carries a disproportionate *oomf* in terms of impact due to the sabbatical. Those are difficult for a variety of reasons and it really speaks to your passion and commitment. Also, it seems you had a strong impact so that's just the icing on the cake. Your paragliding and French components are interesting facts but wouldn't necessarily count as involvement. They're more fun facts but they round you out as a person and your interests are a little bit different than most Indian applicants. However, that all said, what ELSE have you done? So you've been working for 7 years and 1 of those was this fellowship. That's great but what about the other 6 years? I don't mean that you're light here and you were probably involved in things but what you don't want is nothing, nothing, FELLOWSHIP, nothing when it comes to your resume timeline. So what else have you been up to?

Goals: Your goals need a little work. I like the concept behind a product development firm start up. What I understood of it was that you would help other companies navigate the product development process? If I misunderstood that, let me know. That said, your "why MBA" also makes sense. Those are all good things to have as an entrepreneur. However, there are obvious concerns with that. As an international student, starting the company will have a few additional hurdles. Also, you don't have any entrepreneurial experience which will cause a few eyebrows to rise. However, there are ways to address the concerns and I think we can create a story that makes sense. What falls apart, however, is the management consulting plan B. General management consulting is going to explicitly enable you to start your own company. You have the possibility for an interesting story, but it needs a little work.

The top 8 are going to be stretches. That doesn't mean they're all unrealistic stretches but here's where I think you stand (assuming you get a 720):

H/S/W: These are real stretches. They're stretches for everyone. You're also a little on the older side for them. If you want, apply to 1, max.
Top 8: These are more realistic stretches but still stretches. Look at MIT, Kellogg's MMM program, and Haas
Top 16: These are more aligned with your profile. Look at Ross, UCLA, McCombs
Top 25: These are going to be more in the safety range. Look at Tepper, Kelley

I think this list should give you a pretty solid group of programs to consider. Good luck on the GMAT!!

If you have any questions, post away! If you want to chat about the process, the path ahead, or how we can partner with you, you can sign up [here].

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2014, 12:01
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@JSW2014,

Hi there - thanks for posting! You're asking a really specific question so I'm going to provide a really specific response. Below that, I'll go into the 4 main buckets but I want to give you the answer first so you can take the rest in context.

The top 5 business schools will be stretches but are worth applying to. That said, they're going to be difficult to get into. So don't apply to them all - pick 1 or 2 and choose the ones that make the most sense for you. Don't just pick them based on rank. You have a strong profile but it doesn't catch my attention as so amazing that the top 5 would be silly to not let you in. So, with that in mind, I'd say diversify across the top 15. Your aligned programs are going to be more in the 5 - 11 rank or so. This probably doesn't need to be said, but this assumes you have a really buttoned up application.

Academics: You have a solid GMAT, decent GPA, and you attended a prestigious masters program. However, you don't mention where you went for undergrad so I'm going to assume it's not an IIT. And that isn't great. The vast majority of the folks accepted to the top programs went to an IIT institution. However, your design focus is really interesting. It adds a little color to your profile which I'm a huge fan of. All said, your academic profile is well above average, but not exceptional.

Professionally: You've worked for some big name companies and clearly managed teams to deliver real value. I also like how you're in auto (2 posters in a row in auto from India - what are the odds?). Innovation is a hot space! Your exposure across the value chain is also valuable. Overall, seems like you have some great stories here.

Community: I like that your experiences are unique. You've gone the route of staying close to your career / profession and there's nothing wrong with that. Within that approach you've done well - I love the IIGP program and that you were a judge for a national competition. They're activities that act as proxies for the quality of your involvement and impact. However, they're not extensive so it'd be great if you had a couple of more great things to point to.

Goals: Your goals are going to catch a LOT of attention the way they're structured right now. You have no experience in entrepreneurship, mobility, or rapid development. Your design work makes a great complement to a company in this space but to say you want to start your own company doing this isn't very realistic. Your story will need a lot more attention and focus to be something that is ambitious yet realistic.

I hope that's helpful - let me know if you have any questions or want to chat in detail! You can always sign up for a free consultation [here].

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2014, 09:58
Wow... that was pretty quick and quite elaborative!

I really appreciate your reply; it definitely cleared some (Much more!) air. I found your evaluation quite realistic.

Before I type anything further I should comment on "2 posters in a row in auto from India - what are the odds?".... indeed your guess is correct; we are study buddies !!!

Now back to my profile evaluation, I completely agree with your comment on GMAT; so its better for me to first get the score and then talk further. My plan is to finish it by July 2014 End.

However I believe I would get some more clarity regarding my chances in light of following points:

1. By setting up a firm I did not mean to help other companies navigate the product development process but to develop products
2. Regarding "nothing, nothing, FELLOWSHIP, nothing", I have been working on community service since my PG days and still continuing through Company CSR and the NGO with which I worked during sabbatical however do not have any certificate for those activities and felt that mention of fellowship should be good enough; hence did not report it
3. If I am a first generation Graduate and I hail from Government notified Tribal area ( Government Of India )
4. Can the previous point justify the Age factor?


Thanks again for your time.
HarryIITD



CriticalSquare wrote:
@HarryIITD,

Thanks - I'm really glad you find our posts on this forum helpful! Also, I really appreciate all the detail you provided! Ok, so let's get into things...

Academics: You tick off a lot of the main boxes here. Difficult major (+ advanced degree), strong performance, and great school. However, you haven't taken the GMAT yet. I know you're expecting a ~720 but until you have that score in hand, this is all hypothetical. I only say that because we run into this a lot. Please don't take that to mean I don't think you'll GET a 720 :). But I just wanted to stress that it counts when you have it in hand. The GMAT plays a really big role in the admissions process - as I am sure you know. But if you get a solid score, then your academics are in good shape!

Professional Experiences: There are some things about your professional profile I really like. You have resource management experience. You're in an industry and role that are relatively uncommon. Specifically, you aren't in IT consulting. You've also been externally recognized as a top performer. Things like that are a great proxy for quality of experiences and potential recommenders you could count on. I also like how you're a thought leader. It balances you out. You're a thinker AND a doer. And when you do, you do well. I like it!

Involvement: I really like the fellowship. It actually carries a disproportionate *oomf* in terms of impact due to the sabbatical. Those are difficult for a variety of reasons and it really speaks to your passion and commitment. Also, it seems you had a strong impact so that's just the icing on the cake. Your paragliding and French components are interesting facts but wouldn't necessarily count as involvement. They're more fun facts but they round you out as a person and your interests are a little bit different than most Indian applicants. However, that all said, what ELSE have you done? So you've been working for 7 years and 1 of those was this fellowship. That's great but what about the other 6 years? I don't mean that you're light here and you were probably involved in things but what you don't want is nothing, nothing, FELLOWSHIP, nothing when it comes to your resume timeline. So what else have you been up to?

Goals: Your goals need a little work. I like the concept behind a product development firm start up. What I understood of it was that you would help other companies navigate the product development process? If I misunderstood that, let me know. That said, your "why MBA" also makes sense. Those are all good things to have as an entrepreneur. However, there are obvious concerns with that. As an international student, starting the company will have a few additional hurdles. Also, you don't have any entrepreneurial experience which will cause a few eyebrows to rise. However, there are ways to address the concerns and I think we can create a story that makes sense. What falls apart, however, is the management consulting plan B. General management consulting is going to explicitly enable you to start your own company. You have the possibility for an interesting story, but it needs a little work.

The top 8 are going to be stretches. That doesn't mean they're all unrealistic stretches but here's where I think you stand (assuming you get a 720):

H/S/W: These are real stretches. They're stretches for everyone. You're also a little on the older side for them. If you want, apply to 1, max.
Top 8: These are more realistic stretches but still stretches. Look at MIT, Kellogg's MMM program, and Haas
Top 16: These are more aligned with your profile. Look at Ross, UCLA, McCombs
Top 25: These are going to be more in the safety range. Look at Tepper, Kelley

I think this list should give you a pretty solid group of programs to consider. Good luck on the GMAT!!

If you have any questions, post away! If you want to chat about the process, the path ahead, or how we can partner with you, you can sign up [here].

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2014, 23:43
Hello Bhavik,

Thank you for the prompt response and an insightful commentary on my overall profile! I liked it, found it interesting and quite realistic. However I believe in my enthusiasm to start this journey I may have misquoted or ambiguously stated a few things. I wonder whether clarity on such matters would help me in getting a more precise response from your end and I was also surprised by two of the points you have raised, so it'd be great if you can throw some light on those!

a) Goals: I mentioned mobility solutions in the traditional connotation of transportation solutions/ transportation products. Not perhaps mobility "as in handheld/ wearable mobile devices" solutions. As my entire experience is in the design and building of such vehicles and more!, so I felt I may not have come across lucid enough for this to be obvious and elicited a response, that my experience may not be related to mobility and rapid development, from your end.

In fact my participation in the IIGP program is about me having designed and developed an alternative hybrid-electric transportation innovation on my own for commercialization in the Indian market. This in fact is one of my first bigger steps towards Entrepreneurship (I have been doing things in this space since some time and in some diverse sectors but we can discuss that later).

b) Academics: The specific elements that came as a surprise were that you indicated that a Masters from IISc might be looked upon as sub-par when compared to one from an IIT; in fact it is quite the contrary! And as for the omission regarding my BE in concerned, it was a random omission. I have completed it from DSCE Bangalore under VTU. What I did with that education and how I set myself apart I guess is a topic of detailed debriefing with you.

Also were you referring to the GMAT score when you mentioned academics being above average but not exceptional? As far as GMAT is concerned, I can push it. GPA for my core Masters Program stands at 7.4/8.0 it is however all the other Management and Aerospace related subjects (beyond the requirement of the Masters program) that I credited that it averaged out to 6.9/8.0

c) Focus: Basically whether it'd be Bachelors/Masters or any other such adventure, I have always been able to demonstrate putting it to good use after and with the highest professional standards and with recognition in terms of awards or proxies. However all this is aligned towards transportation (mobility: not only cars) solutions and that is what I wish to do so on my own in the future. Hence a globally recognized Master program in BA.

Eagerly looking forward to your response on the above! And once again many thanks for your valuable time and effort!

Warm Regards,

JSW


CriticalSquare wrote:
@JSW2014,

Hi there - thanks for posting! You're asking a really specific question so I'm going to provide a really specific response. Below that, I'll go into the 4 main buckets but I want to give you the answer first so you can take the rest in context.

The top 5 business schools will be stretches but are worth applying to. That said, they're going to be difficult to get into. So don't apply to them all - pick 1 or 2 and choose the ones that make the most sense for you. Don't just pick them based on rank. You have a strong profile but it doesn't catch my attention as so amazing that the top 5 would be silly to not let you in. So, with that in mind, I'd say diversify across the top 15. Your aligned programs are going to be more in the 5 - 11 rank or so. This probably doesn't need to be said, but this assumes you have a really buttoned up application.

Academics: You have a solid GMAT, decent GPA, and you attended a prestigious masters program. However, you don't mention where you went for undergrad so I'm going to assume it's not an IIT. And that isn't great. The vast majority of the folks accepted to the top programs went to an IIT institution. However, your design focus is really interesting. It adds a little color to your profile which I'm a huge fan of. All said, your academic profile is well above average, but not exceptional.

Professionally: You've worked for some big name companies and clearly managed teams to deliver real value. I also like how you're in auto (2 posters in a row in auto from India - what are the odds?). Innovation is a hot space! Your exposure across the value chain is also valuable. Overall, seems like you have some great stories here.

Community: I like that your experiences are unique. You've gone the route of staying close to your career / profession and there's nothing wrong with that. Within that approach you've done well - I love the IIGP program and that you were a judge for a national competition. They're activities that act as proxies for the quality of your involvement and impact. However, they're not extensive so it'd be great if you had a couple of more great things to point to.

Goals: Your goals are going to catch a LOT of attention the way they're structured right now. You have no experience in entrepreneurship, mobility, or rapid development. Your design work makes a great complement to a company in this space but to say you want to start your own company doing this isn't very realistic. Your story will need a lot more attention and focus to be something that is ambitious yet realistic.

I hope that's helpful - let me know if you have any questions or want to chat in detail! You can always sign up for a free consultation

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2014, 05:40
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@HarryIITD,

You're quite welcome! The fact that you're both friends explains a lot :)

If you haven't set the GMAT date yet, I'd suggest you pull it up 4 - 6 weeks. The end of July doesn't give you a lot of time to react and retake if you need to before R1 is on top of us. Shoot for the 1st half of June. That way, if you have to take it a second time, you have a month to prepare and still get it out of the way by July 31st.

1) If that's what you meant (and sorry for the misunderstanding) that's pretty vague. What kind of products? Where in the value chain? What industry? Still auto? If so, that's a very difficult value chain to break into. Regardless, that's something that would be fleshed out in a story frameworking process.

2) Right, that's what I expected - that you did a lot of stuff but just didn't bother mentioning it. You don't need certificates or proof. Adcoms don't assume you're lying. That's great though - all I wanted to make sure was that you were involved before and after your fellowship. The fellowship is clearly the cornerstone of your community involvement!

3) That's definitely useful information but how you factor that in will be important. It has to make sense to introduce struggle. By that I mean it has to have actually impacted you.

4) Perhaps? I mean - did point #3 keep you out of college for a couple of years? Did it delay you in some meaningful way? The explanation, however, can only go so far. Age is an absolute thing. You're either X years old or you aren't, right? So I'm not saying it can't be used but it would have to make sense.

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2014, 05:52
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@JSW2014,

Thanks for the detailed response - I love additional information!

1) Ok, you meant ACTUAL mobility - that makes much more sense! I'd still urge a little caution when it comes to your goals. You clearly have an entrepreneurial spirit and you're capable of developing some pretty cool stuff. However, as I mentioned to your friend, auto entrepreneurship is difficult. It's an established value chain and entrants (especially in what you do) require capital. Often times A LOT of capital. So I wouldn't say don't have any of this in your goals, but definitely make sure your understanding of the dynamics comes across loud and clear. What that actually looks like will vary by school.

2) Sorry for the confusion - I wasn't saying IISC wasn't an exceptional university. I mentioned I assumed your undergrad wasn't an IIT. If you had gone to an IIT and then IISC, that would be amazing. However, as I stated, IISC is an absolutely great place to get your masters. Definitely prestigious. We're aligned about that! As for your GMAT - absolutely DO NOT retake it. A 730 is an amazing score and, considering the rest of your academic profile, you definitely don't need another 10 or 20 points. Besides, that would just seem really petty and would actually count a little against you. An adcom would look at that and think, "does this guy really understand what we look to a GMAT score for?" You have a great academic profile - it doesn't need any further attention from you!

3) I can see that - you clearly seem to work hard and it shows. It's also great that your experience spans mobility and goes beyond just auto. Now it just comes down to how you weave all this together into a strong story!

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 01 May 2014, 07:11
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What’s a resume? A resume is your personal highlight reel that captures your greatest moments. It’s mostly focused on your professional career but can (and should) include other things as well! The key to creating any excellent resume or highlight reel is the personal touch. Without it, your resume becomes one long, boring laundry list. Remember, your resume is a marketing document that gets others to buy into you!

Think about a news show focused on sports or entertainment for a moment. Many of the resumes adcoms will see are comprised of a plain-vanilla listing of dates, companies, titles, and job responsibilities. That’s the same as watching a monotone sports broadcaster read off the scores and stats of today’s games or an entertainment anchor list celebrity activities. Not very exciting, right? Now consider a resume that integrates impact and scope into a compelling story punctuated with adjectives and verbs that make it leap off the page. That’s like watching SportsCenter or TMZ! You not only get the facts but also the backstories, drama, and colorful commentary! That extra “oomf” is what captures the reader’s attention!

How can you tell if your resume has that personal touch? Take your personal information off your resume and give the anonymous resume to a friend or relative that isn’t familiar with your work history. Tell them it’s someone else’s resume. Ask that person to read it over and describe the personality and traits of the person in the resume. Is the description that you hear back a positive representation of who you are trying to portray in your applications? Or are you getting a very generic description that describes any other stereotypical applicant coming from your background?

When you have your resume drafted, remember – an experienced 2nd perspective can go a long way! At Critical Square, Our Resume Editing service marries your story, messaging, and accomplishments into a narrative that’ll leave the adcom wanting more! Learn more [here]!

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 06 May 2014, 06:06
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We get the question every year without fail. What does the adcom want to hear? What are they looking for? That is a really hard question to answer even if you are the admissions director for the program you’re applying to! Sure, when speaking broadly, there are key themes and characteristics programs are looking for but there is no formula to squeeze yourself into. For a lot of you, that can be a really frustrating fact to come to grips with. But the sooner you become comfortable with it, the easier and better this will all be.

At Critical Square, there is a reason we are adamant and unwavering in our requirement that applicants write each and every draft of their essays. We provide coaching, feedback, and mentoring along the way but the adcoms aren’t looking for us to join their programs. And we’re not going to be the ones attending. You are. So your personality, character, and passions have to be the ones that come across in your application! Remember, at the end of the day, the adcoms aren’t trying to keep you out. They want to let you in but they just want to make sure you’re perfect for them. And vice versa. People often forget about that last part. Adcoms have a really tough job!

You might be a banker or a consultant or a private equity analyst in a broad sense, but when it comes down to it you are an individual. You are unique in some way, shape, or form. So let that come across in your applications! If you have a strong, logical reason to want an MBA, the experiences to show why now is the right time, and research showing why the school is the right program, then those are the right building blocks. If you’re missing one of those things, no amount of application magic is going to hide that.

So be yourself at the end of the day! Honesty, after all, is the best policy!

When you have your essay drafted, remember – an experienced 2nd perspective can go a long way! At Critical Square, our Essay Editing services provide candid and tangible feedback – absolutely no fluff here. It’ll be rigorous but trust us, you’ll thank us in the end! Learn more [here]!

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 07 May 2014, 06:58
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It might be cold, but that doesn’t stop Ross from working hard and partying harder. We think this school profile pairs well with spiked cider!

One of the pioneers of experiential learning, Michigan Ross is a school that takes itself seriously, but not too seriously. They have a dynamic and exciting culture that is one of the major draws for applicants and one of the things alumni carry with them long after graduation.

Ross is looking for folks that have the perfect balance of leadership, maturity, impact, and teamwork. You spend a lot of time in teams and most classes have an experiential component so working well with others and driving innovative solutions is critical. You better believe Ross will dissect your application for these key themes so make sure they come across without much digging. It’s also all about its culture so get to know the program. Visit campus (it’s in Ann Arbor so it’s kind of a trek), talk to students and alumni, and find the things that really make Ross important to you!

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 08 May 2014, 04:46
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Diversification not only helps you with investing, it’s also invaluable when it comes spicin’ up your resume. Great, so you were involved with twenty incredible activities at work. But are you making things interesting? Are you writing a resume someone WANTS to read? When you use the same verbs and adjectives throughout your resume, the words begin to lose their significance and your reader’s eyes start to glaze over.

One of the easiest ways to add some personality and color to your resume is to change up the words you use in your examples. Avoid using too many generic words that lack any true meaning. Remember, the adcom has to scan thousands of applications and little things like having a punchy resume can make a big difference. However, don’t fall into the “thesaurus trap”! Think through what message you want to convey in each line of your resume and find the right words to make the line pop. You can also experiment with the formatting of your resume using bolded, italicized, and indented text to make it easier for the reader to scan through your resume and find the main takeaways.

Good resumes are a dime a dozen when it comes to elite business schools. Having the right language in a resume turns a good resume into a great one that a reviewer remembers!

When you have your resume drafted, remember – an experienced 2nd perspective can go a long way! At Critical Square, Our Resume Editing service marries your story, messaging, and accomplishments into a narrative that’ll leave the adcom wanting more! Learn more [here]!

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 11 May 2014, 11:13
Hi,

I am an Indian Female with 8 years experience in Manufacturing Industry in Procurement Domain.
Though I have good academic background (BE in Electrical Engg), I didn't got a very good score in GMAT. I managed to score 550 in GMAT. I am planning to apply European B School this year with score. I have already discussed with one school. They seemed to be positive about my profile. Could you please help that which schools should I apply?

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 12 May 2014, 06:41
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Hi Suman,

Thanks for your post! What you wrote raises a few questions on this end. Can you tell me a little more about yourself? What do you DO for work (not just your title)? How did you do in undergrad? Are you involved outside of work? What would you like to do with your MBA? Are you looking at full 2 year programs? Are there any criteria or restrictions from your end?

With a 550, I really have to know more about your profile before suggesting programs. Also, if you can share, what kind of schools did you speak to? You don't have to share names if you are uncomfortable doing so, but it would be good to know what tier or programs you're looking into.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 12 May 2014, 07:20
Hi Bhavik,

Thanks for the reply. To start, I am an Indian Female. I have done my Bachelors in Engineering in 2006. I have also done Executive MBA from IIM Calcutta. This is one year certification program.

Post BE, I started working with Vedanta. Companies I worked in Vedanta, Jindal, Mjunction and currently working with Bechtel. I have diversified profile in Purchasing Domain such as I worked in Project Procurement, Supplier Relationship, Third party logistics, Indian Vendor management. I used to forecast strategy regarding when to buy Ferro alloys and published articles in previous org. In the current company, I have published few articles within the department, articles such as India Sourcing for various commodities such as Electrical, Material Handling etc.

Again, apart from the job, I was associated with CSR work in my prev job. Currently I am associated with Goonj and help as required.

I would like to go for one year European programme. I want to change my career to consulting.

I hope I am able to answer you now. Please give the path forward.

Regards
Suman






CriticalSquare wrote:
Hi Suman,

Thanks for your post! What you wrote raises a few questions on this end. Can you tell me a little more about yourself? What do you DO for work (not just your title)? How did you do in undergrad? Are you involved outside of work? What would you like to do with your MBA? Are you looking at full 2 year programs? Are there any criteria or restrictions from your end?

With a 550, I really have to know more about your profile before suggesting programs. Also, if you can share, what kind of schools did you speak to? You don't have to share names if you are uncomfortable doing so, but it would be good to know what tier or programs you're looking into.

Look forward to hearing from you!

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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 12 May 2014, 13:17
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Hi Suman,

Thanks for the additional info! I like how you have experience across various companies and industries within the procurement space. That gives you a nice, well rounded perspective. It's also good that you're involved in CSR activities. Here's the problem - moving into consulting isn't easy. And if you want to work at even a remotely reputable firm, they recruit at well known schools. It's a pedigree game, above all else. Also, you'll be hard pressed to make that switch in a 1 year program given you won't have an internship to try to get your foot in the door. Not impossible, but much harder.

So all that said, your GMAT is really low (and I think you probably know that) but it seems you've only taken it once? Have you considered retaking it? I know a school (undisclosed) told you they were ok with it but...it's really low. If you want to get into a school that's good enough for you to make the switch into consulting, you need a significantly higher score. I'm sorry, I know that wasn't the response you were hoping for.

Thoughts?

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 13 May 2014, 06:30
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Do admissions committees really count the words? You bet they do. Oh, and more bad news? Essay word limits for most of the schools out there have been trending lower over the last few years. This means less is more when it comes to writing essays and applicants are going to be feeling the pressure to provide more concise and compelling responses. Failure to respect word limits can raise some red flags for admissions committees so don’t get yourself in trouble!

So why do word limits exist? They exist because admissions committees want to govern the amount of information you give them and force applicants to focus on quality over quantity. Admissions committees can focus more of their attention on the important things rather than struggling to read the next great American novel from a long essay response.

Word limits aren’t simply a test of whether applicants can follow rules either. They can actually tell a story about the applicant. If you leave an essay too short, the admissions committee can interpret that as you not having enough to say due to lack of experience or unpreparedness. Going too long can be seen as someone having weak communication skills or, even worse, an applicant with poor judgment and thinks rules don’t apply to him or her. If you must go long, save it for the optional essay!

Our advice here is to be within 10% of the word limit on either end. But only go long if you absolutely have to – don’t take this as a ringing endorsement for stumbling over word limits with reckless abandon!

When you have your essay drafted, remember – an experienced 2nd perspective can go a long way! At Critical Square, our Essay Editing services provide candid and tangible feedback – absolutely no fluff here. It’ll be rigorous but trust us, you’ll thank us in the end! Learn more [here]!

Want more awesome articles? Visit our [Blog]!

Bhavik
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Re: Ask Critical Square [#permalink] New post 14 May 2014, 08:24
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Stanford’s quirkier sister, Haas is a serious MBA program but has its very own unique flavor. We think this school profile pairs well with a nice merlot!

Responsible and innovative leadership. Repeat after us! Responsible. Innovative. Leadership. Are you seeing a few of the key themes your application needs to hit upon? Good! Given its location on the west coast at the center of global high-tech and entrepreneurship, Berkeley does not lack for an innovative spirit. You’ll learn how to seize opportunity, challenge conventional thinking, and get your creative juices flowing! All of this is built on a strong general management foundation. Breadth. Depth. They want to prepare you to lead a company, join a start-up, run a non-profit, or venture out into your own thing.

Berkeley Haas values 4 values above all else: confidence without attitude, challenge of the status quo, thinking and acting beyond yourself, and being a student always. It all ties back to responsible and innovative leadership. They’re off the beaten path and they’re proud of it. Don’t believe us? Look at their essays. You’ll think so hard about what song says the most about you that you’ll probably never want to hear it again! You need a little bit of a lot of things to fit in at Haas. Are you looking for a strong education with a uniquely Berkeley twist? Then Haas is the place for you!

Want the full profile? Right this way! > [School Profile | Haas]

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Re: Ask Critical Square   [#permalink] 14 May 2014, 08:24
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