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Ask Paul Lanzillotti

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Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 02:43
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Hi GMAT Club:
I have been trolling this forum for the last few months after being on the Businessweek forums for a number of years. I wanted to provide my own admissions consulting perspective gained over the last 8 years and having worked with hundreds of applicants.

A little more on me:
In 2008, I started a workshop in the LA area to provide a low cost or free service to those applying to business school. It is now the largest pre-MBA group in LA. Currently, I lecture extensively at UCLA Anderson and to their pre-MBA Riordan programs. I was also an UCLA Anderson interviewer, a management consultant, an engineer and I used to teach at Kaplan back in the day.

My point in doing this is to dispel any bad information and give away as much good advice as possible, so that you as the applicant can decide if you really need an admissions consultant. Please keep in mind that my communication style is fairly direct so when I lay out my perspective, it is coming from experience and is meant to be in your best interests.

Now, please ask away...
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 13 May 2010, 18:53
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Hi GMAT Club members:
Just wanted everyone to know about several free resources I have available for download:

Need to figure out what supplemental courses you can take to up your GPA and show the adcom you are ready for the core? http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_r ... u-courses/

Want to learn more about applying to HBS? http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_r ... ite_paper/

Here is a step by step process for getting the right recommendation: http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_r ... ion_guide/

In the next few days, I will be putting up more video of the latest Los Angeles MBA Workshop at UCLA Anderson. Here is a short clip on the "MBA Acceptance Equation": http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_r ... _workshop/

In the queue are guides on essay construction and managing the waitlist. I will have them posted in the next few days.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 17 May 2010, 07:27
Hi Paul,

I know you are generally more used to dealing with students who want to get into the heavyweight programs (HBS, INSEAD, etc) but I was curious to get your thoughts on my profile.

eval-my-profile-creative-ideas-to-strengthen-profile-94251.html

Thanks.
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 17 May 2010, 07:34
Hello Paul,
I plan to start applying for September 2011(Fall ) intake. I would like some comments on my profile. Here it goes

Nationality- Indian
Age-24
Gender – Male
GMAT – 620 (Q-48, V-27) AWA-5.5
GPA – There is no GPA system in my university. It is percentage based. However I have good academic records and completed by BE in Mechanical engineering with a distinction(76%) in the final year

Work experience: 2 years(and counting) work experience with SIEMENS Ltd.

Some important responsibilities executed by me include:
Was a part of the team that was responsible for getting Siemens Transformers, India certified for ISO14001 and OHSAS 18001.
One of the coordinators for maintaining 5-S (Quality based system) on the shop floor.
Executing my responsibilities and managing my department alone as a trainee for during the delegation of my superior to Germany for 3 months
Conducting and organising various trainings for shop floor engineers.

Some Achievements
1.Won the Best Project Award during my training period.
2.Submitted a technocommerical paper on a global scale as a part of "Environmental Award 2009" to SIEMENS AG.
3.Software for easy access of training records made using MS Access.

Other Activities:
1.Completed a basic level course in German with an A+ grade.
2.Successfully completed a project titled “Inservice Inspection of a pressure vessel” at Larsen&Toubro Limited, Powai as a part of my undergraduation final year project
3.Stood second in a national level technical paper presentation for the project titled “Inservice inspection of a pressure vessel” held at IIT, Bombay.
4.Have won several accolades in technical paper presentation competitions.
5.Have published around 36 articles on topics of public awareness in Hindustan Times,a leading news daily and 2 articles in JAM, a fortnightly newspaper.

Community service:
•Active member of ~Pankhudi, an NGO that aims at working towards underprivileged children since the last 2 years. Primary responsibility includes teaching slum kids. Have also contributed in other ways to ~Pankhudi.

My verbal score in the GMAT is less but I have done well in the AWA section and my English is also not all that bad considering I have published articles in a leading daily. I would like to know how competitive my application looks and my chances of getting into a good bschool. What can I do to overshadow my low verbal score? I plan to apply to 10 of the top30 bschools in the US. Requesting your comments.

Thanks a lot!

Abhishek Shenoy
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 17 May 2010, 21:51
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Hi TheSituation:
I reposted your thread from the link you posted for the sake of continuity. I hope you do not mind.
I like the way you write by the way, it's real-real as they say.

To answer your questions:

    Take a few CEUs at a local CC. Get the cheapest fastest option available - this could also be an online course and should be a course that is represented by an MBA core-type course. Remember, the longer you are out of undergrad, the less your grades are going to be weighed. Question: how long have you been out of undergrad?

    Do NOT take a leadership course like Carnegie. This looks sophomoric and simply put, no adcom member is going to believe that you gained an ounce of meaningful leadership from a course. Leadership is not taught, it is gained on the battlefield. That is the principles of leadership can be articulated, but the credibility that comes with being a leader can only be gained by executing. This is why any business school worth its weight requires work experience from its applicants. Put another way, it's like going to a Tony Robbins seminar and then expecting to date supermodels. Life doesn't work that way.

    You have the right idea with upping the ante on your volunteer experience. Don't be a groupie, be a rockstar. Find an org that can utilize your business skills and take a leadership position. Remember, in and out of the office, you need to be showing leadership. Demonstrating the same types of collaborative leadership (while being effective) shows that you are not full of feces and that you are not a self-absorbed, one-trick pony. This is especially important to you since you have a somewhat non-traditional path with some ups and downs. Also, keep in mind that IMHO longer term, post-MBA goals are always higher-level, and more closely related to your personal passions and pursuits (short term goals are very tactical as a relative comparison).

    If you really wanted to go from 10 to 11 and you had a personal commitment to improving one's self through hitting the weights and diet, I would suggest starting up your own non-profit, going through that entrepreneurial process and really making an impact on a specific constituency such as kids who struggle with weigh and body image.
    Image

Keep in mind that standing out is also completely relative. So if you are applying to a school like UBC or Simon Fraiser, you are in the running with your 620 and may not really have to do more. If you ace the GMAT this time through and are looking at a Richard Ivey, then I suggest fully entertaining the above.
I hope this helps. Thanks for providing the detailed input, it really helped give me an idea of your background and, well, personality.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti


TheSituation wrote:
Hi Paul,

I know you are generally more used to dealing with students who want to get into the heavyweight programs (HBS, INSEAD, etc) but I was curious to get your thoughts on my profile.

eval-my-profile-creative-ideas-to-strengthen-profile-94251.html

Thanks.


If you don’t want all my background stuff, please skip to the bottom for “MY REAL QUESTION”

After several months of study I finally wrote the GMAT, scoring a 620 (Q40:V36). I was disappointed with the quant as I spent 90% of my prep on it and was scoring more in the 43-44 range on my prep tests. I have formulated a new plan of attack and will retake the GMAT in approx 6-7 weeks. I fully expect to do improve. In the unlikely event I score worse, a 620 is useable for my purposes as I plan on applying largely to tier 2 b-schools in Canada for Fall 2011 admission. At my target schools a 620 is roughly the average of accepted applicants, but I was really counting on a great score to bolster my weaker areas (see below)

In the meantime, I think I should really start to take advantage of the fact I will have lots of time to beef up my application profile.

26/Male/White

GPA - I hold a four-year Hons BComm from a solid, respectable Canadian University and managed to obtain a 3.12 CGPA (roughly) despite having my head shoved directly up my *** for a good chunk of 2nd and 3rd year. Not a major handicap but not a major asset either.

Work Experience - After graduating I had a string of interviews but nothing really clicked. I ended up accepting a job as a bank teller at a major Canadian bank to gain some experience and, more importantly, to gain access to the internal job postings at head office. The bank had a policy not allowing internal movement within the first year of accepting a job but because I truly excelled in my role and was persistent with my manager and after 8 months I ended up with an interview at head office for an awesome 2-year corporate banking leadership program. I interviewed well but was runner-up to another candidate with, you guessed it, an MBA. The hiring manager said she loved my intangibles, but the credentials the other candidate offered couldn’t be denied. I definitely took notice of the fact that all this other guy had on me was a piece of paper with three letters on it. Lesson learned: MBA = More opportunity. No MBA = Less opportunity.

At this point keep in mind I stayed at home for university to save $$$, so by this point I got a bit stir crazy. I quit the bank and backpacked Europe for two months. It was incredible!!! I had an amazing time, and came back in late October 2008. Wow. WOW. Did I ever pick a plum time to quit my job and spend a whack of cash.

I scrambled and was truly lucky to find a job (by December 2008) with a large international finance company specializing in leasing and small & middle-market lending. Anyone know how large lenders did in 08/09? Yeah. It was stressful. Several rounds of layoffs and, eventually, the company declared bankruptcy. It has since emerged from bankruptcy but another lesson was learned: Bankruptcy = no fun. I never, ever want to do that at the corporate or, heaven forbid, personal level again. Solution: Develop more skills. One option: MBA.
My duties at this employer, still my current employer, have essentially been various administrative tasks but I could probably put a good spit shine on them.

HOWEVER…

I am well short of having any experience in terms of being a manager , or leading a team, or delivering a project under budget, or having people directly report to me, or having a sales territory or anything like that. Nothing that is going to really “wow” any adcoms.

Once I finish round 2 of the GMAT obtaining this experience will become priority #1.

My reference letters will probably be ok, I think I can manage this.

Volunteering - I have almost nothing here. BUT my company recently (last week) sponsored a day for employees to work at a soup kitchen for a day. It was a real reality check. I asked about coming back and volunteering on my own regularly. For me it is a great reminder of how thankful I should be, but I don’t know if this is exactly what adcoms are looking for per se in terms of volunteering. I still plan on doing it for myself though.

Extra Curricular - all mine centre around sports and working out. I had a major transformation from 2005 -2007 where I lost like 50 pounds of fat and gained a lot of muscle. It’s shallow, but its one of my proudest accomplishments because A. I had told myself I couldn’t do it for so long and B. So many people fail at it. I was a success story, totally self-made.. no fancy personal trainers or anything. Just me willing myself to keep at it and to never give up.

MY REAL QUESTION:

Anyways, I’m looking for some creative ideas on how I can improve and/or make my profile standout more.

-more volunteering? more “Business-like” volunteering ie. sitting on board of a NFP?
-Taking a leadership course, Dale Carneighies’ course is like $1700
-A few summer courses at university or college, maybe in math or stats to pad my Q40 on GMAT.
-marrying a rich chick?

Other ideas? Admission consultants - what are some creative ways/ideas your students have used to boost their profiles. I’m open to all suggestions at this point. Any unorthodox ways of standing out from the pack that are just crazy enough to work?

Thanks for reading, I know I’m long-winded.

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Round 1: 05/12/10 handling-a-grenade-thesituation-s-official-debrief-94181.html

Round 2: 07/10/10 - This time it's personal.
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 17 May 2010, 23:42
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Hi Abhishek:
Thanks for reaching out to me. About 50% of my clients are Indian nationals, most are from the IT sector and the remainder from management consulting. Having worked with a few hundred Indian applicants over the past 8 years, and evaluated the chances of hundreds more, I thank you for the detail in your post. It really helps me form an expert opinion about your background and "chances."

To be perfectly honest with you, you are going to need to take the GMAT again and get closer to 700 if you want to be competitive at a top-30 US business school. Generally, the quick and dirty way is to look at your GMAT and see if it is within 25 points of the mean (at a bare minimum.) However, as an Indian applicant, you are part of an uber-competitive applicant sub-group where high GPAs and GMAT scores are the norm, not the exception. In order to be competitive at a top 30, at a minimum, you are going to need to be at the program's GMAT mean. My direct advice is to go back to the drawing board and get that verbal score up. The GMAT is a cold and brutal fact. It is the first and highest hurdle you must clear. Once you clear that by getting the mean for the schools you are applying to, then (and only then) can you begin to address the other variables in what I call the "MBA Acceptance Equation." I hate laying it out like this and I hope it does not sound insulting but trust that I have the benefit of my 8 years of perspective.

Once you address your GMAT, examining your candidacy methodically will help you think critically about your differentiation (I have posted bits of the following in other threads btw).

This is the basic paradigm in which you want to view your candidacy. As mentioned above, I call it the MBA Acceptance Equation (TM):

GMAT (at or near the school's mean) + GPA (undergrad performance and leadership activities) + Work Experience + Personal Passions and Philanthropic Pursuits (consistent history of extracurricular leadership) + Why MBA? (describe what the degree will do in general) + Why MBA from this program? (indicated by the school's pedagogy) + Why Now? (sense of urgency)= Short Term (tactical/immediately upon graduation) + Longer Term Goals (5+ years out and waxes philosophic)

You have to hit on the above to be a competitive candidate at School X. Again, if School X is a top 30 US b-school, then you can easily check the rankings for the average GMAT and GPA. With a 620 GMAT, you have your answer and unfortunately, you would not be competitive with your current score.

When you have cleared this first hurdle, you want to move onto your work experience. Your W/E is "quant" in nature and is considered a "known quantity" so it going to be important to show differentiation, especially as an male, Indian applicant with an IT background. You have great experience, but you are competing against the most gifted group of applicants on paper. Your leadership and lauded results will bode will in terms of differentiation, but it won't be enough to overcome a low GMAT score. Incidentally, your background is extremely similar to mine. I used to run Kaizen projects back in the day and I remember trying to gain ISO cert and conducting quite a few 5S.

So in answering if you have a chance (beyond your GMAT score), your first question around W/E should be around the size/reputation of your firm and your leadership within it.

How many other project managers or consultants are there in your Siemens BU? How many engineers report up to you? You always want to stress leadership in this part of the MBA Acceptance Equation. So, if you work for a smaller group or project team, you need to stress your ability to wear many hats and work closely with C-level individuals and decision makers to get things done. Stress how your jack of all trades nature goes beyond title and formal authority. Make sure that you articulate a story where multi-faceted nature caused you to come up the curve quickly while (perhaps) helping to build an entrepreneurial initiative within Siemens, a very well established organization. (Your recs HAVE to back up this story).

The same could be about a larger project team (think SAP implementation with 100s of consultants and resources) or organization to a certain extent. However, you have to also talk about how you were a leader among peers and your awards and white papers will show this. That is, you did not get lost in the shuffle and while there was an established hierarchy, you went above and beyond the established paradigm to ask for more authority and then fully live up to that expectation.

Moving onto the next part of the equation: personal passions and philanthropic pursuits (P/P/P/P):

Your extracurriculars are decent but they lack a logical connection to your longer term goals. They also need to be stronger in order to support your differentiation from the rest of your applicant sub-group. At least this is what I can tell from the basic P/P/P/P info you provided (very brief compared to the other information you provided). This is very often the achilles heel with those project professionals expected to spend long hours at the client site or traveling from one site to the other. I am sure you work a lot of hours may have little time for out of the office pursuits. However, your out of the office activities are a good opp to show that you are not all tech but that there is something truly interesting or innovative about your personality and leadership. Remember, the adcom will know that you are a smart guy. Make sure that you are labeled as smart guy who utilizes it for the good for others to break any self-serving or not good in a team oriented environment image the have in their mind. You need to break this stereotype with your P/P/P/P.

I trust that you have been volunteering and showing leadership when you speak of Pankhudi. My question would revolve around your personal connection to this activity? What is it about this cause that really makes you want to be involved? These values or norms will really form the case for meaningful leadership and differentiation in the eyes of the adcom. A meaningful connection will logically build on your story or positioning. That is, you are not just diving into an underwater basket weaving volunteer activity that shows no relevant leadership and in fact makes you look invented. I need more detail on Pankhudi to determine this but at a high-level, make sure that whatever role you play at Pankhudi, you are using your subject matter area (project management) and professional acumen to build towards a more altruistic longer term goal. Remember, the best candidates are those that have out of the office activities that marry up their professional background with a philanthropic interest that get them towards their longer term goal. Almost every candidate misses this point. Don't make that mistake.

This brings us to the Why MBA? Why this school? part of the equation. Why MBA is fairly easy - because everyone needs an MBA to get the corner office. Joking aside, it's related to the Peter Principle and it is customized to your specific case. I know that in IT project management and consulting, the MBA is a rite of passage. However, you have to put forth the case that you are maxing out your current skill set and to be as damn effective as you have in the past, you need the strategic skills that an MBA can provide.

So then, why this school? As an example, if you are picking 10 of the top 30 schools, you have to be aware that some of these programs are going to be very, very different schools. Trust me, it looks less than desirable for HBS to see that you are applying to GSB, and vice versa. I explain more in a guide I wrote on Applying to HBS (http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_r ... ite_paper/), you can download it via the link.
In short, it looks like you are just applying to 10 of the top 30 schools with no real connection to the program or clear idea of what you want to do with your MBA. If you have more questions, I can help you with this.

The above represents the left side of the MBA Acceptance equation. This have to sum logically in order to reach the right side of the equation and for you to not look like a half-baked applicant in the eyes of the admissions committee. To put it another way, all parts have to build on each other, so you look like you were preparing to enter the pearly gates of HBS (or School X) from the day you came into this world.

The right side of the equation is made up of your logically connecting short and longer term goals that build on the left side of the equation. This is what particularly concerned me about your original post. I did not see a mention of what you really plan on articulating as your short and longer term goals.

It is critically important that your short term goals is actionable. This is critically important with those Indian applicants who plan on staying in the US to work upon graduation. This is why you are behind the 8-ball as a potential H1B visa holder. Will you be able to find an employer that will sponsor you, especially in this day and age? That is, are your goals consistent and it is logical that you would be able to get this job with company sponsorship in hand, graduating from the school in question. I cringe when I talk to applicants and they have no idea whether or not the firm (by way of a position they defined in their essays) actually comes to campus to recruit or if they are willing to sponsor the H1B and if they are, will you get able to get one from the US Gov (Read this: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/may2007/bs20070514_587413.htm?chan=bschools_bschool+index+page).
Again, sloppy homework. Remember, short term goals are tactical so that the admissions committee can report to US News that 97% of their graduates are employed 3 months after graduation. No joke, you have to lay out a specific game plan irrespective of a 620 or 700+ GMAT score.

The longer term goal is a career path that is 5+ years after graduation. Again, this has to build on your short term goal which builds on your current W/E. Again, no zigs or zags. MBA program are not a place to find yourself. The important part of a logical long-term goal is that it should be more philanthropic in nature. That is, it starts to incorporate elements of your P/P/P/P. So, in the longer term, you are going to be a person who actually gives back to society, a profession and a cause. Again, to beat this drum, the critical piece in the equation (besides upping your GMAT) is going to be to show differentiation by really blowing out your P/P/P/P and showing a strong connection to your longer term goals.

See how this works? It's not a secret sauce but rather an applicant who has thought about what he wants to do and has his shit together. As base as this sounds, your differentiation is having your shit together. This makes you a candidate with a fighting "chance."

In closing, I would like to offer up my resources once you nail the GMAT. If you need a recommendation for a GMAT class, I would offer up Veritas Prep. In full disclosure, I am biased as I used to work there, but they have a solid program for breaking down and bringing up your Verbal (and quant). They have an online option that you will be able to access in India, on the road or at work.

Once you cross that bridge, I would like to speak to you over the phone for a consultation (pro grata). This conversation would probably last an hour to 90 minutes. Please PM me and let me know if this is something you would be interested in. I don't hard sell but I know that my comments above will open up more questions. Speaking over the phone would allow me to be as honest and forthright as possible.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti


shek26 wrote:
Hello Paul,
I plan to start applying for September 2011(Fall ) intake. I would like some comments on my profile. Here it goes

Nationality- Indian
Age-24
Gender – Male
GMAT – 620 (Q-48, V-27) AWA-5.5
GPA – There is no GPA system in my university. It is percentage based. However I have good academic records and completed by BE in Mechanical engineering with a distinction(76%) in the final year

Work experience: 2 years(and counting) work experience with SIEMENS Ltd.

Some important responsibilities executed by me include:
Was a part of the team that was responsible for getting Siemens Transformers, India certified for ISO14001 and OHSAS 18001.
One of the coordinators for maintaining 5-S (Quality based system) on the shop floor.
Executing my responsibilities and managing my department alone as a trainee for during the delegation of my superior to Germany for 3 months
Conducting and organising various trainings for shop floor engineers.

Some Achievements
1.Won the Best Project Award during my training period.
2.Submitted a technocommerical paper on a global scale as a part of "Environmental Award 2009" to SIEMENS AG.
3.Software for easy access of training records made using MS Access.

Other Activities:
1.Completed a basic level course in German with an A+ grade.
2.Successfully completed a project titled “Inservice Inspection of a pressure vessel” at Larsen&Toubro Limited, Powai as a part of my undergraduation final year project
3.Stood second in a national level technical paper presentation for the project titled “Inservice inspection of a pressure vessel” held at IIT, Bombay.
4.Have won several accolades in technical paper presentation competitions.
5.Have published around 36 articles on topics of public awareness in Hindustan Times,a leading news daily and 2 articles in JAM, a fortnightly newspaper.

Community service:
•Active member of ~Pankhudi, an NGO that aims at working towards underprivileged children since the last 2 years. Primary responsibility includes teaching slum kids. Have also contributed in other ways to ~Pankhudi.

My verbal score in the GMAT is less but I have done well in the AWA section and my English is also not all that bad considering I have published articles in a leading daily. I would like to know how competitive my application looks and my chances of getting into a good bschool. What can I do to overshadow my low verbal score? I plan to apply to 10 of the top30 bschools in the US. Requesting your comments.

Thanks a lot!

Abhishek Shenoy

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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 19 May 2010, 09:14
Hi Paul,
I've browsed your websites and read some of your posts, and I'm a bit struck by the MBA equation.
Simply put, I have a reasonably good idea of what my strengths and weaknesses are - there's an element of putting my best stuff forward, and schools will either take it or leave it. My weakness is in the UG record part - it sounds like in your formula, it's one of the earliest screeners (certainly I imagine it is for UCLA and Berkeley), so I feel like I'd be out of the picture. But on your website, a guy with a sub 3.0 GPA got into some of the top NY finance programs.
Considering my school record is something I can't change, how much sleep should I be losing over this?
Thanks Paul, I can tell you care about your craft.
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 20 May 2010, 14:53
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osbornecox wrote:
Hi Paul,
I've browsed your websites and read some of your posts, and I'm a bit struck by the MBA equation.
Simply put, I have a reasonably good idea of what my strengths and weaknesses are - there's an element of putting my best stuff forward, and schools will either take it or leave it. My weakness is in the UG record part - it sounds like in your formula, it's one of the earliest screeners (certainly I imagine it is for UCLA and Berkeley), so I feel like I'd be out of the picture. But on your website, a guy with a sub 3.0 GPA got into some of the top NY finance programs.
Considering my school record is something I can't change, how much sleep should I be losing over this?
Thanks Paul, I can tell you care about your craft.


Great question osbornecox and thanks for reading my website. I appreciate it.

The candidate you are referring to followed my script to the exact standard.
Based on a full vetting of his candidacy through took a number of classes (post-graduation) to address his GPA weakness.

Specifically, to address his GPA:

    - As a foreign-born student studying in the US, he struggled his first 2 years as an undergraduate. His engineering grades were great, his few humanities classes were the millstone around his neck.
    - Additionally, he had not engaged in courses such as econ and finance. So he found a local university while working on assignment in Europe. He took 2 classes (one in econ and one in operations) to bolster his GPA and how that he was not an academic lightweight and to show that he could do "MBA-level" work.
    - He also took the TOEFL (even though he was not required to as his undergraduate experience was taught in English) and scored extremely well.

Additionally, he was very specific about what he could bring to the MBA programs to which he was applying:

    - Simply put he had a lot to offer his fellow classmates with respect to advancing their careers. His employer was rapidly expanding in Europe and had a huge need for top MBA management talent.
    - Additionally, he was in a position to recommend and offer immediate offers of employment to both his classmates during their internship and also upon graduation. This was in order of magnitude of 20 to 30 potential MBA hires from the schools to which he was applying. This would be a huge burden off of the admissions committee and career centers at any top MBA program.
    - Believe this: there is a much greater relationship between the admissions committee and the career center than most would imagine. Besides a low GMAT, the inability for an applicant to state realistic goals and then get a job upon graduation is the 2nd most frequent reason for rejection.

The bottom line is that you should not lose sleep over a low GPA. This is indeed something that you can affect after the fact. You can't turn a 3.0 into a 4.0 but you can place context around the grades you received. Paint a picture for the admissions committee and let them know that you are getting out in front of it and being proactive.

Remember, the "MBA Acceptance Equation" is a continuum. That is all parts sum to a whole, so if you come up short on a couple of variables, then you have to do what you can to bolster them and then place the other variables in the best light possible by providing a unique value proposition to the admissions committee in question.
Admissions is not a one-size fits all, hard and fast proposition. Find out what the admissions committee wants, based on culture, hard numbers and even external economic factors. This is what my client did and he was able to get in.

I am pretty proud of the working relationship and the level of trust I developed with this client. At the end of the engagement we knew everything about each other (his favorite color is orange btw). This brings up another point about my role as an admissions consultant. I have had quite a few career transitions; from engineering to management consulting to running one of the largest GMAT and admissions consulting companies in the world to now working with a small group of extremely talent MBA admissions consultants. (Behind closed doors, my team of consultants and I often refer to this as a "slutty" resume.) Joking aside, I feel as if I have found the perfect place. I can honestly say that I love helping others realize their goals and even a few lifelong dreams. Its a good feeling to have a for what I do, be among the best in the world at doing what I do and then (of course) getting paid to do it. I feel extremely lucky in that way and honestly, I feel it is a privilege to answer intelligent questions such as the one you posted above. So, thank you!

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 20 May 2010, 15:38
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TheSituation:
I love the detail. This is the start of a beautiful relationship. I feel like we should go have six or several beers. Labatt's or Kokanee?

Joking aside, you will be successful at the programs you listed and I do have experience with 3 of the schools you listed. Canadians make about 5 to 10% of my clients. So I am familiar that Ontario did do away with OAC a few years ago. For those state-side, that would be writing exams in grade 13, not to be confused with taking tests in the 13th grade.

I will be honest with you, I think you are limiting yourself because you lack a little perspective. :)
For example, you have some zigs and zags in your professional background. However, you talked about never wanting to go back to a turn-around situation at the bank. That is the stuff that essay gold is made of, my man. As an example of framing your message, you need to talk about how you stepped up to the plate as a leader when SHTF. You were more junior than your colleagues but your acumen, attitude and leadership. Title and corner offices are nothing without leadership - formal or informal. Get your bosses to back this in the rec or it's a red flag by the way. At any point, even though I don't even know your name, you seem like the guy that I would want on my team. I am speaking from the perspective of having been an admissions interviewer at UCLA Anderson. I can completely see you stepping up to right the ship.

So you want redemption, then the one other thing you need to do (and this may be a NSS - No Shit Statement) is crush the GMAT. Especially the quant section. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer (trust me on this one) and I scored a 99% on the test. Why? Because I studied my ass off and sacrificed my social life for GMAT glory. I hope this is what you are doing. If you study a good 100 - 120 hours, you should hit 700. With a 700, admissions committees can forgive a lot (at mid-tier schools).

So get on it, get the GMAT goods and then start applying to schools like Queen's, McGill, UToronto - Rotman, UBC Sauder and even Ivey. You have the experience, appropriate context and solid reasons for getting an MBA.

I don't like the hard sell, but would you want to set up a call for next week? It would probably take about an hour. It would cost you nothing and I think we could hash out your high-level message in an hour or so.
Let me know.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

TheSituation wrote:
Thanks for the response. I appreciate the level of detail in your response.

I graduated in December 2006, I geared down to part-time in 4th year for financial reasons and also to give myself more time to figure out what I wanted to do after graduation. That was a mistake because even now I don’t truly know, with 100% certainty, what I want to be when I grow up. I do have a clearer picture though. The end of my 4th year brought on the LSAT and an unsuccessful application to law school. I scored well on the LSAT (160) but that rejection was a blessing in disguise. I knew deep down that it was not the path for me, law school requires 110% dedication. I didn’t have that at the time.

I make no qualms about my GPA and work experience. I simply am just not that over-achieving kid who had a 3.8 GPA and strolled from convocation right into a leadership training program with a major corporation and has since been promoted once or twice, collecting leadership and management experience along the way.

The funny thing is that I could have been. I am smart and determined enough, but when I was in university (and for most of my life actually) I battled crippling limiting beliefs. You know, when you tell yourself that you CAN’T do something (it can be anything, “I can’t get my drivers license”, “I cant get a date with that girl”, “I cant get a 3.8 GPA”, whatever) and that belief becomes true only because you accept it as an unchangeable reality.

Somewhere around 2005 I began to slowly snap out of it. My transformation from a fat kid to a lean, in-shape, positive young man is the physical manifestation of this shift in beliefs. Limiting beliefs is something I continue to work on, I’ve had ups and downs, but as I continue to make strides in smashing them it fuels my desire to “catch-up” with the overachievers and one day compete with them at the top levels of business. I know, from where I sit right now, it’s a LONG way to go. But I believe I can make it, and that’s the only thing that matters. I truly believe now that I can, so I will find a way to make it so.

Part of the reason I want to pursue an MBA is for redemption. Sure, the career building options and a way to make new doors open are obvious reasons to pursue an MBA. But beyond that I want a shot to be on the dean’s list (for the first time in my life), to be president of the finance club, to network, to build relationships with classmate, profs and alumni, to join/start all the clubs that interest me, to be the first person in my family history with an advanced degree. I’m so focused and determined now I know I can make that happen if I can get into a school.

I’m not delusional, I know with my current stats schools like UofT and Western are out of the question. But I’m not aiming for them, well not yet. I didn’t think you’d be familiar with Canadian schools, but from your last response you obviously are. So my realistic target schools are:

Dalhousie
U of Alberta
U of Calgary
Memorial (Newfoundland)
Laurier
U Saskatchewan
Lakehead (last resort)

Are you familiar with these schools, do you think I’d be a competitive applicant or have a realistic shot at entry?

My one buddy is at Western right now doing his MBA, I’ve visited him a few times. You are right, they absolutely love leadership in extracurriculars/volunteering. He did his undergrad at Western (they love there own) and had 3.8 GPA and 720 GPA with no EC or volunteering and received a $5k scholarship. His friend, whom I met, had 3.1 GPA, 640 GMAT and plenty of volunteering (BoD for NFP’s) and was awarded $40K!!! If I were to have any chance to gain admission there you are totally correct that I will have to step up the EC/V big time. I’ve met several of his classmates, and I didn’t think any of them were leap years beyond me in terms of intelligence or drive but they did have you know, the GPA and the work experience (and often a rich family). Point is: These are the students at a top school and I feel I can hang with them, so at tier 2 school I should be able to get in.

I like your idea about STARTING my own NFP, that is a good example of something that I instantly think … “Oh, no way, I can’t do that. How would I do that?” But, in reality, this is just another chance to work on eliminating a limiting belief.

I also like your suggestion to do some math at a local CC and that its okay to go with something cheap. I was thinking if it wasn’t a pricey university course it would be useless to even bother as adcoms would see CC as inferior. Quick question – what kind of course should I be targeting as it relates to math needed to complete an MBA? Stats, finite, calculus? Any ideas there.

Ok so that’s more that you possibly wanted to know, but from your experience do I have decent shot at any of the above mentioned schools?

Again, I’m long-winded… but I truly appreciate you taking the time to read.

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G.T.L. - GMAT, Tanning, Laundry

Round 1: 05/12/10 handling-a-grenade-thesituation-s-official-debrief-94181.html

Round 2: 07/10/10 - This time it's personal.

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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 11:48
Hello Paul,

I'm interested in getting your point of view on my profile as well, it’s long and fairly complicated so my apologies but I just feel like there’s too many “unusual” things about my history to leave out details.

My undergraduate GPA from a small state school was 3.26 and I graduated December of 2008.

Graduated high school 2004 and moved to Germany and enrolled in a Gymnasium(German honors high school). After receiving an appointment to the US Air Force Academy I moved back home and enrolled in a small state university(January 2005) to take science and math classes I'd need at USAFA. I was on dean's list this semester.(December 2005)

After one semester at USAFA I decided to leave for personal reasons. I was on dean's list for the semester I was there.

Due to my late decision to leave USAFA the only place I could get accepted was the same small state school I went to before. Immediately after getting back in January 2006 I started working part-time at the Salvation Army. Realized this wasn't enough money and got a part-time job at a pizza restaurant. In May I was promoted to Assistant Manager and quit my job at the Salvation Army. I had this job working 40-60 hours a week taking 18 credits each semester and 4 classes each summer.

I worked like this until the following May(2007) when I had a really bad semester and realized I was letting work get in the way of my studies, left this job and got another part-time management position at the mall for the summer because I then studied abroad in Japan for a semester.(December 2007)

After coming back from Japan I got a full-time job again working in the payroll department of a multi-billion dollar company,(January 2008) and started taking classes part-time to finish my degree. Within two months of being with the company I received my first promotion, and then another month later my second promotion.

In July 2008 I left this company for my current job as a software consultant for a small niche German software company and continued taking part-time classes while training in Germany through November. Presented my senior thesis and graduated in December 2008.

I have since received a promotion at my current job and relocated where I now have more responsibilities with two of our largest customers. In the meantime I have completed a paralegal certificate with a 4.0 GPA.

How much will my work experience during college matter since it isn’t your typical part-time or summer employment and definitely the amount of time I spent working affected my grades. I know I’m capable of better grades(hence my two semesters on dean’s list when I wasn’t working full time), but obviously it’s too late to really do anything about that at this point, I just don’t know if my work experience will make up for it.

The few courses I didn’t do so well in were my econ courses, so I am explore taking a business essentials certificate before applying to take statistics and get better grades in econ. How much would retaking these classes offset my previous grades?

I don’t plan on applying until I have my undergraduate loans paid off which will probably be somewhere around 2014 or 2015 (some time away I know). I also plan in the next few years to get the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and the PMP designation from the Project Management Institute, as these will directly relate to my current job, regardless of B-School Apps.

I currently own one investment real estate property and will be looking at purchasing more as the years go on as well. Not sure if this can be spun off as having an own business or would affect my application in any way positively or negatively?

As far as extracurricular activities, I did a lot in high school (will B-School’s care at all about this?) but since I worked full-time and all through school I didn’t do much in UG. I am a volunteer with the Relay for Life (not just walking on a team, but an actual event volunteer) I am a youth soccer referee, and plan on continuing to do this and increase my referee “rank” over the next few years. I was an amateur bowler for years(Average 220+ and perfect game), but due to the travel of my current job haven’t been active for awhile, but am considering coaching at youth leagues. I am a member of Mensa, the World Affairs Council, and Kiwanis. I do not hold any leadership positions within these organizations though, since my travel has me away on a fairly regular basis I have not been, and probably will not be able to make such a commitment. I’m professionally proficient in German (use it almost every day at my current job) and have also studied, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and am dabbling in Arabic. Since I don’t really speak any of these languages at all anymore, I’m not sure how much it will matter.

I am also considering joining the Air National Guard, I feel I have un unfulfilled service commitment to my country and believe I will further regret my decision to leave USAFA if I do not reenlist (this would put my career on hold likely for 9-18 months while I am in training).

I took an initial GMAT practice test and scored 610 I would comfortable say I could get into the mid to high 600’s and of course wouldn’t turn down a score over the 700 mark either.

I’m interested in either strategy consulting or general management (at least at this point) in either the manufacturing and consumer products industries. My ideal school would be Wharton (and more specifically the Lauder program) which I know is a huge reach for my GPA and expected GMAT, but I’m from Philly so going there would be ideal for personal and professional reasons (will these reasons matter at all in my application?).

Thank you very much for taking the time to read everything here I greatly appreciate it, I know there is a lot here. If you have any other suggestions of schools that I should look into given my background and profile I greatly welcome those suggestions as well as any and all suggestions to improve my profile.
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 14:11
Paul: The information you've provided is great! Thank you so much! Would you mind also reviewing my profile?

Please evaluate my profile:

Nationality: US native, white male
Age: 25, will be 26 by matriculation (will apply this fall)
GMAT: 710 (Q44,V42) 6.0 AWA
Work experience: 2 years
Education: BBA in Finance from an average state school in the midwest region
GPA: 3.7

WE: I work for a fortune 100 diversified financial services company as a financial analyst. I have been promoted in recently and have been working for the two years since my graduation from undergrad in 2008. I have passed levels I and II of the CFA and plan to pass LIII in two weeks!

EC: Significant during college; involved in multiple leadership positions in student government, leadership in college republicans (funded and brought in John Ashcroft, John Stossel, and Ted Nugent as speakers to campus), leadership and smaller rolls in many other organizations. Precinct delegate (elected position, but relatively insignificant) for county political party. Volunteer at city's art museum. Co-founder/organizer of workplace volunteer program.

Post-MBA Goals: ST to work in IB for the ST, LT to work for a HF, Super-LT I'd be interested in running my own HF or getting involved in politics more.

Target schools:
Chicago Booth
Columbia Business School ED
NYU Stern
NW Kellogg

Do you think I will be competitive at my target schools? Thanks in advance for any advice/wisdom/thoughts!
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 23:08
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Hi Nosferatudracon:
First of all thanks for all the detail in your great post. I really appreciated the thoroughness. Hopefully I can do it justice.

The first thing that you have to realize is that you are going to be a relatively older applicant when you apply in a few years. I find it refreshing that you are actually asking the right questions a few years ahead of when you are going to be applying. It shows a lot of foresight. However, a word of caution. You seem to have quite a few zigs and zags in your professional and personal lives. The is going to see this and wonder if this is not yet another change in direction.you want to be aware of this fact. So, at a high-level, this means you are going to have to do a very strong job of showing how everything was done for a specific reason and a specific purpose and that gets you closer not farther your short and long-term goals.

specifically, you are going to want to explain why you left the Air Force Academy. I know that you state "personal" reasons but this is going to have to be explained in full in your essays. Also if you are doing so well in the payroll department job, you are going to have to answer why you decided to change after only being a full-time employee for a few months. Additionally it seems that you have quite a few stints in Germany. The relationship between your personal and professional activities in Germany is going to have to be explained.

Since you are probably going to be around 28 or 29 when you do apply to business schools your undergraduate performance is not going to be as much of a factor as your multitude of careers and schools. Your 3.26 GPA is not that far from the mean at most schools. I have a rule of 25. Do not be less than 25 points from the average GMAT at a specific MBA program or to not be .25 away from the GPA at a particular school in question. You are in this range with respect to GPA. Remember you get a slight bump for having a hard undergraduate major.

Specifically, to answer one of your questions,if your undergraduate work experience is not related to your professional pursuits or academic major, it is really not going to be considered work experience. However, it will be considered with respect to the overall weight of your responsibilities as an undergraduate. So since you did have to work it is going to demonstrate an early maturity. It is going to demonstrate the fact that you are a self-made man, so to speak. Remember when dictating any story about your undergraduate experience, make sure that you are providing context. So, for example, if you had to work to support yourself or maybe even your family, this is the beginning of relevant context for the admissions committee. I would not explain that you were able to pull off perfect grades when you did not have work responsibilities. Instead explain why you had to work in the first place.

Your recent paralegal certificate will demonstrate recent academic prowess and will help bump your GPA slightly. I do recommend taking an additional econ course or at a local community college. The admissions committee does not care about the name or learning format. They just want to know that you took the class and got an A in it. Again, this will not make up for your undergraduate performance but it will help alleviate any doubts they have about your intellectual horsepower.

You are speaking my language with the six Sigma Green belt certification and the PMP certification. I know those two well. These will be looked upon favorably, especially the Green belt certification. The real estate investment property will really not move the needle that much. While I am sure it is a impressive accomplishment, unless it is a several million dollar property portfolio, it really is not going to be above and beyond what a lot of business school applicants will have done. On that note high school experiences will not come into play.you want to avoid reaching that far back into your history. Remember, that you are going to be about 28 or 29 when you are applying. Going back more than 10 years is a waste of time for the reader. They want to know how you have matured and how you are an effective leader today. Don't waste time doing this, it will look sophomoric.

I have mixed feelings about the Air National Guard experience. I know you feel that you have an obligation to fill, but you have to think about where your career is headed and how this experience will be perceived. The basic question is "is this getting you closer towards your short and long-term goals." If the answer is no, you really need to consider perhaps working on gaining more leadership and management experience in the workplace. Now if you do a lack to pursue military service then I suggest that you tweak your longer-term goals. Instead of maybe going into strategy or management consulting, I would look more towards consulting within the public services sector. So you would be working for a consulting firm that would most likely be plugging in enterprise software solutions for the US government, military and other governmental organizations. In fact, this is what I used to do when I was an IT consultant.

So, the bottom line is that you are doing a lot of things well. However, the bottom line is that you are actually doing a lot of things. My suggestion to you over the next few years is to really focus on developing your short and long-term goals and then working backwards from them. This will help put everything in perspective. This will help you answer the question "is this getting me closer to my goals?" If the answer is no, do not do it. If the answer is yes, then pursue it with the passion that it seems you have. However, make sure you stick with it. Right now, the biggest issue is not your GPA, it is your jack-of-all trades, master-of-none nature.

please reach out to me with any questions.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

nosferatudracon wrote:
Hello Paul,

I'm interested in getting your point of view on my profile as well, it’s long and fairly complicated so my apologies but I just feel like there’s too many “unusual” things about my history to leave out details.

My undergraduate GPA from a small state school was 3.26 and I graduated December of 2008.

Graduated high school 2004 and moved to Germany and enrolled in a Gymnasium(German honors high school). After receiving an appointment to the US Air Force Academy I moved back home and enrolled in a small state university(January 2005) to take science and math classes I'd need at USAFA. I was on dean's list this semester.(December 2005)

After one semester at USAFA I decided to leave for personal reasons. I was on dean's list for the semester I was there.

Due to my late decision to leave USAFA the only place I could get accepted was the same small state school I went to before. Immediately after getting back in January 2006 I started working part-time at the Salvation Army. Realized this wasn't enough money and got a part-time job at a pizza restaurant. In May I was promoted to Assistant Manager and quit my job at the Salvation Army. I had this job working 40-60 hours a week taking 18 credits each semester and 4 classes each summer.

I worked like this until the following May(2007) when I had a really bad semester and realized I was letting work get in the way of my studies, left this job and got another part-time management position at the mall for the summer because I then studied abroad in Japan for a semester.(December 2007)

After coming back from Japan I got a full-time job again working in the payroll department of a multi-billion dollar company,(January 2008) and started taking classes part-time to finish my degree. Within two months of being with the company I received my first promotion, and then another month later my second promotion.

In July 2008 I left this company for my current job as a software consultant for a small niche German software company and continued taking part-time classes while training in Germany through November. Presented my senior thesis and graduated in December 2008.

I have since received a promotion at my current job and relocated where I now have more responsibilities with two of our largest customers. In the meantime I have completed a paralegal certificate with a 4.0 GPA.

How much will my work experience during college matter since it isn’t your typical part-time or summer employment and definitely the amount of time I spent working affected my grades. I know I’m capable of better grades(hence my two semesters on dean’s list when I wasn’t working full time), but obviously it’s too late to really do anything about that at this point, I just don’t know if my work experience will make up for it.

The few courses I didn’t do so well in were my econ courses, so I am explore taking a business essentials certificate before applying to take statistics and get better grades in econ. How much would retaking these classes offset my previous grades?

I don’t plan on applying until I have my undergraduate loans paid off which will probably be somewhere around 2014 or 2015 (some time away I know). I also plan in the next few years to get the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and the PMP designation from the Project Management Institute, as these will directly relate to my current job, regardless of B-School Apps.

I currently own one investment real estate property and will be looking at purchasing more as the years go on as well. Not sure if this can be spun off as having an own business or would affect my application in any way positively or negatively?

As far as extracurricular activities, I did a lot in high school (will B-School’s care at all about this?) but since I worked full-time and all through school I didn’t do much in UG. I am a volunteer with the Relay for Life (not just walking on a team, but an actual event volunteer) I am a youth soccer referee, and plan on continuing to do this and increase my referee “rank” over the next few years. I was an amateur bowler for years(Average 220+ and perfect game), but due to the travel of my current job haven’t been active for awhile, but am considering coaching at youth leagues. I am a member of Mensa, the World Affairs Council, and Kiwanis. I do not hold any leadership positions within these organizations though, since my travel has me away on a fairly regular basis I have not been, and probably will not be able to make such a commitment. I’m professionally proficient in German (use it almost every day at my current job) and have also studied, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and am dabbling in Arabic. Since I don’t really speak any of these languages at all anymore, I’m not sure how much it will matter.

I am also considering joining the Air National Guard, I feel I have un unfulfilled service commitment to my country and believe I will further regret my decision to leave USAFA if I do not reenlist (this would put my career on hold likely for 9-18 months while I am in training).

I took an initial GMAT practice test and scored 610 I would comfortable say I could get into the mid to high 600’s and of course wouldn’t turn down a score over the 700 mark either.

I’m interested in either strategy consulting or general management (at least at this point) in either the manufacturing and consumer products industries. My ideal school would be Wharton (and more specifically the Lauder program) which I know is a huge reach for my GPA and expected GMAT, but I’m from Philly so going there would be ideal for personal and professional reasons (will these reasons matter at all in my application?).

Thank you very much for taking the time to read everything here I greatly appreciate it, I know there is a lot here. If you have any other suggestions of schools that I should look into given my background and profile I greatly welcome those suggestions as well as any and all suggestions to improve my profile.

_________________


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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 23:18
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Hi Moss:
The answer is yes. You will can be competitive at the schools that you listed. You have the basic stats down. I am going to take a wild guess here. I am guessing that you are a young Republican and that you went to Michigan State University. Is this right?

The only word of caution I have is in defining your short and long-term goals. Remember that your career prospects and banking and the willingness of admissions committee to accept you, given the path you defined, is Paramount. They need to know that you'll be able to get a job upon graduation. So if you are a financial analyst now, how deep do the analytics go? Is this a Charles Schwab type operation or is this more a research analyst type position at an I-bank. There are a lot of talented people who are looking for investment banking jobs and jobs in entrepreneurial finance. These jobs are going to go students who have this type of prior experience. Why? Because recruiters want to know that you can hit the ground running. This usually means to both recruiter and admissions committee member that you had prior work experience in the field. By no means am I saying that this is an impossible switch or career path.what I am saying is that you are going to need to spend to specific time on defining specific and actionable goals.

Congrats on the CFA by the way. That is usually reserved for post MBA careers, so you are ahead of the curve.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

Moss wrote:
Paul: The information you've provided is great! Thank you so much! Would you mind also reviewing my profile?

Please evaluate my profile:

Nationality: US native, white male
Age: 25, will be 26 by matriculation (will apply this fall)
GMAT: 710 (Q44,V42) 6.0 AWA
Work experience: 2 years
Education: BBA in Finance from an average state school in the midwest region
GPA: 3.7

WE: I work for a fortune 100 diversified financial services company as a financial analyst. I have been promoted in recently and have been working for the two years since my graduation from undergrad in 2008. I have passed levels I and II of the CFA and plan to pass LIII in two weeks!

EC: Significant during college; involved in multiple leadership positions in student government, leadership in college republicans (funded and brought in John Ashcroft, John Stossel, and Ted Nugent as speakers to campus), leadership and smaller rolls in many other organizations. Precinct delegate (elected position, but relatively insignificant) for county political party. Volunteer at city's art museum. Co-founder/organizer of workplace volunteer program.

Post-MBA Goals: ST to work in IB for the ST, LT to work for a HF, Super-LT I'd be interested in running my own HF or getting involved in politics more.

Target schools:
Chicago Booth
Columbia Business School ED
NYU Stern
NW Kellogg

Do you think I will be competitive at my target schools? Thanks in advance for any advice/wisdom/thoughts!

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2010, 07:20
Hi Paul, I'd love to hear yuor feedback

GPA: 3.3 Finance, Large State School
GMAT: 700 48Q (83%)/38V (83%)

I was accepted to my school on a scholarship...then because of a couple of reasons i.e. pre med first two years, 30hr work week, but primarily immaturity (went out too much to compensate for lack of high school social life) I have a low GPA.

Have been working in wealth management for 4 years now, started off in a very sales oriented role, succeeded and did well, but realized I was more interested in portfolio management/asset allocation. Focused on learning as much about portfolio management as possible, caught the attention of a senior broker, who asked me to join his team to focus on allocation/asset management. Am now responsible for $250mm in client assets, and am CFA lvl 3 candidate.

After MBA want to continue to work in asset allocation but on larger scale: ideally for large foundation or endowment, or at investment strategy group at bulge bracket, or larger private banking team.

Volunteer/Extra: Helped start foundation that focuses on mobilizing Afghan Americans (my parents are Afghan) to give back via economic redevelopment and humanitarian relief. Focused on fund raising and networking with Afghan organizations in DC area. Have raised $1mm for efforts. Also...semi professional polo player.

I am mostly interested in finance oriented schools..top stretch choice is Columbia (due to value investing program) also stretch at wharton, Booth,...also interested in Stern, Haas, Ross, Cornell, Yale.

I probably won't apply until R1 next year, what do you think my chances are? How can I improve my profile? I was getting much better verbal scores on practice tests, and think I could get 730-740, would that make much difference? How about alternate transcript? Other weaknesses or things you would stress?

Thanks in advance

Last edited by msbroker on 01 Jan 2011, 10:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2010, 12:16
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Hi Paul,

I will graduate this next spring in 2011 and I was thinking about going and getting my MBA after I graduate. I have had multiple internships and a part-time job throughout my years in college, but I am worried about what the MBA admissions will make with my position. I am looking for advice about where I should apply, what round to apply, or any other information/stats from people who have been in my situation.
Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Hopeful MBA Candidate
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GMAT 1: 700 Q V
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2010, 10:16
--

Last edited by Square on 09 Oct 2010, 18:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2010, 19:18
Expert's post
Hi Square:
I don't mind that you cut-and-pasted this at all. in fact, I think that this verbatim is necessary in order to form an apples to apples comparison among admissions consultants.

I will be perfectly honest with you. I feel that you have missed the mark. Specifically, longer-term career goals are a little bit of a mystery to me. If you have read some of my prior posts, you will know that after a low GMAT score, the failure to articulate logically following goals are the second most frequent reason for rejection. Your profile is nothing short of awesome. However, when I got to your stated goals I had to admit that I was a little confused.

So let's think about this constructively. Where did these goals come from? How well do they logically follow your current work experience? What current experience do you have in the energy sector? It's cool that you think that this will be the biggest issue of your generation, but so what? Other than that I can't really see a close connection between what you have been doing, in an out of the office, and the energy sector. So right now, in my opinion, this is wishful thinking. Now, hopefully I am missing something. Hopefully there was something that you forgot to include in your original post. However, I doubt it as your initial post was very robust.this is something that will warn further examination and discussion on your part.

If you cannot draw a logically following path from your Air Force experiences to the energy sector, after the MBA, then you really need to re-examine your short and long-term goals. Remember, that your short-term goals need to be very actionable and tactical. This means that you will be able to get the job you are articulating in your short-term goal immediately upon graduation. Your longer-term goals are little more high-level and wax philosophic to a certain degree. also remember that MBA programs are not places to find yourself or really discover a new career path. You have to remember the current economic environment that we are in. Admissions committees and by proxy recruiters want a sure bet. This means no career changers.

Okay, so if you cannot draw a connection from your current work experience to your current short-term goal you need to come up with a new short term goal. Then you need to come up with a longer-term goal that builds on the short-term goal that also incorporates a personal passion you have a certain type of work. this personal passion, for example, be represented by an extracurricular activity. I know you said you did not have a lot of extracurricular activities but you can find this passion elsewhere, for example, within your military career.

Now once you have determined logical and consistent short and long-term goals then you can see if the MBA programs you listed are scholastically and culturally the right fit. I can tell you right now that Darden will be a good fit. They love military officers. However, and I hate to beat this point to death, you have to get goals that make sense. To be honest, I would avoid schools like Yale and Tuck as top choices. Depending on your message, your military background may not be a strength at the schools. I definitely think that your military background will play well at schools like Harvard and Wharton. The schools demand that you articulated numerous examples of your leadership abilities on their application. You should have this based on your experiences.

there are a number of other points that I would like to make as well in this response. However they require more personal information regarding your background. You will be a competitive candidate once you get your goals in order. I can help you with this. I believe that the best way to vet through these issues and points would be to get on the phone for an hour long call. This of course is at no charge.

if this is something you'd be interested in, please private message me and we can set up a call off-line.

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti

Square wrote:
Hi Paul. I just posted this in one of your compatriots' advice forum, and I'd love your perspective as well. I hope you don't mind, I'm going to cut and paste as what I wrote earlier is a little on the long side.

Kind regards, Square


When I first started looking into the business school process I asked for advice from these forums, and now that the day is coming closer for actual application, I'd appreciate your take on my situation. My profile:

Thirty-one year old white male, US citizen.

BA (2002) from the College of William and Mary, 3.3 GPA.

[TRUNCATED]

Do you think I'm being overly optimistic. I know some of the schools I've listed above are probably big reaches (as I labeled) but the others I don't know if I should consider them out of reach as well or if they're more within my range.

Alright--this post has been too long! Thanks much for any help you can provide.

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 816
Followers: 46

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Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2010, 19:25
Expert's post
Hi pwee:
Well, I am not sure where to start. To be honest you really do not want to go to a program that requires no work experience. One of the benefits of an MBA program is not only be depth of work experience each candidate brings but also the network that these individuals have already established. If you have to work experience, it is very probable that you do not have much to bring with respect to a network. A strong network, both prior to business school and after, is critical to finding the very best jobs that you can get.

Right now, I would focus on getting a job. While internships do count for some work experience, they are not held in as high regard as regular full-time work experience. Work for two years and then apply. I do have quite a bit of information on what you can do now to improve your candidacy for the future. Pvt. message me if you would like this information.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

pwee1212 wrote:
Hi Paul,

I will graduate this next spring in 2011 and I was thinking about going and getting my MBA after I graduate. I have had multiple internships and a part-time job throughout my years in college, but I am worried about what the MBA admissions will make with my position. I am looking for advice about where I should apply, what round to apply, or any other information/stats from people who have been in my situation.
Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Hopeful MBA Candidate

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 816
Followers: 46

Kudos [?]: 173 [0], given: 179

Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2010, 19:37
Expert's post
Hi msbroker:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was in the hospital for three days earlier this week. I am just now recovering.

Your reasons for a lower GPA resonate with me. You pretty much described the reasons for my lower performance as an engineering student. In describing this to an admissions committee you really want to focus on the switch from premed the large number of hours you had to work in order to support your own studies. Spending a lot of "essay real estate" on describing how you have matured is a waste. Just tell the story of having to work hard and realizing where your true passion lay. No stories about joining sororities or partying.

Like any good lawyer, you already know the answer to your question. You really should take the GMAT again given your lower GPA. You also should take classes at a local community college or online. The admissions committee really does not care about the brand name of the school. They just want to see that you took a class in one of the core MBA subjects and got an A grade. I can e-mail you a spreadsheet some of these classes that I have compiled over the years. This would constitute your alternative transcript.

I would not count yourself out at some of the schools you listed. Remember, I have a rule of "25". That is make sure you are within 25 points of the average GMAT score and .25 points from the average GPA. If you can provide alternative transcript you should be in the running for the most part.part of the reason I say this is because you have a very well-defined and logically following short and longer term goals. This tells me that you have a clue. What I really like is that you have a personal commitment to your goals. This tells the admissions committee that you are not full of BS. I like it.

Other than what you already know, I do not really see any other significant weaknesses. I know you are applying next year, but I do believe in your candidacy. If you would like to speak on the phone for an hour, please private message me and we can set up a call.

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti

msbroker wrote:
Hi Paul, I'd love to hear yuor feedback

GPA: 3.0 Finance, Large State School
GMAT: 700 48Q (83%)/38V (83%)

I was accepted to my school on a scholarship...then because of a couple of reasons i.e. pre med first two years, 30hr work week, but primarily immaturity (went out too much to compensate for lack of high school social life) I have a low GPA.

Have been working in wealth management for 4 years now, started off in a very sales oriented role, succeeded and did well, but realized I was more interested in portfolio management/asset allocation. Focused on learning as much about portfolio management as possible, caught the attention of a senior broker, who asked me to join his team to focus on allocation/asset management. Am now responsible for $250mm in client assets, and am CFA lvl 3 candidate.

After MBA want to continue to work in asset allocation but on larger scale: ideally for large foundation or endowment, or at investment strategy group at bulge bracket, or larger private banking team.

Volunteer/Extra: Helped start foundation that focuses on mobilizing Afghan Americans (my parents are Afghan) to give back via economic redevelopment and humanitarian relief. Focused on fund raising and networking with Afghan organizations in DC area. Have raised $1mm for efforts. Also...semi professional polo player.

I am mostly interested in finance oriented schools..top stretch choice is Columbia (due to value investing program) also stretch at wharton, Booth,...also interested in Stern, Haas, Ross, Cornell, Yale.

I probably won't apply until R1 next year, what do you think my chances are? How can I improve my profile? I was getting much better verbal scores on practice tests, and think I could get 730-740, would that make much difference? How about alternate transcript? Other weaknesses or things you would stress?

Thanks in advance

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Intern
Intern
Joined: 30 Oct 2008
Posts: 23
GMAT 1: 700 Q V
GPA: 3.34
WE: General Management (Military & Defense)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 1

Re: Ask Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2010, 20:56
Paul, that's exactly the kind of feedback I needed. I may take you up on your offer of a phone call, but I need to chew on what you've written first.

I hope you're feeling better, Square

PaulLanzillotti wrote:
Hi Square:
I don't mind that you cut-and-pasted this at all. in fact, I think that this verbatim is necessary in order to form an apples to apples comparison among admissions consultants.

I will be perfectly honest with you. I feel that you have missed the mark. Specifically, longer-term career goals are a little bit of a mystery to me. If you have read some of my prior posts, you will know that after a low GMAT score, the failure to articulate logically following goals are the second most frequent reason for rejection. Your profile is nothing short of awesome. However, when I got to your stated goals I had to admit that I was a little confused.

So let's think about this constructively. Where did these goals come from? How well do they logically follow your current work experience? What current experience do you have in the energy sector? It's cool that you think that this will be the biggest issue of your generation, but so what? Other than that I can't really see a close connection between what you have been doing, in an out of the office, and the energy sector. So right now, in my opinion, this is wishful thinking. Now, hopefully I am missing something. Hopefully there was something that you forgot to include in your original post. However, I doubt it as your initial post was very robust.this is something that will warn further examination and discussion on your part.

If you cannot draw a logically following path from your Air Force experiences to the energy sector, after the MBA, then you really need to re-examine your short and long-term goals. Remember, that your short-term goals need to be very actionable and tactical. This means that you will be able to get the job you are articulating in your short-term goal immediately upon graduation. Your longer-term goals are little more high-level and wax philosophic to a certain degree. also remember that MBA programs are not places to find yourself or really discover a new career path. You have to remember the current economic environment that we are in. Admissions committees and by proxy recruiters want a sure bet. This means no career changers.

Okay, so if you cannot draw a connection from your current work experience to your current short-term goal you need to come up with a new short term goal. Then you need to come up with a longer-term goal that builds on the short-term goal that also incorporates a personal passion you have a certain type of work. this personal passion, for example, be represented by an extracurricular activity. I know you said you did not have a lot of extracurricular activities but you can find this passion elsewhere, for example, within your military career.

Now once you have determined logical and consistent short and long-term goals then you can see if the MBA programs you listed are scholastically and culturally the right fit. I can tell you right now that Darden will be a good fit. They love military officers. However, and I hate to beat this point to death, you have to get goals that make sense. To be honest, I would avoid schools like Yale and Tuck as top choices. Depending on your message, your military background may not be a strength at the schools. I definitely think that your military background will play well at schools like Harvard and Wharton. The schools demand that you articulated numerous examples of your leadership abilities on their application. You should have this based on your experiences.

there are a number of other points that I would like to make as well in this response. However they require more personal information regarding your background. You will be a competitive candidate once you get your goals in order. I can help you with this. I believe that the best way to vet through these issues and points would be to get on the phone for an hour long call. This of course is at no charge.

if this is something you'd be interested in, please private message me and we can set up a call off-line.

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti

Square wrote:
Hi Paul. I just posted this in one of your compatriots' advice forum, and I'd love your perspective as well. I hope you don't mind, I'm going to cut and paste as what I wrote earlier is a little on the long side.

Kind regards, Square


When I first started looking into the business school process I asked for advice from these forums, and now that the day is coming closer for actual application, I'd appreciate your take on my situation. My profile:

Thirty-one year old white male, US citizen.

BA (2002) from the College of William and Mary, 3.3 GPA.

[TRUNCATED]

Do you think I'm being overly optimistic. I know some of the schools I've listed above are probably big reaches (as I labeled) but the others I don't know if I should consider them out of reach as well or if they're more within my range.

Alright--this post has been too long! Thanks much for any help you can provide.
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