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So far a lot of interview invites have gone out for round 2. From what I see so far, from my clients and others I am talking to, it seems the level of talent that got invited for round 2 is slightly lower than normal, which means it will be somewhat easier in the interview, assuming you know how to ace the interview.
I am scheduling appointments for mock interviews now, so if you want to have a personalized mock for any of the top programs, send me an email. Good luck everyone, post any questions you may have here.
After talking with my clients who had Wharton R2 interviews, it seems that they pretty much stuck to the same interview guide as the R1 interviews. That said, some interviewers (only alums) went off course and asked some of their own questions in addition to the behavioral interviews. In fact, I had 2 reports of interviews that asked NO behavioral questions at all! - These applicants were glad we practiced all of the questions and not just the behavioral ones.
If you had your Wharton interview, what kind of interview was it? Any surprises? On campus or off campus?
It will be interesting to see what they do for next year, but I can confidently say for R3 the format will be the same, so for the few of you that are applying R3 to Wharton, contact me for interview prep help when the time comes.
I am planning to apply to a top MBA program later this year.
My current profile Male, 24, African GMAT- 690- I am planning to retake it year though.
B.Sc Accounting-Top African University 3.75 out of 5
M.Sc Accounting and Finance- Top European University 71%
Currently 1.5 year experience at big4(audit associate) and expecting to become a senior associate by June.
Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (UK) exams completed for both the technician and professional level. 20 papers in all; started studying for this during my bachelor’s degree. Should I mention this as an extenuating circumstance affecting my bachelor’s degree GPA? Average Score at professional level-68%
Others- Awards in school, Chess club member at both university and graduate school. Induction course representative at Big4, part time consultant at my father's medium scale enterprise.
My current preferences are an international environment (large percentage of international students),large class, great opportunities for management consulting and entrepreneurship, great opportunities for career switchers and non-preference for an older class with more work experience. My current preferred list is Harvard Wharton Chicago Columbia INSEAD Northwestern Ross
Do I have a decent shot at these schools perhaps with a GMAT score of 730? Are there other schools I should consider based on my current criteria? Are there other criteria I should seriously consider?
Please find my answers to your questions below, in bold. Thanks for posting and contact me if you would like more individualized support as you start to apply to schools and write essays!
...20 papers in all; started studying for this during my bachelor’s degree. Should I mention this as an extenuating circumstance affecting my bachelor’s degree GPA?
Is there a way to directly link this to your GPA? You need to make sure it is believable and truly different from what many other people did during undergrad, in order to write about it
My current preferences are an international environment (large percentage of international students),large class, great opportunities for management consulting and entrepreneurship, great opportunities for career switchers and non-preference for an older class with more work experience. My current preferred list is
Most schools have this, though the age of the class varies. management consulting recruits from all schools, some better than others but all schools put people into consulting, your profile will matter more than the school itself often. Everyone switches careers in B school, so no school has an advantage there either
Harvard - tough. Your GPA is not stellar, your work experience is not a stand out stellar job, auditing is ok but not as good as consulting or banking or something else non professional services. This would certainly be a reach. what else about you makes yourself stand out??
Wharton - same comments above, though here you would need the Why Wharton piece as well a little more. Chicago Columbia
Chicago Columbia Wharton, you are picking schools heavier in finance. Is that an interest of yours?
INSEAD Northwestern Ross
You have a better shot at the last 3 schools, though none of them would be slam dunk based on your profile. I would encourage you to add a somewhat less competitive school to the mix to increase your chances if you definitely want to go this year. Also think about the differences between these schools. This is something most of my clients struggle with and where I step in. You should spin yourself somewhat differently for all of these programs, depending on each program's strength.
Thought about Yale, NYU, Darden?
Do I have a decent shot at these schools perhaps with a GMAT score of 730? Are there other schools I should consider based on my current criteria? Are there other criteria I should seriously consider?
Think about where students go after school and do your career goals line up with that? If you want consulting, that is everywhere but not everyone goes into consulting or at least not in a top firm, so think more broadly perhaps as well
Gearing up for another exciting year of applications -
Hello everyone, as the application season kicks off and you are thinking about some of your strategies at this point, feel free to post any and all questions to this forum. At this point, I am helping my current clients with a few things:
1. GMAT timing - ensuring if you have not taken the GMAT, that you do so early enough to allow you for time for the essays
2. School selection - this can surprisingly take longer than you may have thought. Depending on your background and post MBA goals, some schools will naturally be a better fit, and determining the slight nuances among schools is important at this stage
3. Touching up your background / extra currics - Many of you may be thinking that you don't quite have enough out of work experience as you might like. Believe it or not, there are still things you can do now to change that. There may be things you are involved in that you may not think are relevant to B school applications, and with the right initiative you could turn average activities into great leadership positions before application submission time
4. Relaxing - surprising to read, but even if you are applying R1 (HBS deadline is Oct 3), that still leaves 3 months to put together the applications. I always tell my clients not to get too burned out at the beginning. You won't spend 3 months on an application, so as long as you have everything planned out and create a good schedule, you can still enjoy "some" of your summer.
I am Manikanth from Hyderabad. I want a profile evaluation and some valuable suggestions to apply for MBA fall-2012.
I gave my GMAT yesterday and got 730(M 51, V 38). I have 3.5 years of IT exp with Oracle India (would be around 4 yrs months by the time of matriculation). I did my MCA from NITK, Surathkal and BSc(Electronics) from Pune University.
My academics: X - 73% Inter - 75% BSc - 81% MCA - 8.4 (CGPA)
I have a very different background and it was never a cake walk for me. I started my first job in a STD booth in my 7th class and have worked in many petty jobs since then to support my education. As part of my jobs, I have developed interest in various fields that is how I joined BSc(electronics) and then did an MCA (again because of interest developed by my part time jobs in BSc). In the last 3.5 yrs in Oracle i've had exposure to various ERP modules and now am more interested in strategy or Product management roles, either of which needs an MBA. I am targeting ISB and few other US B-schools (only those which offer good fundings as I can't afford anything above 25 lakhs, since I can get loan for only that amount ). Can you please tell my chances for top US B-schools?
I am not sure if I can afford the costs of US B-schools, though some schools provide tution and funding, I should entirely depend on loans if I leave my current job. My savings over the past 3.5 years were also less as I did many donations for poor students who were in need of tuition fees. I don't have any proof for this, since they were all brothers of some distant friends or some recommendations by my family members. I also practice yoga and teach it to 6 people at home everyday, again I do this for free and they were all neighbors. I don't know if I can show all these in my application.
I am also planning to apply for Harvard and Stanford, which one do you suggest? Also, any suggestions on other US B-schools which is good for indian students with IT background that provides good funding and have a good placement record in IT related fields post MBA.
Thank you for posting. This is a good start for information, though it would be helpful to know more about your experience, and what types of leadership roles you may have had at work. Your extra curriculars are good, and the work you have done, even if not on record, is still good and we can use this in your application. In terms of the finances, many people do not pay themselves right away, most people get some sort of loans so you should not expect to have saved up enough to cover schools. All schools are expensive, so that could be taken care of.
In terms of top business schools, that is a little broad. For instance, HBS and Stanford would be pretty tough with your profile, so I would recommend you look at other schools that would be slightly more advantageous for you. What have you done around strategy at your job so far, or anything around the product cycle beyond the technical work you have done with ERP modules? You would have a good shot at Stern, Yale, throw in an MIT Sloan and Michigan for starters.
Please reach out for more specific guidance, this is just a gut reaction.
Academics B. Tech, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (6.93/10) – 2003 -2007 CFA Level 3 Candidate Technical certifications from IBM & Sun Microsystems
Professional Experience Full Time from July, 2007. Will be around 5 years in August 2012. December 2008 – Present – Business Analyst December 2008 – July 2007 Software Engineer
Business Analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland (December 2008 – Present) Functional Areas – Corporate Markets
Highlights • Managed business software requirements for 3 projects, totaling to £ 25 million. • One of the youngest B.A at RBS. Skip level promotion from Software Associate to BA. • Assessed & Reformed organizational processes through a Work-Out initiative, leading to savings of £ 200,000. • Estimated & formulated business cases for various corporate transformation programmes. These transformation programmes were introduced as an aftermath of global financial crisis in 2008. • Led a team of software developers to deliver a critical solution for automation of account opening process targeted at Business & Commercial customers. • Established and fostered relationships with various business and technology stakeholders. First to be selected out of my team in India to work on-site with business stakeholders in London & Wimbledon. • Imparted domain based trainings to software developers and project managers.
Software developer at Sapient Corporation (July 2007 – December 2008) Functional Areas – Retail Banking & Telecom Billing
Highlights • Led a work stream during the training project. • Designed and developed software components for an online broadband provisioning system for a large telecom client. • Raised Rs. 200,000 for young students as part of charity drive at Sapient Corp.
Personal Life Born and brought up in a small town, not a lot was expected of me. I come from a traditional family with business background where the usual expectation is to enter the family business. By breaking the mould, I have set an example for children of my family to follow their instincts and interests.
Short-term & Long-term Goals
Short-term Want to move to the front office (customer facing) job in portfolio management. Having done my share of software coding and business requirement analysis, I feel a front office or customer facing job will provide me the needed knowledge required to produce new software for the portfolio management domain.
Long-term I want to set-up my own company which will focus on development of new and innovative software’s for portfolio management. I want to start with products targeted at corporate customers and then extend these to retail customers. I wish to provide low-cost portfolio management services to mass consumers for e.g. the growing middle-class in India.
Advice & Tips: Getting recommendations from a job where you were not planning on telling them you were applying to Business school-
Many people have this decision to make, do you (1) keep your B school goal a secret so it does not affect your job , and then ask people besides your current manager to write a recommendation or (2) tell a couple people at the office because you want them to write your recommendation, and then hope they don't tell others
The right answer to this depends on how long you have been at your current job, how close you truly are to your manager, and who else you could get to write your recommendations. While admissions committees like recommendations from current employers, they are definitely used to people who don't ask their current boss because their boss does not know they are leaving for school. If you are in that situation, you need to have had another full time job post undergraduate where a manager could write about your work experience. If your only experience is your current one, that makes getting recommendations tough. Also if you think your boss won't tell other people at the company, take a minute to think twice. How close is your relationship with your boss? Chances are if you tell one person at a company about your school plans, many others will know as well. Finally, when thinking about who to ask, think about who will write the best things about you. If your former boss loved you and would put you in the top 1-2% while your current boss would rank you high, but not that high, it may make sense to go with the older boss even though s/he has older content to write about. Recommendations are important to think about and they matter, so make sure to spend enough time thinking about who to ask.
Thank you for your post. Please find my comments below:
1. How do you evaluate my profile? ( My goal is to get in any of the top 15 colleges. Primary focus is on school which is good in finance)
You have a good overall profile. I am pretty confident you can get into a top 15 school if you apply to enough to increase your chances. I like your experience, the way you described it and how you can compare to others at your job. i.e. youngest to get to your current role, esp if your recommendations can back that up
2. My GPA is pretty low ( 6.93/10). How is this compared to applicants from a similar background. Is my GPA insufficient or a negative point?
It is a negative point, yes. This won't help you...your GMAT is good, not great though, so this won't help you overall, but its one part. You don't have your rank in the class do you? I know from all of my IIT clients, others tended to have higher GPAs, I haven't had many around the 7 range..but its just one data point
3. Is my GMAT score weak? How much is the benefit of retaking the GMAT given that I may increase my score from 20-30 points only.
It depends how much time you would spend studying. If you could study minimally for you, you could benefit from a 740, but if it takes too much time, that is time you could spend on essays. For your GPA though, 740 would help over the 710. Anything less than 30 points higher would not really be worth the time.
4. Is my selection of schools too ambitious? Which schools would you suggest as the top priority?
No, I think this is a good selection, just pick wisely from that list. You probably won't apply to all of those schools, its too many apps to do, esp if you add intl schools too. So important to pick from a broad spectrum...i.e. not mostly top schools
5. What areas should I concentrate in my profile to make it strong? What are the corresponding weaknesses that you see in my profile?
Focus on the essays, given your Verbal score (though not worries about this given your background. Also talk about your volunteer work quite a bit, that will separate you somewhat. Focus on the job and your leadership and how its above average for your job. Your personal struggles, etc I would need to understand more, but coming from a family in a small village etc, is over used a lot, it doesn't help as much as you would think.
Reach out for additional questions or help going forward during your process!
Advice & Tips: Getting recommendations from a job where you were not planning on telling them you were applying to Business school- Many people have this decision to make, do you (1) keep your B school goal a secret so it does not affect your job , and then ask people besides your current manager to write a recommendation or (2) tell a couple people at the office because you want them to write your recommendation, and then hope they don't tell others
The right answer to this depends on how long you have been at your current job, how close you truly are to your manager, and who else you could get to write your recommendations. While admissions committees like recommendations from current employers, they are definitely used to people who don't ask their current boss because their boss does not know they are leaving for school. If you are in that situation, you need to have had another full time job post undergraduate where a manager could write about your work experience. If your only experience is your current one, that makes getting recommendations tough. Also if you think your boss won't tell other people at the company, take a minute to think twice. How close is your relationship with your boss? Chances are if you tell one person at a company about your school plans, many others will know as well. Finally, when thinking about who to ask, think about who will write the best things about you. If your former boss loved you and would put you in the top 1-2% while your current boss would rank you high, but not that high, it may make sense to go with the older boss even though it is not as current.
Often I look at resumes that are great for applying to a job but really fail for applying to business school. Here are a few tips to think about when writing your B school resume.
1. This is NOT a professional resume, do not make that mistake 2. Make sure your resume is easy to understand - avoid all technical descriptions. Keep in mind that adcom do not work in your industry 3. Ensure each line has an action and a result - if you cannot write a result then think about whether that line is worth being in the resume. In some cases it can be, but often this is a good test There are other things that are important when thinking about B school resumes but these are the big ones where I see people fall short.
My clients always ask me how personal they should really be getting in the essays. This is a tricky topic, because initially one would think to get as personal as you can. However, that is not always the case, and it depends on the essay question as well. A good idea is to have someone else read over your essays or your bullet points as you are drafting. Now this person should not be very close to you, the reason being you want an objective opinion. Often people think their personal stories are dramatic, sensitive and moving. While sometimes that is true, admissions counselors read these all day long so what might seem great to you may not be impressive to them.
If you want a second opinion, feel free to post some thoughts here and I will act as that unbiased ear. Just remember, thousands of applicants come from another country, were the first in their family to go to college, had to pay their way through, etc. Those can be good stories but that alone won't necessarily wow your application reader.
To those of you who received interview invites, congratulations! You are almost there, but still need to get over this last hump. Here are a few tips I give to my clients.
1) Make sure to customize your approach for each school - seems pretty simple and obvious but every school's interview process is very different and requires a very different type of preparation. Some give you a blind interview, where the interviewer does not know all of the details of your application (e.g. Wharton) while other interviews are specifically tailored to your application and they know everything inside and out (e.g. Harvard).
2) You will also need to consider whether you will go to campus for an interview (some schools only have this as an option) or whether you will do an alumni interview. Depending on your profile and interview style, each has its advantages and disadvantages. The alumni interviews require a slightly different strategy and if approached well, can help your application more than going on campus
3) Remember that while this 30-60 minutes will have a large impact on your admission, at the same time the schools just want to get to know you and make sure what they see in person matches what they saw in the application.
I am scheduling interview preparation sessions, so contact me if you are interested.
Will the top B schools have more women leading them over the next few years? As long as they all don't combine admissions with financial aid, this sounds like a great idea. Let's keep admissions separate though so the dean can focus on that.
Read this article for some great questions to ask during interviews (if you are interviewing with a woman that is)
Would be great if you let me know what you think of my profile. Here is a very brief summary.
WORK EX ~4.5 years’ experience in cloud computing, virtualization and security domains. 3 years in McAfee, 1 year in Citrix as Software Quality Assurance Engineer. IT Skills – Responsible for overall product quality, collaboration with global teams, test execution and reporting Non IT skills - Sales enablement, project management, hiring and mentoring, setting up new processes etc. Indirectly leading a team of 5 members. Have mentored 9 people.
ACADS GMAT: 700 - (Quant - 49, Verbal – 36), yet to receive AWA scores B.TECH - 83.3% (CS) 12TH - 70% CFA Level II candidate PRINCE2 foundation certified - Project management ITIL v3 foundation certified- IT Service Management CompTIA Security+ certified - Security domain
ACHIEVEMENTS rated >4 (out of 5) for 3 years of operations in McAfee ‘Employee of the Quarter' award in McAfee Stock Grant Bonus for outstanding performance Spot Bonus for outstanding performance Promoted within completing 1 year in McAfee
EXTRA CURRICULAR Freelance test mentoring for a 2 year old tech start-up, also gave a talk to its employees Service-lead, managing CSR activities for my present team of 20. Program-manager for McAfee's CSR initiative for 2 years, managed team of 50 volunteers. Elected student representative - Mess committee in college Prefect/ House Captain in final year of school Editor of school magazine in 11th standard
AREA OF INTEREST Management consulting, general management, strategy
TARGET COLLEGES Kellogg, ISB, NUS so far. Looking for colleges in US or APAC region mostly.
QUESTIONS 1. Which 2 colleges should i choose as backups for my area of interest? 2. Which 2 colleges do you think I have a fair chance of getting in? 3. Which 2 colleges do you think I can get in with a bit of luck and carefully crafted application?
Thanks for the information. What undergrad did you go to? This will help in my evaluation as you have a good GMAT, not amazing, but pretty good considering the high quant and English is not your first language I imagine. Clients that I have worked with that are like you really need to focus on spinning yourself as a non-techy given your background screams tech of course. I think your school choices are good, but I wonder why Kellogg. Kellogg will be a stretch for you given your profile and while it is an amazing school, it may not be the best suited for you. I am happy to give you more detailed help offline, but to answer your 3 questions:
1. Which 2 colleges should I choose as backups for my area of interest? Nanyang, Notre Dame 2. Which 2 colleges do you think I have a fair chance of getting in? McCombs, UNC (or Ceibs) 3. Which 2 colleges do you think I can get in with a bit of luck and carefully crafted application? Carnegie Mellon comes to mind, not to box you into a more technical school, but they would appreciate your app a bit more, and its a great school. or Indian Business School
Profile Eval-Indian female/Marketing/640/4yr WE I am a 26 year old female from India and applying to US business schools in 2012. I have a GMAT of 640 (Q:45 / V:34 / AWA:4) and a TOEFL score of 96. I have worked for 4 years as a marketing executive in India in the hospitality industry. I have worked for two different hotel groups 1) 1 yr at a large single hotel located in the commercial center in the capital city of India 2) ~3 yrs at a large multi-national and multi-brand hotel chain, with responsibility for nationwide (India) marketing. I had hit a ceiling at my company and without an MBA they were not willing to promote me further or give me additional responsibilities. So I quit and for last 2 months, I have been working as a full-time volunteer for an NGO for differently-abled and underprivileged children. By the time I join a business school (hopefully), I would have worked at this NGO for almost 1 year. I am passionate about dance and was part of a professional dance group for 5 years (alongside my college and job). Both at college and as part of this dance group, I have performed at multiple shows with audiences of 1,000+ people and won many awards. I have an undergraduate degree in English (Hons.) where I studied English, History and Philosophy. I was very active in my college’s dance and theatre society. Indian colleges do not have a GPA system. I would consider myself a firm mid-tier performer academically. I am very keen on continuing a career in marketing. Can you kindly advise which schools will best suit my profile? I am keen on Duke, Haas and Cornell. Thank you very much in advance.
It is always great to see someone else in the hospitality industry, I have a hospitality background as well. While your detailed overview helps, it would be further help if you let me know which college you went to in India and what your GPA was. You mention schools don't have a GPA system; I work with lots of applicants from India and I am very familiar with the system so if it is similar to IIT for example, I will know how to compare it. That said, you gave me a ballpark range so that is helpful to understand.
I would say Duke is a real stretch for you given your profile. If the GMAT was higher and you had some great leadership experience at work, it would help. I do believe Cornell is a reach for you but a good program, especially given your hospitality background. (Not that you are studying at the Hotel school but it is nice to have it there). Haas is also a bit of a stretch, I might recommend UCLA or even USC (for more of a sure bet). In addition, McCombs could be a good option, and you may want to look at UNC as well. I am happy to chat about these and other options for you. Please reach out for additional help with your applications. Good luck!