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B-school application

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Joined: 05 Feb 2013
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Concentration: Finance, Strategy
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
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B-school application [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2013, 10:06
Hello,

I just took my GMAT and scored a 760 (Q50, V42). I am a Chartered Accountant (India) and CPA (US) by qualification and have a very good academic record. I secured all-India top 10 ranks in the CA course. I am working with a Management Consulting firm in India and will have 40 months of work-ex (with a promotion in between) by the time I start my MBA in Fall 2014. I also have a 3 year full-time internship at one of the world's largest accounting firms in their Audit and Assurance function (however, this was pre-qualification). I have also recently started volunteering for Teach for India as a Campaign Leader.

My target schools are:
1. Harvard
2. Stanford
3. Wharton
4. Chicago Booth
5. Kellogg

I wanted to know what are my chances of getting accepted at these schools if I apply this year.

Thanks!
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2013, 06:24
Expert's post
Hey there,

That is an amazing GMAT - congratulations!! Let me answer your question then ask you one of my own, if that's ok?

At a general level, your profile is solid. Great academics, non-IT work experience with an upward trajectory at a firm with pedigree and a continued involvement in social benefit. In short - you're in a good position.

However - how'd you arrive at the school list you've provided? They're clearly the top 5 schools with the exception of MIT but they're all very different. Different teaching styles, different cultures, different networks, different strengths, etc. And even though you've got a good profile and a great GMAT, you haven't positioned any safety programs in there. From a portfolio standpoint, I'd be interested to hear your reasoning.

So my question to you is why do you want an MBA? What are your short and long term goals? Are you looking to switch careers or fill in academic gaps? Are you looking to work in a specific region or are you wanting to start up your own venture?

What I would like to do with you is have a discussion around which of the top 10 programs are good a good FIT for you. They'll all be highly ranked, but some will better enable your goals in addition to giving you an MBA from a great program.

Does that make sense? I look forward to learning more about you!

Bhavik
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Joined: 05 Feb 2013
Posts: 28
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Concentration: Finance, Strategy
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2013, 06:49
Hi Bhavik,

Thanks for the reply. Opens up a few questions in my mind too. Let me give you a more detailed profile:

Demographic: 25 year old male, Indian

GMAT: 760 (50Q, 42V)
ACADEMICS: Chartered Accountant (India) with all-India top 10 ranks and Certified Public Accountant (USA)
WORK HISTORY:
- 3+ years(by matriculation) at Deloitte Strategy & Operations Consulting
- Worked with top Indian and Global Corporate clients across industry sectors
- Led small teams on project modules
- Secured an early promotion
- Also have a 3-year full time internship with Deloitte India in their Audit and Assurance function. But, this was pre-qualification

EXTRA-CURRICULAR:
- 2013-14 Campaign Leader for Teach for India (this is currently on-going)
- Participated in Deloitte’s Annual CSR events and managed projects with over 200 volunteers in all
- Voluntarily set up and managed a knowledge exchange club of 15 members during my internship

Immediate Post MBA goal: To work with a top tier strategy consulting firm in the US for at least 5-6 years
Long term goal: To start my own strategy consulting firm in India

I have chosen schools based on this career goal. I am not interested in moving outside India unless I get into a top 10 US MBA school (we have some great schools in India as well). Apart from the 5 schools that I have mentioned I was also exploring MIT Sloan, NYU Stern and Columbia. However, I'd love to get insights on nitty-gritties you mentioned i.e. teaching styles, cultures, networks, strengths etc. as well as how they would affect my journey towards my career goal.

I'd most certainly welcome a response on these points.

Thanks a ton!
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2013, 10:09
Expert's post
Hey there,

Happy to help and thanks for the additional information! Ok - let's get into this.

I agree - with your GMAT and work experience, you should definitely try for the top 10. I'm on the same page with you there. Ok, so if your goal is to join a strategy firm in the short term and start your own in the long term, I would think there are two key things you want in your MBA program.

1) Network - By this I mean both the brand as well as the global reach of the network. Effectively, these may be your future clients at some point and so this is critical.
2) Academics - You want a program that has a strong general management focus with a slight lean towards the quantitative. The reason I say this is because of all the "concentrations" available, getting a slightly quant lean is probably the most useful yet general one you can get. And generality should be your goal if your long term goal is to start a strategy firm. If you mentioned starting a niche firm (in say, marketing) then I would say that concentration would trump.

So based on that, you probably want schools where you can customize your curriculum (either fully or through a selection of electives), get involved, and be in a large city where your involvement opportunities expand beyond the boundaries of the MBA program you're attending. I'm not going to get into which of the programs below are stretches versus aligned because that's not important to what you're trying to do. You want to go top 10. That means you need to apply to 4 - 5 programs that fit your needs and can enable your success. You have a shot at all of these programs so the specifics are just a waste of time.

I've listed below 5 that I think would be good fits for you (not in order, just a list). Below that, I've listed the 5 I've discounted and the reasons why.

Good fits:

HBS (ok, here I'll tell you this is a stretch - I mean, even with a 760 and a S&O background, this is a stretch) - A case method that can help with advanced concepts but may be difficult for introduction courses. However, for brand, unmatched!
Booth - a slight stereotype as a Finance program (sure, they're good at Finance, but that's just one thing they do well). However, here, you have only 1 required course. You can customize!
Kellogg - same as Booth in that Kellogg has a stereotype for Marketing. Once again, they're a top gen mgmt school so worth your consideration. Also, lots of electives.
Columbia - strong location and strong gen mgmt program. Big feeder school into consulting.
MIT - great global brand recognition and strong intra-school interaction. Also, their curriculum is balanced between core and customization.

Deprioritized Schools:
Wharton - amazing program, great brand, but I think you'd benefit from a slightly different focus in your MBA and a different culture as well (one that more closely mimics consulting)
Stanford - For what you're looking to do, HBS and Wharton are better options within the top 3. Great program - not knocking it, but there are better fits.
Tuck - the network strength here is superb but it's also a smaller network. Also, the class sizes are on the smaller side and it's in a remote location. It has a great general management program but there are other options.
Stern - If you're going to be in NYC, Columbia's the option to go for.
Haas - same as Stanford. In my opinion, there are better options within the top 10 for you.

Ok - I just wrote a lot. Time for you to weigh in!

Bhavik
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 08:21
Hey Bhavik,

Continuing our conversation on BW:

I have not applied to any Business School yet. I am still working on my application strategy. I am looking at reapplications now so that I can decide how much risk I can take applying to my top choice programs this year vs. next year. Most of the discussions on forums are around tackling dings from schools and reapplying thereafter. But, I'd like to know more about prepping in advance for a ding.

I have just 2 years of full-time work-ex right now. So, I am deliberating on whether to apply this year (if so, I'll have 40 months of work-ex by the time I matriculate) vs. the next year (I'll have 52 months then).

You mentioned in your earlier post that HBS, Booth, Kellogg, MIT and Columbia are good fits. Let's say that I'd want to apply to Wharton also, even though it may be less of a fit. Among these, which ones should I take the risk of applying this year? My #1 choice is HBS & Wharton: so I'd like to apply to either of these along with may be 2 more this year.

While making your suggestion, please consider the ability to get through in the reapplication next year.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2013, 08:41
Expert's post
Hey man,

Ok, so I'm going to be as straight forward as possible. Between HBS and Wharton, I would say HBS because at least they try to stay neutral about this. Also, Deloitte has a better conversion rate at HBS than Wharton so play that card now. If you're going to add 2 more schools, add Booth and Columbia. They are obviously both extremely discerning programs but MIT and Kellogg really put reapplicants under the microscope so try to avoid that.

That's the short answer to your question.

HOWEVER - if this is the strategy you're pursuing, keep this in mind: starting TODAY, you need to start doing everything reasonable within your power to improve and diversify your profile. I'm not saying this based on your chances at the schools above, but if your strategy is to hedge risk, then this is the obvious way in which to do it. If you have to reapply, you'll have to show how you improved your candidacy and the earlier you can point to (e.g. August 2013 versus January 2014) the better - does that make sense?

This isn't a bad strategy to pursue but it will be a taxing one. You have a demanding profession to which you will add applications AND concurrent profile improvement.

However, it seems you've got a good head on your shoulders so it's time to get really tactical. Figure out your action plan and start executing against the strategy, right?

Bhavik
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2013, 01:51
Your GMAT score is very good. You are quite strong at your academics.
You have strong work experience too. You should highlight more about it in your application. For B-schools, it’s not all about the firms and positions at which you worked rather the quality of your experiences is what matters. It’s good that you Were able to have an accelerated growth rate in the firm. Did you win any awards? You should write about your achievements and leadership experience in the essays.

You have actively participated in social work. This is good for your extracurricular activities. It is very important that you mention the result which you achieved as campaign leader. How is the exchange club helping people? Has it made any impact on the lives of people?

Your short and long term goal make perfect sense, and are aligned with the work experience. If you write good application essays, you have a good shot at your target schools. Get your application essays reviewed and re-reviewed from alumni of the schools you are applying to.

Good luck!
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Re: B-school application [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2013, 10:54
amba2013, your profile looks promising! you can try using this online admission chances calculator in order to get some chances indication for the schools you have mentioned. Best of luck to you!
Re: B-school application   [#permalink] 26 Aug 2013, 10:54
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