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Director
Director
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Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 908
Schools: Kellogg '10
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 87 [0], given: 15

Can you review my profile? [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2007, 08:53
First off, thanks for this valuable service. I am early in the process and think that this objective input will be very helpful in plotting my strategy.

To preface, I'd really like to go to HBS or MIT because (a) the schools are fantastic, and (b) I live in Cambridge with my girlfriend who is getting her neuroscience PhD at Harvard. However, I'm a reasonable person and understand that this is a long-shot especially since I am not the greatest standardized test-taker.

My background:
American, white, male, will almost be 27 when applying
Undergrad: 3.7 from NYU/Stern
GMAT: haven't taken yet but 680 is probably reasonable - pushing hard for 700+

Extra-curricular: press liaison and one of the key managers for a non-profit brain cancer patient advocacy group. I've led PR and fundraising efforts with decent success. The organization has an affiliated club at MIT. I'm also a non-student member of Harvard's biotechnology club.

Work experience: have worked 3.5 years (so far) at a small NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company and experienced significant advancement. I interned there for 2 years during college, then joined as a strategic planning analyst, focusing on M&A, financings, technology licensing, market research and overall corporate strategy.

1 year later I was given a 2-level promotion to Manager of Strat Planning/Corp Dev and 6 months later another 2-level promotion to Associate Director. Throughout this I took on significantly expanded responsibilities, such as:

- Manage/lead strat planning and financial analysis: create 12-month tactical plans and a 5-year strat plan, drive annual budget process, sold $1.7M private equity holdings on surprisingly good terms, efforts have led to >15% decrease in annualized company cash burn (huge in biotech!) and realignment of company development pipeline, developing business plan for international expansion project
- Lead the investor relations function, responsible for ~$250K budget, draft most external communications, participate on earnings calls, draft and make corporate presentations at investor conferences, cultivate relationships with major investors (personal efforts led to single largest unaffiliated investor), member of management disclosure committee for drafting/review of SEC filings
- Manage almost all board of directors related activity: prepare quarterly board books, write chairman's executive update letter to BOD, create BOD presentations for meeting; additionally I've presented to the BOD 4 times on various projects
- Manage M&A/in-licensing group; run weekly meetings with senior management on the activities; run company-wide due diligence; do all financial modeling; draft/negotiate agreements
- Contribute strongly to fundraising: I've been key in 3 financings of >$80M, negotiating documents, managing due diligence, performing financial analysis

I do a number of other things and I'm generally viewed as a jack of all trades. I work most closely with the CEO and CFO, and I've been told that I am seen as a potential replacement for both of them in time. The only negative with my job is that I don't have anyone formally reporting to me, which is not unusual in a crunched biotech. While I don't have any direct reports, almost every project I work on requires coordination of senior people from almost every functional area.

Why an MBA?
I'm not getting an MBA to make more money. I already make more than any school's average starting salary. I'm doing it as part of a plan for my future in the biotechnology field, particularly cancer. An MBA provides a foundation of skills and relationships that you can't get anywhere else, at least in 2 years. After an MBA I'll pursue experience back at my old company (they may sponsor the degree), or in biotech consulting or management at big biotech, in order to gain more operational expertise in the industry. Ultimately I'd like to utilize my academic/science and business contacts to start one or more ventures of my own.

Beyond the pipe-dream of HBS and MIT, I also really like Dartmouth (pipe-dream #3), Ross/Michigan, Darden/UVA and maybe some 1-year international programs like Cambridge and Oxford. I'm more interested in receiving a general management education than one focused specifically on entrepreneurship. Please give me your thoughts, as well as any other school recommendations.

Any input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

P.S. If it matters at all, my more or less "domestic partner" is a Harvard student and my best recommendation (the CFO, my boss) is a Harvard BA and MBA.
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Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Posts: 4876
Location: Los Angeles CA
Followers: 43

Kudos [?]: 348 [0], given: 64

Re: Can you review my profile? [#permalink] New post 18 Sep 2007, 21:09
Expert's post
rca215 wrote:
First off, thanks for this valuable service. I am early in the process and think that this objective input will be very helpful in plotting my strategy.

To preface, I'd really like to go to HBS or MIT because (a) the schools are fantastic, and (b) I live in Cambridge with my girlfriend who is getting her neuroscience PhD at Harvard. However, I'm a reasonable person and understand that this is a long-shot especially since I am not the greatest standardized test-taker.

My background:
American, white, male, will almost be 27 when applying
Undergrad: 3.7 from NYU/Stern
GMAT: haven't taken yet but 680 is probably reasonable - pushing hard for 700+

Extra-curricular: press liaison and one of the key managers for a non-profit brain cancer patient advocacy group. I've led PR and fundraising efforts with decent success. The organization has an affiliated club at MIT. I'm also a non-student member of Harvard's biotechnology club.

Work experience: have worked 3.5 years (so far) at a small NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company and experienced significant advancement. I interned there for 2 years during college, then joined as a strategic planning analyst, focusing on M&A, financings, technology licensing, market research and overall corporate strategy.

1 year later I was given a 2-level promotion to Manager of Strat Planning/Corp Dev and 6 months later another 2-level promotion to Associate Director. Throughout this I took on significantly expanded responsibilities, such as:

- Manage/lead strat planning and financial analysis: create 12-month tactical plans and a 5-year strat plan, drive annual budget process, sold $1.7M private equity holdings on surprisingly good terms, efforts have led to >15% decrease in annualized company cash burn (huge in biotech!) and realignment of company development pipeline, developing business plan for international expansion project
- Lead the investor relations function, responsible for ~$250K budget, draft most external communications, participate on earnings calls, draft and make corporate presentations at investor conferences, cultivate relationships with major investors (personal efforts led to single largest unaffiliated investor), member of management disclosure committee for drafting/review of SEC filings
- Manage almost all board of directors related activity: prepare quarterly board books, write chairman's executive update letter to BOD, create BOD presentations for meeting; additionally I've presented to the BOD 4 times on various projects
- Manage M&A/in-licensing group; run weekly meetings with senior management on the activities; run company-wide due diligence; do all financial modeling; draft/negotiate agreements
- Contribute strongly to fundraising: I've been key in 3 financings of >$80M, negotiating documents, managing due diligence, performing financial analysis

I do a number of other things and I'm generally viewed as a jack of all trades. I work most closely with the CEO and CFO, and I've been told that I am seen as a potential replacement for both of them in time. The only negative with my job is that I don't have anyone formally reporting to me, which is not unusual in a crunched biotech. While I don't have any direct reports, almost every project I work on requires coordination of senior people from almost every functional area.

Why an MBA?
I'm not getting an MBA to make more money. I already make more than any school's average starting salary. I'm doing it as part of a plan for my future in the biotechnology field, particularly cancer. An MBA provides a foundation of skills and relationships that you can't get anywhere else, at least in 2 years. After an MBA I'll pursue experience back at my old company (they may sponsor the degree), or in biotech consulting or management at big biotech, in order to gain more operational expertise in the industry. Ultimately I'd like to utilize my academic/science and business contacts to start one or more ventures of my own.

Beyond the pipe-dream of HBS and MIT, I also really like Dartmouth (pipe-dream #3), Ross/Michigan, Darden/UVA and maybe some 1-year international programs like Cambridge and Oxford. I'm more interested in receiving a general management education than one focused specifically on entrepreneurship. Please give me your thoughts, as well as any other school recommendations.

Any input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

P.S. If it matters at all, my more or less "domestic partner" is a Harvard student and my best recommendation (the CFO, my boss) is a Harvard BA and MBA.


rca215,

Apologies for the delayed reply. It's been busy over here. You have an outstanding profile and even with a 680 I think you have a credible shot at all the schools you mentioned (Michigan and Darden especially), with HBS as a slightly longer shot because, well, it's Harvard, and perhaps because your lack of direct reports suggests you're mortal. Your domestic partner's Harvard connection is not a big asset, but an HBS recommender is a nice plus. My advice to you is to hit them hard with stories about substantial leadership (i.e., of groups of people regardless of their formal relation to you) and to play up the long-term cancer/biotech vision thing *for all it's worth.* Getting above a 700 on the GMAT would be helpful. You may actually want to consider a Stanford application as a long-shot dice throw. You would probably be competitive at Wharton if their program interested you.

Good luck,

_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

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Director
Director
User avatar
Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 908
Schools: Kellogg '10
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 87 [0], given: 15

Re: Can you review my profile? [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2007, 05:48
Accepted.com wrote:
rca215,

Apologies for the delayed reply. It's been busy over here. You have an outstanding profile and even with a 680 I think you have a credible shot at all the schools you mentioned (Michigan and Darden especially), with HBS as a slightly longer shot because, well, it's Harvard, and perhaps because your lack of direct reports suggests you're mortal. Your domestic partner's Harvard connection is not a big asset, but an HBS recommender is a nice plus. My advice to you is to hit them hard with stories about substantial leadership (i.e., of groups of people regardless of their formal relation to you) and to play up the long-term cancer/biotech vision thing *for all it's worth.* Getting above a 700 on the GMAT would be helpful. You may actually want to consider a Stanford application as a long-shot dice throw. You would probably be competitive at Wharton if their program interested you.

Good luck


Thank you so much for the helpful (and encouraging) input. I have stories galore about major projects in which I led VPs etc. that I'll throw at them, and I think I can effectively tie it all in with my long-term goals.

I'd prefer to stay East Coast (or 1-year Europe), so will probably skip on a Stanford app. Wharton would be great but I'm not sure if the program is too quant-focused for my taste (I-bankers bore me!).

To what degree does an improved GMAT help at HBS? If I can pull off, say, a 740 does that really improve my chances? Also, does a balanced Q/V scoring, like 45/46, hurt me because of the relatively low Q section? I'm so much better at the verbal part. :(

Thanks again!
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Posts: 4876
Location: Los Angeles CA
Followers: 43

Kudos [?]: 348 [0], given: 64

Re: Can you review my profile? [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2007, 13:11
Expert's post
rca215 wrote:
Accepted.com wrote:
rca215,

Apologies for the delayed reply. It's been busy over here. You have an outstanding profile and even with a 680 I think you have a credible shot at all the schools you mentioned (Michigan and Darden especially), with HBS as a slightly longer shot because, well, it's Harvard, and perhaps because your lack of direct reports suggests you're mortal. Your domestic partner's Harvard connection is not a big asset, but an HBS recommender is a nice plus. My advice to you is to hit them hard with stories about substantial leadership (i.e., of groups of people regardless of their formal relation to you) and to play up the long-term cancer/biotech vision thing *for all it's worth.* Getting above a 700 on the GMAT would be helpful. You may actually want to consider a Stanford application as a long-shot dice throw. You would probably be competitive at Wharton if their program interested you.

Good luck


Thank you so much for the helpful (and encouraging) input. I have stories galore about major projects in which I led VPs etc. that I'll throw at them, and I think I can effectively tie it all in with my long-term goals.

I'd prefer to stay East Coast (or 1-year Europe), so will probably skip on a Stanford app. Wharton would be great but I'm not sure if the program is too quant-focused for my taste (I-bankers bore me!).

To what degree does an improved GMAT help at HBS? If I can pull off, say, a 740 does that really improve my chances? Also, does a balanced Q/V scoring, like 45/46, hurt me because of the relatively low Q section? I'm so much better at the verbal part. :(

Thanks again!


rca215,

I knew that if I did this long enough I would eventually meet the one person in the world who *didn't* want to go to Stanford--nice to make your acquaintance. As far as the higher GMAT, *everything* you can do to get into HBS is worth doing because of the odds against you (and everyone), so if you think retaking the GMAT will raise your score without harming any other parts of your app process then by all means fire away. There's a big difference between a 680 and a 740 and it would bump your odds in non-trivial ways. Regarding the quant versus verbal score, as long as both scores are above, say, the 80th percentile then a higher verbal is probably of higher value than a higher quant, because it's the more unusual score scenario. If I'm not mistaken I believe the GMAT scoring system is configured such that a higher verbal score relative to the quant earns you a higher overall GMAT than the reverse.

Good luck,

_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

Follow Accepted on Twitter
Friend Accepted on Facebook
Subscribe to Accepted's Blog

Director
Director
User avatar
Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 908
Schools: Kellogg '10
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 87 [0], given: 15

 [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2007, 06:08
LOL (re Stanford).

Thanks again for the helpful input.
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 20 Apr 2003
Posts: 4876
Location: Los Angeles CA
Followers: 43

Kudos [?]: 348 [0], given: 64

 [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2007, 19:29
Expert's post
rca215 wrote:
LOL (re Stanford).

Thanks again for the helpful input.


You're welcome.
_________________

Linda Abraham
Accepted
310-815-9553

Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools

Follow Accepted on Twitter
Friend Accepted on Facebook
Subscribe to Accepted's Blog

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