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Dilemma -less experience, advanced degree - job or B-school?

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Dilemma -less experience, advanced degree - job or B-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2006, 19:55
I've posted the same question in other forums on GMATclub as well. So, excuse if you're coming across this repeatedly.

I recently (actually, on 10/30/06) scored 740 (Q48 V 42) in my GMAT.

I am a veterinarian with a DVM from India and a MS in reproductive biology from U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (graduated Aug’06). I was disillusioned with basic research from my master’s program. I realized that I excelled in team settings and loved challenges that required on-the-feet thinking and solutions. I utilized the excellent career exploration tools available at the U of I career center. I also considered various other options before deciding to pursue a career in management.

I talked with the business school administration here at UIUC and also several alumni. I had the opportunity to correspond with a director of corporate finance in a multinational pharmaceutical company. He pointed out the excellent opportunities in the consultancy industry (he had traveled a similar path as mine – pharma in India, graduate school in US, BCG, HBS and then current company) and I’ve been following up on his advice. I also conversed with two other consultants from two top notch firms - IBM and BCG.

One main drawback in my resume was/ is the lack of work experience. I maintained my own clinic for less than a year in India (before I joined graduate school). My graduate employment was in the lab where I performed the same tasks as other employees, but unfortunately, most firms/ schools do not consider that as work experience. I was actively involved with the graduate student union and served as treasurer for a year and after graduation worked as a campaign organizer for two months (with significant results to show in both positions).

I figured that getting some experience in a consultancy firm would do wonders to my resume. After graduation, I applied to several strategy-consultant firms (IBM, Bearing Point among others) but did not get a response. So, I concentrated this last month on GMAT and got the 98th percentile (as mentioned above). I am hoping that my excellent academic record (3.8/4 in MS and 8.1/10.0 - top 5% in DVM), leadership skills (been the class representative, lead the basketball team etc), active participation in non-profit activities (the graduate union experience, also set up a program to help alumni from my college in pursuit of higher education) will help in admission into one of the top 10 schools.

I plan to be a strategy consultant (I like what I have heard and learnt so far, no first hand experience obviously) in the future, and move back to India to raise my family. Now, for my questions:

1. What are my chances are getting into a top-10 school with my background (preferably, top-5)?
2. Should I still try to get a job and get experience before applying for B-school (maybe ’08)?
3. How do B-schools view scores that are a year old or older?
4. I have been offered an analyst position in an IT consultancy. Should I take the job, even though it is more technical than management related?

I’ll certainly appreciate your opinion and suggestions. Thanks!
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Re: Dilemma -less experience, advanced degree - job or B-sch [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2006, 10:17
anandsebastin wrote:
I've posted the same question in other forums on GMATclub as well. So, excuse if you're coming across this repeatedly.

I recently (actually, on 10/30/06) scored 740 (Q48 V 42) in my GMAT.

I am a veterinarian with a DVM from India and a MS in reproductive biology from U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (graduated Aug’06). I was disillusioned with basic research from my master’s program. I realized that I excelled in team settings and loved challenges that required on-the-feet thinking and solutions. I utilized the excellent career exploration tools available at the U of I career center. I also considered various other options before deciding to pursue a career in management.

I talked with the business school administration here at UIUC and also several alumni. I had the opportunity to correspond with a director of corporate finance in a multinational pharmaceutical company. He pointed out the excellent opportunities in the consultancy industry (he had traveled a similar path as mine – pharma in India, graduate school in US, BCG, HBS and then current company) and I’ve been following up on his advice. I also conversed with two other consultants from two top notch firms - IBM and BCG.

One main drawback in my resume was/ is the lack of work experience. I maintained my own clinic for less than a year in India (before I joined graduate school). My graduate employment was in the lab where I performed the same tasks as other employees, but unfortunately, most firms/ schools do not consider that as work experience. I was actively involved with the graduate student union and served as treasurer for a year and after graduation worked as a campaign organizer for two months (with significant results to show in both positions).

I figured that getting some experience in a consultancy firm would do wonders to my resume. After graduation, I applied to several strategy-consultant firms (IBM, Bearing Point among others) but did not get a response. So, I concentrated this last month on GMAT and got the 98th percentile (as mentioned above). I am hoping that my excellent academic record (3.8/4 in MS and 8.1/10.0 - top 5% in DVM), leadership skills (been the class representative, lead the basketball team etc), active participation in non-profit activities (the graduate union experience, also set up a program to help alumni from my college in pursuit of higher education) will help in admission into one of the top 10 schools.

I plan to be a strategy consultant (I like what I have heard and learnt so far, no first hand experience obviously) in the future, and move back to India to raise my family. Now, for my questions:

1. What are my chances are getting into a top-10 school with my background (preferably, top-5)?
2. Should I still try to get a job and get experience before applying for B-school (maybe ’08)?
3. How do B-schools view scores that are a year old or older?
4. I have been offered an analyst position in an IT consultancy. Should I take the job, even though it is more technical than management related?

I’ll certainly appreciate your opinion and suggestions. Thanks!


Anand,

Not sure of your age, which is a factor. I assume mid-20s. You may have a chance at a top 5 school because your numbers are good, you do have some leadership, and your story is unusual, but this will be a small chance, so I recommend spreading your net to include some of the *excellent* programs from the top 5 to the top 15-20. If you currently do not have a job, that is a major negative if you are targeting a top 5 firm. So, get one, the IT consulting position would at least be a step toward consulting and thus a relevant move. GMAT scores that are only a year old are fine.

Good luck,
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Nov 2006, 04:21
Thanks for your suggestions, Paul.

As it stands, how would you evaluate my chances at one of the top 15 schools.

One of the reasons I am leaning more towards applying to schools this time is that my wife and I plan to get back to India, which is where we are from, as soon as possible. But, before that, I want to get my MBA from a reputable school, which has name recognition both here and in India. I assume that does not necessarily mean the top-5.

Schools like Ross have strong ties with India and also have active projects there. I believe Ross is strong both in general management and consulting. So, I'm eying Ross as a possible option, if I decide to apply for Fall '07. Can you suggest other such schools?

I appreciate your thoughts on this.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Nov 2006, 12:00
anandsebastin wrote:
Thanks for your suggestions, Paul.

As it stands, how would you evaluate my chances at one of the top 15 schools.

One of the reasons I am leaning more towards applying to schools this time is that my wife and I plan to get back to India, which is where we are from, as soon as possible. But, before that, I want to get my MBA from a reputable school, which has name recognition both here and in India. I assume that does not necessarily mean the top-5.

Schools like Ross have strong ties with India and also have active projects there. I believe Ross is strong both in general management and consulting. So, I'm eying Ross as a possible option, if I decide to apply for Fall '07. Can you suggest other such schools?

I appreciate your thoughts on this.


Anand,

Glad to hear that (a) you are open to non-top 5 schools and that (b) non-top 5 schools have some name recognition in India. Here are the U.S. schools that last year placed the highest percentage of graduates in (a) consulting positions:

1. Kellogg 34%
2. Tuck 32%
3. Wharton 30%
4. MIT 28%
5. Chicago 27%
6. Washington Olin 27%
7. Georgetown 26%
8. Notre Dame 25%
9. UC Irvine 25%

If you get a job, demonstrate leadership in it, effectively highlight the existing leadership in your professional, academic, and community life thus far, and make a watertight case for why you need an MBA and how you know consulting is the best career for you, then you might have an outside chance at Tuck, MIT, or Chicago (Kellogg and Wharton don't seem doable to me). Your odds at the 4 other consulting feeder schools I mentioned are very good.

Also, I think you could get into the following schools, which are all ranked highly in consulting (by WSJ) or in management (by USNews): UNC, CMU, Duke, Darden.

If you are open to non-U.S. schools, the following schools channel even higher percentages of MBAs into consulting and are all excellent programs:

1. Queen's 33%
2. Western Ontario 27%
3. IESE 35%

Good luck,
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Nov 2006, 11:21
Thanks Paul, I accepted the job offer that was extended to me after considering different possibilities.

I hope to strengthen my resume as you mention in your post and then apply using my current scores for Fall '08.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 13:07
anandsebastin wrote:
Thanks Paul, I accepted the job offer that was extended to me after considering different possibilities.

I hope to strengthen my resume as you mention in your post and then apply using my current scores for Fall '08.


Good luck to you.
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