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I have finished my sophomore year at a top-ranked US public school as a double major (Electrical Engineering with Finance) and have a 3.65 GPA. I've been shadowing the forums for a while now and though I still have a while before MBA applications, I felt it's never to early to start working in the right direction - so I'm on here for advice! Again, I'm not looking for a "recipe" on how to get into HBS (dream: to get into the 2+2 program) or any other top program (after working a few years i.e.) - but more of a "you're completely off-track/you're on the right track but doing this or focusing on this would be good" been-there-done-that advice!
So here's my current profile (after two years of college):
GPA: Slightly over 3.65 (average for the engg school is sub-3.0 but I still think it's low for 2+2) GMAT: Haven't taken it yet - but if it's an indicator of anything, I had a 2290 on the SAT School: Large, Public (consistently top 2-3 in the US)
* Interned at a major entertainment company (Fortune 500) last summer in their new technologies department. Did a project on my own and was called back this year. It was a great summer and got a good recommendation letter out of it too!
* Interning at the research lab of a Fortune 500: Top 50 company (technology) this summer.
* Started and currently president of an on-campus business student organization. Club grew from nothing to over 60 members in less than 6 months. Is now a prominent business club on campus.
* Vice-President of an engineering society on campus and treasurer of another one
* Been on two major engineering research teams and contributed significantly. Might get a great recommendation out of one of them! Continuing one of the projects and taking a role as a research assistant on a public economics project this coming year.
* Taking the CFA Level 1 either this December or next summer (I don't know if this affects anything)
* Won a bunch of national olympiads at high school level and am currently learning French as a fourth language. (Again, I don't know if this affects anything)
* Am an international student and spent four years in another country (other than my home country) before coming to the US
* Heavily involved with a community service group for autistic children and we're planning an international community service trip for this December.
Since I'm doing a double major, I will probably take 4.5 years to graduate - so I have two years before I apply for the 2+2 and several more before I apply for regular admissions. I would really appreciate any advice, suggestions, comments - anything, really!
In terms of what I want to do in the future, I am very interested in management consulting and large public enterprises. More than that, I want to do something that makes a difference (but then again, who doesn't!) Thanks for reading this long post and for your comments!
PS: Right now, my focus is HBS 2+2, but other schools I am interested in (after working for a few years) are Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Kellogg, Duke, UVA. Though this is probably going to change considering I have a few years left!
You have a very impressive candidacy, particularly for someone who is only a sophomore in school. My only recommendation is for you to focus hard on the GMAT test. I particularly suggest this as I see you will also be studying for the CFA Level 1 exam. The CFA's impact on your application is not comparable to your GMAT score, and it may be difficult to find the time to study for both exams.
For the rest of your application, continue to make an impact in the organizations you are apart of. Business schools, and in particular HBS, are looking for leaders who have made an impact.
Re: Early bird needs application advice [#permalink]
15 Aug 2011, 20:40
Thank you for your response. I'm planning on taking the GMAT sometime late next year and planning on starting my prep next month. Hopefully that should give me sufficient time to work on it.
You mentioned I should strive to make an impact on the organizations I am a part of. I feel that because I have multiple interests, my resume almost looks like a laundry list of unrelated things. I'm quite involved in theatre but at the same time I am the president of a business club, play a sport (not varsity level - but local club level) and am involved in hardcore engineering research and community service. Do you think this demonstrates versatility or just lack of depth in a particular field? Should I think about what I am most passionate about and streamline my efforts to making a greater impact in organizations related to that or will the breadth and variety in ECs help me show myself as more than just the "typical, average engineering kid"?
Also, from what I know, schools like HBS like "extraordinary leadership", especially if it's in a "non-traditional" role. Do you have any suggestions as to what these "non-traditional" roles could be? Entrepreneurship? What else? I feel that though I have a decent profile, it doesn't have the "wow" factor or something that sets me apart. I feel that since I have two years left, I have time to work on this. Any suggestions? Thanks!
It's good to hear from you again. To answer your first question, I recommend focusing your effort on the areas where you can make the most impact. This is what admissions teams will focus on; they know that it is much easier to join a number of organizations than it is to really make a difference in one.
Harvard in particular focuses on educating the leaders of tomorrow. With regards to non-traditional candidates, this can mean entrepreneurs, but it can also be people who pursued non-profits or other paths (Fulbright scholarships, etc.). The best advice for you is to follow your passion. That is what you will care the most about and where you will likely make the most impact.