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Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C

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Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 15:44
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I'm interesting in applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia. I want to develop my strategy and marketing skills so that I can use them in a C-Suite setting.

Demographic
- White (Canadian)
- Male

Academics
- Graduated with business degree from a top Canadian undergraduate business school (Queen's/Western/McGill)
- GPA: 3.75 (received a departmental prize for graduating as at the top of concentration, received leadership awards, won several national competitions)
- GMAT: 750

Professional
- Summer Investment Banking Analyst at Bulge Bracket in London, UK

- Full-time Investment Banking Analyst at Elite/Well-Known Boutique in Manhattan (fired after 1 year - I was running my apparel company (described below) at the same time as it was my passion/what I was in love with. My senior's found out and axed me. I ended up full-time doing the apparel company afterwards. I have good reviews from the IBD teams I worked with, not sure extent I need to disclose). I also received an offer for a $10bn+ hedge fund to join as an investment associate which was lost when I left my investment bank

- Founder/Chief Operating Officer of an Apparel company that received significant media attention and has earned ~$5m in revenues and has clothing in over 70 stores across Canada. Received several financing offers but turned them down. The company has a significant "philanthropy" twist and has raised a lot of $$ and gotten direct results for environmental causes. Stayed for 1 year, starting immediately out of undergrad and overlapping with my IBD stint.

- Founder/Chief Executive Officer of a Nutraceutical company that received significant media attention an has earned ~$4m in revenues and has over 25,000 customers. We have a strong philanthropy twist and have significantly helped combat child malnutrition through a partner non-profit organization. I've been here for ~2 years. I created it and left the Apparel company because I decided I wanted my own company to look over instead of being 1 of 4 founding members

- Tons of random crap during university (research assistant, teaching assistant, wealth management internships, F100 Corp Finance internships, etc.)

Extracurricular
Post graduation
- Raised over $40,000 and founded a non-profit for underprivileged minorities to educate them on how to put together job applications, interview, etc. [2yrs]
- Founded a non-profit mentoring/teaching students interested in finance/consulting across Canada, with ~200 members and ~50 mentors at professional firms [4yrs]
- Founded an education company tutoring junior and senior students for half a dozen finance/strategy courses and for IBD interviews. Made a bit over $100k

Undergrad
- Founder and President of a large school club [1 year]
- Founder and Vice-President of a large school club [1 year]
- Founder and Vice-President of a large school club [1 year]
- Literally tons of other random crap

Recommendation
Will be able to get strong reqs from CEOs of publically listed $500MM+ companies who I have worked closely with

My main concern is my blemish at my investment bank. Frankly, I was in love with being an entrepreneur and always chased that (as you can see from my track record of founding clubs and a tutoring business and etc. while younger). I guess it caught up to me as a banker! Definitely a cool story in my opinion, though.
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Re: Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 12:22
bump.
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Re: Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2012, 02:45
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CanadianEntrepreneur wrote:
bump.


I just wanted to give you a heads up. It's submission week for Kellogg R1 this week (among others). If I am a bit delayed in my analysis, I will get back to you as soon as I am able. Sorry about the delay, eh! I stayed up in London, ON for a bit. Hopefully they are still making the Molson 7.3.

Anyway, I digress.
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Re: Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 19 Oct 2012, 12:31
PaulLanzillotti wrote:
CanadianEntrepreneur wrote:
bump.


I just wanted to give you a heads up. It's submission week for Kellogg R1 this week (among others). If I am a bit delayed in my analysis, I will get back to you as soon as I am able. Sorry about the delay, eh! I stayed up in London, ON for a bit. Hopefully they are still making the Molson 7.3.

Anyway, I digress.


Ah London, I've been up there quite a few times for Western's Homecoming. Definitely not the worst place to find attractive 20 y.o.'s! Don't worry, Molson 7.3 will be around for a while (it's tough to live in this country while sober, so we continue to make stronger beers).

I look forward to chatting further regarding the application once you get a moment to review it.
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Re: Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2012, 18:15
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Hi there,

We can definitely leave room for Paul to reply to this one, but he was a workhorse this week taking home the Kellogg and Haas deadlines, among others. More of my clients finished up earlier, so I'm a bit more rested, if you will:)

I also happen to have a unique take on your situation, which stems from having been in admissions (three years as an undergrad associate director), making hiring and retention decisions (several firms, including this one), and even the "double agent" routine you are describing (while working at one of the world's largest law firms and later at a smaller company, I pursued - hard - a career in television writing that paid off with a manager, agent, and multiple recent sales). I can relate to what you went through, but see it from all sides. I am sure you are going to post this to a lot of forums and you will get a lot of "don't worry, you are great, make the story work for you!" answers, which is all well and good, but how exactly? Not only that, but if that's the advice you get, it's glossing over the most important thing, which is how something like this is interpreted.

Look, we all know how the world works. You have to take jobs because you need employment (to pay the bills, get insurance, and build your resume forward), even when your passion lies elsewhere. Every company that was bootstrapped either came in a fever pitch of desperation, bubbled up out of nowhere (like this did for Paul and later for me), or was done off the clock while working somewhere else. The last option is the most common, surely. So we can establish that you starting a company and getting fired for it is totally within the realm of how the world works and is nothing for which you could be blamed.

However, the world of perception differs from that of reality. I can promise you - and I'm being blunt here - that if I am an admissions officer reading your file, my immediate thought is whether you have maturity issues. Now, I fully and readily admit that THIS IS NOT FAIR, for all the reasons detailed above. You probably worked your ass off (just as I did when I was trying to write TV pilots on the side) and fulfilled all of your fiduciary duties, but a reader is still going to wonder. It's just human nature. So JOB #1 for you in any application is to address the underlying question of maturity. You do this with content selection, going deep on setbacks/mistakes (truly "going there" on HBS 2, for instance, is make-or-break on that app because it shows who has the self-possessed maturity to be real with the reader and who doesn't), and showcasing, when necessary, your capacity to handle difficult situations in a mature fashion. The way you handle this is really not that different from someone who had spotty grades in college, gaps on the resume, or anything other thing that showcase a *possible* lack of focus or discipline.

Okay, so where does that leave you? In good shape. The reason is that even the most distilled set of essay (HBS) allows you to showcase maturity in the app. GSB surely does with Essay 1, Columbia does with Essay 2, and Wharton does with it's entire set of essays (especially in what you choose to answer). Further, interviews are a great check on maturity. So unlike when someone's issue might be intellectual horsepower or something else that is hard to bring to the surface in essays/interviews, you should be able to get well out in front of any questions.

One other thing that I would add here, although it's unsolicited advice, is that you should definitely consider Booth. It's certainly the equal of Columbia and probably Wharton (both as an overall program and also in any individual area, including social life, believe it or not) and more importantly, it's a school built on the idea of taking risks. Your entire story really does become an asset rather than a problem at Chicago Booth because you can talk about not just your willingness to take a risk, but about the way you grow and thrive when you are "out there" engaged in something with a high risk element. MIT is another school you should strongly consider because it is a school that prizes the ability to navigate ambiguity. These are cases where you can take a natural character trait and resulting experience and make it work for you by feeding directly into the DNA of a school.

Anyway, good luck and hope this helps. Paul can certainly still weigh in with any thoughts, but I felt compelled to share mine with you.

Best,
-Adam/Amerasia
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Re: Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 09:28
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Last edited by FrankyB on 23 Oct 2012, 10:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Entrepreneur Application - H/S/W/C [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 10:07
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Cool, no problem - glad it was helpful. Don't be so quick to rule out Booth on the finance/quant grounds either. I'm admittedly a homer because I went to U of C for law school and took a bunch of classes at what was then just called Chicago GSB (before they got that massive naming gift), but it's a truly dynamic and well-rounded school. It boats what I believe is the best business plan competition in America (the New Venture Challenge, or NVC, as everyone refers to it), it has a flexible curriculum model that is second to none, and it's even made strides in areas like marketing to become a major player outside of finance. These are the things that happens when you have the best dean in planet earth (Ted Snyder) at the helm for over a decade and that person poured massive financial resources into new buildings, professors, staff, and branding (one of the only schools to feature an executive director of marketing, in order to keep pumping up the school's brand for graduates and current students alike). Snyder is gone (at Yale now, so watch for SOM to rise soon), but his imprint remains. It's a world-class institution. Plus - and this is pretty critical - something else happened that he could never have dreamed up or control, which is that the South Loop area of Chicago exploded into a mass of high-rise condos, restaurants, and night clubs, so now there is a place (that is a 10-minute Metra ride away from the school) where all the U of C grad students can live and interact together. All of my Booth clients that wound up going there are in heaven, basically. Anyway, don't rule it out on the archaic stereotypes (which, ironically, make it such a great buying opportunity - the "rough part of Chicago, quant-heavy, spread out, bunch of nerds, anti-social" knocks that are no longer true help to keep the app pool down and the acceptance rate much higher than other top five programs). I sound like I am shilling for Booth and maybe they need to put me on the payroll, but I seriously implore every top candidate - especially one with a penchant for risk and entrepreneurship - to give it a first and second look.

Okay, off my soapbox!

-Adam
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