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Evaluation please

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Evaluation please [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 12:05
Hi,

Thanks so much for posting here. Here is my profile:

GMAT: I took the GMAT about a month ago and scored a 760 (45V, 49Q, 6.0 AWA).

Undergrad: Accounting major, 3.98 GPA, honors college, Dean's List every semester from a mid-size midwestern Catholic school. Graduated in 2007.

Work experience: 2 years at a big-four accounting firm in NYC, about 7 months in a hedge fund doing accounting / pricing / some IT work (I want to apply this fall, so at that point, I'll have worked in the hedge fund for about a year)

Extra-curriculars: In college, I was president of the student accounting group, a board member of my social Fraternity, and active in the business fraternity on campus. Post-college (I've worked really intense hours), I was part of the GLBT group at PwC and I've been part of running group since moving to NYC post-college. Last fall, I took a leadership position in the group.

Post-MBA I would like to work in research and eventually portfolio management at a hedge fund.

I feel like I am weak in two areas:
1. I've never had a direct managerial role. I've shown leadership at both companies through projects I initiated, etc. - and I can write about that - but I haven't had an official promotion to a managerial role. I took the job at the hedge fund in order to be more closely aligned with my goals (I didn't want to be seen as just an auditor post-b-school). What do you think of this? How much is it hurting me?
2. I didn't go to a top-10 school for undergrad. I ended up getting a full scholarship to the school I went to and my parents were not wealthy . . . so that's why I went there. Thoughts on how much the reputation of a school matters?

Schools (first choices):
Chicago
Harvard
Wharton
Columbia

Backups:
NYU
Cornell
Others you would recommend for finance? CMU?

My thought was to apply to my first choice schools in round 1. If I'm admitted to any of them, I stop applying. If not, I would apply to backups in round 2. Do I have a shot at any of my top schools?

Any thoughts you had would be really appreciated!

Thanks,

Daniel
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Re: Evaluation please [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 14:01
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Yes, I do think you have a shot at your top schools. Of course, there are no guarantees, but you won't be out of place applying to those schools, based on what I see in your profile. Your "apply and then apply to some more if needed" approach should work, given that at least three of those schools should notify you before most schools' Round 2 deadlines. Also think about Sloan and Yale, since they can also help place you in that kind of a finance job.

To answer your other questions:

1) Don't worry if you've never managed anyone! The kind of thing you described -- initiating projects, tackling problems no one else was willing to tackle, etc. -- are what admissions officers look for way more than how many people were under you on the org chart. Remember that they're used to evaluating young applicants (many of whom haven't yet officially managed anyone), so they're skilled in finding leadership traits beyond job titles.

2) Don't worry about this, either. Sure, all things being equal, it would be better to have a 3.98 from an Ivy League school, but the 3.98 is damn impressive, no matter what. And, what you've done is far more important than where you went. Don't waste any words in your essays explaining why you "only" went to a mid-size college in the Midwest.

Good luck!
Scott
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Re: Evaluation please [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2010, 18:14
Thanks so much for the reply!
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