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Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti

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Manager
Manager
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Joined: 30 Mar 2012
Posts: 121
Location: United States (TX)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 670 Q45 V38
GPA: 2.6
WE: Supply Chain Management (Consumer Electronics)
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 13

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Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2012, 18:19
Hello friends,

I am currently looking to change my professional career path and am looking for a way to get back into finance (worked at a popular equities trading firm in Austin, TX for 18 months). Since then I've jumped into an entry level sales job at a reputable tech company and have progressed my way into several promotions. I currently am on management (Assistant Manager, in charge of training and development) right now (a jump from $35k to $65k in two years if that matters) and while the experience has been very helpful and rewarding, it hasn't stimulated and challenged me as much as my time spent at a financial-related firm.

Here are some potential stats I'll have at the moment of possible enrollment:
27-28 (Asian-American male) at moment of possible enrollment - I'm 26 now.
690 (41/41) - Signed up for June 1, 2012 Exam for a shot to raise my Quant.
2.64 economics gpa from UT-Austin - Will take 3 additional courses to get my "Business Foundations" Certificate from the McCombs Undergrad Department (Finance, and 2 Calculus courses).
~50-60 months of experience depending when I apply
Extracurriculars: National President of my Fraternity, Marketing Coordinator for Texas Exes (Alumni group), Seasonal Basketball Coach for i9 Sports group


I know there are some holes in my profile and can handle the criticism. I am definitely excited though to get everyone's opinion on which top 50 programs I can look at or what I can do in the next two years to become more competitive? I am currently researching UT Austin, Texas A&M, and UT Dallas in-state and NYU and Harvard up north. I can't control my downfalls as a college student but am certainly looking to exploit every opportunity I can within the next 2 years to improve my overall profile. What's your opinion? Thank you, Paul.
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Re: Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 01 May 2012, 23:42
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Paul is traveling currently, so let me respond - sorry for the delay.

I think you have two primary issues in play, which is true for most people:

1. Your GPA. You know this already, so it's nothing new, but it's important that you understand that your GPA is not just a bit low, it's very low. 2.9-3.3 is a pretty manageable place to be in a b-school process because most MBA programs understand that college was a lifetime ago and there's all this water under the bridge since then. However, 2.6 range is a tougher pill to swallow. Not only do they have to put that on their ledger (hammering their average), but it speaks to more than just a few late nights freshman year. The onus will be on you to really showcase a high level of maturity, focus, and discipline. More than coursework, they want to know that the lightbulb came on.

2. Your path. The idea of college behind a lifetime ago and the lightbulb coming on leads me to my second concern, which is that your path is going to seem disjointed or even downward. Now, whether this is true or not is irrelevant. It might even be unfair for someone to perceive it that way. But if you started in equities trading and you want to get back into finance ... why are you out in the wilderness (so to speak) right now? The mind is going to assume that something went awry. So not only do you have a rocky college experience in play, but perhaps you haven't been a dominating, ambitious, focused machine since then. Again, I'm not saying this is true at all, I'm saying how a reader might build a narrative around your data. So what this means is that in addition to showing maturity, focus, and discipline, you have to show that your years since college are propulsive, positive, and transformational. You'll have to sell each and every step you've taken as being this amazing process of acquiring skills and perspectives that have you completely prepared for an MBA, for your immediate job afterward, and for your long-term pursuits.

You can do it at schools in that 15-40 range, I think, but it will be a bit of walking the tightrope because you don't have much (well, any, really) margin for error.

I hope this has been helpful and not discouraging.

Best,
-Adam/Amerasia
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Manager
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Joined: 30 Mar 2012
Posts: 121
Location: United States (TX)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 670 Q45 V38
GPA: 2.6
WE: Supply Chain Management (Consumer Electronics)
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 13

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Re: Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 26 May 2012, 19:38
Hi Adam,

Helpful? Yes, absolutely. Discouraging? Ugh, yes that too. :lol:

I had to reflect a little about this process just a bit and whether or not I feel I can clearly communicate my strengths. What I appreciate most about your post is that if I can't address the change and the transformational period between pre-degree and now, I have no shot convincing the adcoms. The truth is I absolutely loved my job as a trader. However, the pay was performance-related and unstable, and at 23 when it was financially impossibly to continue I applied to Apple where I was given an amazing training on leadership, creativity, and other values important to the company. Furthermore, I was also given the opportunity to lead projects that affected a huge part of operations. This kind of experience taught me so much about leadership, communication, and above all my potential to do something great. Since then, I've became a Team Lead where I assist in managing 13 people, another amazing experience all by itself - I continue to work towards the next step of management and expect new opportunities in the upcoming months.

I know that there will be many challenges but I'm willing to put in the time between now and the end of 2013 to work on the best application possible to my reach/target schools (Cornell, Texas, Texas A&M, and NYU - with lower ranked Rice and UT Dallas, which I'd be grateful to attend). I also started my research on hiring a consulting firm to help me brainstorm and communicate my story. You can never start too early on preparing, I'm sure. However, when would you suggest for me to start working with an MBA consultant? I was actually just on the Amerasia website as well and hope to speak with someone soon as well as some others to see if it's something that would be beneficial and "right" for me.

Thanks again for your input. I greatly appreciate it.
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Don't let a low GPA destroy your dreams of a business education.

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Re: Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 28 May 2012, 09:17
Expert's post
Hi jxatrillion:

This is Paul and I'm back from some sorely needed time off!
Catching up - I concur with Adam and his analysis. Thanks for providing an update on your project work at Apple.

At this point I would not recommend creating another zig or zag in your profile. What I mean is this – do not state that you want to move back into finance, at least not on the application. Of course you can say that your current work experience lends itself well, but the fact remains that it will be a hard story to sell. A better approach would be to fully leverage your current work experience; rolling it into a consulting path.

Take a look at the companies recruiting at your target schools. Who is hiring management consultants? What other companies are hiring – technology companies? This mix would be present at a school like Texas - for example. Tailor your goals towards a position within a management consulting firm that perhaps has a plethora of technology clients. Then you can add in a few more points about how your transformative experiences at Apple will lend themselves well to the hiring company and clients.

To answer the one question you put forth about getting started with an admissions consultant – I would start within the next couple of weeks. A good full-time consultant should only be taking on about 10 to 12 clients per round. I would suspect that a lot of All-Star consultants are reaching that max within the next few weeks. Additionally, two more weeks should allow you to finish conducting your due diligence. You should definitely be calling around, and talking to the consultant who will actually be working with you.

Of course, we would love to have you as a client as long as you are convinced there is a great fit. If you have not done so already, please e-mail us at MBA@Amerasiaconsulting.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti


jxatrillion wrote:
Hi Adam,

Helpful? Yes, absolutely. Discouraging? Ugh, yes that too. :lol:

I had to reflect a little about this process just a bit and whether or not I feel I can clearly communicate my strengths. What I appreciate most about your post is that if I can't address the change and the transformational period between pre-degree and now, I have no shot convincing the adcoms. The truth is I absolutely loved my job as a trader. However, the pay was performance-related and unstable, and at 23 when it was financially impossibly to continue I applied to Apple where I was given an amazing training on leadership, creativity, and other values important to the company. Furthermore, I was also given the opportunity to lead projects that affected a huge part of operations. This kind of experience taught me so much about leadership, communication, and above all my potential to do something great. Since then, I've became a Team Lead where I assist in managing 13 people, another amazing experience all by itself - I continue to work towards the next step of management and expect new opportunities in the upcoming months.

I know that there will be many challenges but I'm willing to put in the time between now and the end of 2013 to work on the best application possible to my reach/target schools (Cornell, Texas, Texas A&M, and NYU - with lower ranked Rice and UT Dallas, which I'd be grateful to attend). I also started my research on hiring a consulting firm to help me brainstorm and communicate my story. You can never start too early on preparing, I'm sure. However, when would you suggest for me to start working with an MBA consultant? I was actually just on the Amerasia website as well and hope to speak with someone soon as well as some others to see if it's something that would be beneficial and "right" for me.

Thanks again for your input. I greatly appreciate it.

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

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Manager
Manager
User avatar
Joined: 30 Mar 2012
Posts: 121
Location: United States (TX)
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 670 Q45 V38
GPA: 2.6
WE: Supply Chain Management (Consumer Electronics)
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 13

GMAT Tests User CAT Tests
Re: Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 28 May 2012, 13:41
Thank you, Paul, for the feedback. In fact, I was thinking about how to position my postgrad goals and indeed what you've recommended I have thought of before. I'll certainly keep it in mind

I just wanted to clarify. Even though I'm applying for 2014 matriculation you would still suggest I work with a consultant now? Thanks again for your advice. I truly appreciate AmerAsia's helping hand in my ambition.

Posted from my mobile device Image
_________________

Don't let a low GPA destroy your dreams of a business education.

Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 840
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Kudos [?]: 178 [0], given: 195

Re: Excited 26 year old looking for advice from Paul Lanzillotti [#permalink] New post 31 May 2012, 20:58
Expert's post
jxatrillion,

I suggest you hold on to your money and wait until you come closer to
the application period. A lot can happen in your life in a year or so,
no need to invest so far in advance.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

jxatrillion wrote:
Thank you, Paul, for the feedback. In fact, I was thinking about how to position my postgrad goals and indeed what you've recommended I have thought of before. I'll certainly keep it in mind

I just wanted to clarify. Even though I'm applying for 2014 matriculation you would still suggest I work with a consultant now? Thanks again for your advice. I truly appreciate AmerAsia's helping hand in my ambition.

Posted from my mobile device Image

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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