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from banking to NGO to 1st tier MBA? 680 GMAT [#permalink]
15 Oct 2012, 10:45
Hi there, Age: 27, European, male
My main question is if my experience and extracurriculars can offset my lowish-GMAT (especially quant) for the top schools. GPA is also on the lower side.
I scored a 680 (85%; V:83%, Q:71%). Undergrad in Business Administration from leading European university (Top10). GPA probably in the 65-75%-ile percentile. Did an exchange semester in another European country.
Work: - Business Management position for 2y at bulge bracket bank in home country (providing analytical, administrational and other support for senior Mgmt). Great management exposure, top performance reviews, early promotion. Whole thing was in the client facing unit for clients from some emerging markets .
After things were pretty much done at the bank,
- I joined microfinance startup NGO in Sub-Saharan Africa in Sep 2012 to help building it, pro bono work, committed for at least six months. Had always dreamed of the challenge to work in developing country.
Other: - 3 months internship at 2nd tier management consulting company (before the bank). - Voluntary member for 9 months full time in prestigious student initiative (incl. management of 60 students for a 2w period), otherwise mainly relationship management with business leaders. - Co-founded a successful online gaming team in my teenage years (incl. management of corporate sponsors and 20 staff members). Grew to a considerable size. - 1 year military service (rank: sergeant, lead a small group over a couple of months)
Have quite adventurous personality: Do a lot of outdoor-sports (kayaking, mountaineering etc.) and backpacked through some special destinations (e.g. Somalia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia etc.).
Goal: Very fascinated with emerging and developing countries, hope to join and lead (or maybe build, at a later stage) a company that either consults companies that enter these markets or finances local companies (e.g. through PE). To put it more visionary: Helping to transform underdeveloped economies by enabling businesses.
I narrowed it down to a couple of schools, but am struggling to put them in the "stretch, match, safe"-baskets, being not fully aware of how they would weigh my stats against my experience: HBS, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia, Yale, LBS, INSEAD, NYU.
In case most of these schools would be a stretch, Ross, Cornell and Fuqua are on my extended list. Can consider other leading schools but ruled them out after my initial research for different reasons.
Would extremely appreciate your insightful feedback!
Thanks for sharing your profile. I think your professional experience is quite strong, but as you point out, your academics are average and your GMAT quant in particular is low. The big challenge I see outside of that is that your extracurriculars date back to college/pre-college days. Your online gaming success is incredibly impressive/interesting, but I worry how it would be perceived given how long ago it was. I would still highlight it though, because it shows impressive leadership at a young age.
All this considered, I would suggest that HBS is a long shot (should take it off your list), Wharton/Columbia/Kellogg are reaches (probably long shots but maybe you could pick one of these to apply to), LBS/INSEAD/Booth are possible target-stretch schools, Ross/Fuqua/Cornell/Yale/NYU would be target/maybe safe. I'd suggest choosing an additional safety program depending on your risk tolerance.
Re: from banking to NGO to 1st tier MBA? 680 GMAT [#permalink]
22 Oct 2012, 02:09
Thanks for the feedback, Mili.
This is the most conservative response I got so far, but still very interesting. Points out well where I should pay attention to. With regards to the extracurriculars, I think I can mitigate, because:
- When it comes to engagement for the community, my full time work for non-profits should show that I like doing this. - The vast majority of my spare time in the last 2 years went into outdoor-sports and especially in the mountaineering/ski-touring field I do act as a guide occasionally (not licensed or anything but I do plan and guide tours for friends and friends of friends).
Why do you think that I have better chances at Booth than at Kellogg? I was assuming that it's more the other way around.
I do agree that your NGO experience will be seen as a positive community contribution. The lines get blurred there - but it doesn't seem like you had any community interest prior to joining the organization, so it doesn't seem like a consistent part of your story. Can definitely be overcome, though, and your professional experience is very strong. The outdoor experience is definitely strong and will make for good stories. I would honestly say the GMAT is your biggest weakness, and if you could bring it up, you'd have a decent shot at a lot of your programs. Any chance of a retake?
I've seen Chicago take more folks who don't have as strong an extracurricular/community profile relative to Kellogg. But this is just my personal observation, not necessarily data-based
Hope this helps - wasn't trying to take the wind out of your sail. Your profile overall is quite strong. I just wish you could bring that GMAT above 700.