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GMAT: 780 (Q51, V45), Zero work experience. Weaknesses?

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Joined: 21 Jun 2013
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GMAT 1: 780 Q51 V45
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GMAT: 780 (Q51, V45), Zero work experience. Weaknesses? [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2013, 05:53
Hello!

Till date, this website has proven to be immensely resourceful and its members, equally helpful. I post this with hopes of clearing my head and relieving myself from the nerves I have been suffering from lately.

I am Siddharth, a final-year Mechanical Engineering student from Mumbai, India. I am essentially a fresher and as such can only apply for programmes that do not require work-experience or have deferred MBAs.

My current dream school courses:

- HBS 2+2
- Yale Silver Scholars
- Duke Fuqua's MMS
- LBS MiM
- ISB YLP

Reasons for posting this:

- To get help with addressing/compensating for/justifying the weaknesses in my profile

GMAT Results:

Score: 780 (Q51, V45)
AWA: 6
IR: 8

Academic Record:


10th Grade: 87.14%
12th Grade: 83.17% (Drop accounted for by a single-minded focus on Engineering-oriented subjects)
CET (Entrance Exam for engineering): 191/200 (State Merit Rank in twenties)
Undergraduate CPI (not graduated yet): 9+/10

Academic Achievements:

- 100/100 in Physics – extremely rare (12th grade HSC)
- 100/100 in Mathematics and 49/50 in Physics (CET)
- Percentage score for Physics/Chemistry/Mathematics in 12th grade= 95.67%
- Highest score in Mechanics in the entire college in the first year (Very reputed Engineering college)

Co-curricular activities:

- Participation in Debate Competitions, Quizzes and Creative Writing Competitions
- Was the Magazine Secretary of the college and successfully published a well-received magazine
- Helped a friend with Décor work in her college’s fest, essentially coordinating a large team (no certificate; can I use this?)

Extra-curricular activities:

- Presiding over self-initiated ‘Speakers’ Club’ in college
- Initiated the ‘Quench a Thirst’ campaign – distribution of free earthen pots for thirsty birds in the sweltering Indian summer heat
- Writing poetry and essays
- Playing strategy, resource-management and time-management games like Civilization IV, Roller Coaster Tycoon series and Age of Mythology series

Hobbies and Interests:

- Reading online articles on Philosophy, Psychology, Cultural Anthropology, Ancient History, Astronomy
- Reading fiction
- Reading webcomics
- Recreational mathematics and logical puzzles
- Digital Media (Photoshop, Coreldraw etc.)
- Art

Examples of Leadership & Initiative-taking

- Guided a team of ten with a co-Magazine Secretary over six months; handled the complete designing of the magazine while the other M.S. dealt with Marketing. Introduced many changes in the long-existing format and content of the magazine – well-received.

- Initiated a ‘Speakers’ Club’ in college in my second year, inspired by a similar club in an adjoining club. Initial efforts included creating an awareness and establishing a reputation. I preside over the club meetings and empathize with the members and provide them with relevant feedback for their soft-skill development. (Running since 3 years)

- Came up with the ‘Quench a Thirst’ initiative. It involved coordinating with a animal welfare institute for free distribution of earthen pots (reservoirs of water for birds) to students in my college just before the Indian summer months of May and June (Got a lukewarm response, though).

- In a similar vein, helped my friend, who is a Rotaract Club member, to organize a larger project that covered an entire neighbourhood; she, alone with other volunteers, distributed 100+ pots. The project was nominated for the Best Project Award on the District Level. (I have no documents to prove this, of course – a hindrance?)

- Completed a group project of ten members as the leader; the project was hailed to be the best in the class. I facilitated quality control when it came to presentation of the project, both in terms of oration of my colleagues (by helping them practice) as well as the structure of the submitted report.

Key Strengths:

- Analytical and critical way of thinking
- Constant strife to better myself via learning and adapting
- A curious and quick learner
- Assertive and persistent yet adjustable by nature
- Very particular about quality and standard of results

Weaknesses in Profile:


- Divided between working in Consulting and General Management I feel I can go either way (I know that uncertainty regarding career goals is a taboo when it comes to B-Schools, but both seem interesting to me – what recourse should I take, short of sticking with one?).
- No internships or work-experience (guided by my seniors who assured me that companies don’t really let you learn a lot; delegate you irrelevant and menial tasks that end up wasting time – it sounds like an excuse and a bad one at that, I know)
- Lack of certificates to substantiate some of my claims (as seen above)
- Insufficient formal/professional examples to back my claims regarding my key strengths



Thanks for your time and effort! Much appreciated! :)
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Re: GMAT: 780 (Q51, V45), Zero work experience. Weaknesses? [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2013, 17:55
Expert's post
Your profile reads as very strong. You have a balance of academic/GMAT success, as well as leadership and extracurricular/volunteer experiences? What I do not understand is why you have to apply NOW to get your MBA and not work for a few years (3-5) before applying? I think solid work experience, with continued volunteer and leadership activities would round out your very impressive profile.

That said, to answer some of your questions:
Helped a friend with Décor work in her college’s fest, essentially coordinating a large team (no certificate; can I use this?):
Certificates are not necessary in many cases, including this one.

Came up with the ‘Quench a Thirst’ initiative. It involved coordinating with a animal welfare institute for free distribution of earthen pots (reservoirs of water for birds) to students in my college just before the Indian summer months of May and June (Got a lukewarm response, though):
It is not essential that you discuss the lukewarm response. Focus always on the positive.

- In a similar vein, helped my friend, who is a Rotaract Club member, to organize a larger project that covered an entire neighbourhood; she, alone with other volunteers, distributed 100+ pots. The project was nominated for the Best Project Award on the District Level. (I have no documents to prove this, of course – a hindrance?):
Documents are not necessary.


Divided between working in Consulting and General Management I feel I can go either way (I know that uncertainty regarding career goals is a taboo when it comes to B-Schools, but both seem interesting to me – what recourse should I take, short of sticking with one?):
Pick one and only one for the application. Be focused on one main career goal, and make your reasoning clear and interesting, and explain why the MBA Now is essential for you to achieve your career goal.


- No internships or work-experience (guided by my seniors who assured me that companies don’t really let you learn a lot; delegate you irrelevant and menial tasks that end up wasting time – it sounds like an excuse and a bad one at that, I know):
This is an excuse, and a spoiled sounding one. Everyone starts out "making copies and getting coffee." I worked at a pizza place while in college. You will gain valuable knowledge with work experience, and more importantly, you need work-experience to get into a top business school, even if you are accepted to the Harvard 2+2.

- Lack of certificates to substantiate some of my claims (as seen above):
Not Essential
- Insufficient formal/professional examples to back my claims regarding my key strengths:
Find examples, if you can't find examples you do not seem credible, and how can you say they are a key strength if you do not have examples?

Best of luck!
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Re: GMAT: 780 (Q51, V45), Zero work experience. Weaknesses? [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2013, 19:26
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I agree with Courtney on almost everything.

Also, I'm impressed by the research you have done. You have a long way to go, but I can see that you have spent some time before asking questions.

I think your profile is heavily bent towards academic achievements. (or that is how you've projected it) Not having professional experience might hurt if you plan to apply to only these 3-5 schools. These are extremely competitive programs and your peers will have at least a couple of internships under their belt.

Not discouraging you. Give your best shot and address your weaknesses in the application by showing that you are equal to, if not better than, other candidates who have professional experience.
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Joined: 21 Jun 2013
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GMAT 1: 780 Q51 V45
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Re: GMAT: 780 (Q51, V45), Zero work experience. Weaknesses? [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2013, 23:57
VeritasPrepCJane wrote:
Your profile reads as very strong. You have a balance of academic/GMAT success, as well as leadership and extracurricular/volunteer experiences? What I do not understand is why you have to apply NOW to get your MBA and not work for a few years (3-5) before applying? I think solid work experience, with continued volunteer and leadership activities would round out your very impressive profile.

That said, to answer some of your questions:
Helped a friend with Décor work in her college’s fest, essentially coordinating a large team (no certificate; can I use this?):
Certificates are not necessary in many cases, including this one.

Came up with the ‘Quench a Thirst’ initiative. It involved coordinating with a animal welfare institute for free distribution of earthen pots (reservoirs of water for birds) to students in my college just before the Indian summer months of May and June (Got a lukewarm response, though):
It is not essential that you discuss the lukewarm response. Focus always on the positive.

- In a similar vein, helped my friend, who is a Rotaract Club member, to organize a larger project that covered an entire neighbourhood; she, alone with other volunteers, distributed 100+ pots. The project was nominated for the Best Project Award on the District Level. (I have no documents to prove this, of course – a hindrance?):
Documents are not necessary.


Divided between working in Consulting and General Management I feel I can go either way (I know that uncertainty regarding career goals is a taboo when it comes to B-Schools, but both seem interesting to me – what recourse should I take, short of sticking with one?):
Pick one and only one for the application. Be focused on one main career goal, and make your reasoning clear and interesting, and explain why the MBA Now is essential for you to achieve your career goal.


- No internships or work-experience (guided by my seniors who assured me that companies don’t really let you learn a lot; delegate you irrelevant and menial tasks that end up wasting time – it sounds like an excuse and a bad one at that, I know):
This is an excuse, and a spoiled sounding one. Everyone starts out "making copies and getting coffee." I worked at a pizza place while in college. You will gain valuable knowledge with work experience, and more importantly, you need work-experience to get into a top business school, even if you are accepted to the Harvard 2+2.

- Lack of certificates to substantiate some of my claims (as seen above):
Not Essential
- Insufficient formal/professional examples to back my claims regarding my key strengths:
Find examples, if you can't find examples you do not seem credible, and how can you say they are a key strength if you do not have examples?

Best of luck!


Thank you very much for your detailed response. I greatly appreciate it.

I have been thinking about the work experience bit for quite some time and am definitely considering it as an option. I just wonder whether it is prudent to spend 2-3 years working on my profile if it is possible to get in now?

Second, I agree it sounds very childish and irresponsible of me to give that excuse, which is why I consider it a weakness in my profile. But I cite the reason since it is the truth - lapse in judgment on my part. Another question I need to prepare myself for?

Third, do personal examples work? For instance, I always use this one to justify my always 'switched on' brain: Once, while gargling a mouthwash, I accidentally let some of it through my nose (through the pharynx) and while recovering from the pain of having the chemical burn my tissues I suddenly realized why we gargle (the action itself, not the activity) - the air forces the liquid to remain above the throat cavity while allowing it to touch the walls (muscle contraction helps in the process too, but their involvement alone would not allow the liquid to go down).

Fourth, my essays for long term plans are going to include a line on how I consider quality education to be one of the most important and efficacious ways of making a lasting difference to almost all problems and how I plan to do something in this regard. Should I expect questions as to why I have not considered the local NGO programmes to teach students myself (given my academic record) and as to what the 'something' is?


Quote:
I agree with Courtney on almost everything.

Also, I'm impressed by the research you have done. You have a long way to go, but I can see that you have spent some time before asking questions.

I think your profile is heavily bent towards academic achievements. (or that is how you've projected it) Not having professional experience might hurt if you plan to apply to only these 3-5 schools. These are extremely competitive programs and your peers will have at least a couple of internships under their belt.

Not discouraging you. Give your best shot and address your weaknesses in the application by showing that you are equal to, if not better than, other candidates who have professional experience.



Weirdly enough, that actually calmed me down a bit. Thank you for that.

I agree, it is. There is an important reason for this. I understood fully the need to have a all-round development only 3 years ago. Hence my examples are from the period since then. I have tried my best to take every opportunity I can (barring the obvious exception). At this point I have another question: would I be seen for what I have tried to become or for what I am? i.e. Will I be seen favourably for my reaction to my epiphanies or as a latecomer to a party I wasn't even invited to?

Another question I hadn't had before: What kind of qualities do I need to compensate for or show to be present when compared to those with work experience?
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