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Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts?

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Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 03:57
Here we go.

Age:26
Caucasian
Canadian Citizen

I did my part of my undergrad degree (economics) from a Canadian University. I took a semester off and finished with a general business degree at another Canadian university. But actually I didn't finish. I came within a single course of graduating, but I had just barely made it though a bought of depression, and couldn't stomach finishing. So I went to work.

I paid for my university the whole way through by working more than part time and attending school, mostly full time. My GPA reflects my outside responsibilities as I believe my undergraduate GPA comes out to a 3.2.

I had always worked in the Bar / Restaurant industry and the job opportunities were at my beck and call. I was a manager at an 8mil/year restaurant and also a bartender, I worked every job within the industry and took a GM position at a college nightclub. After feeling like I had mastered that position, the next logical step was ownership.

In my first year of operation my small business grossed just shy of a million dollars. Paid off some of that non-bankruptable debt. Got approved for our investor treaty visa's, fired the third cancerous partner and feel fairly good about what we were able to accomplish. When my applications are submitted, I will be approaching my year two marker of being in business.

Now I want more, I want it all, I want a top masters education, at a top institution on the planet. No question. I've been to the edge of hell, I've had every opportunity imaginable to take an easy route out, to quit, and I've persevered.

Community involvement: I employ students, staff of 30, I have a manager that I have trained, someone who I've taken personal pride in elevating their leadership skills. I interact with a current landlord, a dozen suppliers, some 2000 customers per week, numerous city held professionals including police and fire, and numerous charity's, teams and clubs that we support and work with to help elevate their causes. All that could write me a letter of reference at the drop of a hat.

Back to the school part. I graduate this june. 8 years after beginning my undergraduate process. My final class is half done and I will clear the stage with my full degree. Regardless of business school, finishing was important to me and a must do.

GMAT: Will begin studying shortly. I will likely take the Veritas prep class, as they have a large amount of class hours, which provides the structure that allows me to study best. I imagine that a high grade is attainable through a large amount of studying.

I would like to apply to the OCT 9th first round due date in the fall for Harvard. I will also apply to Wharton, Stanford and possibly Yale.

So the question is, what will a top tier school think of someone like myself. Do the top schools like entrepreneurs? I've never had it particularly easy, and it seems I have to crash hard, pick myself up and learn through a school of very hard knocks.

Now why do I live in a dorm? Apparently because my ssn is only 6 months old, I have no credit. Without any credit, nothing short of a %40 down payment is needed for real estate. And the spot is actually only a half mile from work, great amenities, fast internet and the monthly rent keeps the shower hot Plus, though at times I feel old, I'm not old enough where I look at all out of place.

Last edited by markbrown525 on 28 Mar 2010, 13:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 06:09
Definitely not Harvard... it is possibly the most Entrepreneur-unfriendly of the top-7 schools and is a confirmed high-GPA whore. The typical profile is very young, high GPA, high GMAT, elite brands with a sprinkling of older military-types and science Ph.Ds. Your chances are slim to none at Harvard (harsh, but its better you know this than waste your time and emotional energy).

With flawless execution, you might have a good chance at Stanford. You will need to get some professional help though. Your mini-essay above is just not convincing enough and it lacks real insight and maturity. It's a real disservice to your unique experience and you'll need a real professional to help you tell your story in a way that'll move a bunch of jaded adcoms. Don't do Wharton - it would be a complete waste of time for the type of education you're looking for (and 2years spent with obnoxious cut-throat ibanking-wannabes and corporate pencil-pushers could be put to much better use elsewhere). Look for schools that celebrate quirkiness and non-traditional post-MBA careers e.g. Haas, Yale etc...

Apologies if I come across as rude and harsh but b-school admission is a cut-throat and deeply-flawed process and the sooner you come to grips with the harsh reality of its imperfections, the better equipped you are to game the system and come out on top. Good luck with your b-school search! You'll be very successful with or without an MBA.
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Re: Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 15:38
Solid story and congrats on the turn around.

You definitely need a 700+ score on the GMAT to have any shot at the top b-schools so focus tons of energy there.
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Re: Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 16:36
tdave wrote:
Definitely not Harvard... it is possibly the most Entrepreneur-unfriendly of the top-7 schools and is a confirmed high-GPA whore. The typical profile is very young, high GPA, high GMAT, elite brands with a sprinkling of older military-types and science Ph.Ds. Your chances are slim to none at Harvard (harsh, but its better you know this than waste your time and emotional energy).

With flawless execution, you might have a good chance at Stanford. You will need to get some professional help though. Your mini-essay above is just not convincing enough and it lacks real insight and maturity. It's a real disservice to your unique experience and you'll need a real professional to help you tell your story in a way that'll move a bunch of jaded adcoms. Don't do Wharton - it would be a complete waste of time for the type of education you're looking for (and 2years spent with obnoxious cut-throat ibanking-wannabes and corporate pencil-pushers could be put to much better use elsewhere). Look for schools that celebrate quirkiness and non-traditional post-MBA careers e.g. Haas, Yale etc...

Apologies if I come across as rude and harsh but b-school admission is a cut-throat and deeply-flawed process and the sooner you come to grips with the harsh reality of its imperfections, the better equipped you are to game the system and come out on top. Good luck with your b-school search! You'll be very successful with or without an MBA.


I agree with this ^. What are your career aspirations? Why do you need an MBA? It seems that you are very successful and really don't need the MBA. That's one thing you will have to sell to the adcoms. Why do you need an MBA? If your story isn't compelling enough you won't get in at the top schools you listed. Your story has to be tight and your reasons compelling. I was an entrepreneur for 5 years and my story clearly explained why I need an MBA.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
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Re: Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 16:36
A few things to consider:

- It's clear that you are an entrepreneur, and want to go back to school for that, but what do you want to do after? What is going to happen to your business? If you've turned it around into something successful, why do you want to go back to school? Your line about "wanting it all" just makes it seem like you want a top-name degree for the sake of saying you have a top-name degree. I don't necessarily believe this, but be very thoughtful as you craft your story.

- I think you can form your essays, or at least a few of them, around the story you presented. I just really think you should reshape the story - my own personal opinion. Why? After reading through it once, my general reaction was "He's been sued, sued other people, apparently lied to (blaming others I would think is a very big no-no in essays, even if you were taken by some shysters), taken awhile to finish his degree, been in really bad business situations, and now has a seemingly respectable operation going."

Gut reaction: get an admissions consultant, or a very capable friend. Also, study your a$$ off for the GMAT.

Good luck with your business and the apps.
Re: Harvard Hopeful - Very Unique Story - Thoughts?   [#permalink] 27 Mar 2010, 16:36
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