Thanks reaching out to me. I also appreciate the detail, as it will really help me craft a robust response that you can actually use to guide your school selection.
Your ethnicity is a factor -- not one that will make or break you -- but it is an interesting story, especially at schools like Stanford and Columbia. Specifically, I am referring to Stanford essay one and Columbia essay two.
Right now, I believe that your best it is with Columbia. There is a real estate specialization within the Masters classes. Additionally, you need to stress all the pragmatic experience you have in the investing arena, to demonstrate your fit with the pragmatism that Columbia utilizes. Columbia has deemphasized Masters classes in the application process (that is they got rid of their "rubber meets the road -- Masters classes" essay), but do not let it fool you as Masters classes are the key to demonstrating fit with Columbia -- along with very, very specific short-term goals that build off of your current experiences. Career changers not apply to Columbia -- in my very honest opinion.
Wharton is going to like you as well, for a lot of the same reasons that Columbia will like your application. In international background and you have a lot of experience within investing. While the TD Bank name will only get you so much mileage, the fact remains that the rest of your application is strong enough to get you the interview at Wharton, if you frame your message correctly in the essays. How I know this? I had two clients this year with very similar backgrounds. In fact, the school renovation projects that you have completed are eerily similar to one person that received an interview invite Wharton.
At NYU and Cornell, I believe that you are good to go. With a high degree of probability you should be able to get in the both the schools -- especially Cornell.
I would not dialback on the goals at Dartmouth -- or even Harvard, should you choose to answer the Harvard career vision question. Goals do not really make or break you, unless they are totally wack or completely discount your prior experiences. Of course this varies at each school - HBS does not necessarily care what your career goals are, whereas Columbia wants to know everything about your short-term goal. For Dartmouth, in your career goals essay, I would stress "the commitment to community" aspects of your current career and your future goals. At other schools, not so much.
With respect to the real estate development theme to your goals -- I would frame it this way -- the right kind of real estate development builds communities. The wrong kind has the effect of tearing them down. for example, you want to stress how there are a lot of opportunities in commercial real estate development in this represents an opportunity for you to utilize your finance skills, but also build and strengthen communities, by introducing the types of financing vehicles and by looking for turnaround opportunities.
Anyway, I hope this helps you would like to speak over the phone for an hour -- at no charge -- please e-mail me at MBA@amerasiaconsulting.com
I am planning on applying to several U.S. business schools this upcoming Fall for 2012 admission next year.My key statistics are as follows:
Age: 25 (Will be 26 by matriculation in 2012)
Ethnicity: Half-Pakistani, Half-Dutch (Not sure how important this is)
Undergraduate: Carleton University (Canada) 3.6 GPA Commerce degree with a concentration in finance (Highest Honours)
Work experience: Will have 3 years of experience by matriculation, with approximately 1 year being domestic as an associate at TD Bank Financial Group in commercial banking in Canada, and 2 years being international as an equity research analyst at NBK Capital in Dubai in the FIG group, covering the Middle East and North African region.
Entrepreneurial Experience: Co-founded a real estate holding and investment firm in Canada in my first year of university with funds I saved from working at a gas station. Went on to acquire, develop, and subsequently manage several apartment building while attending school full-time.
Extracurriculars: Co-founded the International Literacy Foundation in 2010, which is an international not-for-profit organization focused on literacy promotion. Have completed projects in Canada, Pakistan, and Kenya thus far which have revolved around refurbishing, renovating, and expanding libraries at orphanages and poorly funded schools. Additional extracurricular involvement includes being an advisor on the Sprott Investment Fund (Student-run endowment fund at undergrad university), in addition to being active as an undergrad in the finance and business clubs.
Post-MBA Career Goals: (Short-term): Real Estate Investment Banking, Real Estate Development. (Long-term): Continue building real estate development firm up into an actual business entity until the point where I can pursue a full-time role in the company.
Essentially I was wondering what you thought my chances were of admission to Columbia, NYU, Dartmouth, Cornell, Harvard, and Wharton are.
I was thinking I would push the real estate goals for schools like Wharton and Columbia, and maybe not so much for some of the other schools which are more general management oriented (Harvard, Dartmouth). I am looking forward to hearing back from you, and thank you for your time and consideration.