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Military profile, looking to improve

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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Posts: 6
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 670 Q43 V38
GPA: 3.2
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 0

Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2013, 23:04
I would appreciate it if you guys could review my profile, and give me tips on improvement and advice on target schools.

1. Demographics:
White Male, will be 30 years old when applying for fall 2015 enrollment.
From NC, lived in VA, FL, WA, Afghanistan, Qatar, Japan

2. Undergrad:
3.35 GPA @ UNC, Kenan-Flagler
Major: Business Administration BS, Finance concentration
Minor: History
4 years perfect attendance- not tracked by the school but I'm proud of it

3. GMAT: 670(43Q, 38V, 6 AWA, 7 IR)
Finance concentration will hopefully offset the low Q, also I'm in the tactical aviation electronic attack community which is heavy in real time math, technology, etc. I studied for 2 months for 2-4 hours a day religiously before taking the GMAT in March. Should I retest? If I start now I could study another 1.5 months and take the test in August. I don't know if I'll improve. I took the test in 2006 and got a 650 without studying. All of my practice tests ranged from 650 to 690, so 670 seems fairly representative.

4. Work Experience:
8 years as a Marine Corps Officer. Attended prestigious Marine Corps Infantry Officer's Course as an aviator, graduated first in my flight school class. Flew $82 million USMC electronic attack jet, jammed air radars, earned Mission Commander qualification, developed cutting edge tactics after receiving upgrades to my jet, planned for use of my aircraft in future wars, worked in large groups consisting of different aircraft platforms and nationalities in order to plan missions and strikes in training scenarios. Worked as embarkation officer, logistics officer, four times planning for the movements of 150-200 personnel, 5 jets, 2 transport aircraft, and 100 tons of squadron equipment, maintained accountability for $600k worth of squadron gear and vehicles. Schedules and operations officer where I managed the training program for 30 aircrew, planned the day to day operations of a 5 aircraft and 200 person squadron. Deployed to Afghanistan, and Japan for 7 months each. Worked at CENTCOM in Qatar, exercises in South Korea, Nevada, Alaska. Organized squadrons base defense force in Afghanistan. I'm well liked by bosses, peers, and enlisted Marines. Next job is at the Wounded Warrior Battalion as company commander overseeing recovery, and reintegration into civilian and military forces of approximately 200 wounded heroes. I'll have approximately 1 year in this job at time of application. Looking at getting LOR's from Commanding and executive officers at my current squadron, but I'm not quite sure who else to ask. Any ideas? I have several friends with very successful parents who I could get LORs from. Is it worth using LOR's to name drop or should I stick with professional LORs? I also worked as an audit intern at a super regional accounting firm prior to joining the Marine Corps when I thought I wanted to be an accountant. My backup gameplan if I can't get into any solid MBA programs is a Masters in Accounting. I also worked at a sports store and a factory prior to joining the Marine Corps.

5. Extracurriculars:
I don't have a ton here. At work I often tutor enlisted Marines working through distance education college courses. I have a passion for personal finance, sports, boating, reading. I'm married with a child. Due to 4 moves, 2 deployments and multiple 1-2 month exercises I have not gotten very involved in the community, which is something I really wish I could improve. However, when I'm home I dedicate my time to my family. Earned a USMC sponsored lean six sigma green belt. I write articles for a popular military satire website called theduffelblog. I sometimes volunteer with work projects at the church I attend back in the states.

6. Why MBA:
I will have been out of the civilian job world for 9 years when I get out. MBA focuses my 9 years of unique military experiences into tangible job opportunities in the civilian world. Also, it refreshes the education and quantitative skills of my undergrad, and gives you instant credibility in a job application process

7. Post MBA Goals:
I do not have concrete goals at the moment. I think I would enjoy operations at a major company such as John Deere, Cat, etc. since I do have experience with planning squadron flight operations, logistics, and lean six sigma. I want to work in the Raleigh/Durham area, so I would also be interested in operations/supply chain management for a technology, biotech, pharmaceutical firm. I was a finance undergrad, so I am interested in the global financial markets also.

8. Target Schools:
Kenan Flagler then... Duke, Darden, Wake Forest

9. Weaknesses:
GMAT, I'm not sure if I should retake to improve and UNC's median is a 690-700 so I will be below average with a 670. Extracurricular activities could be improved, but hopefully I can find something I want to get involved with when I get back. I don't have much experience in the current business world, but I pride myself in being well rounded. I read a lot, study current news, watch the markets daily, and am always trying to improve myself. I don't have any academic LORs.

I'm currently deployed and after getting back I've still got a solid year before I will have to start the application process. Does anyone have any advice for me, are my expectations reasonable, what should I improve, should I retake the GMAT, any post MBA careers that I should look into, anything to strengthen my "why MBA" question, or strengthen my story? LOR tips? Thanks for the help!
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Current Student
User avatar
Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 766
Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 311 [0], given: 166

Premium Member
Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2013, 23:22
Hey man, I had a Navy supply officer friend get in to Kenan-Flagler with a 660 last year, so it's more than possible. Seeing how you have time, why not take the GMAT again? The higher the better. I've found that since we're all military applicants, we all have good leadership stories to tell, and to the uninitiated civilian adcom, they can all start to sound alike, though your time flying prowlers in the USMC is admittedly sexier than my story :)

Having a strong GPA and GMAT is a good way to stand out from the military pack, and I almost feel like it can be a tie-breaker when the adcoms are picking their military cohort.

You're in good shape for UNC if that's your goal, but I'll also say that if you're not sure what you're doing post-MBA, you might want to take another crack at the GMAT as some industries (most notably I-banking and consulting) use GMAT scores in the recruiting process.
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Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 13:03
Honestly I think you're in pretty good shape as is with your GMAT. Yes, the higher the better, but it's within range for the schools you listed +/- 20points, and adcoms tend to cut military officers a bit more slack on the GMAT and GPA.

Having said that, you do have time to retake the test AND do a great job on the written applications, given you're still early in the admissions process, so if you have the time and willingness, you could give it another try. Keep in mind that if you do get in, sometimes little things like the GMAT can impact the potential for scholarship money as well - no guarantees obviously, but worth a shot.

You also mentioned you've got a family, which I assume also affects your choice of schools (they all seem to be in the same region). However, if you and your family are willing to consider the possibility of relocation, you could also afford to shoot higher -- remember that schools like HBS and Wharton in particular covet experienced military officers like yourself. Just a thought. You may hear about schools going younger, but that really applies to more traditional applicants - military officers tend to be on the older end of the spectrum so I woudn't worry too much about your age or level of experience.
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Current Student
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Joined: 09 Feb 2013
Posts: 20
Schools: Jones '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 680 Q45 V38
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Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 13:42
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I was enlisted for a few years in aviation, had an above avg undergrad GPA, good work experience, etc. I applied to UNC and got dinged and applied to Darden and got waitlisted. My GMAT was score 680 and Darden told me to consider retaking the GMAT. Personally, I didn't want to take it again so late in the admissions cycle so I let it go. But since you have some time, I would go for it!
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 766
Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 311 [0], given: 166

Premium Member
Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 16:19
AlexMBAApply wrote:
adcoms tend to cut military officers a bit more slack on the GMAT and GPA.


But not too much slack. All it takes is for some other officers to apply with a higher GPA and GMAT, and suddenly your application doesn't look great anymore.

AlexMBAApply wrote:
remember that schools like HBS and Wharton in particular covet experienced military officers like yourself.


True, but again, HBS and Wharton have their pick of the litter. Playing the military card alone isn't going to get you in. It's no accident that HBS has had 5% of its class be military for the last few years running. It's not because they don't get enough military applicants, it's because they only want to take so many.
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Current Student
User avatar
Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 766
Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 311 [0], given: 166

Premium Member
Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 16:45
billb wrote:
Iapplied to UNC and got dinged and applied to Darden and got waitlisted. My GMAT was score 680 and Darden told me to consider retaking the GMAT.


Darden is pretty candid about your chances. Kathi Grant is a huge advocate for veterans and when I had taken the GMAT twice and my best score was 660 I asked her what she thought. She didn't blow smoke up my butt and say typical adcom speak like "we don't have a minimum GMAT score" or "you're in the 80% range, don't self-select out because of the GMAT." She said "our average GMAT is 700, you want to get closer to that." Even after getting a 700 GMAT, I only made it as far as the WL. Bottom line is that competition at the top 15-20 schools is fierce, veteran or not.
_________________

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Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Posts: 6
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 670 Q43 V38
GPA: 3.2
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 0

Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 01:05
Yeah, I agree with you guys. I'm going to study for a month and retake it. What are some other areas I could strengthen my application with?
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 766
Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 311 [0], given: 166

Premium Member
Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 02:06
flewbye wrote:
Yeah, I agree with you guys. I'm going to study for a month and retake it. What are some other areas I could strengthen my application with?


First of all, not having any academic LORs is not a disadvantage. I used my XO from a previous battalion tour and my current ACOS for all my apps. Don't bother name dropping.

Your extracurriculars are actually decent, try highlighting the tutoring thing. Also,think about personal hobbies you spend time on. Youll find that depth in one or two activities is much better than having a laundry list of stuff youre barely involved. the trick is how you present your story to the admissions committee. They're not mind readers - make sure you convey things to them.

Your profile looks solid. Start thinking about why MBA, why now, and Why (insert school). Those are bound to come up in both essays and interviews. You'll also need to get a resume together. I'd advise doing that now so it's less work for later.
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Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Posts: 6
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 670 Q43 V38
GPA: 3.2
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 0

Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 04:38
Thanks, so they care if I go into detail about how I (pick one) love to boat, play sports, blog, study history and current events etc? I've got a resume, my general alumni association has a career coach as a free service so I'm going to get her to help me translate my military resume to what businesses or colleges want to hear this week.
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Too close for missiles, switching to guns.
Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 766
Location: United States
Schools: Johnson (Cornell) - Class of 2015
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 311 [0], given: 166

Premium Member
Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 05:09
flewbye wrote:
Thanks, so they care if I go into detail about how I (pick one) love to boat, play sports, blog, study history and current events etc? I've got a resume, my general alumni association has a career coach as a free service so I'm going to get her to help me translate my military resume to what businesses or colleges want to hear this week.


Sure. If you play in a sports league that shows time commitment to a team and it's definitely something you can continue during B-school.

To use myself as an example, like you, I've moved around a lot which has prevented me from being able to establish myself in volunteer/community service. However, since 2009 I've been doing Crossfit 4-5 times a week, so that's a pretty major time commitment, plus I got my Level I trainer certificate which shows that I'm not just dabbling in it, and to top it off, through Crossfit, I've been able to volunteer a bit by helping to organize and run workouts that benefit various charities.

Another example others have used is marathon running. It demonstrates time commitment and dedication to achieving a goal.

Basically, you want to show that you have interests outside of work and aren't a robot or some clown that spends all his free time watching TV.
_________________

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Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Posts: 6
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 670 Q43 V38
GPA: 3.2
WE: Military Officer (Military & Defense)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 0

Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2013, 07:44
Once again, thanks. Y'all were all very helpful.
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Re: Military profile, looking to improve [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2013, 09:12
I would recommend you retake the GMAT test. Schools do not care how many times you take the test.

Emphasize how you work extremely well under pressure, thrive in ambiguity and on multicultural teams. Emphasize impact and the values that impelled you to choose the service.

Do not look to friends with successful parents. Stick with professional LOR’s from your commanding and executive officers i.e. those who know you the best.

Look to any community service within the military that you can now do. With a year you can seek community service at home through websites like http://www.volunteermatch.org/.

Focus your goals more. Look at post-MBA roles and career paths within each of these. Also, look at some of the leadership rotational programs within operations and the defense sector on http://www.mbaprepadvantage.com/blog/le ... -programs/.

If you wish to stay in the southeast you are competitive for your target schools and even more so with a higher GMAT score.

Best of luck,

Michael Cohan
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Re: Military profile, looking to improve   [#permalink] 22 Jun 2013, 09:12
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