Thanks for reaching out to me. About 50% of my clients are Indian nationals, most are from the IT sector and the remainder from management consulting. Having worked with a few hundred Indian applicants over the past 8 years, and evaluated the chances of hundreds more, I thank you for the detail in your post. It really helps me form an expert opinion about your background and "chances."
To be perfectly honest with you, you are going to need to take the GMAT again and get closer to 700 if you want to be competitive at a top-30 US business school. Generally, the quick and dirty way is to look at your GMAT and see if it is within 25 points of the mean (at a bare minimum.) However, as an Indian applicant, you are part of an uber-competitive applicant sub-group where high GPAs and GMAT scores are the norm, not the exception. In order to be competitive at a top 30, at a minimum, you are going to need to be at the program's GMAT mean. My direct advice is to go back to the drawing board and get that verbal score up. The GMAT is a cold and brutal fact. It is the first and highest hurdle you must clear. Once you clear that by getting the mean for the schools you are applying to, then (and only then) can you begin to address the other variables in what I call the "MBA Acceptance Equation." I hate laying it out like this and I hope it does not sound insulting but trust that I have the benefit of my 8 years of perspective.
Once you address your GMAT, examining your candidacy methodically will help you think critically about your differentiation (I have posted bits of the following in other threads btw).
This is the basic paradigm in which you want to view your candidacy. As mentioned above, I call it the MBA Acceptance Equation (TM):
GMAT (at or near the school's mean) + GPA (undergrad performance and leadership activities) + Work Experience + Personal Passions and Philanthropic Pursuits (consistent history of extracurricular leadership) + Why MBA? (describe what the degree will do in general) + Why MBA from this program? (indicated by the school's pedagogy) + Why Now? (sense of urgency)= Short Term (tactical/immediately upon graduation) + Longer Term Goals (5+ years out and waxes philosophic)
You have to hit on the above to be a competitive candidate at School X. Again, if School X is a top 30 US b-school, then you can easily check the rankings for the average GMAT and GPA. With a 620 GMAT, you have your answer and unfortunately, you would not be competitive with your current score.
When you have cleared this first hurdle, you want to move onto your work experience. Your W/E is "quant" in nature and is considered a "known quantity" so it going to be important to show differentiation, especially as an male, Indian applicant with an IT background. You have great experience, but you are competing against the most gifted group of applicants on paper. Your leadership and lauded results will bode will in terms of differentiation, but it won't be enough to overcome a low GMAT score. Incidentally, your background is extremely similar to mine. I used to run Kaizen projects back in the day and I remember trying to gain ISO cert and conducting quite a few 5S.
So in answering if you have a chance (beyond your GMAT score), your first question around W/E should be around the size/reputation of your firm and your leadership within it.
How many other project managers or consultants are there in your Siemens BU? How many engineers report up to you? You always want to stress leadership in this part of the MBA Acceptance Equation. So, if you work for a smaller group or project team, you need to stress your ability to wear many hats and work closely with C-level individuals and decision makers to get things done. Stress how your jack of all trades nature goes beyond title and formal authority. Make sure that you articulate a story where multi-faceted nature caused you to come up the curve quickly while (perhaps) helping to build an entrepreneurial initiative within Siemens, a very well established organization. (Your recs HAVE to back up this story).
The same could be about a larger project team (think SAP implementation with 100s of consultants and resources) or organization to a certain extent. However, you have to also talk about how you were a leader among peers and your awards and white papers will show this. That is, you did not get lost in the shuffle and while there was an established hierarchy, you went above and beyond the established paradigm to ask for more authority and then fully live up to that expectation.
Moving onto the next part of the equation: personal passions and philanthropic pursuits (P/P/P/P):
Your extracurriculars are decent but they lack a logical connection to your longer term goals. They also need to be stronger in order to support your differentiation from the rest of your applicant sub-group. At least this is what I can tell from the basic P/P/P/P info you provided (very brief compared to the other information you provided). This is very often the achilles heel with those project professionals expected to spend long hours at the client site or traveling from one site to the other. I am sure you work a lot of hours may have little time for out of the office pursuits. However, your out of the office activities are a good opp to show that you are not all tech but that there is something truly interesting or innovative about your personality and leadership. Remember, the adcom will know that you are a smart guy. Make sure that you are labeled as smart guy who utilizes it for the good for others to break any self-serving or not good in a team oriented environment image the have in their mind. You need to break this stereotype with your P/P/P/P.
I trust that you have been volunteering and showing leadership when you speak of Pankhudi. My question would revolve around your personal connection to this activity? What is it about this cause that really makes you want to be involved? These values or norms will really form the case for meaningful leadership and differentiation in the eyes of the adcom. A meaningful connection will logically build on your story or positioning. That is, you are not just diving into an underwater basket weaving volunteer activity that shows no relevant leadership and in fact makes you look invented. I need more detail on Pankhudi to determine this but at a high-level, make sure that whatever role you play at Pankhudi, you are using your subject matter area (project management) and professional acumen to build towards a more altruistic longer term goal. Remember, the best candidates are those that have out of the office activities that marry up their professional background with a philanthropic interest that get them towards their longer term goal. Almost every candidate misses this point. Don't make that mistake.
This brings us to the Why MBA? Why this school? part of the equation. Why MBA is fairly easy - because everyone needs an MBA to get the corner office. Joking aside, it's related to the Peter Principle and it is customized to your specific case. I know that in IT project management and consulting, the MBA is a rite of passage. However, you have to put forth the case that you are maxing out your current skill set and to be as damn effective as you have in the past, you need the strategic skills that an MBA can provide.
So then, why this school? As an example, if you are picking 10 of the top 30 schools, you have to be aware that some of these programs are going to be very, very different schools. Trust me, it looks less than desirable for HBS to see that you are applying to GSB, and vice versa. I explain more in a guide I wrote on Applying to HBS (http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba_r ... ite_paper/
), you can download it via the link.
In short, it looks like you are just applying to 10 of the top 30 schools with no real connection to the program or clear idea of what you want to do with your MBA. If you have more questions, I can help you with this.
The above represents the left side of the MBA Acceptance equation. This have to sum logically in order to reach the right side of the equation and for you to not look like a half-baked applicant in the eyes of the admissions committee. To put it another way, all parts have to build on each other, so you look like you were preparing to enter the pearly gates of HBS (or School X) from the day you came into this world.
The right side of the equation is made up of your logically connecting short and longer term goals that build on the left side of the equation. This is what particularly concerned me about your original post. I did not see a mention of what you really plan on articulating as your short and longer term goals.
It is critically important that your short term goals is actionable. This is critically important with those Indian applicants who plan on staying in the US to work upon graduation. This is why you are behind the 8-ball as a potential H1B visa holder. Will you be able to find an employer that will sponsor you, especially in this day and age? That is, are your goals consistent and it is logical that you would be able to get this job with company sponsorship in hand, graduating from the school in question. I cringe when I talk to applicants and they have no idea whether or not the firm (by way of a position they defined in their essays) actually comes to campus to recruit or if they are willing to sponsor the H1B and if they are, will you get able to get one from the US Gov (Read this: http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/may2007/bs20070514_587413.htm?chan=bschools_bschool+index+page
Again, sloppy homework. Remember, short term goals are tactical so that the admissions committee can report to US News that 97% of their graduates are employed 3 months after graduation. No joke, you have to lay out a specific game plan irrespective of a 620 or 700+ GMAT score.
The longer term goal is a career path that is 5+ years after graduation. Again, this has to build on your short term goal which builds on your current W/E. Again, no zigs or zags. MBA program are not a place to find yourself. The important part of a logical long-term goal is that it should be more philanthropic in nature. That is, it starts to incorporate elements of your P/P/P/P. So, in the longer term, you are going to be a person who actually gives back to society, a profession and a cause. Again, to beat this drum, the critical piece in the equation (besides upping your GMAT) is going to be to show differentiation by really blowing out your P/P/P/P and showing a strong connection to your longer term goals.
See how this works? It's not a secret sauce but rather an applicant who has thought about what he wants to do and has his stuff together. As base as this sounds, your differentiation is having your shit together. This makes you a candidate with a fighting "chance."
In closing, I would like to offer up my resources once you nail the GMAT. If you need a recommendation for a GMAT class, I would offer up Veritas Prep
. In full disclosure, I am biased as I used to work there, but they have a solid program for breaking down and bringing up your Verbal (and quant). They have an online option that you will be able to access in India, on the road or at work.
Once you cross that bridge, I would like to speak to you over the phone for a consultation (pro grata). This conversation would probably last an hour to 90 minutes. Please PM me and let me know if this is something you would be interested in. I don't hard sell but I know that my comments above will open up more questions. Speaking over the phone would allow me to be as honest and forthright as possible.
Hello everyone.I plan to start applying for September 2011(Fall ) intake. I would like some comments on my profile. Here it goes
Gender – Male
GMAT – 620 (Q-48, V-27) AWA-5.5
GPA – There is no GPA system in my university. It is percentage based. However I have good academic records and completed by BE in Mechanical engineering with a distinction(76%) in the final year
Work experience: 2 years(and counting) work experience with SIEMENS Ltd.
Some important responsibilities executed by me include:
Was a part of the team that was responsible for getting Siemens Transformers, India certified for ISO14001 and OHSAS 18001.
One of the coordinators for maintaining 5-S (Quality based system) on the shop floor.
Executing my responsibilities and managing my department alone as a trainee for during the delegation of my superior to Germany for 3 months
Conducting and organising various trainings for shop floor engineers.
1.Won the Best Project Award during my training period.
2.Submitted a technocommerical paper on a global scale as a part of "Environmental Award 2009" to SIEMENS AG.
3.Software for easy access of training records made using MS Access.
1.Completed a basic level course in German with an A+ grade.
2.Successfully completed a project titled “Inservice Inspection of a pressure vessel” at Larsen&Toubro Limited, Powai as a part of my undergraduation final year project
3.Stood second in a national level technical paper presentation for the project titled “Inservice inspection of a pressure vessel” held at IIT, Bombay.
4.Have won several accolades in technical paper presentation competitions.
5.Have published around 36 articles on topics of public awareness in Hindustan Times,a leading news daily and 2 articles in JAM, a fortnightly newspaper.
•Active member of ~Pankhudi, an NGO that aims at working towards underprivileged children since the last 2 years. Primary responsibility includes teaching slum kids. Have also contributed in other ways to ~Pankhudi.
My verbal score in the GMAT is less but I have done well in the AWA section and my English is also not all that bad considering I have published articles in a leading daily. I would like to know how competitive my application looks and my chances of getting into a good bschool. What can I do to overshadow my low verbal score? I plan to apply to 10 of the top40 bschools in the US. I plan to specialise in sales and marketing. Requesting your comments.
Thanks a lot!
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