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Need your advice, please

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Need your advice, please [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2005, 11:21
Here is a brief description of my background (sorry it is long, but I want to give you a good understanding of my past and current situation.)

3.3 years work experience at top CPG company. I'm currently working as an Assistant Brand Manager for the most successful brand in the company.

My roles and responsibilities include leading cross-functional team members through new product development (qualitative and quantitative research, P&L development, analysis of competitive situation and marketing opportunity, plant coordination, and sales force deployment. After this year, I will have launched 4 new products that will contribute an incremental $40MM to our business. I also manage creative agencies in the area of online marketing (developing strategies, planning, and execution) as well as Public Relations. I also have experience working on a strategic visioning team.

I have been promoted twice since hired in 2002. First, I was two of ten people without an MBA hired into branded marketing (MBA is standard requirement for branded marketing). Secondly, I was promoted from Marketing Assistant to Assistant Brand Manager in 8 months when the typical time for MA's is 12-24 months.

My undergraduage GPA is a 3.9/4.0 from St. Louis University where I graduated with 2 majors (Marketing and Management Information Systems) and a minor in psychology. During my undergrad, I participated in an overseas 3 month internship with a marketing research company based in London. Furthermore, I was also a 3 year team captain for the St. Louis Women's Tennis Team (first person to be elected captain as sophomore and only person to serve 3 consecutive years). I also served on the Athletic Advisory Board for 3 years helping to ensure compliance with NCAA guidelines and to promote a unified student athlete community. My tennis experience was capped off when I was recently elected to the NCAA Conference USA All-Decade Tennis Team, which highlights the top 10 players in Conference USA in the last decade.

In terms of community service, I have a passion for helping others. I have experience with Big Brothers/Big Sisters where I mentored 2 inner city children for 3 years. I'm very tightly involved in my local church where I lead a volunteer group of students and adults in a children's ministry program. My group is responsible for all 3-4 year old children in the congregation (approximately 15 students). I also ran a fundraising campaign that contributed $3300 for cancer research. I'm currently participating in a volunteer community group which will serve as a training opportunity for me to start my own community group that will be an outreach program for new Christians interested in learning more about religion.

I'm interested in going back to school because I am extremely passionate about my career. I have a drive to be more than "an employee" or more than an "assistant brand manager". I am really driven to make an impact on an organization. In order to accomplish my goals, I feel that I need to develop a stronger understanding of general business skills and to expand my business knowledge beyond marketing. With this foundation, I will be better equipped with the knowledge to serve as an impactful employee.

My managers are very supportive and have offered to write my recommendations. Both managers went to top 10 business schools, Kellogg and Wharton.

The killer in my application is my GMAT (590!!!). I'm thinking about Round 1 applications and therefore, do not have time to retake. Because of the low GMAT, I've also considered part time, but feel that I will not be able to dedicate myself to my education or to my work, causing both to suffer in the long run. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my profile, including difference vs. typical candidate, and your thoughts on some schools that might not immediately reject me because of a low GMAT. In general, just looking for honest feedback...

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2005, 13:54
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WOW! I love your profile! I don't mean this to come off the wrong way, but I see so many applicants with 700+ GMAT scores and not much interesting about them that I get excited when I see someone who's in the opposite situation!

I love your work experience, your involvement in undergrad, and your community involvement. All terrific stuff, and all the stuff of students in top-10 business schools. Also, having targeted CPG jobs myself while in b-school, I can tell you that your current professional experience will make you very marketable to potential employers while you're in school (and adcomms do think about this sort of thing), whether or not you actually want to go back to CPG. So, I think you're in great shape overall.

And now on to the GMAT... At first glance, my advice would be to aim for Round 2 and start studying / enroll in a class ASAP to try to get your score at least closer to the mid-600's. Don't stress about meeting each target school's avg. GMAT score, but do try to get inside their middle-80% GMAT range (most schools publish that on their sites). Don't worry about making a tradeoff by applying for Round 2... All other things being equal. your odds of success are just as good in R2 as they are in R1. And I'd recommend aiming at top schools in R2 with a (hopefully) better score than aiming at lower-ranked schools in R1 just to get your apps in by R1.

I think your profile is very strong, so I really encourage you to keep aiming at top-10 schools. You *can* get into a top-10 school with a 590 GMAT (esp. since your undergrad GPA is strong; did you have a lot of quant classes?), but I'd recommend not rolling the dice. Hustle to take the GMAT again and apply by the R2 deadline.

Scott

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Scott

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