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Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2009, 14:11
[edit: I hope I'm in the appropriate section, if not, can someone move it for me?]

Hi all,

I realize I might be early to the party, but after the first 3 months of my intern as a Software developer, all interest I had in this field is evaporating fast.

I've done my B.Tech from a reputed college in India (Dhirubhai Ambani Inst.) and I'm in the US, just finishing up my Master's degree with a decent GPA ( ~ 3.5). I've just landed my first job, and I'm guessing I'm stuck for atleast 2-3 years before I can give a realistic attempt at any of the MBA colleges.

When I was applying for my Master's I've realized (very late), that most of the schools don't really care about your GRE. It's your research papers, your projects and your statement of purpose that matters. I've been searching through the websites of the usual suspects for MBA for similar categories and I've found this one little troubling thing, the part about leadership potential. The thing is, I've never really got myself involved in organizing stuff at college. Gaming used to be my passion, so I've organized a few Age of empires and Counter Strike tourneys but that's that.

From my background, I'd appreciate it if you can give me answers for these questions, assuming I work for three years before an MBA.

- I have 5 months of school left. Since GMAT scores are valid for 5 years, and considering how hard it is to study while you're working, would it be a good decision to prepare for my GMAT during these 5 months and give it a go now? I've just got one course left because it's my last semester, and the workload at school is minimal.

- How can I build my resume from now to get accepted into one of the top 10/20 schools? I really don't want to spend 100k + job exp + salary on anything else, and with the preparation time I've got, I should hopefully make it into one of these.

- Would having a Master's in CS degree count against me? Since I've spent ~6 years of my life studying Computer science, would a field shift cause any problems during interviews?

- How much do acads during Undergrad matter if I have a Postgraduate degree? I've got an average GPA (6.4/10) and this has really hurt my Master's admits, so would having a GPA of 3.5 in my Master's be enough?

- I've started browsing the forums, but any other advice or things that I need to be worried about is appreciated.

Thanks,
Teja.
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Re: Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2009, 08:41
Hey Teja,

1. With respect to the GMAT, you should only take it after giving yourself ample time to prep. Although it might not the be most important part of your app, a low score could bar you from the top bschools regardless of the rest of your app. On the other hand a stellar score can make up for less than spectacular grades other small weaknesses on your app. A lot people say that it's easier to study for it during school, but personally when I was in senior year I was too busy wrapping finishing up thesis papers, studying for exams and enjoying my last couple of months of school to study. So if you think you can better focus when you start working then by all means take it then. But if you have some downtime now as you mentioned in your post and can focus, then by all means start studying. You should take a practice test from the official GMAT site to estimate what you can get now and how and where you need to improve. This will allow you to see how long you'll need to study. To keep some discipline in your studying schedule, I suggest you sign up for the exam early on.

2. If you plan to go to bschool after only working 2-3 years then you better show some good leadership experience. Since it's difficult to obtain through work since you'll be stuck in a relatively junior role, I suggest you sign up for some extracurricular activities that lets you demonstrate your leadership potential. Also try to take on some interesting projects at work. I understand the feeling of having a boring job, as I'm in the same boat. However, I decided unless I want to look for another job (difficult in this economy) I better make the best of it. So try to distinguish yourself at work and impress your superiors. This way you'll get good recs and have something interesting to put on your resume.

3. I don't think having a MS degree in CS will help or hurt you. However, you will need to explain why you decide to get the MS degree and are going back to get an MBA so soon after you got your MS in CS.

4. From what I understand your academic performance during undergrad is the sole basis for the GPA criteria. I'm sure that they do look at the grades from your masters but that's not given nearly the same amount of weight as your undergrad GPA. I think the only situation where you have a case for them to put more weight on your masters GPA is if you bombed college for some reason (ie illness, family troubles blah blah blah) and your masters GPA is stellar proving you're not an idiot.
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Re: Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2009, 09:03
11MBA wrote:
Hey Teja,

1. With respect to the GMAT, you should only take it after giving yourself ample time to prep. Although it might not the be most important part of your app, a low score could bar you from the top bschools regardless of the rest of your app. On the other hand a stellar score can make up for less than spectacular grades other small weaknesses on your app. A lot people say that it's easier to study for it during school, but personally when I was in senior year I was too busy wrapping finishing up thesis papers, studying for exams and enjoying my last couple of months of school to study. So if you think you can better focus when you start working then by all means take it then. But if you have some downtime now as you mentioned in your post and can focus, then by all means start studying. You should take a practice test from the official GMAT site to estimate what you can get now and how and where you need to improve. This will allow you to see how long you'll need to study. To keep some discipline in your studying schedule, I suggest you sign up for the exam early on.

2. If you plan to go to bschool after only working 2-3 years then you better show some good leadership experience. Since it's difficult to obtain through work since you'll be stuck in a relatively junior role, I suggest you sign up for some extracurricular activities that lets you demonstrate your leadership potential. Also try to take on some interesting projects at work. I understand the feeling of having a boring job, as I'm in the same boat. However, I decided unless I want to look for another job (difficult in this economy) I better make the best of it. So try to distinguish yourself at work and impress your superiors. This way you'll get good recs and have something interesting to put on your resume.

3. I don't think having a MS degree in CS will help or hurt you. However, you will need to explain why you decide to get the MS degree and are going back to get an MBA so soon after you got your MS in CS.

4. From what I understand your academic performance during undergrad is the sole basis for the GPA criteria. I'm sure that they do look at the grades from your masters but that's not given nearly the same amount of weight as your undergrad GPA. I think the only situation where you have a case for them to put more weight on your masters GPA is if you bombed college for some reason (ie illness, family troubles blah blah blah) and your masters GPA is stellar proving you're not an idiot.


Thanks for the reply! And again, screwing up my Undergrad comes back to haunt me. I'm pretty sure that given time, I can manage Leadership potential, extra curriculars, recommendations, GMAT score and a GPA of around 3.8 in my MS.

The thing with my Undergrad school is that unlike all the other schools in India, the grading is a letter system with A/B/C/D. No pluses and minuses. To put it into perspective, I have a GPA of 2.2/4, which pretty much sucks, and I don't really have an excuse for it. Is there anything I can do to make up?
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Re: Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2009, 10:27
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If you have a low GPA, then it's absolutely necessary to get a good GMAT score. Aim for 750+ to be competitive. Also you might want to start building an alternate transcript by taking some classes or consider taking the CFA. Doing well in your MS will also be a big help.
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Re: Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2009, 10:39
I'm actually doing pretty well in my Masters. I have a GPA of 3.5 currently and I believe I can get it upto 3.8 or so by dropping a few courses in which I got Bs.

Thanks for the advice on CFA program. I'll look into it now.
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Re: Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2009, 16:32
Hello again,

Where ever I look, the term "Workplace leadership" keeps playing into the equation. Can anyone tell me what this means / give examples of this?
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Re: Newbie help? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2009, 07:13
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"Workplace leadership" basically means what it is. Gaining significant leadership experience at work. For more applicants with more work experience it's usually the traditional (ie leading a team of x people and performed y project). However, if you're an early applicant you're going to have to come up with more innovative ways to satisfy this criteria. For example, you can discuss how you took on an internal project that others ignored. I had a friend who wrote about how she decided to help automate a timesheet table at work, and how that project made it easier for others to keep track of their projects.
Re: Newbie help?   [#permalink] 05 Oct 2009, 07:13
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