25 year old Russian Female; moved to the US in 2000
GMAT 720 (42Q, 47V)
Despite my low quant score, I aced calculus, statistics, and other quant course in college
Cumulative GPA: 3.9 from a Big Ten School
Major - Finance
Although I graduated with the Finance degree, I studied to be a linguist my first year of college in Russia and attended a community college in the US for 1.5 years taking English classes and other general education classes.
5 years at matriculation. After I graduated from college, I tried to find an industry that would be a good fit for me. I worked as a tax consultant at a Big 4 Firm, then as an equity research analyst at a boutique investment company, and finally as a senior financial analyst at a financial services firm in Planning & Analysis group. That’s when I finally discovered that corporate finance is a perfect fit for my skill set and future career inspirations.
I have progressed from the Senior Analyst position to the AVP in 2 years. My job responsibilities include preparation of monthly financial performance packages, budgets, forecasts and ad-hoc reports. I also develop and publish a highly sensitive reporting package that goes out directly to the CEO of our division on a weekly basis.
Due to the flat structure at the company I work for, only VPs and Sr. VPs usually have direct staff. Although I do not have direct reports and hence managerial experience, 90% of all the projects I participate in are done in the team environment. Hence, in the essays I’ll be able to demonstrate significant leadership experience in short and long-term projects through examples of challenges and the ways we overcame them as a team.
Why MBA, why now:
I need the MBA degree now because I’ve reached a point in my career when the next step of my career progression will be taking on management responsibilities. Having seen great leaders and not-so-great leaders, I am convinced that getting an MBA in General Management will help me to further develop the skills necessary to lead and motivate a group of people. I am a firm believer that talent retention is crucial to any company success, and having great managers who can inspire people is one of the best ways to keep the key contributors in the company.
In my opinion, this is a weak area of my application. When I moved to the US, my major "extra curricular" activity was to learn English so that I could go to a good school and handle reading a ton of text-books at a reasonable pace. While attending the community college, I worked part time as a sales clerk at a retail store and as a dental assistant – both jobs to pay my tuition and practice English. I put myself through college, primarily through savings, scholarships and grants. I knew that as an immigrant, I will have tougher time interviewing, so I really pushed for perfect grades to stand out in the crowd and took 6 classes per semester to graduate on time. To sum up, I invested a lot of spare time I had in my own development which I felt was necessary in order to attain my goal of getting an internship during my junior year (which I did) and landing an oh-so-important first job out of college (which I did also).
That said, I started giving free Russian writing lessons on the weekends about a year ago. It started out as a one-off session with my Russian friends who lived here since they were 6-7 years old and hence could not write in their native language but then through the word of mouth, friends of the friends stopped by to refresh their writing skills and now I teach classes regularly on the weekends at my home.
In addition, recently I’ve become a verbal tutor on one of the GMAT-preparation web-sites. I know how it feels to feel helpless because there are so many rules and exceptions to the rules in English language that sometimes it seems like there is no light at the end of the GMAT verbal tunnel. I strictly volunteer my services since I cannot commit to a set schedule due to my unpredictable work hours.
My Target Schools:
Duke, Kellogg, Ross, Darden, UNC and possibly U of Chicago
Please let me know how attainable my target schools are and whether I need to expand my list to include lower-ranked or higher-ranked schools. I am having a hard time in assessing my competitiveness…
Thank you very much for your advice!