Hi Paul, could you please take a look at my profile and give me your thoughts? Plz don't pull any punches.
I just turned 33 (yes I'm old), I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, now live in Orange County, CA. I have a BS in electrical engineering from our best school and an MSEE from University of Florida. I have been working in the US since 1998, semiconductor industry. My undergrad GPA was bad, 3.06 I think, but my grades on the EE courses were pretty good, I had a *loaded* final year and still managed to get a 3.6 GPA on that year, at the time I loved EE. At UF I think the GPA was 3.5 plus I did research and actually found out something useful that my advisor could use after I left. After that I worked for a really huge company for 18 months, which I did not like, then worked for a much smaller company for almost 6 years and liked it better except that they worked me halfway to death! 6 months ago I took a big chance and came to work for a 3-person company (a start-up, I am the 3rd leg) here in the OC, I left $80k/year on the table to come make $3k/month now.
I am thinking I will work for them for one year and then make a career switch to finance via an MBA. I enjoy researching companies' finances a lot, I do that for hours in my spare time and love it, everything I know I have learned on my own, I really think I could become great at it if I did it full time. I have read Lynch, Zweig, Neff, and the like and thorughly enjoyed them. I am tired of engineering, just don't get excited about it anymore. An MBA seems to be full of excitement and skills I could really use learning.
At my second job me and my boss designed a series of chips that were incredibly succesful, we must have shipped at least 50 million of those, forced to guess I would say 100 million *easy*, no small amount for a company with revenues well below $1 bil even today. we tried to handle as heavy a workload as humanly possible and I roamed the aisles of that place at all hours of the night *many* nights just to show what I was worth. I feel that shows leadership by example; the work he and I did for like 4 years is now handled by 7 or 8 people (who of course do a much better job). another highlight, like I said earlier I took a big chance in coming here making 50% of what I used to just to advance my career and work in an exciting place ( I was really depressed over there). My former boss likes me quite a lot and is likely to write a really nice recommendation (and will ask him to ask just how many chips did we sell)
age, crummy undergrad GPA, extra curriculars (no volunteering whatsoever, embarassing really but I have worked a *lot* of Saturdays). outside of work I dig the outdoors (beach/mountain-hking) and digital photography and movies, I have ~100 DVDs that I am pretty passionate about. do you think it would look incredibly opportunistic if I tired to cram some volunteering between now and application time? I want to apply by Jan 1, 2007.
GMAT: I took a Kaplan
practice test and got a 640 I think I can score in the mid-600's but I am trying to bring it up to 700. Do you know how big of a boost my app would get if my GMAT goes from 650 to 700?
Schools: I like UCLA a *lot* (I know long shot) and also like USC quite a bit (but UCLA better). Another long shot: NYU since they are supposedly really good in finance and Wall St is next door. I also daydream about IESE and ESADE in Spain. What do you think of my chances at these? Can you suggest any others?
Thanks a *lot* for your time.
You will need to work double hard to make the career change sound real. You need to talk to people in the industry and use their comments in your essay. If you can take a class or two in finance to show your interest, due diligence, and potential that might also help (but not absolutely necessary). If you have any exposure to finance in your work, you could cite that as a reason for your growing interest. You also need to talk about *leading people* in your essays, not just working hard.
It would look opportunitistic if you crammed in some community work. That said, if your community work was unusual (aligned with personal passions) and you contributed at an obvious leadership level and your impact was strong then it would certainly be a hell of a lot better than no community experience.
The difference between a 650 and a 700, especially at the schools you're looking at, is substantial, basically the difference from "almost no chance" to "competitive with negatives." Since you have a number of negatives, you might want to consider UCLA and USC part-time to boost your chances of admission.
Judging from your first name I am surmising that you are Hispanic? If so, this does definitely change your odds in a positive direction, but I would still recommend nailing down the goals and aiming for that 700 just to overcome their trepidation. If you are Hispanic (as opposed to, say, an immigrant from Spain, for example), do score 680-700, do give them meaty essays about leadership and goals, then you have a good chance at USC and ESADE and an outside chance at UCLA, NYU, and IESE.
Given your goals, I recommend looking at Haas (part-time), Duke, Rochester, Cornell, CMU, and Wisconsin.
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
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