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Education ------------- PG: Management, IIM (equiv to MBA). GPA: 3.7/4.33, major 4.0 Ranked 4 in class of 120 students. Majored in strategy, all strategy/economics courses A or A+
UG: Engineering, Top 10 college in India. GPA: approx 3.4 or 3.5 (US equivalent, since grading is on 10 point scale and tougher)
GMAT: Not yet taken, expecting 720+
Research experience - Nil ------------------------ No quantitative or statistical research. MBA projects in strategy courses, but contemporary and good quality
LOR: Can get good recos, but professors aren't well known in US circuit. SOP and Essays: I can write a good, compelling story.
Applying for the fall-2009 admits. Need to know what range of schools can I target.
I think any school gets several dozens of applications with stats similar to yours. the good news, some of these gets accepted, even to top schools. the bad news, most are rejected. but this is in line with the low acceptance rate....
really, your stats have nothing wrong or bad to disqualify you from any school, neither they contain something that make you stand out of the pile of other applicants.
what will make the difference is your SOP. you didn't mention neither your research interest nor your reasons for going to phd. these two stories will matter more than your GMAT.
they should also matter more when you choose schools. do some research. find a school whose faculty have matching interests. find people that you like how they write. this should be the primary consideration when choosing where to apply.
Thanks for a sensible reply and for letting me know. I am aware of the stats of admission and what you say can really happen. Hence
a) I've planned to apply wide and deep, but only after good researching of professors, their interests and my career goals. I guess this would make my SOP compelling. And,
b) I'm thinking of getting some research done before applying since I've nearly an year of time at hand, along with some professors. I ain't sure how much this will help. Let me know what you think. Although I can resign my current job and become a full time Intern at a bschool, I don't want to do it because I want to save some money in this one year for grad school.
Now here's the additional information that you'd asked for.
Competitive and co-operative strategy with alliances. Game theory. Government regulatory environment, business performance and social welfare. Macroeconomics.
I want a research career. If I can publish a lot of papers in my initial years and a few books after my career has matured, I'll consider having attained my goals. Being a board of director and a business journalist after retirement is also in my mind. And yeah, I love teaching.
I'd forgotten to mention my work-experience.
6 years total while applying, 4 years post MBA in international, Fortune 50 companies.
Consulting (ERP Finance & Financial Services) is my job. Hope my work-ex will help because I'm applying for strategy in the management area.
in my opinion, no need to worry for not quiting your job.
your best research experience would be to research your schools of choice. i'd say that in each school you want to apply to you should identify at least 1-2 people that you'd be happy to work with and that you can connect and relate to what they write (i suggest reading at least 1 recent paper each wrote to make sure that their style and topic choice is in line with yours). make sure they are active (i.e not too senior).
in my opinion our work ex has little effect on your chances. the best way to utilize it is to try draw one insight that you got from your work, which is not trival, and discuss it in a shcolarly way (for example, relate it in a deep, non-trivial way to one paper from a faculty's paper)
other than that your profile seem solid, and we look forward to see how your app process unfolds...
I agree with Hobbit. Find professors whose research interests seem interesting, read their recent papers, and try to talk intelligently about them. At this point, this is, as Hobbit points out, most readily done by relating it to your experience (since you don't know the literature, nor does anyone expect you to know it). For example, you have some MNC experience, so you can probably find some relevant insights within the MNC literature.