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PhD then MBA - unconvential profile evaluation request...

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PhD then MBA - unconvential profile evaluation request... [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 12:47
Buon giorno gentle people.

So, as you may have gathered from the title of this thread, I have quite an unusual background for a MBA wannabe and would be most grateful for any feedback on my chances of getting into a top school.

Before I ramble on any further, here are my vital statistics:

Nationality: British.

Age: 28/29 on matriculation.

Education: 1) BSc Maths at top UK university (think Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, Oxford, UCL) - 1st class, graduated top of class (we don't have a GPA system here, but I would guess that my classification translates to a 4.0). Won various departmental, university wide and national awards for my academic performance. 2) MSc Maths at a different top UK university (mainly because they 'bribed' me to join them) - distinction, graduated top of class again and also broke the record for the highest ever aggregate score in this particular program (so I guess it would be a 4.0 GPA again). 3) PhD Maths at the same top UK university where I did my masters - it was a research only program so there is no GPA to report, but I published two papers in a top mathematics journal (acceptance rates are less than 10%) and my supervisor (a world renown academic who can be one of my references) openly regards me to be the best student he's ever had.

Work experience: 1) Following my PhD, I began work as a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at a top Australian university. The main reason for making this move was because I wanted to do the whole 'Australia thing', but also because I loved being a student and was hoping that a career as an academic would resemble the experience that I had during my glory days. Needless to say it didn't, and, after 6 months of faffing around with the convicts, I ended up coming back to sunny England. Which leads me to... 2) Two years of work experience (to date) at a bulge bracket investment bank in London, working in a group which falls under the very general umbrella of structuring. I joined as an associate and was promoted to VP recently. They have actually offered to sponsor me for a MBA program (full fees plus stipend) in exchange for my soul.

Extracurricular stuff: During my studies, I was vice-captain of the university football team (1st X1) in my final year, volunteered as a widening participation representative, President of a large society, founded a (fairly profitable) student events company, a volunteer tutor for students in the lower years, plus a few more bits and bobs which I won't bore you with. I'm also a qualified football coach and regularly volunteer at a local football club. I still write academic papers when I get time and have published two more papers in decent mathematics journals over the last couple of years. I've been back to both of my alma mater's on several occasions to give talks about careers for science PhD's in the big, bad world of investment banking and am currently mentoring three PhD students.

GMAT: Not taken it yet. I did take the GRE a few years ago and scored 800, 620 and 5 in the quantitative, verbal and analytical writing sections, respectively. The verbal bit is incredibly tedious so I didn't study as much as I should have, but do you think such a score would be enough? I think it's valid for another year, so I'd really have to get a move on with my applications if I am to go forward with this score.

References: Pretty solid. As I stated above, I can get my former PhD supervisor to be one of them and there are also two MD's in my group who value me quite highly and have offered to chime in too.

Career objectives: If I do decide to take my current employers sponsorship offer, I will be committed to them for another two years upon graduation. I like my job and team a lot, so I have no objection to this. But eventually I would like to move into a high level management position at a large investment bank as opposed to staying 'on the floor' for the rest of my career. What I think I'm lacking at the moment is that little bit of business savvy that may or may not come with time, but I genuinely believe that doing an MBA at a top school will push me into the right direction.

Dream school: Harvard.

So what do you guys reckon? I'm concerned that admissions committees may not think that I have the right motivation, since I've already bummed around in uni for seven years and am doing ok in my career to date. Yes, a big part of me wants to go to business school for the whole experience, but that's by no means my primary driver.
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Re: PhD then MBA - unconvential profile evaluation request... [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2010, 23:01
brucespringsteen wrote:
Buon giorno gentle people.

So, as you may have gathered from the title of this thread, I have quite an unusual background for a MBA wannabe and would be most grateful for any feedback on my chances of getting into a top school.

Before I ramble on any further, here are my vital statistics:

Nationality: British.

Age: 28/29 on matriculation.

Education: 1) BSc Maths at top UK university (think Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, Oxford, UCL) - 1st class, graduated top of class (we don't have a GPA system here, but I would guess that my classification translates to a 4.0). Won various departmental, university wide and national awards for my academic performance. 2) MSc Maths at a different top UK university (mainly because they 'bribed' me to join them) - distinction, graduated top of class again and also broke the record for the highest ever aggregate score in this particular program (so I guess it would be a 4.0 GPA again). 3) PhD Maths at the same top UK university where I did my masters - it was a research only program so there is no GPA to report, but I published two papers in a top mathematics journal (acceptance rates are less than 10%) and my supervisor (a world renown academic who can be one of my references) openly regards me to be the best student he's ever had.

Work experience: 1) Following my PhD, I began work as a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at a top Australian university. The main reason for making this move was because I wanted to do the whole 'Australia thing', but also because I loved being a student and was hoping that a career as an academic would resemble the experience that I had during my glory days. Needless to say it didn't, and, after 6 months of faffing around with the convicts, I ended up coming back to sunny England. Which leads me to... 2) Two years of work experience (to date) at a bulge bracket investment bank in London, working in a group which falls under the very general umbrella of structuring. I joined as an associate and was promoted to VP recently. They have actually offered to sponsor me for a MBA program (full fees plus stipend) in exchange for my soul.

Extracurricular stuff: During my studies, I was vice-captain of the university football team (1st X1) in my final year, volunteered as a widening participation representative, President of a large society, founded a (fairly profitable) student events company, a volunteer tutor for students in the lower years, plus a few more bits and bobs which I won't bore you with. I'm also a qualified football coach and regularly volunteer at a local football club. I still write academic papers when I get time and have published two more papers in decent mathematics journals over the last couple of years. I've been back to both of my alma mater's on several occasions to give talks about careers for science PhD's in the big, bad world of investment banking and am currently mentoring three PhD students.

GMAT: Not taken it yet. I did take the GRE a few years ago and scored 800, 620 and 5 in the quantitative, verbal and analytical writing sections, respectively. The verbal bit is incredibly tedious so I didn't study as much as I should have, but do you think such a score would be enough? I think it's valid for another year, so I'd really have to get a move on with my applications if I am to go forward with this score.

References: Pretty solid. As I stated above, I can get my former PhD supervisor to be one of them and there are also two MD's in my group who value me quite highly and have offered to chime in too.

Career objectives: If I do decide to take my current employers sponsorship offer, I will be committed to them for another two years upon graduation. I like my job and team a lot, so I have no objection to this. But eventually I would like to move into a high level management position at a large investment bank as opposed to staying 'on the floor' for the rest of my career. What I think I'm lacking at the moment is that little bit of business savvy that may or may not come with time, but I genuinely believe that doing an MBA at a top school will push me into the right direction.

Dream school: Harvard.

So what do you guys reckon? I'm concerned that admissions committees may not think that I have the right motivation, since I've already bummed around in uni for seven years and am doing ok in my career to date. Yes, a big part of me wants to go to business school for the whole experience, but that's by no means my primary driver.


I did enjoy reading your profile; you definitely have writing skills.

To answer your question, the motivation to pursue an MBA program comes from you. If you decide it's the course you should take, then you'll be able to develop the appropriate application package. You'll be able to show the passion - dedication to your chosen career path - and tie it into what you want to do in the future. Corporate sponsorship is a plus. Your years in the uni system will have to be accounted for, and discussed within the framework of finding your career path, which, as you note, will be a question on the part of the AdComs.

You mention that HBS is your dream school. They want to see leadership, which is all about people. Your EC's should help in this regard as well.

For LOR, I'd suggest also someone who could speak directly to your abilities at your current employer, specifically in terms of your abilities to lead your reports.

Have you considered Stanford?
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Re: PhD then MBA - unconvential profile evaluation request... [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2010, 04:04
RobbieWalker wrote:
I did enjoy reading your profile; you definitely have writing skills.

To answer your question, the motivation to pursue an MBA program comes from you. If you decide it's the course you should take, then you'll be able to develop the appropriate application package. You'll be able to show the passion - dedication to your chosen career path - and tie it into what you want to do in the future. Corporate sponsorship is a plus. Your years in the uni system will have to be accounted for, and discussed within the framework of finding your career path, which, as you note, will be a question on the part of the AdComs.

You mention that HBS is your dream school. They want to see leadership, which is all about people. Your EC's should help in this regard as well.

For LOR, I'd suggest also someone who could speak directly to your abilities at your current employer, specifically in terms of your abilities to lead your reports.

Have you considered Stanford?

Thanks for your reply, Robbie. I did consider Stanford, but, seeing as it doesn't rain very much in Palo Alto, I figured that I'd feel a bit out of place there - I am English after all...

On a more serious note though, Stanford and Wharton are definitely schools that I plan to target along with Harvard. I'm looking for more of a general management program than anything specific, so I guess that these three would definitely tick the right boxes in that regard.

Do you think there are any weaknesses in my profile need to be addressed if I am to be a competitive candidate? What about my GRE scores? Since business schools only started accepting GRE scores in the last couple of years, would there be any disadvantage in submitting these instead of the GMAT? In fact, a little birdie told me that some schools waive the GMAT/GRE requirement for advanced degree holders, so I wonder if this would be the case for my chosen schools? I'll drop them a line and post their reply up here.

Thanks again!
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Profile evaluation: PhD to MBA... n03 7 14 Jun 2012, 16:41
PhD then MBA - unconventional profile evaluation request... brucespringsteen 0 06 Dec 2010, 03:22
PhD the MBA - unconventional profile evaluation request... brucespringsteen 1 05 Dec 2010, 14:19
PhD then MBA - unconvential profile evaluation request... brucespringsteen 0 05 Dec 2010, 12:44
PhD profile evaluation request tahahavakhor 1 05 Nov 2010, 15:01
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