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Please Evaluate [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2012, 06:43
I just took the GMAT and scored a bit lower than my practice exams and thus, I was hoping to get your view on my candidacy for a few full-time MBA programs. As it currently stands, here’s my profile:

GMAT: 700 (44Q, 41V)

Undergrad: B.A. - 3.56 - Brandeis (Politics), cum laude, senior leadership award, thesis award, crew team; research fellowship at Harvard Law School (1 year);

Grad: M.Sc. with Merit (no GPA) – LSE (Development Economics); certificate in French;

Work experience: 4 years; Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State; various awards and honors; served in Washington and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; traveled to 40+ countries; worked very sensitive/national security issues; wrote key U.S. foreign policy positions; represented U.S. in key international meetings (including the UN);

Recs: Both strong - one ambassador and my current director;

Extra-curriculars: Volunteer for small non-profit; mentor at the office; Boy Scout (Eagle Scout); half-marathon runner; avid traveler;

Vitals: 27yo, Caucasian male (American);

Target schools: Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Tuck, Chicago; (Applying Rd-1 for entry in 2013);

Goal: Change careers from international diplomacy to international private equity. I want to use my knowledge of developing market economics from the LSE and diplomatic experience in Ethiopia to help a PE firm develop its portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa.

Concern: Low GMAT quant score coupled with C+ in freshman year calculus. (Should I retake the GMAT? Does my LSE quant experience make up for this? What quant score would my target schools be looking for from me?)

Thank you so very much!!!
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Re: Please Evaluate [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2012, 09:24
Honestly everything checks out except for the international PE part.

I think you're targeting the right range of schools that you'd be competitive for. GMAT is fine - of course if you feel you can boost it by 20+ points without much effort, it may be worth it to give it another go in the next few months since you have time (and still be able to make the R1 deadlines in Oct). Shoot for say a June/July exam date. But again it's not essential in your case since your GMAT is good enough.

As for the international PE - I wouldn't talk about that. Keep in mind that with PE, they are almost exclusively looking for folks with transactional/deal experience, and those tend to be investment bankers and PE associates prior to b-school (and there's more than enough of those folks at b-school that funds don't have to look beyond this very specific segment of folks). If PE is really what you want to do, you are better off working in banking -- even at places like Carlyle where they have more foreign affairs folks at the senior levels, they want junior folks to be the ones doing the grunt work (modeling, due diligence, analysis, term sheets, etc) and with ex-bankers and ex-PE guys, it's plug and play and complements the senior partners' skillsets (network and foreign affairs experience).

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Re: Please Evaluate [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2012, 09:59
Alex,

Thanks so much for the review. I do believe that I can improve my score (especially in quant) by 20+ points and thus, will retake the GMAT.

I also appreciate your advice on PE. As you can tell, I'm a bit of a stranger to the sector.

I'm just curious, given my profile and interest in transitioning from international diplomacy to international business, what sectors do you see as a good fit? (I've always wanted to bring U.S. investments into African markets and/or buy/grow African companies.)

THANKS AGAIN!
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Re: Please Evaluate [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2012, 22:34
In your case, start in consulting or banking right after b-school. Both will give you the opportunity to work with industry leaders across different industries (or countries). For Africa, you may want to focus on working in London (as I'm guessing that is where a lot of the consultants and banking offices are based that service clients across Africa; an alternative could be South Africa as well, but I could be wrong).

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Re: Please Evaluate   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2012, 22:34
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