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Education: Moscow State University of International Relations, studied international economic relations (Top 3 University in Russia), GPA 4,0 (top 10 students in the university) graduated with honors, awarded Dean's scholarship GMAT: 720 (Q48 V 41), TOEFL 109
Work experience:self employed as an English language and mathematics tutor - 1 year (while a student) KPMG (audit) - 1/2 year (while a student) family business (approx. 15 employees) - 1 year (lots of leadership experience + dealing with customers, clients, logistics, etc) Government job (Ukraine) - 1.5 years (work with international economic organizations, manage a technical assistance project (jointly with the local United Nations office) with a budget of more than 0.5 mln USD (hire scientists to conduct research, organize conferences and seminars, organize visits of foreign experts to Ukraine, lead work on translation of Ukraine's foreign trade legislature into English), member of an intergovernmental working party, lead work on trade facilitation with the country's business cycles, participate in negotiations on creation of Free Trade agreements with other countries ). Have other achievements at work, recently promoted.
Extracurricular activities: a lot. Swimming (first-class degree, participated in international competitions); head of the debate club at the university, have supported the club after graduation, convener and organizer of multiple international debating competitions hosted by my university, represented the university in debating championships in Europe; editor-in-chief of the University's newspaper; now help an animal shelter at home, do community work, etc
Post-MBA area of specialization: finance (asset management)
I'm highly motivated to apply for an MBA program, but I am not sure how b-schools may perceive my work experience and what schools I should target. Now considering the following schools: Booth/Wharton/Stanford/Columbia/Kellogg (Category 1), Tepper/Cornell/Olin/Emory/Kenan-Flagler (Category 2).
Also, I am not sure whether I should retake the GMAT.
Thanks for the info. Let's break down your profile:
Academics: very strong! Your undergrad grades are really great and your GMAT score is very competitive. I would say that you need not retake the test. This score puts in a competitive range for top programs.
Professional experience: A little haphazard but it seems like you found your way and gathered quite a bit of leadership experience along the way. I think your experience is pretty unique/non-traditional and that you can leverage this as a strength. The important thing is that you can showcase strong leadership potential and experience, and it sounds like you've got plenty to highlight there.
Extracurriculars: You were very active leader in swimming and debate in college - that is excellent. It sounds like you've remained somewhat active/involved in community and extracurricular activities since college, but perhaps not in a leadership role. Ideally you could demonstrate continued leadership in these areas, but I don't think this will make or break your application.
I think you've got a competitive profile for an MBA program. One thing to think about is your career narrative: finance seems like a big jump from what you do now. You want to make sure that your career narrative logically builds off your past experience in some way (while still being ambitious enough to warrant the MBA and short term career in between).
I'd say that Wharton, Columbia and Stanford are going to be your stretch schools; Chicago and Kellogg your targets, and the others your safer bets. I'd suggest that you might swap a stretch school for another target school -- maybe NYU instead of Stanford?
I've chosen for myself 2 specializations in a business school: finance (No. 1 priority) and enterpreneurship (No. 2 priority). It would be much easier for me to link entepreneurship to my past experience (family business, actively working on trade facilitation with business cycles in my current job). Do you think it would make sence for me to lay an emphasis on enterpreneurship rather than on finance when I apply? If I'm not mistaken a great number of MBA graduates switch careers after obtaining the degree.
Career switching is very common, but your narrative should still be grounded in your past experience. So, finance would be fine, if you can relate it to international development, let's say. (E.g., I want to work at the World Bank or IFC one day...) -- that would make fine sense with your profile and show why you need an MBA. But saying that you want to get into Investment Banking or Corporate Finance would be a bit of a stretch. See what I'm saying? Entrepreneurship could work too, but since you've rebuilt your career in the international development space, I'd think the IFC type of career goal would be the strongest fit. Of course, you should write what feels true to you, but also keep these guidelines in mind. The story should be logical and demonstrate why you want to do what you state, and why you need an MBA to get there.
Hi .. My GMAT score is 730 (QA 50 VA 39) AWA 4.0 IR 6 ... I got 690 in my previous attempt with AWA 5.5... Is this good enuf for ISB.. I got a work exp. of 3.25 yrs in a multinational IT firm.. please reply.. do i need to retake the GMAT for the low AWA score.. GRAD- 3.2/4 I am B Tech in Mechanical from VIT... Please help..
To follow-up on WB/IFC - you'd have to do more research to know whether that's a realistic career path. If it is, then it would make a great story. If it's not, then you probably shouldn't use it, but should find something similar (maybe being a CFO at an international development/investment company like Kiva or something?? Really just thinking out loud...)
In my opinion, you needn't retake your GMAT. The AWA is not as heavily considered as the rest of the exam, and you did quite well. I'd suggest you focus on other pieces of your application at this stage.
In the future, if you have a query, please post it in a new thread so we can stay organized (unless your question is directly related to someone else's thread). Thanks!
I think I have found my career narrative and I'm pretty excited about it. IFC regularly hires MBA graduates, but it also requires that they have 3-4 years of finance-related work experience. I think getting to IFC and exceling there would make an excellent long-term goal for me (not short-term, because I cannot get there right after obtaining an MBA degree). Can I build my short-term goal story around Private Wealth Management or Corporate Finance (or simply a firm like PIMCO which invests heavily in the developing world) provided I state IFC as my long term goal? Or will it scare away the adcoms anyway and microfinance institutions like Kiva or ASA post-MBA will look better? (Will they actually constitute a decent choice for top schools like Wharton or Booth?)
I think that makes sense ... (the IFC part, at least!). Definitely whatever you choose for your short term goal needs to give you the strong finance experience that IFC seeks and the continued international development thread. I'm not sure about corporate finance vs KIVA track... we'd have to have a longer/more in-depth conversation to discuss that. If you'd like, you can sign up for a free consultation with a consultant from our team to discuss your career narrative in more depth: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php
I think you're getting very close on this, though, overall! Congrats!