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Please Evaluate my Profile

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Intern
Intern
Joined: 11 Jan 2010
Posts: 4
Schools: Columbia GSB, Johnson, Wharton
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 1

Please Evaluate my Profile [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2010, 14:37
Hi Alex,

Can you please provide feedback on my profile.

Information:

- 25/Male/Indian (Born in Nigeria lived there till I was 5, also lived in India till I was 9 and then moved to the US (Brooklyn, NY). I have been living in the US ever since but moved around quite a bit. I currently live in NJ)

- GMAT:
First Attempt – 530 – 44% (Q:41 V:23 AWA:4.5)
Second Attempt – 620 – 72% (Q:47 V:29 AWA:5.0)
Third Attempt – In the process of taking it, haven’t registered yet. Currently studying and aiming for above 650 in reality but 700 in my dreams.

-Education

Undergrad - BS Chemical Engineering, State School, GPA: 3.40/4.00 (Transferred to state school and completed BS degree in 3 years. I started undergrad at a community college due to financial problems. Attended community college for 3 semesters (1.5 years) while working a dead end job to support myself and pay for tuition. GPA: 3.01/4.00. Also took one summer class at a different community college after enrolling in state school GPA 3.00/4.00)

Grad: MS Chemical Engineering, State School, GPA 3.45/4.00 (Acquired degree on a part time basis while working fulltime)

UG experience:
- 2 scholarships
- 3 internships (Small Chemical Company, Big Pharma – Fortune 500 Company, Small Pharma)
- Resident Assistant for 2 years
- Member of a fraternity and also held various leadership positions
- Tutored high school kids through center of pre-college programs
- Member of an Engineering Association also held a leadership position

Other EC’s
- Currently a Volunteer Firefighter
- Member of a Golf League

Work experience:

After graduating with my BS degree I worked for small chemical company for 1 year and 9 months. Worked on various different engineering projects, proposals, and engineering studies. Company was struggling financial and cut back on their employees and as a result my position was eliminated. Currently working as an engineer for a Fortune 10 company. Found this job 9 months after being laid off. Responsibilities include running a chemical unit and working on various different engineering projects.


Schools I am interested in:
- Harvard
- UPenn Wharton
- Columbia
- NYU
- Carnegie Mellon
- Cornell
- UVA Darden
- Georgetown

I plan on applying for Fall of 2011 or 2012. Is there anything I should do in the mean while to strengthen my application. I want to get an MBA because I would like to shift my career into the management side. Can you please tell me my chances of getting into these schools? Does attending a community college hurt my chances of getting in? Also what will Business Schools think of my lay-off?

Thanks,
MX
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MBA Admissions Consulting
Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2404
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Followers: 69

Kudos [?]: 519 [0], given: 0

Re: Please Evaluate my Profile [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2010, 18:14
It's not the community college or the layoff that will hurt you.

It's that you're very middle-of-the-road - even with a strong GMAT score, there's nothing that is particularly concerning, but nothing that is particularly compelling either (yes, being a volunteer firefighter is certainly commendable and admired, but it's unlikely going to be the centerpiece of your application).

HBS/Wharton - long shot. Apply if you want, but your chances are very slim. Not a whole lot you can do at this point. There are a ton of people with blue chip resumes competing for spots here, and quite a number of them don't even get in. Without a solid blue chip resume, you need to really bring something unique and exceptional to the table - and in your case you're just a bit too middle-of-the-road.

Columbia ED - apply Early Decision. It's a stretch, but a school where you have a shot if your application is stellar *and* you have some luck on your side.

NYU/Cornell/Darden - a slight stretch; maybe even right in the mix.

Georgetown/CMU - schools where you should be competitive for with a strong application

Schools outside the top 30 - safeties.

And the above assumes that you get a 700 or so. Anything less than that with your profile below and it'll be a roll of the dice. I don't want to discourage you from applying, but it's important to know where you stand vs other highly accomplished applicants out there - and to have some realistic expectations going into the process.
_________________

Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com
Follow me on Facebook

Intern
Intern
Joined: 11 Jan 2010
Posts: 4
Schools: Columbia GSB, Johnson, Wharton
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 1

Re: Please Evaluate my Profile [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2010, 19:09
Hi Alex,

Thanks for the very quick reply.

I do agree that I am very middle of the road and everything about me screams average. At this point what steps can I take to stray away from very middle of the road?

Regarding the GMAT, I am going to do my best to score above a 700 but if I don’t score that on my next attempt, will taking the GMAT for the fourth time look bad?

Being a volunteer firefighter will not be the center piece of my application but I will definitely talk about it in my application. Are my extracurricular activities weak? Should I get involved in more community service?

You said that the community college or lay off will not hurt me but I will definitely have to address my layoff in the optional essay. Do I need to address attending a community college in the optional essay? I am assuming that it’s not important but I am not sure if attending a community college warrants an inclusion in the optional essay.

Just curious but I am wondering if you have you ever worked with people who have attended a community college. And if so can you share some success stories.

Your feedback is much appreciated and I want to thank you for taking the time to reply back.

Regards,
MX
MBA Admissions Consulting
Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2404
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Followers: 69

Kudos [?]: 519 [0], given: 0

Re: Please Evaluate my Profile [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2010, 11:14
In short, be exceptional. Be talented. Be an outlier. Be an overachiever.

And "b-school admissions" shouldn't be the reason or the main motivating factor for being accomplished. If it is, it's usually too late (at least for b-school admissions - but it's never too late to start being that accomplished person in life).

I can't tell you what you should do. You have to figure it out for yourself.

When you talk to people with significant accomplishments (or even just one hugely exceptional accomplishment) - you'll find out that they didn't do it as a condition for something else, or to "look good on a resume".

If you want to do more community service - go for it. But do it because you want to, not because you think it will look good on a resume or because you think it'll better your chances to get into b-school. That's ass backwards and it's a virtual guarantee that your heart won't be in it. And if your heart's not in it, there's a far stronger chance you won't be willing to sacrifice and follow through to accomplish anything truly meaningful to you (because your heart's not in it in the first place).

Most significant accomplishments - whether it's academic, athletic, artistic, political, community oriented, etc. -- takes *sustained* commitment and sacrifice. That takes years, not months. This isn't just some new age bullsh*t -- I've seen it across many people I've worked with and come across. Those who aren't "middle of the road" are not for a reason - because they found something that they latched onto early on and spent a good chunk of their waking lives dedicated to it. You can't be a nationally ranked athlete overnight. You can't be an accomplished military officer without the years of training and sacrifice. Even the conventional "blue chip" candidates didn't develop that profile overnight - to get that pre-MBA PE job, they had to slave away for 2-3 years as an analyst at a top bank; to get hired into that top bank they had to have gone to a top undergrad; to get into a top undergrad they had to have had strong SATs, exceptional high school grades and decent extracurriculars; to get the requisite SATs and grades they had to put in time (and/or they have become so accustomed to making academics a priority since they were young); to be the student body president in high school or captain of the hockey team, they had to have had prior experience to be in that position (i.e. they started down that path years before in elementary school and middle school). And so forth. That blue chip resume isn't something that happened overnight - it's a lifetime of work. Same goes with just about anything that is not "middle-of-the-road". A lot of sacrifice and working through disappointments and failures along the way.

If you feel you are middle of the road and don't want to be middle of the road - b-school isn't the glass slipper to your Cinderella story. If you don't want to be average, then step up your game, big time. If you feel you aren't working to your potential, then do something about it. And you'll have to be patient - you're not going to see instant results, but if you stay at it, over the next 5-10 years, who knows where you'll be.

It's not about credentials or "brand" - it's about sustained commitment and the willingness to sacrifice for something you believe in, something you love (or are passionate about), and something that will best use your talents (whatever those talents may be). The "brand" stuff is more a byproduct than a reason for success.

The first step for you then is to figure out for yourself which part of your work/extras/life you want to step it up -- your parents can't tell you anymore what you should, and neither should anyone else tell you "if you do X, Y and Z, you will get A, B and C and voila! You have a formula for life!"). You have to be your own director. And then go and do it.

As for the other stuff you asked - you're addressing stuff on the margins when you should be focusing on the fundamentals (what I just mentioned above). Sure, address your community college stuff. Add a few more lines on your resume and/or application form that show you participated in some volunteer activities -- but it's all stuff on the margins, incremental stuff (and dare I say "window dressing") that won't fundamentally change who you are -- and adcoms will see that. Because there will be other applicants out there who will have substantive accomplishments -- and no amount of spin or window dressing will make an applicant look as good as someone who has a lot of substantive and sustained history of achievement.
_________________

Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com
Follow me on Facebook

Re: Please Evaluate my Profile   [#permalink] 12 Jan 2010, 11:14
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