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Please Review My Profile

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Joined: 26 Jul 2010
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Please Review My Profile [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2012, 11:26
Note: This has become a much longer post than I intended. I appreciate you reading through it to provide some guidance. Please let me know if I can provide addtional details.

Hi,

I am trying to decide whether to apply to B schools for the Fall 2013 year or wait another year. Please take a look at my profile below and maybe help add to my pros and cons.
Thanks a lot!

Background
I am targetting top 10 schools (which is part of the reason for my dilemma - if my application is not good enough for top 10 schools yet i would rather wait) and, although i am still trying to figure out exactly what i want to do after B school, areas of my interest include venture capital, management consulting (Strategy), or startups.
Ideally targetting US schools but LBS, INSEAD, and IIM Ahemdabad are on my radar.
i am only 25 so if i have to wait a year it is not a super big deal. however, i think i am ready to move on from what i am currently doing as i think i have gained what i can out of my current job and need the mba to make the managerial leap/switch careers.


Profile

25 Male Indian (green card holder - US high school and college)

Undergrad:
Univ of Florida, Bach of Sci in Business Admin. Majors: Finance, Information Systems. Minor: Entrepreneurship
GPA: 3.65, Major GPA: 3.95
I have some undergrad extracurriculars which are decent but nothing spectacular i would say. Study abroad at Hong kong univ. of science and tech for a Fall semester (4 months). graduated cum laude (i think- i will have to double check this one :) ). three internships, 2 in consulting 1 in retail.
and i know this probably doesnt mean much, but i passed the CFA level 1 (and if i do not apply to Bschools and get in, i will do level 2 next year)

Work:
Consultant at Accenture in Management Consulting- Risk for Capital Markets (i have consulted in banking, healthcare, and asset management industries as well). I would say my work experience is pretty solid where I have been everything from process analyst to data analyst to solutions architect to project manager. i have also written proposals and other marketing materials.
i was promoted from analyst to consultant during my first performance review. i worked my way into c-suite steering committees as facilitator for one of my clients, (prepping the materials and presenting the topics of discussion), managed a team of 9 people, and each of these 9 people had entire departments reporting to them. I have crunched through and met some pretty hard deadlines, etc.
additionally, i currently have an intern from a top 10 B school program working with me whom i trained, advised, and was the pseudo team lead for her.
Point being that i think my work section will be my strongest.

GMAT:
i have to retake it because, like a fool, i did not do the AWA part. i am not too worried about the gmat however since i got a 740 the first time around. this was on the old format, however, so i do need to spend some time on this.

Extracurriculars:
This is my weakest point i think. I have done a few extracurriculars through work (recruiting, teaching, mentoring, etc), but apart from that nothing of much significance to add here. I am an active equity options trader which takes up significant amount of my time but i feel since it is my family money, it is not "accredited" and could be perceived as me trying to fill up space on my resume.
i love to play sports and i am involved in couple of leagues.
I have taken some math classes (calc 3, differential equations, linear algebra) from respected universities while i have been working. average GPA on those is probably 3.9ish. i did this because for a while i was interested in quantitative finance and also to help trading.
i do speak three languages fluently, english, hindi, spanish - all of them i learned by living in native countries.

Others:
Lived in 6 countries while growing up.
excellent analytical, communication, and even managerial skills (backed by work experience).
know basic VBasic and C++. conceptually know programming at an intermediate level.
Not sure if this belongs anywhere on the application, but i did the world's tallest bungee jump and now have 1.5 million views on my youtube video ( shows me in a different light - a calculated risk taker)


The decision
So here i am, unable to decide whether to wait another year or go ahead and apply. besides the cost (time and money) of putting together the various applications, i am concerned that a poor application will hurt me more than waiting another year. in other words, if i apply now and get rejected, the schools will obviously keep track of that and i think reapplication has several disadvantages that i would rather not have next to my name.

below are some pros and cons of applying THIS year. additionally, i have some questions. please help answer these and weigh my pros and cons. also any advice is of course much appreciated.

Pros of applying right now
1. I am at a point where I feel I am ready to move on from my current job. I know that next year I will be up from promotion but I think B-school will provide me with better, more diverse opportunities and I would rather start harnessing those opportunities now. Also personally, family wise, it would make more sense for me to go this year.
2. I have time. Relatively speaking I will have ample time (i think) to apply to schools. such luxuries may not be available next year.
3. I have the necessary work experience and the GPA and the GMAT scores required. The numbers add up well.
4. Interest rates are low - loans will be cheaper (although this is somewhat of a moot point for me...)

Cons of applying right now
1. I am not confident that i will get in. my extracurriculars are quite weak and waiting another year will allow me to bolster that section a bit.
2. Since deadlines are approaching fast, applications may be a bit rushed.
3. I do not have the "Story" clearly formulated in my mind. What do i want to do after b-school? not 100% sure. why b-school? cus... what else? i know there are better answers to these questions and i have the partial answers but i fear this lack of clarity will show up on my essays.
4. I expect/hope to be promoted again next year (septmber time frame i think) which will further improve my work experience section.
5. another year allows me to save more money for financing purposes.

questions
1. How bad are my weaknesses? I know adcoms say that everything is considered holistically, but like i said i am interested in only top 10 schools and if my lack of extracurriculars takes me out of the running, i can spend the next year working on that. I have a couple of things lined up already for extras: big brother program and i am beginning a financial literacy class for grad students and young professionals.
2. Is it frowned upon to say something like "I am not 100% sure what my goals are. I have ideas and I want to go B-school to explore which one of those intersts me the most"? I can back this up with WHY i have an interest in those areas and how B-school can help me explore those interests further.
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Manager
Manager
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Joined: 20 May 2012
Posts: 82
Detail: MBA admissions help
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
Schools: Northwestern (Kellogg) - Class of 2000
GMAT 1: Q V
GPA: 3.9
Followers: 4

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 0

Re: Please Review My Profile [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2012, 04:17
intellectually and career wise i think you have the stats that make you viable at a top 10 program. you also have a good handle on your weaknesses. what the adcoms worry about with a lack of ECs is a sense of apathy. a lot of the activities at b school are student led, so if they don't get a group of ppl admitted who are excited to involve themselves in the community, it's a tough case to admit.

whether or not to wait one year depends mostly on 2 things: (1) Can you realistically obtain EC activities that display leadership potential and commitment in one year? (2) How impactful will this new promotion be for you?

If you feel you can add significant value in both dimensions, i would suggest you wait and apply to competitive programs next year. if you don't have confidence in these areas, i suggest you increase the spread of schools you'd consider, and apply now. the schools all remember reapplicants but i dont think of it as "harmful" to apply again after a ding. you need to show that you've made changes since the first app, but schools don't hold it against you and weigh you differently b/c of it.

personally, i think it'd be hard to find some ECs to where you'd make a big impact even in one year's time. and the last thing you want is for it to look obvious that you did the EC just to get into b school. the adcom can sniff that out too.

based on the limited data you've presented here, my advice would be to apply and to find a way to mitigate the weaknesses you've identified. for ex., it's not necessarily ECs (i.e., school sports, comm svc, etc) that the adcom looks for. rather, they look at ECs as a proxy to judge proactivity, community empathy, leadership potential, and motivation. these are things that can still be highlighted outside of formal ECs.

you've asked a lot of complicated questions, so i hope this is helpful
-james young
_________________

http://www.TheFirstRead.com
Former Kellogg adcom member, offering a new approach to MBA Admissions Consulting.

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Re: Please Review My Profile [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2012, 11:00
thanks for the detailed response. it does help me make my decision. Appreciate the fact that ECs is not all the adcoms look for. I think i can show leadership/motivation/involvement based on:

1. Mentor for Undergrad interns while 1st year as analyst
2. Faculty at intern conference (again for undergrads) while 2nd year as analyst
3. Intern "buddy" for MBA intern while 1st year as consultant
4. leadership positions while in undergrad (marketing director, fund manager, VP, etc)
5. plenty of self-started projects (i.e. not asked for by my managers/clients) at work that lead to direct success at my clients
6. I think my continuing education (three high level math classes) also shows self motivation
7. I currently hold a job whose requirements clearly state "MBA and 4 years of experience", but i got the job based on proactive networking, involvement, and high quality work/leadership.

Although I think my upcoming ECs will definitely put me in a much better light, I think I can land interviews based on the above alone and bring up my new ECs during the interviews. Worse comes to worse, i loose a couple thousand dollars in the application fees and a couple months of my time... but if it pays off it will be well worth it.
I think i am leaning towards applying this year... its gonna be a busy few months.

thanks again for your help. please do let me know if my thinking is flawed and do feel free to be brutally honest.
Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 20 May 2012
Posts: 82
Detail: MBA admissions help
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
Schools: Northwestern (Kellogg) - Class of 2000
GMAT 1: Q V
GPA: 3.9
Followers: 4

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 0

Re: Please Review My Profile [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2012, 04:53
as you've provided more details here, just be mindful to being more concrete in your activities. you can see just from this list (and i'm sure u didn't think it thru for a forum post) that much of this is nebulous and abstract still. "being a mentor" is different from "my mentoring helped establish a progam at my firm that now matches 100 pairs per year" see that? the point of asking about ECs is to see if you make an impact wherever you go. make sure you address that in your essays, and stay away from generalized statements that no one would argue against and therefore become meaningless to the reader.

hope that's helpful and best of luck,
-james young
_________________

http://www.TheFirstRead.com
Former Kellogg adcom member, offering a new approach to MBA Admissions Consulting.

Re: Please Review My Profile   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2012, 04:53
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