I'm contemplating applying to Harvard's MBA/MPP dual-degree program and am not sure whether I would be a serious candidate there. I would appreciate your review of my profile.
I applied to to Darden R1 (reapp from two years ago) and am targeting only case-method b-schools.
B.A. in journalism from the University of Maryland in 2001 (GPA 2.9)
I worked approx. 30 hours per week supporting myself and graduated in three years
Financial accounting certificate expected in Dec. 2006 from a local community college (GPA 3.5)
The program qualifies students with a non-accounting bachelor's degree to take CPA exam. I received the school's outstanding achievement in accounting award this year.
In addition to accounting, I've taken courses in economics, statistics, calculus, finance and management to prepare for an MBA program.
GMAT: Taken once in Dec. 2003 - 690/92 (Q40/78, V45/91, AWA5.0/78)
4.5 years working in communications for a state government agency. Started entry-level and worked my way up to manage a department of 5 people. I was two management levels below a statewide elected official.
6 months managing a educational program at a nonprofit (job wasn't a good fit and I left to speed up timetable to finish school)
1 month (so far) as a staff accountant at a medium-sized accounting firm
1 year as adjunct faculty at local community college teaching journalism classes
I'm one of the youngest faculty members and one of the few without a master's degress (college usually requires one to teach)
6 years teaching test prep for national test prep company. I started teaching SAT as a freshman in college and a few years later began teaching GMAT. I left to teach at the community college.
Lots of part-time work experience in journalism and communciations.
Treasurer for local chapter of national journalism organization (been a member since college and was treasurer of college chapter while in school)
Short-term: Enter management consulting, specifically for process and strategic management
Long-term: Return to state/local governemnt to improve processes/operations of government
Areas of interest: Leadership and Organizational Behavior, General Management, Strategy
Family/Personal Background: Only child, neither parent attended college, one parent did not complete high school, been self-supporting since I was 18
You have a very interesting profile (especially the journalism background and teaching experience), and there are a number of top 15 MBA programs where I think you'd have a shot, but I frankly don't see a strong or even decent chance for you at HBS. The reasons for this are undergrad GPA, which is insufficiently compensated for by your 690 GMAT. All the B-school-related courses help, but only up to a point; there's no need to cover the waterfront in terms of pre-MBA course work, so taking so many different MBA courses does not strengthen your profile. Moreover, the jump to your current accounting role from your previous public work will rase question marks, i.e., how does that move fit into the post-MBA career path you mention. Finally, I just don't see the kind of unusual, high-impact, across-the-board leadership I normally associate with HBS. Perhaps if you make your goal statement compelling enough and answer all the questions I raised here, you will have a chance, but it seems like a big longshot to me.
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
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