Thank you in advance for your time and advice!
1) Brief background:
Nationality: Chinese American
Age: 29 at matriculating
Bachelor of Science - GPA: 3.63 from a small private college.
Master of Science - GPA: 3.80 from a second tier private university.
GMAT: 680 - Q47, V35, AWA 5.
Total 5 years of work history in user experience design.
2 years with a tech start up company, key member of product launching.
3 years with a mid sized energy management firm, promoted once, to creative lead.
In college: president of international student club, school marching band lead, student senate board member, residence assistant.
After college: alumni career mentor, involved with an architecture preservation group and an animal rights group. Helped push passing state law on restrictions on puppy mill breading.
2) Interests and goals
Short term: Product manager in tech industry.
I've always enjoyed designing and building products, particularly technology and software. I'd like to stay in the high tech industry but with a change in job function. From a hands-on role to more of a leadership position.
Long term: My own design/innovation consultancy
Eventually I'd like to run my own consultancy and help companies improve the process of product development, as well as product research, viability, pricing, marketing. (IDEO kind of stuff).
I've always focused on the aspect of designing and improving product user experience, and I feel that lacking core business knowledge is preventing me from moving ahead.
3) Interested schools
Georgetown, Emory, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, UConn
So, here goes my questions:
1. I think my GMAT score is not as good as those of my fellow Chinese applicants, is the above list reasonable? (I really studied very hard for a long time, 680 was actually the highest out of all practice tests.)
2. I don't have any brand name companies on my resume. Will that put me in a disadvantage against other applicants?
3. How do schools value applicants with focus on design thinking and innovation?
4. Are there other schools you would recommend looking into?
Again, thank you very much for your time and inputs.
You're most welcome. To answer your questions.
1. You are being very realistic. You may also want to consider the University of Toronto's Rotman School, which has a strong design focus.
2. It's not so much a disadvantage as a challenge. You have to educate your reader a little more about your role and your accomplishments. On the plus side, you probably shouldered more responsibility than people at larger companies with more rigid advancement paths.
3. It depends on the schools, but schools with a focus on design thinking and innovation value students with similar outlooks.
4. Rotman as I mentioned above. You may also be interested in a couple of the programs mentioned in The New 'Liberal Arts' MBA Curriculum."
, like Yale
. Although your GMAT is a little below those schools' averages, given that you are applying to programs where you can be more confident of acceptance and you have excellent grades, strong work experience, and an interest and approach that matches these programs, I would suggest that you consider them.
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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