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Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools

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Joined: 13 Jan 2011
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Concentration: Entrepreneurship, International Business
GMAT 1: 700 Q V
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Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools [#permalink] New post 28 Feb 2011, 14:35
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Hi Paul

I'm a 31 year-old east Asian American female aiming to apply in R1 for Fall 2012 matriculation. My big questions are:

- What are my chances for getting into my target schools?
- Given my Post MBA plans and current credentials, what other schools should I consider?
- In my current profile, what are my weakness areas that I should improve on?
- I keep hearing about HBS and Stanford's age discrimination, should I not even bother applying to those two schools?

Education
-College - Studied fashion design 2 years at top art school (Parsons School of Design -- transferred).
-Bachelors in International Trade and Marketing at a not well known school with 3.85/4.0 GPA, Dean's List.
-MPA in International Economic Policy and Management from Columbia University (3.89/4.0 GPA). Was elected as my program's student chair.
-A+ in economics at Columbia.

*note: I worked full time through college and graduate school with full time course load.

Work Experience
-5 years as Web designer and developer at medium sized education NGO.
-4 years as Assistant Director of Web Communications at Columbia University.
-1.5 years as Director of New Media at a well known, mid-sized environmental NGO.
-Just started new position (also related to new media and Web) at the US Treasury.

GMAT
Aiming for 700+, realistically expecting 680 - 720. Just took a full length CAT exam on Manhattan prep and scored 670. I plan to take the GMAT in 3 months, so I have some time to study.

Leadership Experience & Volunteer
- Won innovation award at latest job
-Was elected student chair for my program at Columbia University. Participated in Columbia's dean search committee for the School of International and Public Affairs. Represented Columbia University on policy study tours to Japan, Nigeria and Ghana.
-Hired and Managed teams of designers, developers and vendors at all my jobs except for the very first one.
- Negotiated contracts and managed budgets.
-Lead strategy discussions at senior levels at my two previous jobs (current job is too early to tell), as well as implemented those strategies with my teams.
-Served, several times, on a panel of judges that determined scholarship awards for my undergrad school.
-Lead a viral campaign targeting Discovery Communications and Sarah Palin that received national media attention.
-For my master thesis at Columbia, I worked with a team of graduate students to produce a paper, examining the economic relationship between China and Africa. This paper was used in a Beijing briefing conference for African officials hosted by the World Bank.
- Volunteers regularly for local area cleanups and holiday toy drives.


Language & Travel & Extras
Native fluency in English and Mandarin Chinese
Basic proficiency in Japanese and Taiwanese
Extensive travel in North America (US & Canada), South America (Chile, Argentina, Peru, Easter Island), Africa (Nigeria, Ghana), Europe (UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Monaco, Austria), and Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong)
I am pretty good at art things like drawing (charcoal, pencil, pastels) and painting (oil, acrylic, gauche). Designing for online medias. Photography.
Did I mention I make a delicious four-cheese bacon macaroni and cheese that is to die for? :)
I played dodge ball and am absolutely horrible at it.

Target Schools
Wharton
London Business School
INSEAD
Oxford

Post MBA Plans
Would like to focus on business strategy and foreign market penetration for one of the big name mobile firms in US or Europe. Would also be very interested in exploring innovative mobile technology that targets business and education use in developing and third world countries -- possible entrepreneur route. Would like to leverage my past experiences in new media and viral campaigns and my MPA in international econommics to help me go in this direction.


Thank you in advance,
Enkie
_________________

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~ PickyTooth - Eat Like a Local Foodie // www.pickytooth.com ~
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Last edited by enkie on 10 Jul 2011, 20:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools [#permalink] New post 01 Mar 2011, 21:02
Expert's post
Enkie,

First, let me say that your presentation of your background for the purposes of this evaluation bode well for you. The detailed insights, the honestly with yourself, and the dashes of personality - all harbingers of success. I know it sounds trite, but when you see hundreds of these, you start to draw conclusions, even if they are more corollary than causal.

So, to get into it.

First, let's take about your age. It's true that HBS is skewing younger and it is also true that GSB has a relatively "young" class. However, they aren't really the same thing. HBS, by our estimation, is going young intentionally. They seem to have made up their minds that the only way to differentiate between thousands of qualified applicants is to look for the early achievers in the bunch. Find the person who has achieved at 25 what most accomplish at 28. That kind of thing. So I would probably cut HBS from the list, especially if the GMAT score is under 700 (more on that in a minute). THAT SAID, it's not so much about your age but rather where you are at in your career arc. The fact that you have grad school experience sort of changes your "carbon dating" for lack of a better term. You look a bit younger than 31, in other words. Young enough? Probably not. As for Stanford though, I would absolutely keep it on the list. Note that the GMAT pressure will be higher at GSB than any other school (expect for maybe Yale, as SOM has really put its chips on average GMAT as the best way to climb the rankings), but everything else lines up pretty well. For starters, Stanford is not intentionally getting younger as part of a mandated or plotted strategy. It's more a side effect of the fact that they will truly run the gamut. Few schools admit college seniors with no deferment period, but Stanford does. Add a few 22-year olds to a class that isn't huge to begin with and it starts to skew the #s. So I read a lot less into GSB's average age than others and remain convinced that its about fit, appropriateness of the degree for your individual path (you are later arriving to your current and future path, which is further evidence that you are a "young" 31 for this process), and the fact that you are an accomplished and interesting woman. Yes, woman. Our "spies" (kidding, Stanford, calm down) tell us that GSB is making every effort to become the foremost training ground for tomorrow's female leaders - both in business and beyond. That goal means that they not only create a "female friendly" culture (ie, they scrub out a-hole, chest-beating alpha males who will bring hostility into the environment), but they also, of course, have to bring in those dynamic women. It's a MUST application if you can show personal passions, diverse perspectives, a habit of academic success, creativity (bingo), and intellectual horsepower (thus, the GMAT pressure). I think it has to stay on the list.

As for the other stated programs, here is my take:

- Wharton - Good choice as it prizes innovation and global focus. Your educational background (especially the underrated part about going to Parsons - don't sleep on that as having real value, especially at schools that prize creativity, which is to say, almost all US programs), your language skills, your travels, your career goals ... it all feeds directly into these crucial "Wharton DNA" elements.

- LBS. Why LBS? It's mainly a finance school and it has always felt a little crusty to me. Plus, it spins your diversity back in the wrong direction with its quotas/limits for North American applicants. I think you can probably still be competitive, but it strikes me as the least appealing option for you.

- INSEAD. Sure, so long as you don't *need* an internship to make the moves you want to make, career wise. The burden of proof is on you to convince INSEAD of this truth. Your language skills and international experiences are obviously critical here, but even more important is getting that "mac and cheese" personality into your app. INSEAD is a "work hard, play hard" school that isn't afraid to even say "we're a party school" or, at the very least, "we're extremely social." Wallflowers need not apply. I think this one is a great choice so long as you explain that you don't need an internship to build toward the post-MBA job.

Oxford - I think you can certainly get in and I'm glad to see it on the list. Oxford values ideas, true learning, looking beyond ourselves at the broader world stage ... just a really cool and underrated program. And as long as you nail their famous Essay #2, you can sort of write your ticket, in our experience.

Other programs - I feel like Haas should be on your list because of the way that school "skews older" (they really value seasoned applicants) and how creative and innovative the program is. I also think Duke and Kellogg are worthy of strong consideration. The former has staked its place on the MBA stage on international focus while the latter has a very underrated global emphasis.

Your potential application weakness is potentially failing to sell all that you have to offer. Presented correctly, your collection of experiences, skills, and traits should allow you to do really well in this process. But you also have a LOT you could share and so strategic application choices will be incredibly important.

Of course, the one wild card is the GMAT. I think you need a 670-690 to be in the ball game everywhere but Stanford, where you will need probably a 720 to have a real strong chance. Wharton probably requires 700+ as well, and it goes without saying that over a 700 would be really nice across the board. 670-690 is "eh, wish it was higher" territory, so you can make it work, but it becomes an uphill battle. Not "scale a glacier" uphill, but more "I have to take off this sweatshirt because I'm working up a bit of a sweat climbing up this gentle slope which is proving to be a bit steeper than it looked from way back there" uphill. 700-720 is "check the box" territory, meaning you are pretty much set at most programs and they stop thinking about your score altogether. It becomes a non-factor, which is often what you are hoping for. Then there's 730+ when you become a "plus" on that point and allow them more flexibility in building the class (a 740 they love can be paired with a 680 they love and it nets out okay) and it also puts you in the mix for scholarships. No pressure:)

Hope this helps. Ping us via PM or mba@amerasiaconsulting.com if you would like a free consultation and to discuss how we might be able to help you pull all of his together.

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti
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Senior Manager
Senior Manager
avatar
Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Posts: 380
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, International Business
GMAT 1: 700 Q V
Followers: 16

Kudos [?]: 35 [0], given: 29

GMAT Tests User
Re: Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2011, 06:21
Paul,

Your analysis is incredibly insightful and helpful. Thank you for differentiating the recruiting intentions between HBS and Stanford. In light of this and what I've read elsewhere, I will do more research on Stanford and likely add it to my target list of schools.

I have another question. When I attended Parsons, I studied fine arts the first year, as it was mandatory, where I explored multiple mediums. Then second year I studied fashion design where I really disliked the curriculum. I was very young then and ended up not going to class (as a result, my grades were in the toilet). Long story short, I ended up teaching myself web design and programming, started working full time to support myself, and then went back to college at night full time at age 21.

My question is, do I include my Parsons story when I apply? And will this hurt my chances. I worked really hard to obtain a very high GPA at my undergrad and grad school-- so I really hope the academic mistakes I've made at 18 isn't going to get my dinged from business school. What's the cost and benefit of including the "creative side" of my story vs having to reveal "oh boy, you really f*cked up, didn't you"?

Thanks again. I really appreciate your feedback.

Enkie
_________________

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~ PickyTooth - Eat Like a Local Foodie // www.pickytooth.com ~
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Expert Post
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Re: Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2011, 09:06
Expert's post
Hi Enkie,

No problem! I would probably only "go negative" if a prompt asks that of you. Meaning: for questions like "mistake," "failure," "time your were frustrated or disappointed," etc., that story can work really well, because you are taking a negative thing and moving forward from it. That kind of introspection is what schools want to see when they ask that type of question.

Otherwise, either avoid negative examples or only broadcast the positive parts when using it for the essay. I don't think you have to worry about that time in your life keeping you out of b-school, that is for sure. How much meaning and significance to attach to it comes down to individual schools and essays. Remember this: everything in this process comes down to context. It's why we prepare all of our applicant strategy on a school-by-school basis, for example. Avoid any one-size-fits-all approaches, advice, canned essays, interview styles, or anything else that feels like a shortcut. That's probably the best advice I can give to any candidate.

Good luck!

-PL
_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Senior Manager
Senior Manager
avatar
Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Posts: 380
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, International Business
GMAT 1: 700 Q V
Followers: 16

Kudos [?]: 35 [0], given: 29

GMAT Tests User
Re: Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools [#permalink] New post 07 Mar 2011, 07:12
Thanks again Paul. You are amazing! :D This is tremendously helpful.
_________________

*******************************************************************
~ PickyTooth - Eat Like a Local Foodie // www.pickytooth.com ~
*******************************************************************

Senior Manager
Senior Manager
avatar
Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Posts: 380
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, International Business
GMAT 1: 700 Q V
Followers: 16

Kudos [?]: 35 [0], given: 29

GMAT Tests User
Re: Profile Eval - Mobile Biz Strategy - Aim for Top Schools [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2011, 12:02
Hi Paul

I just took my official gmat exam and scored 700. Should I retake? I think I could have realistically scored 710 - 740 because I accidentally took way too long of a break and reduced my quant test time by 5 minutes. Would a higher score make a huge difference?
_________________

*******************************************************************
~ PickyTooth - Eat Like a Local Foodie // www.pickytooth.com ~
*******************************************************************

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