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Age: 26.5 Work Experience: 2 years in banking as a credit analyst and 1 as an associate in loan syndications. Both positions at large supra regional banks (not bulge bracket). Education: 4.0 GPA from small private university ( 2 yrs, earned bachelors, where I took all my business courses), and 3.8 at community college (2 yrs, all general courses), so blended 3.9. CFA Level II candidate. Extracurriculars: Muay Thai kickboxing, running, etc etc. Plan: 700+ GMAT and top ten B school.
Now I know my profile is probably pretty weak at the moment for a top ten. I realize there is more I need to do in order to build a compelling resume. I'm going to join a local Toastmasters group, though I am not sure how beneficial that would be. I know I need to do more, what steps could I take to increase my odds of getting into a top ten? Are my chances realistic? Thanks!
You didn't mention your gender or cultural background, so I'll assume neither helps you stand out very much from the typical applicant. I'll also assume you don't have many leadership stories from the workplace. If that's the case, your best avenue for strengthening your application is to find some unusual activity outside of work and take a significant leadership role, then rack up some impressive impact stories you can talk about. Toastmaster's probably won't help you very much in terms of B-school admissions. Other things you can do are to start building a network among students and alumni at the top ten schools where your chances are not impossible, including visiting the campuses obviously. You can also begin lining up and coaching recommenders to give you the time and effort for great reco letters. And working with a consultant to optimize the impact of your essays could also help.
Great insight, thanks. I should have noted my background, I apologize for less than complete information. I'm a caucasian male, though am the only person in my family born in the United States. My father was born in bulgaria and my mother was born in Kosovo, so I have a fairly diverse background. My dad came to this country with the just the shirt on his back and made a decent life with his own dining establishment. I'm in a junior position at work and have no leadership experience to speak of. By networking, do you mean I should try to get in touch with current/former grad students at the schools I am interested in? Just not sure what that will accomplish, how will they improve my odds of getting in? "You can also begin lining up and coaching recommenders to give you the time and effort for great reco letters." I'm sorry, what does that mean? I know time is of the essence and I want to look for some organizations outside of work that will improve my leadership skills.
Your cultural background is a modest asset that you should discuss in your essays. Building networks with students etc. at your target schools and mentioning that network by name in your essays shows schools that you've personalized your school search, which sets you apart from many other applicants. It also may help you long term if any of your network members decide to write a note in support of your application. Regarding recommenders, I was referring to explaining to them what a good reco letter is (see my book), and making sure they show you they plan to approach the process enthusiastically. You sound like you may be just learning about the B-school application process, so you may want to read my book and Richard Montauk's.