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Profile Eval please - Army Officer

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Profile Eval please - Army Officer [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2010, 07:59
Dear Paul,

How are you?

1. I am Siddharth from India working for past 14 years in the Indian Army as a Major.
2. Offlate, I have started dwelling on the idea of applying and getting through to a top 10 B school and I would appreciate if you can evaluate my profile based on facts given below and give out my chances of getting there.
3. I finished my schooling with 81% marks in high school and 86% marks in 12th std with science subjects.
4. Thereafter, I was selected for the premier tri-service (Army, Navy and Airforce)Officers training establishment for the Indian Defence forces, i.e. National Defence Academy(NDA). During my stint at NDA, I was trained for 3 years in the subtle nuances of modern day warfare, tactics, combat leadership and expertise in handling arms and ammunition. Apart from these, I also excelled in debate competitions, sports, swimming and wildlife photography. Simulatneously, I also completed my graduation(Bachelor in Sciences) from Jawahar lal Nehru university, New Delhi.
5. After that, I went for advanced training of Army to the Indian Military Academy for 1 year, wherein I was trained to lead an Infantry Platoon(125 men) in war in all types of terrain viz. High altitude, desert, jungle and amphibious environment against a nuclear backdrop. I was also trained for counter insurgency operations.
6. On completion of my precommission training, I was deployed in North eastern sector of India in anti terrorists operations. Therein, I commanded 125 men carrying out surgical military operations resulting in elimination of large number of militants in my area of responsibility and recovery of large cache of arms, ammunition and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
7. My efforts were well recognised and I was honoured with three gallantry awards including one from the Honourable President of India and the other two from the top military hierarchy.
8. Thereafter, I was posted to Jammu and Kashmir(ladakh sector), the highest battlefield of the world, where I along with my team was responsible to provide optimum logistic support to the field Army.
9. I was then posted to an Aviation support echelon providing logistic backup to the complete Indian Army.
10. In my past 14 years in the Army, I attended various courses of instructions in a wide range of fields from Inventory Management , tactical deployment of Army and bomb disposal at premier training establishments of Army and have topped all of them with very high academic and practical performance.
11. I also served with the elite National Security Guards(NSG), the crack anti-terrorist unit of Government of India for 3 years. During my tenure in NSG, I was selected to be a part of OP black tornedo, which was launched in the wake of terrorist attack on Hotel Taj, Hotel Oberoi and Nariman house in Mumbai on 26 Nov 2008. My operation was a success and I was honoured with a gallantry award from the Chief of Indian Army. In NSG, I extensively carried out many detection and disposal of many bombs and carried out post blast investigations at various sites of incidence.
12. Presently, I am working with an ammunition unit providing ammunition support to the field Army.
13. I have also extensively participated in social causes especially in terrorist infested areas.
14. As of now, I am preparing to take GMAT in Sep and wish to do MBA(finance). The post MBA goal is to get into Investment banking.
15. I would request you to provide me realistic guidance on my chances of getting into top B Schools like Harvard, Wharton, Stanford etc and what in your opinion should be my ideal GMAT score for getting in there?

Regards
Siddharth
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Re: Profile Eval please - Army Officer [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 11:46
Expert's post
Siddharth:
thanks for reaching out to me.you have an extremely interesting profile. In fact I've only come across something like it once before in my tenure as a professional admissions consultant. I believe that you do have the basis for a compelling MBA story and candidacy, however my first question is around your goals and what it is that you want to do upon graduation from any top MBA program.

In reading your post I know that you want to move into the finance realm. There are a few issues with this. First, is extremely difficult to break into the investment banking industry without prior experience. Think about it this way -- why should they hire you over the thousands of other newly minted MBAs who already have significant investment banking experience? So it's not that it is an unreasonable goal, it is that you may not be viewed as someone who is able to hit the ground running at a bank on day one upon graduation. You need to articulate how your future finance career will build logically upon your past military career. You have to draw that strong correlation for the admissions committee in your essays. Because, in turn, the admissions committee knows that you have to dictate that same story to a potential recruiter. The admissions committee is a good filter for what will fly with recruiters. So when dictating the story nature you draw one to one connection. Else, you can't get hired, you can't get through the door into a top MBA program.

The other question I haveis with respect to your age. You have 14 years as an Indian army officer. So how old is that make you? I am going to guess, that at a minimum, this makes you approximately 32 years old. This makes you less attractive to American MBA programs. When you combine this with perhaps unrealistic goals within banking, your battleship could be sunk.

Your overwhelming redeeming quality is your leadership experience. Any MBA program would love to have you as an applicant, if solely considering your leadership experience. My suggestion is this -- and it's a narrow suggestion -- apply to UVA Darden. This is a school that will value your military experience, perhaps more than any other school in the United States. I would re-examine your long-term goals as well. In fact, what I see you as possibly doing is engaging a strategy firm that has a strong presence in the public sector. Your tactical experience, combined with strategic frameworks, would be of great service to private security companies, governments, NGOs and international organizations looking to expand their presence into areas of the world currently under conflict. So for example, you could provide guidance to a client company regarding their security concerns when opening a new facility in Iraq, Afghanistan or even Pakistan. You understand the implications of running an operation where insurgency operations exist. You can use this knowledge to help client companies form contingency plans but also strategic differentiators and where they locate their own operations.

I hope the above helps. Again, I thank your background extremely interesting. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck with your MBA application journey.

Respectfully, Paul Lanzillotti
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Profile Eval please - Army Officer

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