Here we go:
28 years old, Asian-American male, living in SF Bay Area
GMAT-700 (Q46, V40) - Q - 80% , V - 90%. AWA - 5.5
First try - 670 Q49, V 32
Undergrad-BA liberal arts/Business Minor with a 3.3 GPA and a 3.5 (business class GPA) at UC Berkeley. I took almost all business courses to finish the major. I did not participate at all during school out side of class due to working 10-20 hours per week at various internships and part time jobs which I leveraged to get my 1st job.
After undergrad, took a large number of courses, probably 20-30 either to fulfill teaching cred, suppl teaching credential, learn new skills - all of these classes either As or Bs.
I took a number of math courses at a comm. college after graduating to become a math teacher, I received 3 Cs and 2 Bs - they were upper division / upper level calc & math courses.
Career Progression (chonological) (5.5 / 6 total years of exp)
-My first job was at in investment banking. Due to tech downturn in 2001, was laid off and pondered my career path. Decided to go into teaching, started substitute teaching/taking above mentioned math courses. Spent 1 yr here.
-My second job was working at two marketing firms (PT and FT) - Internet marketing analyst, two things learned/accomplished - analysis led to saving large dot-com 200-300k a year in ad spending, drove sales up 50%. Also initiated/implemented software to automate ad spending. This was a backup in case I wasn't able to get into teaching (which I had spent about 2 yrs working on already).
-My third job - teaching high school for 4 years. Taught at two diff. schools with differing socioeconomic status. Started two different business courses. Various achievements include community involvement, creating consulting projects for students, winning awards at Trade Show. Can also give some stats that show how I improve as teacher (student test scores improving/relative to mean?)
-Volunteer manager for church small group for 3 years. Led groups of 10-20 volunteers on 10-20 projects at food banks/homeless shelters/delivering food.
-Board member of large local nonprofit - college fund for underpriviledged high school students. Led/execute initiatives to create online communities for our scholars. Worked in team to hire new managing consultant/executive director/determine strategy for ST /LT vision. Mentor to a scholar. Worked in team to plan large event.
Recommendations will be be from two former supervisors at schools I have worked at.
Why MBA, what will I do with it, and why now?
I want to get the MBA to become a nonprofit consultant, learn about nonprofits industry inside and out from strat to fin. to marketing, then work in philanthropy to eval grants and det. operational effectiveness. Why now? Feel like teaching has reached its potential in terms of where I can develop soft skills, want to have impact on larger groups of people.
Also, I am have a girlfriend also applying - her profile competitive as well, was wondering if we should apply together, benefits - pros/cons.
Flighty? Coming from I-bank background, why teacher, why non-profit? I always had a service focus, but due to having to work to finance school, didnt really direct this focus into a career until post-undergrad. That's why I am a career switcher so many times.
Poor quant grades after school? 3 Cs on these hard math classes will make a big diff? They won't count on undergrad gpa.
Yale/Michigan both have strong nonprofit focus. Wharton is very comm. service minded. UCLA as backup, though def. wouldnt mind going there. My top choice and most realistic choice IMO is Michigan.
Questions for you
1. Assess my weaknesses. How will those impact me? Are they biggies or things I can explain with little harm? Any other ones?
2. Because of my irregular background, it's hard for me to point out specific accomplishments as a teacher, and it's also hard to demonstrate leadership / teamwork experience outside of the classroom. Any ideas here?
3. Thoughts on applying to same school as girlfriend, pros/cons / process of applying as couple
4. In my essays, how much detail should I go into reg. my exp working at an investment bank and marketing? Are they even relevant at all? I have written a number of essays, and all my ex. of leadership/teamwork/etc. are all coming from my comm service (board membership) and creating/teaching classes (teaching exp.)
5. Eval chances at schools.
Thank you so much for doing this.
1. I think you are overemphasizing your weaknesses in terms of 'flightiness' and the mediocre grades. You just need to explain the reasons for your IB + teaching career choices. Your GPA and undergrad school are strong. I see no other major weaknesses. The teaching 'counts' as community involvement in a sense. You will have to give them strong leadership stories in your essays.
2. You will need to think hard about what teaching stories will work as accomplishments and leadership. If you are unable to, your application will have a big weakness, but I'll bet those stories are there if you think about it.
3. You and your girlfriend will have to be admitted on your own merits. Schools won't give you any special consideration because of your girlfriend. Since you're not married, I would not even mention it in the application.
4. You will have to discuss the IB job in your goals essay, because it is part of your career progress and needs to be explained. Again, if you don't have any accomplishments from that part of your career, then your application will be weakened. Give it some thought.
5. Yale, Michigan, and UCLA seem feasible. Wharton and Kellogg seem like longshots, but you have an unusual profile which will help you stand out so if you execute well you might get lucky.
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
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