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Profile eval - quirky exp, strong career prog, low gpa

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Profile eval - quirky exp, strong career prog, low gpa [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2014, 18:56
Hi Everyone,

Targeting Insead as a preference or top 20 program in US.

29/M/Australian(Dual National - EU Passport) - looking to apply for Insead sept intake 2015.
GPA: 2.87 - upward trend (worked 24 hours/week while studying to pay through University) - Undergrad - Bachelor of Business - Double major: Economics/International Business
Clubs: Debating (Attended World Championships)
Awards: Business Icon Winner (An Australian apprentice style competition run between universities for 18-25 year olds - I beat out more than 100 other competitors in a 5 day competition which included pitching a new business idea to a panel of VC's, and presenting a new strategic plan to the board of directors of a small cap tech comp)
GMAT - Targeting 700+ of course to make up for low GPA - also considering taking external in statistics as this was a class I failed in University that brought my GPA down. Although I gained A's in other quant related Economics classes.
Language - English mother tongue; Spanish - Intermediate (getting a tutor 1 day a week at the moment to bring it up to working level)

Total exp: 5 years Bus Dev. 3 promotions, and a move into a higher role with new company for large comp increase.

Current role: Business Development Executive (8 months) - $4mil revenue @ $1mil GM - for global large cap chemical company - focussing on Mining and Unconventional Gas (Shale) & CBM. On current growth projections I should double this over the next 12 months and will have hired an account manager to work under me. I negotiate with chemical manufacturers throughout the world US/Germany/Italy/China/India on a daily basis and have been working on product development with Indian manufacturers. When I took on the role the key account was losing $10k+ per month in GM and was about to cancel a contract which would have resulted in ~$200k loss. I turned this around, renegotiated the contract and now the account now produces $40k GM per month.

Between these two roles, partially because I wanted to see more of the world so I could feel settles to focus on my career/family goals, but also due to a non-compete clause from my previous employer I took 18 months out to travel the world.

Previous roles: Industry Manager - Unconventional Gas (2.5 years) - with Small Cap chemical distributor. Started at the bottom level with revenue of 300k, and over 2.5 years built this into $2.5 mil - was consistently in top 5 performers on budget in sales team of 80+. Promoted 3 times and consistently given more product management responsibility. Most importantly, I took the company into the fastest growing industry in Australia for chemical distribution - Unconventional Gas. Managed other staff through matrix but not directly.

International experience- 1.5 years in Ireland - two jobs in hard-core sales/recruitment roles for small media company - consistently high sales performer.

Personal experiences: During a career gap year - rode a motorbike 35,000km through 30 countries (Virtually every country in mainland Europe) & travelled to 45 countries total. Studied martial arts in Fujian province, China. Learnt to speak Spanish and make wine while volunteering on a horse ranch and a vineyard in Spain over 5 months.

Entrepreneurial experiences: Started local music festival whilst in final year at University. Lead a team of 8 to pull together event, running musicians across 2 stages and had 2000 tickets sold. Had to cancel at last minute due to disagreement with local council. Unfortunately only 500 people turned up to rescheduled event. We had marketed so well with social media that we attracted attention of other music festivals. Made back the money we lost through consulting to major Australian music festivals and running their social media campaigns.

Hobbies: Motorbikes, Rock-climbing, Hiking, Filmmaking, AIBC (Australian-India Business Council) Member

Volunteer experience: Very little formal.

So as you can see I have had varied experiences, my dream school is Insead with a view to a geographical change to Asia and a move into a BD or General Management role in a large cap chemical company, such as Dow or Shell/BP, or possibly a career move into an E&P. These companies are all on the Insead recruitment lists.

Why MBA? To further my career I need the corporate finance skills, and to take the next step to full P&L responsibility. Also to reopen doors that I closed earlier in my career due to poor strategic career choices.

Alternatives to Insead: A top 20 US program where the company I presently work for would sponsor me.

A note I would make is that one of my biggest mistakes was squandering my opportunities post University. After winning the Business Icon program I had some good opportunities and should have gone into the graduate stream at a big name company. However I wanted to pursue an international career, and with visa options, plus my lack of a second language, Ireland, the Celtic Tiger seemed the place to go. Unfortunately without a local reputation and with the lower GPA, I had trouble finding roles with a reputable company. I took on a hard sales roles in a media company and a role with a recruitment agency over 18 months however the cracks in the Celtic tiger were already appearing and by Oct 08 when the GFC hit there was very little opportunity left. After much introspection I decided to go home and take a graduate level sales role. As listed above, from there I started to gain traction in my career.

Concerns:
Low GPA - although I think I can make up for this. I don't think it is an application killer, but would be keen to hear peoples thoughts?

Lack of direct management experience - I take informal leadership roles within the companies by default however, and tend to lead from positions of no authority. I have plenty of examples I could share on this point. I could also use examples from the 'Business Icon' competition where I lead teams directly, and from my efforts trying to run a music festival, although these examples may be getting less relevant now as they are almost 6 years old. Thoughts?

I have read Insead like a bit of a quirky profile - but my concern is that my profile may be too quirky. Will they see me taking 18 months out of my career to do an inherently selfish bucket-list ticking exercise as a good thing, or a bad thing?

Looking at Insead criteria:

International motivation - I think I prove this with the Ireland experience and my personal travel experiences plus my goal to live and work in an Asian country.
Leadership potential - Can prove through examples that I have potential. However there is a lack of 'direct' experience at this stage.
Academic capacity - Once I get a GMAT over 700 I think I will check this box, although it wont be the shining star in my app.
Ability to contribute - I have a broad range of experiences from travel and work, from dealing with people all over the world. I think I can really add to the classroom.

I read a profile similar to mine - search for woojet at beatthegmat (I cant post links yet) - however this guy was managing a team of 5 in China. So he really stands out on the leadership/international motivation criteria.

Would appreciate any feedback and any thoughts about things I could do over the next 12-18 months to strengthen my application?

Wow, this post was long...
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Re: Profile eval - quirky exp, strong career prog, low gpa [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2014, 00:01
Apart from the GPA issue, your profile looks pretty good. That should not be a worry for you if you can score near 700+ in GMAT. Coming to leadership experiences, I think you have displayed such abilites in your extra-curriculars, but you definitely lack on the business end. But with all the promotions and deals you have been a part of, I think you can definitely overcome the leadership experience problem. INSEAD takes into account your international exposure. Taking your whole profile into account, I would definitely advise you to aim for few schools in the US as well. You already have a lot to write on your essays and make sure you mention all of it. Start working on your application as soon as you get your GMAT results. Download the free ebook on how to get into a top business school: http://www.interviewbay.com/mba/how-to- ... -ebook.php

Good Luck!
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Re: Profile eval - quirky exp, strong career prog, low gpa [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2014, 02:14
Thanks for the response.

Pushing hard on sales this year to open up the opportunity to have 2-3 people under me within 18 months.

However, have to tick the GMAT first.
Re: Profile eval - quirky exp, strong career prog, low gpa   [#permalink] 20 Jan 2014, 02:14
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