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Would really appreciate your thoughts on my competitiveness for HBS, Wharton, Stanford and Kellogg
Background: Moved to the US with $20,000 to my uncle house for my education. I worked full time while I was in college and graduated with a 3.3 GPA as a finance major and was the president of my graduating class. I attended an average state school, think Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers etc. After college I co-founded 2 non-profits that now employ over 30 people and we are planning to expand nationally, one of these non-profits is the fastest growing non-profit in NYC. For my work I was recognized by President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg. All the organizations I have been a part of have also been featured in the press i.e. NYT, Bloomberg etc.
Work Experience: I started in back office at Merrill Lynch where I worked for 2.5 years, then moved to a top 10 investment banking in M&A for 2 years and am now working at one of the top 5 technology firms in silicon valley in their venture capital and acquisitions team. Most of the folks on my team are from the top 3 b-schools. Have a total of 5.5 years of experience.
Most MBA goal: I'd like to progress in the VC space
So first of all, as you probably know, getting the recognition you have gotten is one of the best things you can do to prepare your way into business school. Very few people will have such experience and such recognition from so famous people, and you should definitely lean on this heavily. I do think that your primary strength is in these two non-profits you have founded and in the strong recognition you have gotten, but it is hard to tell from here exactly how powerful that might make your application without getting into the details or what you did, what your story is, what your goals are. But I can safely say that you would be in the running.
You could of course make the choice easier for HBS and other schools by retaking the GMAT and getting 40+ points (is this an option? do you think you can hit such a score?) Every little improvement helps, and that improvement would be a big one.
These are the main thing I can see from what you have written here, and if you would like to add anything else, I'd be happy to share my thoughts with you.
Thanks a lot Jon, this is incredible advice. Just to give you a bit more background on myself, I came to the US on September 1st 2001, 10 days after I came to the attacks that took place had a profound impact on me and I vowed that I would be an example of the great things Muslims do in this country. After high school I went to a small 4 year state school in Oklahoma and was elected as the president of the student body when I was 17 years old and when I transferred to the state school on the east coast I became the president of my graduating class. All through out college I worked full time and had a major GPA of 3.7 (overall was 3.3). After college I founded 2 educational non-profits focused on mentoring and career guidance in NYC, as I knew I would not have gotten my wall street job in 2008 without the mentors I had. The programs we developed has helped send state school students to receive great awards like the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. For these reasons I was recognized by the President and the Governor. I recently moved to the west coast in a VC job to work closer with entrepreneurs and help them build great companies rather then the larger companies I helped in NYC.
Im very lucky to be part of some incredible teams. One of the non-profits is the fastest growing nonprofit in NYC, with over a 1000 volunteers helping about 250 students over a 2 year period, we raise about 4-5million a year, have a staff of 30 people and are sponsored by primarily companies like Goldman, Macys, Google, Blackrock etc. The second non profit raises between 1-2 million a year and has sponsorship primarily from foundations like Rockefeller, Echoing Green, Robin Hood, Blue Ridge etc.
Cool. That does seem pretty awesome when you lay out the numbers which you should definitely do when it comes time to applying (as well as emphasizing your teamwork). I mean that stuff is very very BIG for an incoming applicant. Just hammer away at the size of the thing, and how many people you manage and all the leadership/managerial issues and challenges this brings up and you will be in really good shape.