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Profile Eval + School selection

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Manager
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Joined: 30 Jul 2013
Posts: 105
Concentration: Strategy, Sustainability
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V39
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Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2014, 06:53
Hi,

-27 y/o Indian Male

-GMAT 710 (Q 81, V 88).....think I can improve this by 20-30 points atleast

-Graduated in 2008 from a business school in UK with a degree in accounting and finance. Topped my degree in year one. Ended up with an upper 2.1 degree.

-planned on working in UK itself in order to gain some international work ex but had to move back to India because of my fathers death (3 weeks after final term). Had to take care of family affairs so moved back.

-Have 6 years experience of working in the business development and strategy division of a firm with interests across hydropower, textiles and education. Have worked across all 3 sectors. Started out working as an analyst overseeing the development of a 5MW hydropower plant. This gave me a great insight into the workings of the infrastructure space in a developing country like India. Moved onto designing and implementing a plan for expanding the denim division within the textile sector. The expansion of the denim vertical played an important role in hedging against the downturn in the other textile divisions during the post lehman crisis. Currently leading a team in implementing the expansion/diversification of the education vertical. The idea for diversification was my brainchild. I'm also the youngest at the firm at a senior managerial role.

-short term goal is to make a transition to a top tier management consulting firm and work in new geographies (outside of India). Long term goal is to move back to India and start my own boutique consultancy.

-Extra curricular: work with one of the most prominent environmental NGO in the country. Currently drafting a letter that will be sent out to all the newly elected members of the Indian parliament, focusing on the urgent steps needed in the field of environmental conservation. Having lost my father to blood cancer I have organized and participated in blood donation camps as its a cause near my heart. I was also responsible for redrafting and implementing the corporate social responsibility charter at the firm with a focus on sanitation for the poor and improving female financial literacy.

-Target schools- Insead (dream school), Kellogg, Booth, Darden, LBS, Cornell and Yale (please feel free to suggest any others)

Also should I apply to Insead for the Jan 2015 intake in R3 or wait for the next application cycle to begin at Insead? Same question for HEC paris and IMD

Thanks for taking time out and helping people out here. Really appreciate it.

Regards
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2014, 10:37
Expert's post
Hey there ramalo,

Thanks for posting! Love the detail so, without further ado, let's get into this!!

Academics

It seems you're on the path to retake the GMAT which is a great decision. A 710 is a strong score but a upper second finish during uni means your GPA is a bit on the lower side. So a stronger GMAT is really going to help there. What I like, however, is that you studied abroad and you majored in business. So, with the right GMAT, you're going to get past the first screener - which is almost entirely stats based!

Professional Experiences

Wow, you've done and seen a lot! There's a lot here I like. You're in some pretty interesting industries across some awesome functions and you've held some impactful positions! Specifically, here's what I like. You're coming from something other than IT and, on top of that, you've diversified your experiences. That's really memorable! Secondly, you're making BIG moves in these places. Diversifying an industry vertical isn't easy and the fact that it was your idea and that you're leading the team to do it is amazing. Lastly, you being the youngest person in a senior managerial role says a lot about you. Having that come across in your essays and, more importantly, recommendations will be key!

Involvement

You're involved which is great. What's even better to see, however, is that you have impact and scope. It's also really diverse which can be great. Conveying consequences and numbers behind some of these accomplishments will be critical. For example, your work with the environmental NGO is great but communicating why your efforts mattered will be what help you stand out. I also think your efforts with blood camps are commendable - I'm sorry you lost your father to cancer but it's absolutely worth noting that it spurred you to try to make a difference!

Goals

Consulting is a perfectly fine short term goal to have. After all, most people refer to MBAs as consultant factories anyway and there's definitely a bit of truth to that. However, with such a generic goal, you're going to have to be specific and memorable. WHY consulting? WHAT industry(ies)? WHO have you talked to? WHY do you think it's a good fit? HOW will you do it? Most folks who say consulting say a sentence or two. That's not enough. You have to SELL this when you have a goal that's so commonplace.

Your longer term goal needs some work. Starting up your own consulting firm in the long run isn't a bad goal but there needs to be a discussion here.

Schools

If you goal is Tier 1 consulting, you need to go to as highly ranked program as you can BUT you need to pick programs where those firms will hire YOU. What do I mean by that? Just because you get into Harvard, doesn't mean you'll be RELATIVELY good enough to be picked up by Bain. You would have better chances at a tier of school right below that. Relativity is key!

INSEAD is a great program but you lack international experience. That's something INSEAD really likes. However, you have experience across industries and across value chains which is pretty rare for someone in your applicant pool and at your age. Before we get into the rest of your list - a question for you. How did you pick these programs? The programs in your list are pretty different from one another and it'd be great to better understand your reasoning.

I hope this helps - if you have specific questions, please let me know! If you want to chat in detail, sign up to chat with us [here] for your free consultation.

Cheers,

Bhavik
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Concentration: Strategy, Sustainability
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V39
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2014, 12:51
Hey Bhavik

Thank you so much for taking time out and providing such a detailed evaluation.

Academics:
Completely agree with you. I think I should be able to get a score closer to 730+ and that's something I'm working hard on. I think this will help partially offset my undergrad performance.

Professional Experiences:
Thank you for your kind words. I think I have a strong base for my essays but I will definitely need professional help in framing my essays. As far as recommendations go I think I should be able to get strong ones.

Goals:
Coming up with a strategy and then executing it is something I do in my current role. But my role is currently confined more or less only to the Indian context. Post MBA I would definitely like to work outside of India. As my short term goal I would like to work within the strategy consulting domain with focus on industries such as infrastructure and natural resources (in both I will be able to utilize my current skill set and build upon it) Moreover working in the developed world (USA or Western Europe) will allow me to learn the best global practices in these sectors and this will come in handy when I eventually move back to India, seeing the long term requirement for expertise in these sectors.
I know I need to work on my short term and long term goals to stand out from the rest.

Schools:
I agree with you that my lack of international work experience might hamper my Insead application. However I'm hoping that through my essays I will be able to explain to the adcom the reasons which hampered my ability to do so (Having to move back to India, post my fathers demise, to take care of family affairs) and I'm also hoping that the fact that I graduated from a UK university should also help slightly.

The main reasons for choosing these programs (Insead, Kellogg, Booth, Darden, LBS, Cornell and Yale)has been the good consulting recruitment at these schools and also their well established international brand value, especially in India. Please suggest some other schools that might be suitable given my profile.

Also do you think it makes sense to apply to Insead for the Jan 2015 intake during R3 or wait for the August 2015 application? Same question for Hec Paris and IMD.

Thanks once again and hoping to hear from you soon.

Regards
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2014, 05:45
Expert's post
Hey there,

You're very welcome! I'm glad you found my feedback helpful. You have your hands full with the GMAT retake and that should absolutely be your first focus. Have you set a date?

Also, I'm sure with your experiences you can probably pull on some great recommenders. However, given your rather unconventional (but awesome!) professional experiences, they are going to have to provide context. That will be key for the adcom to understand what you're all about and why it matters. That last part is key. Recommender strategy is always key but in your case it's a bit more important!

From a goals perspective, they make perfect sense. When it comes down to making them stick, however, it'll come down to the perfect balance of specificity and uniqueness. Easy, right? :)

As for schools, if your goal is to get into consulting, then literally any top 20 program will do. You're right, some have better brand awareness abroad but what it will come down to is two things. Firstly, what schools best fits you? Your learning style, personality, needs, etc. Secondly, where will YOU have the best chances of landing a top consulting placement. Effectively, where will you be relatively top quartile WITHIN your program. Let's talk schools once you retake the GMAT - honestly, that should be your focus. We can work through the schools after we have your score in hand.

However, in the meantime, what I would suggest is you visit our page on [How to Choose Programs]. It's a pretty good list of the things to consider when choosing MBA programs. Go through it, have a think, reflect. Come up with your list of must haves, nice to haves, and the rest. Once you have the GMAT score in hand and a good handle of what's important to you, we can take it from there!

As for applying this year, don't. You have a pretty strong profile and have a shot at some great programs. Don't hack up your strategy and push things forward that don't need to be. Apply next year. Not only will your chances be better, but you'll be in a better spot to understand your application strategy and how to handle it.

When you're ready to start the process, sign up to chat with us. I know you mentioned you'd need a hand with your essays, but every partnership with our clients starts with our free consultation. It's a great way for you to learn more about us and for us to do the same about you! Then we can figure out the path forward together.

Good luck on the GMATs and let us know how they go!

Bhavik
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Concentration: Strategy, Sustainability
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V39
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2014, 23:20
Hey

Haven't registered yet but will do so soon and book a date for mid July.

Thanks for the wonderful insight into the recommendations. Completely agree with your perspective.

I will definitely get in touch with you guys at criticalsquare post my gmat attempt.

Thanks once again for taking out time and explaining things in such detail.

Regards
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2014, 08:20
Expert's post
It's my pleasure - glad you found it helpful! Good luck with the GMATs - we're rooting for you. We think you're going to absolutely knock them out of the park :)

Bhavik
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2014, 21:24
CriticalSquare wrote:
It's my pleasure - glad you found it helpful! Good luck with the GMATs - we're rooting for you. We think you're going to absolutely knock them out of the park :)

Bhavik



Hey Bhavik,

So I finally gave my GMAT again. Unfortunately I wasn't able to improve on my score. Wondering what options I have now. Help!!
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2014, 06:25
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Hey there - sorry the retake didn't go the way you were hoping for! Your last post was in June so let me ask you this - what are you plans? Are you shooting for R2?
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2014, 10:50
Yes I'm shooting for R2 now. I'm certain in my head that I would like to go for my MBA next year. So definitely targeting R2 applications. The following is the list of schools that I'm looking to apply to.

Target schools: Insead, Emory, Duke, Yale, Ross, Olin, Cornell, Boston University and McCombs

Need advice to narrow down the list. Insead is my dream school, I know they like/want international work experience but I think I can talk about doing my undergrad abroad plus my reasons for moving back. In addition I think that the fact that they have so many essays will work in my favor in explain different facets of myself.

Anxiously looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2014, 10:03
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Hey there,

That's a really diverse school list so I like that. If you're passionate about INSEAD, go for it. But it'll be a stretch. Other schools such as Ross, Duke, etc. with a 710 and being an Indian male will be stretches too. You definitely have some components that help you stand out but let's face it, stats trump most things. Emory, Cornell, McCombs, Olin, and BU are a much better set of diverse schools. You keep things a bit aggressive with Emory, Cornell, and McCombs, and play a bit safer with BU and Olin.

You also don't have a ton of time and if you're interested in consulting as you mentioned, brand is everything. I would say pick 1 or 2 from the Duke/Ross/INSEAD group, 2 from the Emory/Cornell/McCombs, and 1 or 2 from the Olin/BU pool.

Good luck!

Bhavik
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2014, 10:55
Hi Bhavik,

Thanks for the response. Will I be right in assuming that the main difficulty with applying to some of the better ranked schools (Insead,Yale,Ross,Duke,etc) for me will be my low gmat of 710?

I'm seriously contemplating retaking it soon and really giving it all. I know it will be difficult given that I need to simultaneously work on my essays but I think I can take some time off work (maybe 10-14 days) and really sort all this out.

I know these schools will be difficult to get into regardless but will an improvement in my score by 30-40 points make them a lot more achievable? Am I right in taking time out to do that GMAT or should I just concentrate on my essays?

Thanks
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2014, 07:41
Expert's post
Hey there - you could do this. Retake the GMAT, pick 2 - 3 schools for R2 and go aggressive. If it doesn't work out, apply in a more balanced way next year. But that could be a good way to still give it a go this year and try for some great programs. But it allows you to more realistically balance apps + GMAT. Thoughts?

Bhavik
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2014, 09:16
Hey Bhavik,

I see your point. But at some level I'm really keen on going for my MBA next year. Just thought of waiting an extra year and going in 2016 sounds way too depressing to even consider. Both personally and professionally next year would be the exact time for me to head out for an MBA.

So this is what I'll do- Take 2-3 weeks off from work (I think I need to somehow) and work on my GMAT during the day and my application essays at night. Will register to take the GMAT around the 20th. Plan on applying to 5-6 schools, hopefully doing essays will become easier after the first one.

School List: Insead, Duke/Yale, Emory, Cornell/McCombs, Boston University and Olin

Just realized that this is almost the exact same list that you had provided.

How does this sound?
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2014, 11:05
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Applying to 5/6 programs is definitely doable - but it'll be busy!
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Re: Profile Eval + School selection   [#permalink] 08 Dec 2014, 11:05
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