Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Schools: Booth, Kellogg, Olin All PT
WE 1: Tech/Manufacturing
WE 2: Tech/Finance
, given: 6
Profile Eval told in story format [#permalink]
21 Dec 2009, 22:19
I have a bit of an interesting profile so I'll make it into a short story!
Some background though
Age: 29 (and 4 months)
Ethnicity: LPR of Pakistani origin
GMAT: 730 (V41 Q49 AWA 5.5) given this Nov. (look for my debrief for interested parties)
Undergrad GPA: CS/IT 3.07/4 (so so school from Pakistan)
Grad GPA: ~12/20 (GREAT university in France was in the top 100 according to Times when I graduated)
Raised in Oman and in the UAE, good schools in uptil the mid-teens, including military boarding school for 2 years. Ended with GCSE O and GCE A Levels ( this is equivalent to high school .. takes 13 years though)
I did my undergrad from a so-so university from Pakistan, only because I wanted to get into the Computer program. Some of you may understand, but having done the GCE/GCSEs, there are some complications into getting into universities for certain programs (quotas and other kinds of things .. it is fairly complicated but I think I could explain some of these things in the optional essay). GPA rose upto a decent 3.63 uptill the 4th semester when I hit some serious familial problems (not going into detail with this.. but I would love to know how to address this in the essays), GPA fell in the 5th semester down to a slovenly 2.50 and only touched 2.76 in the 7th semester. However last semester was a 3.23 and graduated with a final 3.07/4.00
Each semester required some kind of tech project, followed by a big final project in the last 2 semesters. Each project was done in a group, I was the group leader for each project and the projects were interesting and innovative.
Not much into college activities during undergrad, but did teach high school kids on average 5 - 10 hours a week throughout the undergrad (for spending money).
Also was a founding member of my community's youth committee.
Travelled extensively all over the country to not just touristy places or large metro areas but also to very tiny little hamlets and villages scattered throughout the country. Some interesting experiences there (I have a ton of those).
Upon graduation joined a respectable tech company with a VERY niche industry as a techie/programmer, they had a rigourous recruitment process (gave a test just like the GMAT!)
Within 6 months was made team lead (because the present team lead left). Duties involved team management, mentoring, client handling and a whole bevy of things which demonstrate leadership, team and intellectual skills.
In total I worked there 18 months.. received a couple of commendations and was being groomed for a managment role. Since the projects were mostly financial in nature, I had to pick up a lot of financial knowledge, I spent some of my own time and money picking up FI knowledge.
Also participated and even organized some team building activities such as beach trips, dinners, breakfasts and such.
The company could be considered a startup.
After working at the above place for 18 months, I won a fully funded scholarship to a very good grad school in France for a Research Masters in Computing and possibly a PhD. The scholarship program included 3 months of low intensity French language training in Pakistan and then 2 months of VERY intensive language training in France including some tech training as well. This was conducted in the beautiful city of Grenoble. In my 2 months there I went on trips every weekend to places like Lyons, Mont Blanc, Turin and so on. In that kind of immersive program, I was able to bring some level of French fluency.
I then started my masters , which was a very challenging experience since all the instruction was in French. All reports, presentations and homework was in French. Exams were slated for the winter of that year, but I had the option of giving those exams in the summer, so I availed myself of that offer. The program also required a 6 month research internship culminating in a thesis. I was able to convince the prof to let me do that in English and stretch the internship to 8 months. At this time I also had to contend with 10 different exams, the subject matter very theoretical and very much in French! I got a dismal 11.75/20 combined for my efforts.
I started a PhD in a topic similar to my master's thesis topic.I only did Phd level research for about 6 months.
I had been waiting for a while for immigration papers to the US and early in 2007 i moved to the US(another story altogether).
In total I lived in france for about 2 years. During the grad study, I was a member of a serria club like university organization which organized trips around the region for such activities as hiking, skiing, bicycling and such. I was an active member of that organization and participated on a weekly basis!
I also traveled a large swathe of Europe during that time, all over France, Germany, Spain, the UK etc.. etc..
At one time an earthquake hit a region in Pakistan and I involved myself in fund-raising activities such as cooking for a charity dinner and getting donations.
Now on to the US part of the tale!
I moved to Chicago in 2007 and found work as a techie in a well respected firm in Springfield, IL in a niche industry. Blasted through training and have demonstrable examples of leadership, teamwork, innovativeness and intelectual capacity. Recently moved up to a Business Analyst role with more responsibility, leadership and client interaction. Have been doing really well so far in that role. Got great reviews each year! In the fall of 2010 (When I plan to start the MBA) I will have worked there 3.5 years with 1.5 years in a BA role. Very active in team-building activites at that place.
Since moving to Springfield, I have travelled to large parts of the US and one brief trip to Canada. Simply for enrichment purposes. Also did a lot of hiking and camping. I am a fan of the outdoors!
I am a member of a regional adventure group so a lot of excursions are thanks to them!
I was again one of the founding members.
I also saw a quip while glancing through the book, MBA Admissions strategy, by AV Gordon about mentioning helping out a relative. Since 2007 I have been supporting my mother,sister and brother. They had nowhere to go (another long story). Over the years I have helped many people write resumes and improve on papers and such.
Not many other ECs besides those since being in Springfield.
And gave the GMAT this month 730 (V41 Q49 AWA 5.5)
Now with my story told , I am going to apply to the Fall 2010 weekend MBA programs for the following schools, in order of preference:
1. Chicago GSB
3. Wash U Olin (PMBA weeknights.. but its only 1.5 hours away so I could drive there 2-3 times a week)
4. UofI at UC
5. UofI at springfield
All of the above schools are at max 3 hours away from where I live and work.
I like where I work now and how I have the chance to progress upward.
So I'll most likely work there during the whole MBA or for part of it.
But I love the city of chicago and I would love to move there permenantly.
Career goals include progressing upwards in my company, possibly finding a managment role in a tech company in Chicago and eventually starting my own tech business in some niche Financial industry. I worked on stock market prediction during my master's thesis and during the truncated Phd, so I think I will present that to adcomm in my essays as a business idea.
I think that Pakistani-Americans are underrepresented in the US market.
I would love to learn all the skills that a top class b-school would teach me to achieve all of these things.
I have always loved tech and I do not really want to switch careers but go onto mgt side of things.
Thank you If you have reached this far, and With all of this said, would I have a shot at the top 3 schools mentioned above?
How should I address the weakpoints above such as low GPA?
I would be Pakistani/IT/Male if such an application pool exists, no offense ,but would I lumped in the Indian/IT/Male pool?
An eval would be wonderful!