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Hi, thank you very much for taking the time to review my profile.
Turkish male, 26
Studied International Business/Economics double major in a top, but not elite liberal arts college in the US.
GPA: 3.63, Major GPA: 3.8 for both. Did my best to learn Russian when I was in college, but ended up hurting my GPA.
Graduated Magna cum laude with Honors in IB&M and won the Departmental Award for "Excellence in International Business"
Wrote two independent research papers while in college, one on commodity bubbles in Latin America and the other on similar patterns between 1980s HY market and '00s ABS market.
Joined a boutique global distressed debt fund in NYC (about 150MM under management, 12 employees in total) for an internship after junior year, which turned into a full job and a promotion to VP and a 6-figure salary after 2 years on the job.
Job duties included analyzing companies in different regions and sectors (mostly EM, asset intensive sectors such as agriculture, shipping, manufacturing), sourcing investment ideas, working through bankruptcy situations (represented the Fund in two creditor committees, one situation in Indonesia, the other in Norway, also involved in situations in Argentina, Mexico, Greece, Japan, Australia, Turkey, Brazil etc) and presenting investment ideas to the PM. Returns have been very strong but the fund is having difficulty raising money, so it's quite possible that I might switch to a similar job in another firm in HK within the next 6 months.
GMAT:760 (Q50, V41)
Recommendations from my two PMs should be very good, talking about my investment successes and initiative. They both agreed that my biggest weakness is my assertiveness. I have a good start on my essays and fairly optimistic on how they will turn. I will try to position myself as an internationalist since I do have a natural curiosity towards the world, which helped me a lot in my job.
Traveled extensively both for work and pleasure, worked on investments all around the globe. I have a number of cases I have been involved that I take pride in, both in terms of successful returns and social contribution. Thinking of ways to incorporate them in my essay but might be better suited for the interview.
Extracurriculars are probably my biggest weakness, I was the President of the Finance Club for a year, a founding member of the Socially Responsible Investing committee set up by the College President (one of 6 students) and was involved in the Greek Life back in college. I have been boxing for four years, I play a Turkish musical instrument since high school days and love traveling/trekking/wwoofing, which is what I do with my vacation time basically. That being said, I don't have any "impactful" community involvement since my college days.
My immediate goal after-MBA is to continue distressed investing in EM, and eventually try to set up a socially responsible investment fund.
I think my top choices are HBS, Wharton and Columbia, but I'm also considering applying to INSEAD, Booth and LBS, all for Fall 2013. I think INSEAD would be a great fit for me, but I am worried about the post-MBA opportunities in finance.
First of all, I am curious to hear which schools would be reach/competitive/safety and secondly if my goals make sense when applying for MBA. I am set on the short term distressed investing part since I already have a decent network but probably need to improve on Negotiations/Game Theory and can use further academic finance training, but leaving my long term goal more open-ended and I would be looking into studying social enterprise, venture capital in developing world etc to get there. Any feedback you can provide will be much appreciated.
I am definitely very happy to write that you are top school material. I'd aim for the Top, and settle for nothing less if I were you. I think any of the six schools you mentioned are excellent choices for you, INSEAD included. I would also not hesitate to add Sloan and Stanford to that list. the more goodness, the merrier. Given your stellar academic background and your very interesting profile, I would say: skip the safety schools and go with a "Top or Bust" strategy for this year at least (no rush, right? )
I don't think you will have any problems with lack of extracurriculars. You may not have the most or the strongest I've ever seen, but more than enough to tell some good solid stories. So no apologies need be made there. And that's it. Really you have done your job so far, now you need to wow them with your essays. Send a strong message about your "independent success" and your "internationalism" as well as any promise of leadership and I have good hopes in you.
Thank you for the encouragement Jon. I am pretty much going for the Top or Bust strategy, I hope it will work out. How do you think I should approach the job change right during the application process? Is it going to be a red flag or raise questions about my commitment to MBA?
Not at all, no red flags.... But when you do make a job change like this, you need to make sure that when you present the narrative of your career arc that this job change makes sense in terms of your goals. So say for example you tell the AdCom you want to be a banking manager, and then right now you move from a banking job to a non-profit job, (i.e. in a totally different direction) that would seriously weaken the logic of your goals.... but if you can present your job change as an ADVANCEMENT towards your goals, that's likely the best strategy.
Good luck to you, good sir! Go kick the hell out of those essays.