I have been using GMATClub for a couple of months now & I would like to express my thanks to the admins for some amazing guidance this website has provided me!!
I am an Indian male, 24 years, non-IT background. I intend to pursue a Masters in Finance from a TOP 10 university in USA. I request you to assess my profile and will try to be as exhaustive & descriptive with my particulars as possible! I would really appreciate it if you could guide me over a) how to compensate for the weaker components of my profile while applying b) which schools I can realistically target c) anything that I can do to improve my application & increase my chances, specifically how to differentiate myself from the usual Indian-male-IT pool:
1) Brief description of your full-time work experience
: 1st Job (1.5 years)
: Strategic Forecasting Analyst working for Marketing & Strategy Division at one of the two global offices of world's second biggest pharmaceutical giant. I started off with assisting on a $3 billion dollar product and eventually ended-up handling all the deliverables for that brand by end of the year with my mentor. I did great & was also nominated for an award by my manager for the same.
After that, I was provided with the responsibility of managing forecast services for offices in Region Europe. Got to visit Istanbul, Turkey & single-handedly implemented the forecasting process for their country office; managed it till I left the job. 2nd Job (1 year)
: Business Analyst at one of the top global banks working in the portfolio management segment & handling clients from various industrial profiles. Undergraduate Internships
: a) Technical Internship at a Fortune 500 steel manufacturing giant, performed well (demonstrated losses of $7 million dollars & recommended process changes) & was awarded a job offer which I declined since I had realized I wanted a while-collar job b) Marketing Internship at a global automotive giant (managed a team of 5 for a special project)
I am confident of gathering strong recommendations from both the jobs as well as the internships. Also, one of my professors with whom I had worked on a research project for an year will be happy to provide me one too. However, I would like to know from you whether a lack of significant experience in the financial industry will hamper my prospects a lot...
2) Your GMAT
: 740 (Q 50)
3) Important certifications
: CFA level 3 candidate & FRM level 1 & 2 cleared (all of them in 1st attempt, I worked hard for them taking time out of my ex-job life since I thought I didn't have much experience in finance except the final year of my professional experience till now and so I had to make up for that somehow)
4) College info
: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur; B.Tech. in Materials & Metallurgical Engineering with GPA 7.3/10 . I know it is on the lower side but the department topper had a 9.2/10. Just to give you an idea, I scored low grades on some really tough courses e.g. I got a C in all the three mathematics courses which were mandatory for all undergrads, had a student count of >500 with only 10 people getting As and some 50 people getting Bs!! Unfortunately for me, this was really batch specific because the instructors were new & faced a lot of criticism for such a skewed grading!!
(I would really appreciate if you could throw some light on how to overcome these factors while applying
I know well that it is foolish to state that the class was too competitive considering it was IIT afterall).
Apart from that, I must mention that I was into finance right from my undergraduate days: A certificate course on Introductory Finance & elective on Financial Economics which covered applied finance concepts like derivatives & modelling. There have been months when I have literally lived off stock-trading, I was quite naive & unprepared to not get selected in the I-banks that came to our institute for recruitment and I'm now realizing the impact that could have had on my overall application.
To compensate for some of the gaps e.g. lower grades in math courses, I have been taking up online courses on computational finance, financial modelling theory & programming (I am aware that most of the MSc finance programs are actually Fin. Engg. programs nowadays). Although I hope that those certifications I mentioned above & my GMAT score should more than clear any adcom's doubts but I am still quite worried. I had also qualified for regional maths olympiad & attained certificates of merti in mathematics at higher secondary level.
5) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience: Strong overall and one of the major reasons of my lower GPA although I am confident of projecting them well
. Right from my sophomore year, I was an active part of the Core Management Team for the cultural festival of our institute & by the time I graduated, the fest had attained the status of one of the top cultural festivals in India managed entirely by a student body (I got a special recognition award by the university for the same). Led blood donation camps & social awareness drives for poorer sections of society.
6) Your target programs: Top 10 USA MSc Finance programs (UC-Berkeley, MIT, CMU-Tepper, UCLA, Cornell, Columbia, UIUC, Washington & although they are a long shot but also HBS, Stanford & Princeton). Another problem is that some of these programs ask for GRE scores
7) Your post-MBA goal: To stay in a top financial firm (preferably Investment banking/Risk management role) for 4-5 years, hopefully do well and then pursue my MBA (targeting a senior-level position).
I know this has been one of those *longer* ones but I hope that you understand how it is as a candidate!
Thanks in advance!!