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Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton

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Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton [#permalink] New post 28 Dec 2009, 11:45
Hi all,

I am currently preparing for GMAT which I intend to take in Jan end. I plan to start writing essays in the summer of 2010 for the academic year starting fall 2011. I am currently in engineering/operations role and plan to change field to finance. Could you please advise what my chances are for Wharton, Harvard and Stanford?

1) Basic demographic info: age, gender, nationality
Indian citizen working in the US. 28/male (will be 29 when I apply)

2) Educational Background: undergrad major, GPA, GMAT score, any grad work you've done
BS, Electrical Engineering (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India) 2003: GPA 9.67/10, Rank: 2 out of 35 students
MS, ECE (University of IL at Urbana-Champaign) 2005: GPA: 3.95/4
GMAT: planning to take in Jan end. Hoping to get greater than 700
Completed CFA Level 2 in June 2009 and planning to take CFA Level 3 in June 2010

3) Work experience: what is your current role? Have you had any promotions? What industry do you work in? For how long have you worked?
Employer: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (makes computer chips and is Intel's competitor)
Duration: from Aug 2005 to present (will be 5 years work experience by the time I apply)
Role: I started in technology but I was interested in learning more about business and hence went into operations. I have completed black belt six sigma training. I am working on improving manufacturing efficiency and reducing inventory using six sigma process improvements and statistical data analysis. Got a promotion last year.

4) Extracurriculars: do you participate in any extra-curricular activities? What is your role there? For how long have you been involved?
I have always been curious about stocks and investing. Knowing the basics of investing from CFA, I persuaded friends and other investors to invest in Austin's real estate and some local businesses, in effect creating a very small private equity firm. The balance sheet is still in red though. :( This has been in progress since about a year now.
Other than work and investing, I enjoy painting, playing cricket, acting and dancing salsa though I haven't taken any leadership role in these. I did work for AID (Association for India's Development) for a while but discovered that it is not my passion and doing community work just for getting admission into a B-school does not make sense.

5) Short/Long term goals: what do you want to do after your MBA? Any geographic preferences?
I have realized that I enjoy more when I have some control over the entity I am investing in. Hence I prefer to invest in real estate or local business. After MBA, I see myself either working in a venture capital firm or a private equity firm managing small to mid-size companies. Obviously for that I may need to go through investment banking. :( Other possible option is hedge funds.

6) Schools: Which schools have you considered already? Any on your initial short list?
Since I want to move into finance, I am definitely considering Wharton. I still need to find out more about University of Chicago, Stern and Columbia. I may apply to Stanford and Harvard just because they are in the top 5.
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Re: Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2010, 05:58
Wow, 125 views and no reply?! Anybody? :)
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Re: Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2010, 09:55
neeravbm - it is a very normal kind of profile, so very hard to distinguish whether it will be a success. Working in VC or PE is a really difficult thing to achieve, and trying to balance that objective with more realistic targets will likely help your application. The number of engineers transfering across to PE and VC used to be very low; given the current market it is extraordinarily challenging (hell, I have seen Indian Engineers with awesome academics not get IB internships), and IB is likely to be the best direction but you may be asked to consider fall-backs should that not prove successful.

Stanford would fit if you want to use your tech background to go the VC. I think MIT has real estate stuff should that be your direction. Applying to the two most difficult schools to get in to simply because they are there isn't a well considered strategy and may involve spreading yourself too thin by not being focused.
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Re: Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2010, 13:24
Hi 3underscore,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I do understand that my profile falls under Indian/male/IT Engineer category. It seems completing CFA Level 3 and taking a leadership position in funding a local investment does not differentiate me from others. What else would you suggest?

I do know a hedge fund owner in Austin and I can ask him if I can work in his hedge fund part time, without pay. It does mean squeezing time out of GMAT and CFA studies but it should be possible if he agrees to it. Do you think that will help?

Is it very difficult to move into finance after MBA from a top a school if you don't have any finance work experience? I know I do not want to enter consulting after MBA. In that is the case, may be I should try switching into finance through networking and then apply for MBA. But again I don't want to be too late to do an MBA!

Thanks a lot!
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Re: Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2010, 15:47
I am curious to know the answer too.
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Re: Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2010, 18:25
It is hard to say, and hard to identify what differentiates. It certainly shows interest in the field that helps. Does it guarantee you in, or does Finance experience guarantee you in? Sadly not - if it were so easy, we would all do MBAs if it would work out and life would be easy.

For example, three profiles from my class:

A guy (US average Joe), Trader for three years at a HF - no summer in S&T, no job.

Indian IT guy - went for summer at IB, no offer, ended up at a HF as an analyst

Indian IT guy - summer at a top IB (four or so offers), didn't pan out, now in India

You can look at it so many ways - if you reach CFA 3, why aren't you in finance now? Your leadership position can really only be played as learning that things are complex and you can lose money right now (I don't want to sound overly harsh, as in the time you can make or lose money without knowing anything really).

I am not going to be giving answers - I think asking the profile question of anyone is absolutely impossible, which is why it takes three readers and an interview at the school itself, which get way beyond the main summary applicant points. What is becoming clear is that all schools are becoming much more wary of career switchers to Finance right now, because there is so much excess capacity in the industry of experienced bankers. Wharton, NYU, Columbia and Chicago are all likely to be wary of this - I would think Wharton moreso given the size of the program.

I think you have some good supporting evidence to make yourself confident of the switch. I just suggest you should be aware they will ask these questions. I think before school doing the HF thing would be great, and using that network valuable. Don't cut the GMAT time, because if you don't get that right the whole question becomes irrelevant.
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Re: Profile Evaluation for full-time MBA from Wharton   [#permalink] 18 Jan 2010, 18:25
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