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Profile Evaluation for INSEAD / LBS

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Profile Evaluation for INSEAD / LBS [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2008, 15:32
Hello, I would appreciate some feedback on my profile, particularly ways I could strengthen it. The juicy bits:

Matriculation Age: 29
Nationality: German
Education:
BA Top 20 US school, Computer Science, cum laude, ~3.5ish GPA
MS Large US State school, Computer Science, ~3.1 GPA, completed while working
GMAT: not taken, expecting at least 720, aiming for 740+, Q>V

Work Experience: I spent about 4 years doing a vast array of different tasks while working for a small, entrepreneurial family import business in the states (doing marketing, ad design and copywriting, business development, tech support, office management, etc., 3 years of it while studying.) After that I moved to the UK, where I now work as a programmer for a well known developer of computer games.

International Profile: Born in Germany, spent over a decade in the states studying and working, now working in UK, native English & German, conversational albeit rusty Spanish

Extracurriculars: Not huge, but a few things here and there. I've made some attempts at web biz / startup but not much to show for it yet, avidly played online games and organized / lead large groups of people (think World of Warcraft) though that might not exactly be app material, I play classical guitar at a decent level, I attend a club or two

Career goals: I'm interested in tech/media entrepreneurship, games / interactive entertainment in particular. Failing that I'd like to be in the games industry in higher level business/strategy roles in the long run, and while MBA is not a common profile for doing this, it has been done. I would seriously consider gaining general business experience via consulting (and to pay off debt) directly post MBA.

I think I would make a decent profile, but there are a few areas of concern. Most notably my job progression and professional leadership experience could be stronger. When I transitioned to the UK I managed to get into the industry I always wanted, but I made sacrifices in compensation and title to do so. I do not have plans to program computers forever and enjoyed the more biz oriented tasks I did before, thus the desire for MBA.

I could certainly use some time thinking about and help crafting my story for adcoms.


Target schools in order of preference:
INSEAD - Jan 2010
LBS - Fall '09 R2
(IMD,Oxbridge,IESE)

I have a strong preference for INSEAD due to the length, value, and large network. My uncle went a while back as well and offered to consult, (bad pun intended.)

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Profile Evaluation for INSEAD / LBS [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2008, 14:16
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I’m surprised that no one has taken a shot at this profile. Guess I'll give it a try.

For starters your age is fine and mostly in line with that of students accepted to LBS/INSEAD.

Your GPA is in line as well and since you're from a respectable (assuming ad com has heard of it) US college, it will add some credibility too.

Your nationality and international experiences will definitely make them consider you very carefully. Both schools love students who come from diverse backgrounds (internationally and professionally). You’ve got the international part going for you. Assuming you have some military experience (I think all German nationals have to serve in the army?), that will help too. Their love of diversity shows up in their essay questions as well and I think that if you can integrate your cross-cultural experiences with some leadership stories, you’re quite likely to get in.

I’m a little unclear about your work experience. Did you work full-time at the export house or did you do this while you were studying. Or was it 3 years as a student and 1 year full-time? You’re post is a little unclear but I think it’s the latter so will advice accordingly.

*now the REAL part

I honestly think that the first job sounds very clerical and any seasoned ad com member will see through it. It’s fine if you did it as a student. Sounds like good experience and you can say that it taught you about entrepreneurship. But as a full-time job, it’s not a very logical move career-wise; especially given you’re a Comp Sci grad. I guess you can put the right spin on it and make it seem more logical with what you wanted to do at that point in time but I’ll leave that up to you. Now I could be wrong and maybe you did a lot more during this time than your post suggests but based on the info you’ve given me, that’s what I think. You definitely need to bring out the leadership/exciting aspects of your personality based on your experiences, either at work or outside.

As for your current job, I don’t think the job title/salary will matter too much. Most schools like to show how their students salaries have increased by x% after attending their program (LBS in particular). It’s the lack of leadership at work that I’m bothered about. You will want to address this. Not sure how. You will have to dig deeper. I think on the plus side it’s a logical progression with your career goals and it gives you a nice story to tell. What you may want to do is try to show how you’re getting more involved in the biz development side of it.

As for your extra-curriculars, although I’m not particularly impressed, but if you can write a nice essay about your failed start-up/web biz and what you learnt from it, it would definitely help your cause. Also for obvious reasons, please don’t mention any of your Warcraft, Everquest or ‘whatever RPG you’re currently into’, exploits :-D .


Given what you’ve told me so far, you would need at least a balanced 690 for LBS and 700 for INSEAD (INSEAD likes the GMAT a little more) for them to consider you seriously. Obviously, the higher the better. In general though, I like your chances because of your international experience and nationality, something both schools value dearly.

As for the other schools, I don’t really know enough about the school to give you enough advice but I do know that IMD likes more experience (quality of experience) than you currently have. I don’t see why you wouldn’t get into the other programs though.

Lastly, NO ONE can just read your stats and basic profile and tell you whether you stand a chance at a particular school. It comes down to your essays. They matter more than ANYTHING, especially at top schools where they are the one thing that truly distinguishes candidates from each other. It all about knowing yourself, feeling strongly enough about your goals and letting that passion come though in your essays. If you can do that effectively, you may even stand a chance at Stanford.

Hope this was juicy enough for you  :-D .
Re: Profile Evaluation for INSEAD / LBS   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2008, 14:16
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