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profile evaluation for military candidate

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Joined: 27 Apr 2011
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Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Tuck, Haas
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profile evaluation for military candidate [#permalink] New post 03 May 2011, 06:41
Thanks much for taking a look at our profiles!

I'm shooting for R1 Harvard, Stanford, Tuck, Haas and Fuqua when applications open up this summer. I'm looking to see if I should expand my list for some safeties or if I should feel confident with these schools.

My background:

I'm 25, an Army infantry officer, did the Ranger thing, deployed to Iraq in a combat role. I've also served in Germany for four years as a commander of up to 200 people and traveled extensively. I speak Spanish and some Arabic.

I went to a big state school and dual majored in journalism and political science with a 3.80 GPA. I also did a distance master's in international relations with a 4.0 GPA. I scored at 730 GMAT but with a big problem, 99% verbal, but 68% quantitative. Despite a statistics course and a pre-calc course in undergrad (I got As) I have no other quant background.

I'm good on extracurriculars (marathons, scuba, cooking, etc.) and I have an arranged trip to help build a social enterprise at a small school in Tanzania after my application is submitted (but before matriculation).

But I'm still real worried about the quant thing. I've been doing Harvard online modules, MIT Opencourseware, and am about to sign up for MBAmath--all so I can add a bullet on my resume that will helpfully bolster my profile.

So my question is, should I be worried about my choice schools (even assuming I can write great essays)? Am I crazy for trying to add this quant work to my resume and draw attention to the problem?

Thanks.
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Re: profile evaluation for military candidate [#permalink] New post 03 May 2011, 19:54
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Hey dragoon:

I am jealous. Some part of the well was which I had on into the military. My whole family has been active duty, including my brother will never let me live it down. Actually grew up a military brat, and I spent some time in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

What I particularly respected about your candidacy is that you have a lot leadership experience at a young age. While I know this may be fairly common, for those of your rank, it is still highly regarded by admissions committees. But I digress.

MBAmath.com is a decent tool. It should help you in demonstrating quantitative proficiency. However, I honestly believe that there is simply no replacement for actually taking a course. I would look into distance learning opportunities. It does not matter what the name of the school is or if you physically attend campus. The only thing that matters is that you take a course in finance/accounting and that you get an A in the class. An economics class might help as well. Basically, I would take a class that is a core subject and get a perfect grade in it. The Harvard online modules and MIT courseware are good to have and good to mention on your application, but it is not as strong of a proxy as getting a letter grade will be.

The bottom line is that if an admissions committee likes what they have to see, then they will admit you. I believe this to be the case with you. Your overall strength of application should be strong enough to overcome this quantitative deficiency. Especially if you take a community college, online course. Let me put it to you another way -- they may have concerns about your quantitative ability, but the reality is that they only report the overall score to US news or BusinessWeek. So in the end, what really only wags the dog is your total cumulative score.

You are not crazy to bring this up on your application and I would address it in the optional essay. Get out in front of the issue, they see thousands of resumes and applications. It is not like they are going to miss this, they know what to look for. Especially if you have a unique background, like yours.
What I do think that you should do is actually ask an admissions committee member this very question. You should be going to events online or off. Bring it up at an event and see what the admissions committee member has to say. Hopefully you can build a rapport with one or two admissions committee members, and hopefully they will provide you a forthright answer.

If you would like to discuss your options further, please e-mail me at MBA@amerasiaconsulting.com.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti
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Joined: 27 Apr 2011
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Schools: Harvard, Stanford, Tuck, Haas
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Re: profile evaluation for military candidate [#permalink] New post 03 May 2011, 21:51
Paul,

That's extremely helpful. Thanks a lot for your time and thoughts!
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