I am currently preparing for GMAT which I intend to take in Jan end (actually I using Manhattan GMAT
course and it's pretty good). 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. I have led cross-functional teams across US, China and Singapore. 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 investing 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.
I do understand that my profile falls under Indian/male/IT Engineer category. Hopefully completing CFA Level 3 and taking a leadership position in funding a local investment will help differentiating me from others. What else would you suggest?
I do know a hedge fund owner in Austin. 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?