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Profile evaluation - from research field

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Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2013, 18:13
Hi everyone!

I am writing this post because I have quite an unusual background for a MBA prospective and before applying I would be most grateful for any feedback on my chances of getting into one of the Bschools I am aiming to.

Here are my stats:

Nationality: Italian.

Age: 29/30 on matriculation.

Education: 1) BSc in Civil and Environmental Engineering at top Italian university. 2) MSc in Environmental Engineering at the same institution, graduated cum laude - which seems to me to be equal to a 4.0 GPA - and the fastest MSc student ever to get the MSc in Env Eng at my institution. Visiting Researcher at a top UK university in my research field (i.e., water science). 3) PhD in Environmental Engineering at the same Italian university: I published 10 papers until now (in slightly less than 3 years) on peer-reviewed, impacted journals (acceptance rates are less than 10%) and my supervisor (who can be one of my references) openly regards me to be one of his best students ever; my co-supervisor is from the University of Washington, where I spent 8 months carrying out some research on a joint project during my PhD.

Work experience: 1) During my PhD, I began work as a teaching assistant in environmental pollution at a top Italian university. 2) In a few months I will get my PhD and be a research fellow in water and wastewater treatment. The main reason for doing this is that I am trying to show the AdCom that in my field I am the "excellence". 3) Even though I am quite sure that this won't count as work experience, in the last 3 years I also worked on 2 projects as project engineer.

Extracurricular stuff: During my studies, I have been scoutmaster for 6 years and regional supervisor at FSE (Fédération du Scoutisme Européen), member of a local Rotaract club and IWA (Internationa Water Association). I volunteered at a local futsal club for 2 years . I have been mentoring 3 BSc students from Italy and I am currently mentoring a BSc student from India.

GMAT: 690 (Q45V39) (AWA 5.0, IR 6), still wondering whether I should retake it since at the first and second GMATPrep I scored 740 and 750, respectively.
English proficiency: Took FCE in 2011 (Grade A awarded), CAE in 2012 (Grade A awarded) and TOEFL in 2012 as well (113/120).

References: Good, though sort of unilateral. I can get my Italian PhD supervisor to be one of them and there are there is also my UW supervisor who has offered to write a reference letter.

Career objectives: My long-term goal is to go into consulting or pharma/energy industry, either in Italy or in the UK. When I got my MSc, I thought that science problems were something that really raised my interest. Gradually, I started looking at problems involving people since my field has a lot to do with public utilities, so I matured my decision to get an MBA and start solving bigger problems that involve people. This is why I genuinely believe that doing an MBA at a good school will push me into the right direction.

B-Schools: Oxford and Cranfield would be my first and second option, followed by SDA Bocconi.

My major concern about my profile is that I have been in university for a long time and my work experience is, at best, weak. Anyway, I hope that some other elements will compensate this weakness.
Please comment, I really need some guidance!
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2013, 21:43
Expert's post
DavideGMAT wrote:
Hi everyone!

I am writing this post because I have quite an unusual background for a MBA prospective and before applying I would be most grateful for any feedback on my chances of getting into one of the Bschools I am aiming to.

Here are my stats:

Nationality: Italian.

Age: 29/30 on matriculation.

Education: 1) BSc in Civil and Environmental Engineering at top Italian university. 2) MSc in Environmental Engineering at the same institution, graduated cum laude - which seems to me to be equal to a 4.0 GPA - and the fastest MSc student ever to get the MSc in Env Eng at my institution. Visiting Researcher at a top UK university in my research field (i.e., water science). 3) PhD in Environmental Engineering at the same Italian university: I published 10 papers until now (in slightly less than 3 years) on peer-reviewed, impacted journals (acceptance rates are less than 10%) and my supervisor (who can be one of my references) openly regards me to be one of his best students ever; my co-supervisor is from the University of Washington, where I spent 8 months carrying out some research on a joint project during my PhD.

Work experience: 1) During my PhD, I began work as a teaching assistant in environmental pollution at a top Italian university. 2) In a few months I will get my PhD and be a research fellow in water and wastewater treatment. The main reason for doing this is that I am trying to show the AdCom that in my field I am the "excellence". 3) Even though I am quite sure that this won't count as work experience, in the last 3 years I also worked on 2 projects as project engineer.

Extracurricular stuff: During my studies, I have been scoutmaster for 6 years and regional supervisor at FSE (Fédération du Scoutisme Européen), member of a local Rotaract club and IWA (Internationa Water Association). I volunteered at a local futsal club for 2 years . I have been mentoring 3 BSc students from Italy and I am currently mentoring a BSc student from India.

GMAT: 690 (Q45V39) (AWA 5.0, IR 6), still wondering whether I should retake it since at the first and second GMATPrep I scored 740 and 750, respectively.
English proficiency: Took FCE in 2011 (Grade A awarded), CAE in 2012 (Grade A awarded) and TOEFL in 2012 as well (113/120).

References: Good, though sort of unilateral. I can get my Italian PhD supervisor to be one of them and there are there is also my UW supervisor who has offered to write a reference letter.

Career objectives: My long-term goal is to go into consulting or pharma/energy industry, either in Italy or in the UK. When I got my MSc, I thought that science problems were something that really raised my interest. Gradually, I started looking at problems involving people since my field has a lot to do with public utilities, so I matured my decision to get an MBA and start solving bigger problems that involve people. This is why I genuinely believe that doing an MBA at a good school will push me into the right direction.

B-Schools: Oxford and Cranfield would be my first and second option, followed by SDA Bocconi.

My major concern about my profile is that I have been in university for a long time and my work experience is, at best, weak. Anyway, I hope that some other elements will compensate this weakness.
Please comment, I really need some guidance!


Given your target programs, I don't recommend you retake the GMAT.

I share your concern about your work experience. However the only way to find out if the schools will basically count your academic project management as equivalent to business project management is to apply. Your other credentials are above average for these programs.

I have to ask you though, why not finish your PhD, get a job and then apply to the MBA? You could get into a much better program (in terms of ties to consulting) if you beef up the work experience.

Best,
Linda
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2013, 06:43
Linda,

thank you for your reply, I know that getting some work experience would strengthen my profile, but there are some reasons why I want to apply to bschools now. First, I am 29 and I would be 30 at matriculation: I feel that this is the right time for me to do an MBA, instead of waiting until I turn 33. This is strongly connected to a second reason: I would prefer to complete my education now, get my MBA and then begin to work - and, hopefully, build a family - instead of getting a job now (which also means no research fellowship for the next year) and then stop for a whole year before being on the market again. Finally, since I want to move from the research field into consulting or industry, I believe that an MBA will help me to relocate and to find a job that involves more responsibilities, power and money, which is definitely my goal.
You mentioned that the only way to figure out if I can get admitted is to apply, but did you advise anyone else with a similar profile in the past? Do you think the programs I mentioned could be interested in someone with this kind of profile? Should I consider other programs instead of (or in addition to) the three I listed above?
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 21:53
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DavideGMAT wrote:
Linda,

thank you for your reply, I know that getting some work experience would strengthen my profile, but there are some reasons why I want to apply to bschools now. First, I am 29 and I would be 30 at matriculation: I feel that this is the right time for me to do an MBA, instead of waiting until I turn 33. This is strongly connected to a second reason: I would prefer to complete my education now, get my MBA and then begin to work - and, hopefully, build a family - instead of getting a job now (which also means no research fellowship for the next year) and then stop for a whole year before being on the market again. Finally, since I want to move from the research field into consulting or industry, I believe that an MBA will help me to relocate and to find a job that involves more responsibilities, power and money, which is definitely my goal.
You mentioned that the only way to figure out if I can get admitted is to apply, but did you advise anyone else with a similar profile in the past? Do you think the programs I mentioned could be interested in someone with this kind of profile? Should I consider other programs instead of (or in addition to) the three I listed above?


Occasionally we have worked with applicants in situations similar to yours. The key to your success will be your ability to show leadership and project management experience in the context of your Ph.D. research. If you can do so successfully, you will enhance your chances enormously. Also, showing the business or societal value of your research will help. If it's very theoretical or esoteric, it's going to be harder to show that practical value. But pollution research sounds very practical.

Best,
Linda
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2013, 17:25
I was also wondering whether I should apply to a couple more programs in R1 next year. More in detail, I was thinking about a stretch (LBS-INSEAD-Judge) and a safe (Manchester-Cass), even if with my profile talking of "safe" is a bit of nonsense...anyway, would I just waste my time applying to one of those top elite schools?
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2013, 22:35
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DavideGMAT wrote:
I was also wondering whether I should apply to a couple more programs in R1 next year. More in detail, I was thinking about a stretch (LBS-INSEAD-Judge) and a safe (Manchester-Cass), even if with my profile talking of "safe" is a bit of nonsense...anyway, would I just waste my time applying to one of those top elite schools?


Why don't you contact the LBS/insead/jUDGE and ask if they would view your work for your Ph.D. as work experience? If they say yes, it makes sense to try. If they say no, it doesn't.

You may want to do the same with Cornell Johnson's accelerated MBA program. It is specifically for people with advanced technical degrees and it is about one year.

Best,
Linda
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 06 May 2013, 14:16
Ok, I did my homework: researched MBA programs, defined priorities, etc...now my wishlist is pretty much as follows:
-Oxford Said
-Cranfield
-SDA Bocconi
-IMD
-INSEAD (a 100% stretch)

Anyway, right now I am trying to find an answer to the following question: my goal is to begin my post-MBA career either in the UK or in Italy, and I guess that the MBA job market is stronger in the UK than in Italy...still, I'd like to know whether it would be possible to start a career in, let's say, southern Italy, instead of northern Italy (I'm trying to understand whether there is a chance for an MBA to find a job in that area).
One more question: given my profile, are there post-MBA careers that are definitely out of my reach? Today I got a reply from an Italian b-school which stated that a career in consulting was unlikely given my profile (especially given my age). Should I start focusing on specific post-MBA career paths?
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 07 May 2013, 21:03
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DavideGMAT wrote:
Ok, I did my homework: researched MBA programs, defined priorities, etc...now my wishlist is pretty much as follows:
-Oxford Said
-Cranfield
-SDA Bocconi
-IMD
-INSEAD (a 100% stretch)

Anyway, right now I am trying to find an answer to the following question: my goal is to begin my post-MBA career either in the UK or in Italy, and I guess that the MBA job market is stronger in the UK than in Italy...still, I'd like to know whether it would be possible to start a career in, let's say, southern Italy, instead of northern Italy (I'm trying to understand whether there is a chance for an MBA to find a job in that area).
One more question: given my profile, are there post-MBA careers that are definitely out of my reach? Today I got a reply from an Italian b-school which stated that a career in consulting was unlikely given my profile (especially given my age). Should I start focusing on specific post-MBA career paths?


I don't know the answer to your question about northern and southern Italy. Sorry.

You should certainly research likely post-MBA career paths since you will probably have to answer at least a few MBA career goal questions. The question about your ability to find consulting work at your anticipated age at graduation is a murkier question. It depends somewhat on the job market. If the market is strong, then you are more likely to be able to find a consulting job. If it is weak, then consulting firms will probably prefer job seekers who have work experience and/or are younger.

Best,
Linda
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 07 May 2013, 21:52
Thanks, Linda. I was thinking of defining my career goals like this: MBA-Associate in a consulting firm either in Italy or in the UK-5 years later Senior-10 years later Partner. The thing is, if this is not working given my profile I might end up with reducing my chances to get admitted to some MBA programs, and I really don't want to do that. Maybe given the strong focus put by Said on social entrepreneurship, this might be a potential career path for me. Right now it seems to me that the MBA is going to be a way less powerful tool in my case, and I definitely want to prove this to be wrong...finally, I believe that the MBA program you get admitted to must also play a major role: in my case I might have a higher probability of getting into a consulting firm after receiving my INSEAD/Said MBA, is it right?
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Re: Profile evaluation - from research field [#permalink] New post 08 May 2013, 21:30
Expert's post
DavideGMAT wrote:
Thanks, Linda. I was thinking of defining my career goals like this: MBA-Associate in a consulting firm either in Italy or in the UK-5 years later Senior-10 years later Partner. The thing is, if this is not working given my profile I might end up with reducing my chances to get admitted to some MBA programs, and I really don't want to do that. Maybe given the strong focus put by Said on social entrepreneurship, this might be a potential career path for me. Right now it seems to me that the MBA is going to be a way less powerful tool in my case, and I definitely want to prove this to be wrong...finally, I believe that the MBA program you get admitted to must also play a major role: in my case I might have a higher probability of getting into a consulting firm after receiving my INSEAD/Said MBA, is it right?


I just gave a webinar for Forte covering a lot of this topic. Obviously if I gave a 40-minute presentation, I can't put it all in a forum post. (HInt: A lot of my thoughts on this topic are in my book, MBA Admission for Smarties.)

Saying you want to work in the U.K. or Italy may be too narrow or not an issue at all, depending on the job market at the time you graduate. Perhaps it makes sense to soft-peddle the location part of your goal or simply describe it in terms of preference and not a requirement.

I think figuring out which goal will work at a given school and then stating that as a goal is backwards. First you need to figure you what you want to do and then you apply to the schools that will help you do it.

INSEAD is a major feeders school for consulting firms; it probably is also more insistent on full-time work experience. So give it a good try, because in some respects it's a great fit for you, but don't count on it. Bocconi is easier to get into and is the top program in Italy so it may help you move to Italy.

Best,
Linda
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