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Profile Evaluation + Guidance on improving skill-set

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Joined: 05 Oct 2013
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GMAT Date: 09-08-2016
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Profile Evaluation + Guidance on improving skill-set [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2013, 11:23
Hello everyone,

I am a 24 year old Indian, working in Germany. I recently completed my Master of Science in Engineering ( Semiconductors background) in Germany, and I am working for one of the top semiconductor companies here.

In a few years time, I would like to do an MBA from the top reputed schools and I would like to seek your valuable inputs and guidance.

A brief overview of my profile:
1. Living in Germany for a little more than 3 years now and can converse in German to a reasonable extent ( not a fluent speaker yet, but can handle conversations both in office and in day-to-day circumstances)
2. Proactively, assumed the role of an a volunteering co-ordinator for my site and driving volunteer projects within the first 15 days of joining work
3. Play badminton and table-tennis ( just as a hobby, not for any professional league)
4.Co-ordinated technical fests during my undergrad days
5. Hosted events both during under-grad and during my Master's days
6. Above average acads ( not the class-topper but was more like within the top 10-15%)

I have a few questions and I wish to seek your valuable opinion:

1. In four-five years time, I wish to do an MBA ( preferably in Finance/ related disciplines). However, since I don't have any finance background, I am a bit skeptical if I will be able to make the most of my discussions with classmates and professors during my MBA studies. Therefore, I am considering to prepare for CFA ( aim is to complete 2/3 levels before enrolling for an MBA). Would this be the right strategy to follow or are there any better ways? Initially, I thought that I will do a part-time bachelor's course in finance/ business to get the basics, but there are no relevant courses near the area I live.

2.My main reason for an MBA is that I believe that in addition to the technical skills, an engineer must also know the managerial challenges/ limitations and therefore, I am interested in doing an MBA. I wish to return back to the semiconductor industry, since I believe that I will be able to make the most of my post-MS work experience + MBA. However, I haven't really seen a lot of my colleagues following this approach. Am I following a very narrow path ?

3. Since I am living in Germany, and within the next 21 months, I will have an unrestricted work access across the EU and subsequently a permanent resident ( most probably, by the time I apply for an MBA, I will be a permanent resident/ German citizen ( which I am still thinking about?). Therefore, I am strongly considering pursuing an MBA in Europe and also an MBA in USA. Given the present economic situation, which would you suggest is a better place to study in and for jobs? From my limited research, I often hear that there are more MBA's than needed in USA. Is this really the case? In Europe ( atleast in the semiconductor industry), I have not seen a lot of people with an MBA degree. Personally, I am more inclined to work in Europe ( given the huge benefits) but I am also willing to work in USA.

4. Although, there is still some time before I give my GMAT, I am aiming for a score between 730-750. My target universities in Europe are INSEAD, IE and LBS. In USA, my dream universities are Wharton, Kellogg, Haas, Stern ( I think HBS/ Stanford might be a bit too difficult for me). Do you think that I have a reasonable chance at these universities and what do I need to do to add diversity to my profile?

Thank you for your valuable time and efforts. Sorry for posting such a huge post.
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Re: Profile Evaluation + Guidance on improving skill-set [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2013, 07:29
Expert's post
It's great you are thinking ahead. Keep in mind the ideal time to apply to business school is when you have 4-5 years of experience, so while I appreciate your advanced planning, don't wait too long, since schools will be increasingly critical of your work experience and achievements the longer you are out. It's fine to have gaps in your finance background, since that's exactly what the MBA is for, that is, to fill the gaps, but you do need to demonstrate some aptitude for finance, which the CFA can certainly accomplish. Standards like the GMAT and the CFA actually go a long way towards showing interest and ability, so I would also try to nail the quant portion of the GMAT as well. Taking finance coursework is fine too, but because there is wide variation in the quality of such coursework, it won't have the same admissions clout as a standardized assessment such as the GMAT or CFA. Still, you would be wise to take courses to help you prepare, so look into online options such as Coursera offerings.

B-schools love engineers, so the fact that not many of your colleagues go the MBA route is all the better for you, since you will be competing on the admissions front against others with a similar background. I can assure you that many engineers do go to b-school, so be prepared to defend why you deserve a slot over someone else who looks like you on paper. Arming yourself with finance and management knowledge via the MBA is a great way to get ahead in a technical field. I applaud your foresight.

To work in the USA you would need sponsorship, namely an HB1 visa. This is sometimes tricky, since the recruiting companies must do this on your behalf. If your inclination is to work in the EU, I would definitely recommend going to b-school over there, since one of the most powerful takeaways from your b-school experience will be your network, and if you go to school in the US, your network will largely be here. Dual citizenship can be attractive when working in the EU, so if you have the chance to gain citizenship in a country as strong economically as Germany, i would definitely do it.

With a 750 GMAT and international work experience in a hot field such as yours should position you well for your target schools. It's always best to apply to the schools where you feel you fit in best so I would encourage you to visit some of your target schools after doing online research and speaking with alumni, etc. The Indian applicant pool from the tech sector is deep and wide, so I understand your anxiety about standing out. To add diversity to your profile, I would look towards the personal angle--get involved in the community and do some unique things that might be viewed as atypical for your applicant pool. Personal stories resonate well with the adcoms, but they have heard time and time again about starring on a cricket team or volunteering at an NGO. hope this helps
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