Thanks for your post, and looks like you've got some good dialogue going here.
Glad you enjoyed our seminar, and yes you should receive a link to schedule your consult within 1 business day usually (feel free to pm me your email address if not and I can follow up with our admin team).
First of all CONGRATS on that GMAT, nice job. That plus the great academic work really 'seal the deal' in terms of making the case that you can handle the academic rigor of the program. Check! So basically the 'decision' will be based on everything else-- i.e. work experience; what you'll bring to the class; commitment/involvement; leadership; goals and your story and rationale for the MBA and for each specific school (generally most of that is conveyed through the essays; and to a lesser degree your recs and resume).
The following strengths stand out to me at this point:
-GPA and solid academic performance, including the masters and plenty of quant experience
-aerospace engineering is a bit less common
-some leadership (as per your mention)
-obvious technical, quant, analytical skills, plus project management
-your family business experience; could be a big plus and way to differentiate, more so depending upon exactly what your involvement and role has been
Potential weaknesses/questions/challenge areas for you:
-any community involvement at all?
-any other activities, interests, passions, commitments? (something outside of work? when up against applicants with a wide variety of interests and involvements)
-there are an increasing number of engineering applicants to b-school... this means a) it's important to stand out among the crowd (hopefully the family business will help you here if you showcase it well), and b) it's important to go against your potential 'stereotype' and show that you are MORE than just a technical guy-- really highlight leadership; teamwork; communication skills; 'people skills'
-changing to marketing strategy could sound like a bit of a big leap... just be sure to really make the case for why; and to show that you know the area you plan to go into (you don't want any concerns of you not being hire-able for example)
I would definitely dig into the family business experience-- what have you done there; what have you learned; how has it impacted you; what does it mean you'll bring to the class in terms of perspective that may be more unique.
As you probably know, Stanford is basically the toughest school to get into out there, accepting often fewer than 7% of applicants. Part of that is they have a much smaller class size than even say HBS. So they will definitely be a reach no matter what. HBS will still be quite challenging as well. The other schools you have mentioned should be competitive for you. It does make sense, as you've listed, to apply to a few schools of different levels to see what is possible, and to have somewhat of a back-up option or more on-par option too just in case (as long as you only apply where you would ACTUALLY go if all else fails
). A lot for you WILL depend upon those essays to really show who you are and go beyond the GMAT and resume, and a lot will also come down to simply the other applicants and how you stack up.
As for a few of the comments in your dialogue here, I'm not sure how to interpret your suggested school admission stats (i.e. 30% of the school's class is admitted R1? or 30% of those who apply R1 are admitted? very different ways to read that stat for example), but generally the way admits go is pretty much in flux in a given year and at a given school... ie it varies!! Because it depends on the applicants, as it (arguably) rightly should-- there's no quota or # for a given round, at most schools, if they get more great applicants in a given round, they accept more, or vice versa. But yes in Round 1 obviously there are the MOST # of open spots, so always a good option! And at many schools R2 is most popular, so R1 is a good option to shoot for with your favorite schools when possible.
I also agree with choosing schools you are passionate for, as you're right you'll have a much better time getting that across in your essays and schools can often pick up on that. The only other school I'd maybe ask about since you mention energy etc is Haas.
Hope that helps!! Keep me posted on how everything is going and any further q's. And if you haven't received info on signing up for the consultation for any reason just let me know, I can assist or even schedule one with you directly. Good luck!
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