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Profile Evaluation Please?

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Current Student
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Joined: 02 Nov 2010
Posts: 56
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 730 Q47 V42
GPA: 3.56
WE: Corporate Finance (Computer Hardware)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 16

Profile Evaluation Please? [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2012, 15:30
730 GMAT
3.5 GPA

Undergraduate double major at UC Berkeley – Haas Business & Psychology

Work Experience: 5 years as a financial analyst split between 2 Fortune 500 companies, I have done roles in Budgeting, Cost Analysis, and am currently doing FP&A.

Some extra curricular experience during and post college, including Executive Committee in my Sorority & a year volunteering with a non-profit post college, though no longer helping with them. I am currently working toward a certificate in Biotech with an evening and weekend program because I would like to switch industries.

Goal: transition from Finance at a tech company to Product Management or Business Development at a Biotech company. The MBA (with the Biotech Certificate that I can complete before the MBA program) will facilitate a double transition (industry & function). I am looking to initially start in Biotech probably in the Product Management or Business Development and work my way up to be a General Manager of a division, etc. I am worried that trying to do a double switch with the MBA may be too aggressive for the admission committees, so maybe I should focus on a story of staying in Finance but switching industries, with the MBA taking me to the next level in Finance? Or just sticking with my aspirations of doing something other than Finance and ignoring the industry switch?

27, White, Female

Targets:
Kellogg MMM
Harvard
Wharton
Stanford
Booth
Stern

Thanks so much for your advice.
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1 KUDOS received
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2428
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please? [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2012, 17:30
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Here's the thing.

What you SAY in the application form isn't the same as what you would actually DO once you're in school.

Your instinct is right that adcoms would be skeptical of that drastic of a switch -- of course it happens in reality in b-school, but it's a harder story to sell in advance.

So you can (and should) stick to your real career ambitions, but at the same time find a more palatable narrative for what you want to do in your essays.

That's why I feel these career goals essays are frankly silly. And some schools are starting to feel the same way too and putting less importance on it.

In the old days, schools wanted a detailed map of what your short- and long-term goals are. The problem with this is twofold: first, in REALITY, life is never linear. Sh*t happens in life all the time, and more often than not, our career paths are very non-linear, often dictated by life-changing events (marriage, kids, health, compromises either spouse makes for the other's career by moving to different cities, unexpected opportunities, unexpected setbacks, etc.). It's silly to ask someone in their 20s what they hope to be doing in their 40s because 99.9% of the time we're making sh*t up. Or even if it's a real aspiration - it will change, and sometimes dramatically, over the years from a young adult to a middle aged adult (to a cranky senior with a pension!). Secondly, this career narrative BS forces applicants into a LINEARITY in their thinking, or it unintentionally self-selects the narrow minded and those who take a linear approach to things (i.e. people who have a world view where things happen in a stepwise progression).

In the older days, asking for goals certainly can help when the cost of school was much cheaper. Now, it's quite simple: if you're spending $100K+ in tuition plus $150-200K in forgone after-tax income over two years, that's a crapload of money that you'd be foolish NOT to know why you're going back - it's not the school's place to judge how good a "story" you have. Especially someone like you -- you have a biz background, you're working in the corporate world already -- any reasonably intelligent person can safely assume that you have a good head on your shoulders and can figure out what you want without you having to come up with some silly "career goals" story.

And I'm glad that some schools are coming around to that: HBS and Sloan in particular, but also Wharton as well -- Sloan doesn't ask at all. HBS asks "why MBA" but they don't care about your goals. Wharton has made it an afterthought (a 300 word vague question about your objectives). Schools like Kellogg care more about how you'll fit into the Kellogg community for 2 years more than your goals.

With the goals - just keep it simple, straightforward and believable. That's all you need to do at this point. Too many people seem to feel it needs to be a Pulitzer Prize winning narrative and focus too much time on the goals at the expense of the other essays (which are often more important now).

Anyhow, the list of schools you have is fine - they're ambitious but you should have enough of a chance to get into some of them (assuming you also have luck on your side as well). Given your academic and work background, I'd also only focus on the top schools as well (since it won't make sense for you to go back to get another business degree unless it was a top school).
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Alex Chu
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please?   [#permalink] 21 Feb 2012, 17:30
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