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Hi, I would truly appreciate your input on my business school chances:
• 24 years old, Male, Indian American (born in US) • Graduate of Lehigh University with a 3.56 GPA • Majored in Finance within a Combined Business & Engineering Honors Program o Extracurriculars: Student Senate (4 years), President of Dorm House Council (4 years), Selected Member of leadership development/volunteering 4-year program • Since graduating in 3.5 years, have worked for almost 3 years as a consultant for a large IT services company;worked with Financial Services clients primarily in NYC; promoted to Senior Consultant in <2 years • GMAT: 710, then 770 after ~5 months • Career Paths: Not completely sure, possibly Brand Management/Marketing
Should I consider applying to Round 2 for top schools such as HBS, Stanford, Haas, Kellogg, MIT (and any other schools you would recommend)? Could you provide any detail on my potential chances of admission? Also, would working longer or obtaining a job in a different field and applying later help my chances (I do not want to pursue a career in IT consulting)?
Congrats on the GMAT - a 770 is a very impressive score! Looks like you are very solid on the academics front - a solid undergrad GPA combined with a 770 GMAT should make you eligible for many programs! As for your professional experience, it looks like you are on the high performer/promotion track, so that's good as well. Since you are a consultant, (vs. an engineer), you should be in good shape in terms of leadership stories, client-facing stories, teamwork stories, etc. In terms of extracurriculars, you had great ones from college, but it doesn't sound like you've kept active in the community or in your interests thereafter. This would be the biggest gap in your profile.
Overall, even though you have an incredible GMAT score, your profile doesn't scream Harvard/Stanford to me. This is not meant as a criticism, but these schools look for people who are self-starters and are deeply engaged in many areas/dimensions. I would say you have a shot at programs like Haas, Kellogg, Wharton, MIT (these would be your reach tier schools), a very good shot at schools like Michigan Ross, Duke, Darden, and would be safe at UCLA, USC, etc.
I don't necessarily think switching careers pre-MBA is going to do you much good (why do you need an MBA if career switching is so easy? ). It's very common for applicants to use an MBA as a way of switching careers. The important thing is to make sure that your career narrative makes sense and is logical. Going from IT consulting to Brand Mgmt/Marketing is a big jump... how would you thread the story to make sense with your background, etc. Your career goals should be ambitious, but also realistic based on your current experience and short term goals.
Hi Mili, I should have said this earlier, but thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my initial post. I did decide to apply to Round 2 for my top schools and do not regret gaining the experience of going through the entire process. Unfortunately, I did not have any luck in the application process. I applied to HBS, Stanford, MIT Sloan, Wharton, and Kellogg; outside of my required interview with Kellogg, I was denied without interview for all. I understand that I am shooting for extremely selective schools, but I am determined to attend a school at that level if I go to business school.
For each school, I provided a great (and true) story of my strong passion for the automotive industry and desire to pursue a career in marketing within it (story was slightly tailored to each school). Since it is such a significant change from my current job, the transition I explained may have been a potential missed area. In addition, I did not feel like I had that unique experience/characteristic that would provide a “wow” factor to admissions.
----------------------------------------- - Academics and GMAT: I believe I have solid statistics (not really something I can change) - Work Experience: I had about 2.7 years of work experience as a consultant, and am 24 years old. Compared to other applicants, this made me feel like an outlier slightly. I have received excellent reviews and was promoted; however, even though I was confident and satisfied with each application I submitted, the quality of the experience seemed inferior to other applicants. - Essays: I was extremely happy with my essays, especially those for Kellogg, Wharton, and Stanford. I had others review them numerous times. My 2.7 years of work experience at the time may have provided me with less material than other applicants. - Recommendations: Both my recommenders were previous supervisors that claimed to have written excellent letters. One was from a mid-tier b-school; the other did not have an MBA. I provided them with background information with my resume and gave some advice on b-school letters. I did not guide them further than that. One of my recommenders provided letters a day or two after the deadline for Wharton, Sloan, and HBS. My third recommender for HBS and Stanford was a longtime coworker with excellent writing skills that I have no doubt wrote an amazing letter. - Interview: My only interview was with Kellogg. The interview went really well, I would give it an 8.5/10. Kellogg seemed like an amazing fit. My short career may have lessened the number of stories I could provide in my answers. - Extracurriculars: My extracurriculars during college were excellent with multiple leadership roles. After graduating, I have done volunteering and other activities here and there, but nothing with a consistent time commitment. ---------------------------------------
Now I need to figure out where to go from here. Is there any reason at all to try again in Round 1 of this fall? If not, I would be aggressively seeking a new challenge for myself in a different field, as I do not feel I am growing nor have a strong passion for my current job. Is there a minimum number of years I should stay at that position if I still want to pursue an MBA? If was in a non-automotive or non-marketing field, or if my goals changed, would those negatively impact my reapplication?
Apologies for the long post, I just wanted to be as detailed as possible! Thank you again.
I'm sorry to hear about this outcome! As you are aware, though, these are the most selective programs.
It sounds to me that your career story and perhaps lack of strong professional leadership (given that you've been on the job less than 3 years), along with the lack of post-college extracurricular/community leadership activities were your biggest gaps.
If I understand correctly, you're not currently in the auto industry and have never worked in it. Same with marketing. But you wrote your career story about the intersection of these two areas. It's great that you're passionate about that and have a very clear understanding of what you want to do, but like I said, the story doesn't make sense with your professional and personal past. You need to make the story logical and believable.
Some things you could do: switch into the one of these areas before reapplying -- start working as an IT consultant in the auto industry, perhaps or something like that. Or, shift to marketing consulting if at all possible. Basically, show that you are taking concrete steps toward your desired career path. I'd also bulk up on extracurricular/community leadership experience - join non profit board, etc. If you do decide to stay in your current role, definitely take on more leadership responsibility, but then probably you would need to alter your career story to make more sense with your past/current experience.
I don't know that reapplying to those same programs so soon would do you any good, unless you really shift your career story and do have some meaningful impact in extracurricular/community activities in the meantime. I'd say that in your case another 1-3 years of work experience would be ideal - ideally something closer to what you want to do if possible.
Check out this awesome article about Anderson on Poets Quants, http://poetsandquants.com/2015/01/02/uclas-anderson-school-morphs-into-a-friendly-tech-hub/ . Anderson is a great place! Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I...