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Thanks in advance for taking a look at this and giving me your feedback. I'm planning on applying in Fall 2013 for 2014 matriculation.
Asian American male, 29 years old, born and raised in Los Angeles, now live in the San Francisco Bay Area
Undergraduate BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley
Undergrad GPA 2.78. No excuses, I just didn't make good decisions in college.
Currently in the process of building an alternative transcript via online UCLA Extension courses. I have taken Principles of Accounting 1A and Business Economics (got A's in both) and am now taking Principles of Accounting 1B and Mathematics for Managers
GMAT 760, Q49, V44, AWA 6.0, IR 8
Currently have been working at the same small company for 7 years. We develop web-based software for the mortgage and general lending industries. Our primary focus has been on lending compliance, and our clients include many top banks, mortgage lenders, and, interestingly enough, state and federal regulators
I am an associate product manager and, due to the small size of the company, have participated in many different roles here. My core responsibility is managing the creation of new features and products. I've also drafted marketing materials, trained internal sales, support, and management teams, drafted and maintain user-facing documentation, helped our quality assurance teams test software, and acted as one of three company points of contact for an ongoing project we are working on with a large consulting company
Outside of work I volunteer with the Lions Club serving the city/community in which I live
I also volunteer with the Silicon Valley Product Management Association organizing and executing product management related networking and education events
My target schools (full time 2 year MBA), in current order of preference are:
I greatly appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks! - Steve Chen
Steve, Thanks for writing dude... So first of all, your Low GPA - it's a shame, but by getting the 760 you have pretty much effaced any concerns about your capacity to succeed intellectually and academically (so pat yourself on the shoulder there, bro), although do yourself a favor and hit this subject head on in your optional essays (no excuses, just tell it like it was). Your work experience for me is a bit of a question mark. Off the bat it doesnt SEEM super hard or impressive (not saying it isn't.. only impressions), and since you are working for a likely unknown company, you are gonna have to work twice as hard as the guy next door to show that your achievements mattered.
If you can do that, and you apply with strong essays and recs to five or more of the schools you listed, I think you'd have fair chances of getting accepted at at least one (but hopefully more)
Jon, Thanks for the response (and sorry for my late response). Do you have any tips on how I can better describe my career experience and progression? In particular, in a product/project management role (I kind of have both, due to the small size of the company) it's a bit difficult to quantify what I do. At a high level, I'm doing a good job if team members feel confident in my plan, products are delivered on time and on budget, and users are happy.
There's really one ONE way to discuss progression and that is to PROVE it. We are talking about concrete FACTS and FIGURES here. So what you can do, is make a list of every single fact that shows your progression and in the stages they happened. So you'd list for example, salaries, bonuses, budget you are in charge of, number of people you are in charge of, added responsibilities, etc. etc. Each of these items is a PROOF of progress, and you want to show that in your essay. Not only that, but you want to RELATIVIZE your progress, meaning you want to compare yourself to others and show (where possible) that you are better and faster than others.... Finally, where possible, you want to define this progress (narratively) within the scope of your goals. We don't want you climbing halfway up a mountain just to climb halfway up the mountain, but because the peak you want to reach is on top!
Hope all these tips help you out!