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1) Brief description of your full-time work experience. What do you do? IT Consultant/Business Analyst at top consulting firm- 4 years experience in 2009. Can show growth in career path from analyst to senior analyst to consultant levels.
Also run a private consulting company that specializes in leveraging small business set asides to setup contracts between big business and government. I started it myself in 2008 while in school, and since then have had tremendous growth: 2011 FY Revenue 980K, 2012 FY Revenue: $1.2M
2) Your GMAT. Haven't yet taken actual exam, still studying. Practice tests have shown 680-720 range.
3) College info: Georgetown University, 3.3/4.0, Dual Major: Strategy, Design, and Change; International Business, Graduated 2009.
4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience. In college was 4-year varsity Division 1 athlete and 2-time team captain, set 5 school records and was also a member of an organization that developed events for children in the NICU unit, also was a volunteer trainer through a program I created for aspiring young athletes. Currently started and run a summer swim program in DC (where I live) for urban youth and a weekend swim program for professionals. Also volunteer with DC Public Schools by doing weekly reads and learning at elementary schools. Yearly volunteer for an organization that provides Christmas presents for families that have been affected by juvenile cancer and the financial risks that result.
5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA. Microsoft Certified Professional; Looking to get Certified Business Analyst Professional certification if recommended for chances of getting accepted (would be one of youngest holders with certification)
6) Your target programs. Top 15, ideally top 10.
7) When you plan to apply? Please specify round and application cycle, for example R1 2013-14 or R3 2012-13. R1 2013-2014
8) Your post-MBA goal. My post-MBA goal is to grow the business ideas that I have and currently work on, but also make a global impact to society. Everything I do now (from my company to my volunteering) only affects a small sample (local community), and I believe an MBA will help develop the skill-set I need to grow my business ideas into scalable organizations while also making strides in global social concerns.
9) Additional Info Language fluency in 3 languages, advanced in 1, and developmental in Mandarin. I came to this country as a war refugee on asylum. My GPA is lower than I'd like, but 4 months before I began college I had a traumatic brain illness that took away my ability to read and write. I re-taught myself and went to school that same year and can show progressive grade improvement throughout my 4 years, and now I actually participate in numerous events where I speak to audiences about what I've gone through and the will to not give up. (Is this something I would share on an application?)
Your story, credentials and experience seem to have elements of a run at the top 10. Would be great to get that 7-handle on the GMAT, since your story's unique qualities of overcoming hardships can really resonate with b-schools and help you stand out in the male caucasian crowd (big crowd). I particularly like that you have leadership experience, and the fact you have actual and substantial revenues from your entrepreneurial effort will not be lost on the adcoms. I would say you should spend some time figuring out which schools are the best fit for you culturally and curricularly and then apply to as many as 6 schools to be safe. think about where you want to be after grad school and focus on schools within an 8 hour drive of your target locale. When buidling a business, you want as big a network as possible, and many b-schools have the bulk of their alumni within a 500 mile radius.
I took my GMAT today and scored a 710 (1st try). Considering my aforementioned profile, any advice on where to start next? I have my choice of top schools, but I want to be realistic in the schools I apply to- even though Harvard would be a dream come true.
It surprises me to hear HBS is your dream school, since it doesn't have the greatest reputation for entreprenurism. Have you looked at Haas or Sloan? Certainly HBS can be in the mix, and if you get in everywhere, certainly go where your heart tells you to go, but I think there may be a better fit for you. If you are aiming at top 3, Stanford would likely be better than HBS for fit. Not knowing where you want to run your business, however, I stick by my earlier comments to consider the network. Hope this helps.