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Profile Evaluation Please

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Manager
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Joined: 12 Aug 2008
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Location: Buffalo, NY
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Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2008, 05:12
Hello GMAT Club,

Long time lurker here finally actively seeking out some advice about apps after being successful on the GMAT.

Here's my profile:

Age: 25 (26 at Matriculation)
Gender: Male
Nationality: American

GMAT: 760 (48Q 47V 6.0 AWA)

Degrees: B.A. in History (Drama Minor) 3.67 GPA
M.A. in Technical Theatre 3.8 GPA

Work Experience: 2+ years in an accounting department at a Fortune 500 company. Hired as a temp but kept on permanently. Subsequently promoted two times after being hired permanently. Responsible for coordinating communication between two offices. Review work of two subordinates for accuracy. Train new hires. Recently led the clean up effort after a system conversion reducing the number of outstanding items in an account from over 3,000 to under 20 making many customer's accounts whole.

Prior to this worked full time as supervisor of the scenic fabrication shop at school while getting my MA. Supervise up to 20 students at once in addition to teaching them about shop practices and keeping everyone safe. Kept records of all of the shop's supplies/budget. Was originally just an assistant but asked to take over full time when my boss went on medical leave. Worked full time in addition to completing work on my thesis.

Why an MBA? After being unable to support myself with a job in the theatre I found work as a temp at (strong regional bank). It turns out accounting came naturally to me and I absolutely love doing it, couldn't imagine doing anything else now. I want to transition to a role in corporate finance but lack the hard skills that are required of such a position which an MBA will provide. Basically, I want to continue in a similar role as an Accountant/Financial Analyst but performing higher level work. (I need to figure out a way to make this point more eloquently in my essays I know)

Why now? I have currently exhausted all of the career options available to me without a degree within my company and both of my bosses agree that I should pursue an advanced degree to further my career. (I will be getting strong recommendations both from my immediate supervisor and from my supervisor's supervisor)

Extracurricular activities: Taught stage crew at my high school during undergrad. Currently volunteering at my wife's school teaching inner city children stage crew. Active member of two recreational hockey teams. Two summers as an intern at a nationally known theatre festival and another summer as intern at another festival. Volunteered to work on a free production for the local community. Worked 20+ hours a week during undergrad so I didn't have much other time to participate in clubs.

Applying to:

Harvard R1 (Mostly because of curiosity, I know that I have no real shot here)
Chicago R1 (Top accounting/Finance program, also don't think that I have a realistic shot but my wife's best friend goes there so I'm applying)
Cornell R1 (My dream school! have wanted to go there since undergrad, immersion programs sound awesome, my current company strongly recruits there and strong in Finance.)
Michigan R2 (Another strong Accounting/Finance school and Ann Arbor is awesome)
Rochester R2 (Another strong accounting school in Upstate NY This is my safety school as I wouldn't attend any school ranked lower)

So what do you guys think? Am I in trouble because my other degrees are in Liberal Arts or do my 2 years as an accountant show that I'm serious about my new pursuit?
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Joined: 11 Mar 2008
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Location: Southern California
Schools: Chicago (dinged), Tuck (November), Columbia (RD)
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2008, 19:19
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I think you will need to focus on the leadership experiences you have had at work so far, as well as your future leadership plans. If you mention that you want to be a financial analyst in the future, it won't really scream leadership. You need to solidify your plans as far as what kind of "higher level analysis" you want to be doing. Do you want to be in corporate development/M&A? Strategic Planning? etc. Also, these are likely a short-term goal. What about long-term goals?

That said, I think you're competitive for Cornell, Michigan, and Rochester. Reach for HBS/Chicago, but you already know that. Have you thought about adding a few more schools to your roster? You may be competitive at Columbia ED, UCLA, Darden, NYU, and Duke. Not sure if any of those interest you. If you drop Rochester and pick 2 from this list, I think you will be well-diversified enough to not need a safety. You may also consider replacing HBS with Wharton - Wharton places a higher emphasis on high grades/GMAT scores and a touch less emphasis on leadership experience/ability. This is especially so if you went to an elite (top 30 US News) undergrad - Wharton really likes pedigreed candidates.
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Manager
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 15:45
Thanks for the reply!

Unfortunately I didn't go to a top 30 UG since the school I chose gave me a free ride... shouldn't have listened to my parents on that one... but then again I wasn't planning on this whole application process when I was 18 and I'm not in all that much debt which is always a plus. I may change Harvard to Wharton based on your advice anyway.

Also, NYU, Columbia, Darden and Duke are all off the table since I never want to live in NYC again (I grew up near there and want a different experience) and I can't deal with the Southern humidity which is why my choices are very limited and Cornell is by far my number one choice. I've been trying to talk the wife into Los Angeles for a while but I don't think it's going to happen so UCLA is probably out too.

I've been feverishly working on my essays though and I have some great examples of leadership at work both in my current position and in my past one. I will definitely place a further emphasis on leadership in my goals essays (I haven't really started working on those yet).
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 18:36
You should be very competitive at Cornell and Michigan. I would drop Rochester and replace it with 1 more reach school of your choice. Considering you don't mind cold weather and rural/college town locations - have you considered Tuck?
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
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Location: Back in Chicago, IL
Schools: Kellogg Alum: Class of 2010
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2008, 18:44
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You have an unusual story and some schools definitely will value that more than others. You are on the short side of experience but Kellogg does have a reputation of appreciating folks with a different background more than many other schools. I would say that would be a school that would be worth a shot, its location is better than some of the others you are looking at and so is its brand...plus trust me your wife would love it. 6 schools would be reasonable and the Rochester should be a sure bet. I think Ross and Cornell are solid as long as you execute well and have a convincing story. You would be competitive at GSB, more so at Kellogg...HBS is an extreme long shot but with a very strange story you never know.
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Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Manager
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 04:28
Thanks again for your replies, this is really helping me calm down a bit about this whole process.

I took a look at Tuck and I'm definitely adding it to my list for round one...

I'm not so sure about Kellogg since as you say (and as I'm aware) I'm light on the experience side and if there's one thing that I hear about Northwestern on the various forums that I read it's that the school really values work experience more than most....

So my revised list:

Reach: Chicago(R1), Wharton (R2), Kellogg (Maybe R2)

Still Reach but slightly better shot: Cornell (R1), Ross (R2), Tuck (R1), UCLA (R2... if I can talk the wife into it)

Safety: Rochester (R2 if I don't get into Cornell R1)

This way my essays are spread out as well... I can only take so many of them at once. I'm also not considering any schools lower ranked than Rochester (I have ties to the Buffalo/Rochester area which is the only reason I'm applying)

I'm definitely tempering my expectations for this year since I don't have a lot of experience but it's certainly worth a shot and there's always next year...

Again, thank you so much for your input. Now to craft a strong goals essay...
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 06:27
Great to hear you're applying to Tuck. Keep in mind that you have to complete a self-initiated interview on-campus in Hanover, NH prior to submitting your application. It should also help you see if the culture is for you or not. Tuck is a very tight-knit school.
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 10:09
Well hopefully I'll be able to make it up to Hanover before the end of the month then so I can get my app in before the Early Action deadline... I don't know how Tuck was never on my radar. Thanks so much for suggesting it because it looks like it would be an awesome fit for me and since my wife keeps bugging me that she wants to move to Boston eventually it might be perfect for both of us.

I'm crossing my fingers it'll come down to Johnson vs. Tuck in a fight to the death... who knows how everything will play out but at least I have a more solid plan of attack now.
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Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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Schools: Ross 2012
WE 1: 5 Years at Fortune 50 Company in Manufacturing
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 11:49
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I agree with the comments that you do have a special profile. I think with your profile you may even be more of a hit or miss type candidates, and I mean that has a good way, you can get a top-5 school but rejected from a 10-20's school. So definitely apply to the elites. Good GPA. GREAT GMAT's. Just play up your unique skills. Maybe look for way to reinforce your leadership skills, maybe quantative classes (I don't know your background but I would imagine liberal arts don't require to much hard math)
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 12:00
cereal255 wrote:
Well hopefully I'll be able to make it up to Hanover before the end of the month then so I can get my app in before the Early Action deadline... I don't know how Tuck was never on my radar. Thanks so much for suggesting it because it looks like it would be an awesome fit for me and since my wife keeps bugging me that she wants to move to Boston eventually it might be perfect for both of us.

I'm crossing my fingers it'll come down to Johnson vs. Tuck in a fight to the death... who knows how everything will play out but at least I have a more solid plan of attack now.


The Tuck alumni network is extremely strong in Boston and New England.
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Re: Profile Evaluation Please [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2008, 12:09
GoBruins:

I've already taken 2 accounting classes at my community college and gotten As in both so hopefully that will allay some concerns. Hopefully my essays will also showcase how my current job also uses quant skills.
Re: Profile Evaluation Please   [#permalink] 02 Sep 2008, 12:09
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