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Profile Evaluation - Top 10 with 760/3.58GPA?

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Joined: 20 Jun 2010
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Profile Evaluation - Top 10 with 760/3.58GPA? [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2011, 16:25
Paul, I've enjoy reading your comments in other threads. I would appreciate your evaluation of my profile.

Please note, if I apply to B-School this year, I will only have 2 years of full time work experience when I submit my application. In addition to evaluating my current chances at the schools below, could you please tell me if it would greatly improve my chances to work another year and apply instead in 2012 with 3 years of WE?


Here's my profile...

Target Schools: Northwestern, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, Yale, Michigan

Undergrad: 3.58 overall GPA & 3.8 major GPA from Purdue University (state school). I majored in Selling & Sales Management. During undergrad I was fairly involved with ECs, I had 2 internships (both with the company that I now work for), and I studied abroad.

GMAT Score: 760 (99%tile Q47, V47) - Note: I took the exam 5 times over 18 months. However, I never broke 700 until my last & final attempt. Also, I didn't quite break the 80th percentile in quant (I came close w/ a 77th percentile), but I am hoping that this will not be an issue or that my overall score will offset this...

Work Experience: 2 years as an 'Account & Project Manager' at a specialized heavy truck & equipment manufacturing brokerage company (think cranes, firetrucks, car haulers). As my title states, my work is split between sales & project management (think supply chain mgmt, procurement, and operations). My accomplishments include successfully managing two major $5M+ projects, exceeding my sales quota by 30% last year, and leading a business development team in which I personally established what is now a strong relationship with a huge manufacturing partner for us in China. I was also promoted after my first 9 months, resulting in a 25% base pay increase (and a big bonus).

Also, after college I began a startup company with a friend of mine. We have the USA rights to a General Electric manufactured lighting energy conservation unit. We're working directly with GE during the New Product Introduction (NPI) phase and have already have several major customers lined up for our prototype unit. We have yet to make a profit, but we've made some significant accomplishments since our launch.

Community Involvement: 1.) Treasurer (Board of Directors) for a fairly large senior citizen's advocacy group. I was directly involved with starting the organization; we've grown substantially since then. 2.) I lead a literacy class at the local jail, teaching 10-25 inmates during a 2-hour class every week 3.) I teach a weekly GED match class at a halfway house for women fresh out of prison who their children

Why an MBA? I'm still developing this a bit, but I want to focus on business strategy & entrepreneurship. I think that my experiences to date have provided me with a well rounded set of skills--I want to get an MBA to sharpen these skills in the most efficient manner possible. Here is my reasoning:

First, my dream is to launch & run my own business. I've experienced 'some' success starting my own business and starting a non-profit. However, these successes are primarily a result of trial and error. I'd like to go to BSchool to learn a more solid and methodological approach to building a business from the ground up.

Second, I'm really passionate about business strategy. I've been very passionate about the strategic developments I've been involved with at my work and I also love reading case studies and news articles about the behavior of other companies. I'm always intrigued to uncover why a company acted the way it did in a given situation.

Short-term post MBA I would like to get into management consulting or some sort of international business position. I like the idea of MC in the short term because it will provide me with a wealth of experience in a broad set of industries. I think this would an excellent stepping stone for my long term entrepreneurial goals. As far as international business, I have extensive experience traveling (19 countries traveled) & living abroad as well as some recent experience doing business in China. I absolutely loved these experiences and I think it would be amazing to work for a company that provides expertise in regards to importing/exporting or general practicalities while doing business in other countries.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Top 10 with 760/3.58GPA? [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 11:23
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Thanks so much for reaching out to us. Very cool background. If you paint the right picture, you are going to make a killing in the admissions process.

Here are some thoughts on key issues:

1. Go now. You are accelerating rapidly through your career, you are starting your own stuff, you are basically "out-kicking your coverage" to use a football analogy. Not only are you going to face down a certain amount of diminishing returns to keep working, but you might lose your zeal for starting your own things. An MBA is an "appropriateness" degree first and foremost, so if it makes sense for YOU now, then go. As an additional consideration, we've had tremendous success with candidates in the their early-to-mid 20s this year, many of whom fit the same profile: strong numbers, pushing up and through your glass ceiling at work, moving toward entrepreneurial endeavors.

2. The key for you will be conveying all that timing that works in your advantage. It really has to be FIRST, I learned/developed/discovered while making an impact and soaring at work, SECOND, I started to have success on entrepreneurial endeavors, and THIRD, I know I need more knowledge, network, and pedigree to maximize the potential I can clearly recognize in myself.

3. For Why an MBA, it is almost always those three things: knowledge, network, and pedigree. Anything beyond that usually rings hollow, as does a claim that leaves one of those prongs out. You describe your quest for knowledge really well, but don't discount the potential partners/investors/collaborators you will meet in an elite program. Also, there's no shame in stating simply that an MBA from School X is going to help you with key audiences. MBAs are very practical degrees and the more you can speak to the cold, hard truth, the more they appreciate it.

4. If possible, connect your long-term ambition to a personal passion. It will round you out as a person and complete the journey, giving meaning to each stage. If you have a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, you could probably take your future ventures in any number of directions, but tying them to established interests, skills, and experiences gives it a maturity and gives it all a certain gravity. In other words, it makes it feel less pie-in-the-sky or guess-and-check.

5. Management consulting is a great choice in the short-term ... but would you not consider staying with the current GE venture? You are going to want to deal with that start-up in some way - either your plans to stay involved or your plans to separate. Otherwise, it will beg the question. Returning to something you have already started is a great short-term goal because the school is off the hook with regards to delivering. What I would recommend is going with "I have two possible short-term paths: 1) staying with the business I have started if all goes perfectly, 2) if not, I will pursue management consulting where I can use my skills and experiences to add value to firm clients while also expanding my own view of what works and what doesn't in various ventures. Either goal will feed into my long-term goal of X."

Hopefully this is helpful in getting you started. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com. I had one of our managing partners contribute to this post because he's had tons of success with "young" applicants this last go 'round. I would recommend connecting so you can have an initial consultation with him.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Top 10 with 760/3.58GPA? [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2011, 12:02
Paul,

Thank you so much for the thorough advice. You really made some solid points that I have not considered before.

I liked what you said about not discounting the idea of potential partners/investors/collaborators at B-School. Networking is such an obvious reason as to why want to go to B-School. In fact, it's so hugely obvious for me that I never considered using it as a reason when answering the question 'Why an MBA?'

Also, I've never before considered continuing my business after B-School. I figured that I would 'pass the torch' to someone else before classes began and then once I graduated I would move on to something new. But after reading your post, it hit me: if I could get things in place before I leave, there would be the possibility for me to return post-MBA (at least part-time, like my involvement now). At the very least (and like you were saying), this would be a GREAT way to frame my post-MBA goals in my essay.

I'm seriously considering evaluating some consulting services before applying, so I will be sure to shoot you an e-mail. I've got a few small items (not mentioned above) in my academic history that will probably need to be addressed in my application. I'm confident that these won't be an issue, and they may actually help my chances, but they need to be addressed in my essays nonetheless.
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