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Profile Evaluation - Wait an extra year to apply?

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Profile Evaluation - Wait an extra year to apply? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2011, 06:52
Hi all - your advice is much appreciated. I'm considering applying next Fall (2012) or possibly waiting until the following year (see below).

26 years old, Caucasian male.

GMAT: 710 [92%] (48Q [82%] , ~40V [92%] (give or take, can't exactly remember at the moment) and 6.0 AWA

GPA: 3.54 from a small, mid-tier private college, Finance major, Accounting minor, closer to a 3.75-3.8 in last two years. Full academic scholarship, liberal arts honors program, business honors society.

Work Experience: ~3 years thus far, ~4 years by the time I apply next year (unless I wait another year). 2.5 years as a Consultant at a software company catering to the investment industry, including two promotions and specialty work in buy-side quantitative analysis. All were client-facing positions, primarily with investment management firms (this was much more of a finance job than an IT/software job).
.5 years (would be >1 year by the time I apply) in my current role in equity research at a mid-size sell-side firm with a good reputation. Differentiating spin - I joined as the first associate on a brand new sector coverage launch for the firm - akin to building a business, added responsibility, etc.

Additional/EC: CFA Level III candidate, hoping to receive charter next summer, in time for applications
co-founded my college's first Investment Club while in UG, held a leadership role
Limited post-graduate EC, but I'm currently working on that (I plan on gaining meaningful involvement in two particular organizations within the next month).

Target Schools: 1) Booth 2) CBS 3) Sloan 4) Haas 5) Ross 6) Stern. Outside of those I would consider Johnson, Fuqua, Anderson.

Goal: Finance concentration, possibly to pursue IM/HF post-MBA, but also interested in tech/media entrepreneurship (my research coverage is in the media industry, plus I have the prior work experience at a software firm)

My perceived strengths: success in my professional career thus far. I had a very good reputation at my past firm and I know I can get at least one good Rec to show for it. Solid academic record, proven quantitative ability (between CFA, work experience, GMAT). Demonstrated dedication to career pursuits (CFA).

My concerns: my stats/background aren't impressive enough. My GPA/GMAT are about average for my target schools, but I feel as though I'm lacking a differentiating factor that would overcome this. I'm working on developing a more well-rounded story (my ECs are currently limited). An unfortunate dilemma is that much of my time post-UG has by necessity been spent obtaining the CFA designation, which I hear holds little value in the MBA admissions process. If things go according to plan I'll be able to add some ECs soon, giving me ~ 1 year of involvement with these organizations before applying next fall.

Question: Do I stand a realistic chance at these schools, and would I stand a greater chance if I spent another year "building my story"? This would involve a longer history of post-UG EC involvement, an additional year or work experience in research, totaling ~5 years of work experience post-UG by time of application.

I would prefer applying next year as I would rather get my MBA finished sooner rather than later, but if my chances would increase at a top-10 school if I wait an additional year then I'd be willing to do so.

Thanks very much; I apologize if this was too long-winded.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Wait an extra year to apply? [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2011, 13:34
Thanks for the detailed post, it makes these responses easier. To keep this short and sweet for now: apply this year, don't wait another year. In fact, waiting will just hurt your application. You are at a good age and # years of experience, you are class of 2007? Did you take a year off?

Working longer may hurt you, but it won't help you so not worth the risk really, unless you don't feel you have enough leadership experience to talk about.

You also have good enough stats for most of those schools, though some would be reaches. Developing the overall story is tough but you have the fundamentals. Not outstanding GMAT or undergrad transcript, and good job experience but not outstanding. That said, you are within range so it will come down to how you are able to spin your application. Reach out for further questions or guidance.

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Re: Profile Evaluation - Wait an extra year to apply? [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2011, 22:12
Expert's post
I agree that if this year is the good one for you, you can comfortably apply with good hopes. I don't necessarily agree that applying next year will harm your application in any way at all, however. But since you prefer to apply now the point is moot. :)

Your profile is better than you think, your stats/BG is actually quite good. But you gotta get started, esp. if you are planning on applying to that many schools, and want to give yourself the chance to properly prepare your applications.

Hope this helps, and if you got any follow up Qs, don't hesitate.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Wait an extra year to apply?   [#permalink] 09 Oct 2011, 22:12
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