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Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2013, 15:27
Hey Jon - was hoping to get a review from you..

Civil Engineering Major - Top 25 Engineering University 2.8 GPA, upward trend. I also have a Business Minor.

White Male, 26 @ Matriculation

GMAT: 570 -> 640 -> 690 (45Q/40V)

WE: 2.5 years in the civil engineering/construction industry. 1 Promotion from Field Engineer to Project Engineer. Smallish company (Not Bechtel/URS/etc). Have great hands on experience with managing ..lets call them interesting people. By the end of my time there I was managing 25+ employees on a 75 million dollar dam rehabilitation for the Army Corps of engineers. I left to take a job at an investment management firm- it is a 18 month pre-MBA job working in fixed income as well as performance attribution. I'm 1 month into my 18 month contract, so I am unable to elaborate more on this subject currently.

ECs:
Undergrad:
New student orientation: served for 3 years, and mentored many of the students in my group throughout the year.
Habitat for humanity: Had leadership positions in 3 trips across the US with 10-20 students from school in remote, high need areas during spring and fall breaks.
Special Olympics: Venue Coordinator for 3 years - Planned all the volleyball operations for special olympics weekend (largest student run SPO event in the nation).
Yearbook Photographer
Post Grad (Ongoing):
Member ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers)
Served on the Safety board at my old job - suggested a company wide safety imitative that they still practice.
On the recruitment board for local Habitat for Humanity
Young Alumni Member
Career Mentor
Other:
Enjoy cars - help run my friends car @ the track...kind of the pit crew for him. Also get together with a local group of "gear heads" about once a month to do car-guy stuff. (Very informal..but i enjoy it a lot)
Travel during hurricane season up and down the east coast to surf
Avid photographer (Not published - never tried)
Enjoy outdoors - hunting/hiking/climbing/etc. You name it, I love to do it.

MBA Goal (In flux, circling in on it...): I want to work in corporate finance (Treasury) for a F500 manufacturing/energy firm.

Why MBA: I want to leverage my background of "hands on" work with my work in the fixed income space to work my way up the corp fin. ladder at a large company. I believe my engineering experience combined with my experience in buying corporate debt allowed me to see not only how projects are built, but the financials on how they're made possible. An MBA will provide me with the hard skills to fill in the gaps between my experience, and "round me out" so that I will have the tools needed to succeed.

Why Now: Well.. for one my Contract is ending in 2014. two, I don't want to get stuck doing fixed income forever - I prefer to be in a company that makes something - not service. I feel that my experience allows me to see things from both sides of the spectrum, and all that is needed now is, as i mentioned before, something to fill in the gaps and brush up my soft skills.

My "list": Tuck, Wharton, Fuqua, Ross, Tepper, Johnson, and Darden. Open to adding or subtracting schools. The only reason W is on the list (love the school, but lets be honest, its a stretch) is because we are family friends with someone on the finance board. He has offered his support that he will be able to help me get in, but I am unsure of how this works/if this works. At any rate, I'll apply

My concerns: Well the obvious concern is the GMAT/GPA combo. I am not too keen on sitting for the MBA one more time, but if thats what I have to do, I'm game. I was going to use the next 6 months to take 2-3 courses to help build an alternative transcript (Currently taking UCLA Extension - Math for Management). Do you think that I need to redo the GMAT? I already have a monster improvement, I'm not sure how much more I can squeeze out. It seems silly to take it again for 20 +/- points. My quant is low (67th %), and I struggled during undergrad in my calculus courses. I believe this was due to overextending with my ECs + plain goofing off. I was very immature. Hopefully now that won't squash my dreams.

Let me know what you think, sorry for the long-windedness!
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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2013, 01:29
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Well, let's start with the most important thing - you have a good story. And your profile is interesting. I mean engineering, leading people to build dams.

Between the Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and the pit crew during your free time, you are also going to be very interesting.

Now this stuff doesn't exactly make up for your grades, but it does set up a different sort of profile which may interest the AdComs of the schools you mentioned, if you can tell a passionate story and make them believe in you. (which by the looks of things you are off to a good start).

Now with your list, you are a bit of an underdog, but like I said you got a few cards up your sleeve... So what I would do is aim for as many (all?) of those schools as I could in R1, and start to get a feel how things are panning out for you.. if they aren't working out clearly, then you can add a bit more schools on the safe side, but you may also discover that you are doing preeeeeetty good.
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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 05:53
Thanks for the timely response Jon!

My goal is to apply to all in the first round since I anticipate being able to work on essays as soon as they become available.

Aside from continuing with work/volunteering, what else should I be doing until essays are out? Is it too early to visit schools? I am struggling with figuring out how to visit and interview without having to make multiple trips to every school. Should I take a second course while I have time? Should I just relax and develop an airtight "story" for my application?

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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 08:07
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Good questions, all of them. And you are on the ball... What I would do at this stage is a few things

1. If in your grades, you did pretty poor on math/quant stuff, that idea of taking 1-3 courses can b e a good idea. I don't know that its a colossal help in terms of making up for your grades, but a) it does make you seem dedicated b) it will probably be pretty helpful when it comes to actually doing the MBA
2. Visiting is a great idea. And no its not too early. Sometime in Spring session is ideal, cause everybody is still there. You know, again there's no clear indication that this will for sure help you get in, but going, showing your face, seeing what it's like... it all helps
3. Yeah essays are released in June/July... but if you are really motivated you could start now with this years questions. Yes, some of them will change (I would roughly estimate 30-50%?????) but all the writing you would do would still get a lot of work out of the way for you, and get that noggin burning.

For volunteer and work, my feeling is that for most people, at this point, you have what you have... but of course if you can push and get promoted, that's always sweet :)
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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 10:35
Jon,

You have been great help so far. I have one final battery of questions if you're OK with that.

Since my original post, I've signed up for an extension course (mathematics for management), and it is going well. I'm wondering if after my course (early March), I should take another course or give the GMAT one final run..upsides I can see are obvious-potential to break 700, and more importantly improve my quant score. Downsides..well that will be the 4th try which may look obsessive. Also I may not improve.

Do you think it's better to spend march-may on GMAT or another course (stats?)?

Furthermore, I was browsing your web page, and noticed you have a massive discount available. That's great news. My question is based on the number of schools-with my list of 7, does it make sense to sign up for a 3 school package, and use what I've learned through my consultant on other apps? I understand that I won't have access to the inside info, so to speak, on the subsequent apps but do you think there will be enough carryover? (I understand it makes most sense from a business standpoint to push for a 5 school pack or whatever, but humor me :) ). Also, does it make sense to use my consultant on the most competitive schools in terms of acceptance rate?

Thanks Jon!
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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2013, 06:35
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Batter-away my friend! It's why we're here.

Regarding the GMAT.. it's always a toss-up.. but if you believe you can score higher, it would be silly not to try. Getting a worse score doesn't really harm your chances, and getting a higher one helps. And even 20 points higher more on the GMAT is worth five stats courses!!!

As for your question regarding our deal and how many schools - the way it works is that we know that there is this temptation to take two schools and then do the rest yourself, buuuut 1. The pricing is made in such a way that each school becomes progressively cheaper, so you actually get more bang for your buck 2. You may not realize this, but soooo much tweaking goes in from school to school. There is so much work to do, that it's really only until you get to your third app that you hit your groove... so then, since you have already built up speed, why not just keep on coasting? especially given the more competitive pricing?
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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2013, 07:49
Thanks again Jon. I'll have to review my options and decide about going the consultant route quickly if I want that discount!

Just to be clear, the discount also applies to students applying for 2014 intake, right? (I.e. applying this fall). Is it too soon to start with a consultant if that's the case?

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Re: Profile Review! [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2013, 20:14
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Honestly, I don't think it can ever be too soon. Actually starting much earlier will allow you to get the most out of the services you pay for, as you can "bother" your consultants from a very early stage about advice and strategy and everything you want!!! You may not be able to write essays just yet, but your consultant can definitely help you with the preparatory stages, preparing your resume, perhaps working on initial drafts of your LORs... there's plenty of work here to do!!
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