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Profile review and school advice please [#permalink]
11 Jun 2007, 19:23
26 year old white american male
GMAT: 760 (q50, v44, AWA 6.0)
Undergrad GPA: 3.25 (far better last 2 years than first 2) in Business Administration (Information Systems and Finance focus)
Work Experience: Almost 5 years of FT work at application. I work in IT. I I have been promoted regularly, starting from the helpdesk and working up to a senior network engineer role. In my last job I was one of 3 senior technical escalations for a NOC of 35 that supports 60k employees. I now mentor the 2 employees who have taken over my old job. I have outstanding performance reviews, and I should be able to get good letters of recommendation.
Extra circulars: Some interesting ones in college, but not much that schools would probably care about since then. I built an entire small business IT infrastructure (server, network, software, desktops), which I still maintain, for a family member (for free). However, since it is IT work, I don't know if it would count for much.
Goals/Reason for MBA: I guess I am a little unusual in that I have no interest in pursuing an IB/MC/PE/VC career. I want to work on the general management, finance, and operations skills necessary to build and lead successful businesses. Not necessarily building a business from the ground up (although that isn't out of the question), but also within the corporate world. I want to work in a company that is technology, communications, or biological sciences focused after my MBA.
I currently live in Seattle and I want to return to the west coast within a few years of obtaining my MBA.
I will probably also take a shot at either Stanford or Harvard, although I know my chances are not great.
Do you think these are reasonable school options? My main worry is that I do not have the unusual/special background that schools seem to be looking for. Is there a school that may be a good fit that I am overlooking? I am only at the beginning of heavy school research, so any recommendations would be appreciated.
There's no reason why you should count yourself out for HBS or Stanford. Given your interest in ending up back on the W. coast, I'm surprised you have taken a look at Haas. And I think you should definitely consider Stanford.
Also, I wouldn't exclude your extracurriculars from undergrad. If they speak to who you are as a person then they can be useful antecdotes in your application. It sounds like you have the potential to pull a strong app together, you will just have to spend sometime reflecting on what messages you want to get a cross.
Honing your career objectives a bit more and why they're a good fit would help too.
The main reason I was considering not applying to Stanford is my lack of significant community servce/extra cirruclar activities since college. This is not to say that I spend my life working on networking, reading about networking, or sleeping - I certainly have pursuits outside of work that I enjoy, but they are more personal recreational or group recreation activities.
From everything that I have read, schools like Stanford and Harvard have plenty of applicants with stellar qualifications, and they are looking for something more, primarily in the area of community service. Unfortunately, I am lacking any long-term committed service since I left college. I thought that I would take a shot at HBS due to its larger class size, hoping that if I can strongly communicate the leadership roles I have had in my orginization, that that strength may override the one major weakness in my profile. Stanford, with its much smaller class size, seems like a nearly impossible longshot. I am going to think more about it, though.
Haas is on my (seemingly ever expanding) list of schools to research. I initially wasn't looking at it due to its reputation as being nearly as difficult to get into as the ultra elites, without all of the advantages. However, due to its regional strength, my desire to be on the west coast and to work in tech/bio sciences, I will give it more serious consideration.
I chewed through Montauk's book this weekend, and picked yours up on friday. I look forward to reading it this week.
We'd be really interested to hear your honest thoughts on our book when you're done -- thanks for giving it a shot. We've been really pleased with the feedback thus far.
While community service really does help, you should give some consideration to the personal and group recreational activities that you enjoy (assuming their legal! . Seriously, applicants poo-poo these activities all the time and writing about them can really give admissions counselors a sense of who you are.
Definitely try to make it out to some of these schools. Visits are a great way to narrow down your choices.
I read your book last week, and I thought it was concise and useful. Since I had just read Montauk's book, there was alot of similar information, but it was nice to hear it from people who had just recently gone through the process. The main differentiator was the school profies at the end, I really like those. Overall I enjoyed it, other than the part that went something like "Community service, once a nice-to-have, is now a must have" - that part made me feel a little sick to my stomach.
I have been doing individual school reasearch since then, spending 2-3 hours each night going through each school's website that interests me. As a result, my list has changed a bit. I think that I am going to drop Northwestern. I know it is a great school, but it just doesn't seem like the right fit for me, and my lack of significant community service would probably be an even larger detriment when applying to Kellogg than the other schools I am considering. I still plan to visit Kellogg for a first hand impression, though, since I am going to visit Chicago this fall. Also, I was thinking about applying to USC as a (hopefully) safety school. However, I wasn't impressed with their description of their program via their website. They just don't seem to their mba program as seriously as the other schools ive researched, and I really do want to work with and challenge myself against the best students. Since California is pretty close to me though, I plan to stop by when I go visit UCLA.
So now my list is:
Hopefully I will be competitive at at least some of those schools.
List looks good. I think you'll find you school visits to be extraordinarily helpful. It really helped both Scott and I in making our decisions. Your up front research will help you in spades.