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Stats: 25 years old (soon 26), little over 3 years work experience,
GPA details: ~3.1 (first year different school, all quant classes got approx 3.7 (As in all maths) ) next three years GPA 2.9 at top 20 world science school, U. British Columbia Major Astronomy/Physics
Realized Physics wasn't for me but luckily Astronomy is also secretly large scale data analysis / programming (little known-fact) so here is what I have done since graduating school in Dec 06'
Job #1 2 years Bio-tech consulting/market research experience at a small company in Vancouver (started as 4 ppl, I helped grow to about 30). I crafted research reports on about 17 different countries and the market trends in their industries, published about 1300 pages, J&J said I had the best world report for my industry.
I had to leave because of visa issues so I quit and finished my naturalization process in the USA!!!
Job #2 1.5 years experience with a high end financial data provider (related to above in many ways) The sector tabs you see on Google finance was our data, helped craft financial data products for all the major banks and the US military believe it or not...my role was product development associate. This was a dream job but the economic crisis got the worst of me, company was restructuring and I got laid off!!!
Job#3 (Current) 1 month In China working with a fast growing but small company (~50 people, but manages teams in the 1000s) that offers consulting/market research services to US/European companies looking to expand and/or compete into China (focus groups, studies, interviews, large scale mystery shopping, trend analysis, etc). I'm training over the next 3 months to replace the Director of International Research & Business Development. I can speak Intermediate Mandarin although I'm not asian (anglo-saxon). This company is now the #1 mystery shopper / suvery company in China and is growing fast, I'm in charge of expanding their business into the western world, there is a lot of project management sales tied to this role.
Side-companies: Own a SAT/GRE study tool -- elitewordprep dot com (won't let me post urls) Manage a small fund via a algorithmic trading program I created, it buys and sells stocks over the world's security exchanges and it produces 200-300% returns for the last 17 years.
Summary: I want to get into a top business school for the connections and I believe I can provide my classmates insight on the connections I will garner in China, not to mention the cultural experience & my first hand entrepreneurial pursuits. I technically can live off my side business (the algorithm will be worth over a million in 3 years but it is my family's money, they gave me the initial 250,000K and they will invest more, my grandfather was an inventor who became a large scale steel manufacturer and later sold the business & my dad used to be the v.president of apple so they have the $$ to gave me in this pursuit, however I don't see any of this for a long time, the strat is recession independent as well so I don't feel too worried about it)
I also want to go to business school to learn management in the formal sense, if my businesses truly take off I want the name under my belt and if not I want the job security associated with it. I know my GPA is not stellar but I have solid business experience and I'm a doer, not an academic and I have mainly been in roles where I lead and influence others. I haven't taken the GMAT yet but I know it will be hard for me due to the verbal section. Math is a synch for me, I got mainly As in all my math/computer related subjects, it was the physics classes where I got mostly Bs and some Cs, however I have never come close to failing anything, literally most of my physics classes are just straight B/B-s
I'm worried that admissions will see the jumps in my resume, but they were due to things out of my control, A) economic crisis B) Visa naturalization took far too long than what our family attorney stated!!
Questions for you: A) Will admissions officers take my circumstances into account with changing my jobs? I would ideally liked to have stayed longer in them.. B) Is my GPA an issue? I know I took a really difficult major at a difficult school C) What GMAT range should I aim for to get into a top school with all of the above considered? D) Is my business experience good enough for a top program? E) Evaluate my strategy: I work in China for another 2 years, learn Mandarin more and let the money flow in my from side businesses (they require little effort on my behalf), study for the GMAT for a year and ace it then apply F) Where do you do you think I could realistically go? Being Candid will be appreciated.
Thanks for your time and consideration, I understand this is a rather long post
Your story will either be a mess or it'll make sense -- it comes down to how well you are able to tell that story. Adcoms aren't looking for people with strictly linear careers - they're looking for interesting people with a coherent narrative (which may not always be linear i.e. "I did A, which led to B, which led to C").
As for your GPA, it won't be an issue (you did physics, they know it's graded much more harshly than other subjects) -- HOWEVER, you will need a strong GMAT score -- at least 700 and ideally 740+ given your grades.
As for whether you can get into a top b-school or not, I'd say it'll come down to a combination of how well you execute the applications and the schools you choose. In your case, you really need to choose schools that you personally believe you'll be a great fit for culturally. Go and visit as many schools as you can even if it costs you some money and time. Whether you apply now or later won't drastically impact your candidacy unless you achieve something world changing that changes your fortunes and life forever (and if that happens, would you really bother going back to b-school?). My hunch is that schools such as Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, Sloan and Tuck are stretches (rather than have me tell you whether you are competitive or not, choose the schools you'd love to attend and apply there), and schools outside of that such as Duke, Darden, Michigan, Haas, UCLA, NYU, Cornell and Yale are sweet spots. Schools like Rotman and Ivey could be safeties. And yes, all of this assumes a competitive GMAT score. _________________