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Reaching for the clouds?

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Reaching for the clouds? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2011, 13:50
Hi Paul,

Could you please evaluate my profile?

Aiming for MBA class of 2013.

Age: 28
Gender: Male
Nationality: white/non-hispanic

GPA : 2.3, Texas A&M University. BS Political Science.
GMAT : 540 (First attempt)

Work experience:

Served 7 years in U.S. Army as an officer making the Rank of Captain. Served two tours in Iraq, totaling 27 months of leadership experience in combat and earning two bronze stars. While deployed to Iraq, I commanded a Battery of 142 men and stayed in command for a total of 18 months. While deployed, I executed over 214 patrols and was responsible for stimulating the economies of two major cities in southern iraq through targeted business grants resulting in a peaceful security situation and quantifiably reduced unemployment rate.

MAJOR area of concern:

Both my GMAT score and dismal GPA are the areas of concern. I'm at a crossroads where I need to know if attending a top 100 MBA program is in the realm of possibility for me. I wish to know so I can swallow it and move on instead of wasting countless hours preparing applications in hopes of a impossible outcome.

Career goals:

Immediately after B school, I'd like to work in general management for a fortune 500 company, using my problem solving and decision making skills to add value to the company.

School choices:

Is there even a school out there that would give me a shot?

Any incite no matter how frank would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
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Re: Reaching for the clouds? [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 10:52
Expert's post
Thanks for reaching out and thanks for your service.

Here are the two most critical questions to ask in this case:

1. Can you improve your GMAT score 120 points?

2. If not, why go?

Now, let me work through this. Your 2.3 GPA is, well, not good. But it is also mitigated by your service record. A low GPA indicates a lack of discipline, focus, and maturity in most applicants - you won't have that problem. Therefore, your GPA will exist as a numerical hurdle (a school will have to swallow that score and put it on the ledger), but also might call into question your intellectual horsepower (problem solving, innovation, ability to tackle complex academic material, etc.). Again, we can deal with some of that in essays, by drawing upon your experience. But that is why the GMAT becomes super critical. If that 2.3 is coupled with a 540, the assumption will be that for all your tactical experience, leadership, etc., the academic component will be out of your grasp. Fair or unfair, that is what that profile will suggest. Whereas a 660+ gets rid of that assumption and now you are just working with two low numbers, but not with a resulting narrative that spells trouble.

If you are down below that 660, that is going to take top 20-30 programs out of play completely.

Which leads to question #2 - are you sure the investment is worth it if you have to drop down too low? Perhaps, especially if you can get assistance with $$$ and maybe if you can do a part-time program, but many MBA programs outside the top 30 or so loose their value and ROI pretty quickly. You might have more luck just networking and interviewing with Fortune 500 and building a career that way, rather than going to a potentially mediocre business school.

That's my take at first blush. Feel free to PM me with any follow up questions.

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti

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