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Repost:Profile Evaluation Request:development sector work-ex

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Repost:Profile Evaluation Request:development sector work-ex [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2011, 22:22
Dear All,

Following is my profile:

Age: 27 years

Acads:
• Under-grad stream: BTech (ICT) from DAIICT (not likely to be recognized outside of India as the IITs are)
• Under-grad CGPA/percentage: 2.96/4 or 62.4 (have a couple of Fs too!) – will basically own up to it in my optional essay. Also, after graduating, I have chosen a completely different field (Microfinance), so will build my defense around that.

GMAT: 740

Extra-curricular: Good (Have won a state-level lawn tennis championship, written 2 academic research papers which got published, was active in the student body of my college)

Workex details:
• Years: 4 (on 28th Aug'11)
• Industry: Microfinance (Development Sector) - currently working in Product Development as Senior Manager (at a top 10 MFI in India)
• Work Progress: Good - have done well and consistently moved up in the 4 yrs at Ujjivan
o Currently leading a product vertical within the company
• International Exp (Abroad): None

Recommendations: I am in good shape on that front

Outside Office Work:
• Lead writer for a social sector oriented blog
• Advisor and volunteer for Activist Circle – a discussion+networking platform for local communities of youth involved in the development sector
o I give introductory lectures on microfinance and mentor fellows who join the Activist Circle fellowship

Post MBA career goal (short-term): Social Venture Fund (I believe that my on-ground operational work-ex in Ujjivan plus the hard-skills, i.e. finance learnt at an MBA program will equip me for a job at an SVF). I plan on taking relevant electives (Private Equity, Finance) during my MBA to give myself the best shot at an SVF job

Post MBA career goal (long-term): yet to give shape to that (I have an idea for a start-up, but I have to think through it and don’t want to appear unrealistic)

Other notables:
• Got admitted to IIM-Indore in 2008 (IIMs are the leading MBA schools in India with acceptance rates of less than 1%), but decided to stay in Ujjivan (I had initially joined Infosys after my under-grad and gave my CAT exam during my tenure there. By the time CAT cleared and results came out, I had switched to Ujjivan and then I decided to stay and not pursue my MBA). I am mentioning this because I plan to use it in my essays

Target Schools: INSEAD, LBS, Oxford, Chicago GSB, Cambridge & Wharton

W.r.t international experience (which is important especially for LBS and INSEAD), I have the following line of thought/defense:

1. I choose to work in India because I wanted to work in the development sector and since I am Indian, to me it made the most sense to work here
2. Post MBA, I want to work in a Social Venture Fund - to understand how companies make decisions on investing in social enterprises. I don't have a preferred location of my job post MBA (India/international) but I am guessing that if I choose India over international, then it might hurt me in my application to these schools
3.My long term goal (potential) is to start-up a end-to-end dairy consulting firm for Indian farmers (I believe that combined with my current on-field experiences and experience in an SVF will provide with the skill sets and expertise to start up in future). I have to refine this further though

In view of 1-3, can I build a logic/defense for my INSEAD/LBS apps which can counter my ZERO international experience?

Also would love to hear thoughts on my chances at other schools - Oxford, Chicago ,Cambridge & Wharton

Best,
Srijan Kaushik
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Re: Repost:Profile Evaluation Request:development sector work-ex [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2011, 21:08
Hoping for an evaluation soon

Srijan
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Re: Repost:Profile Evaluation Request:development sector work-ex [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2011, 07:28
Expert's post
Hello seeker1984, thanks for your question.

As you know, your GPA will be a challenge. Was there an extraordinary circumstance that caused your low marks? Did your GPA rise as you progressed through undergrad? If so, you might try to explain these factors in the optional essay. Better yet, do you have any other analogue that is a better representation of your academic ability and potential? Programs will want to know that you can handle the material. Your high GMAT serves as an indicator, but you could use another one to mitigate.

Your competitiveness will come down to the quality of your leadership experience. Can you draw upon “moments” when you truly led both in and out of work: influenced individuals and organizations, drove results, took initiative? You seem to have solid leadership experiences both in and out of work; draw upon those to differentiate yourself and to mitigate your GPA.

In terms of your post-MBA goals, paint a picture that cohesively ties together your past, present, and future. Demonstrate to the admissions committees that your desired career path necessitates an MBA. If you really want to end up in India as a dairy consultant, you will have to make a convincing case that the program you choose best prepares you to do achieve that, as well as your short-term goal. I can’t tell you what your story to the admissions committees will be (and you’re not asking me to), just saying that you should make a logical and plausible case – which you know. Moreover, you might speak to what a US or international program would give you that IIM would not, since you turned it down.

I’d say you have a shot at all the programs you mention, but I’m not sure how much of a drag your GPA will be. Depends on how well you can mitigate that.

Best of luck!
Brian
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Re: Repost:Profile Evaluation Request:development sector work-ex [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2011, 22:32
Hi Brian,

Thanks for your detailed reply. Regarding my low GPA, here's how I am trying to address the issue:
1. My choice of profession is completely different from my under graduate concentration. I did my under-grad in ICT (Information and communication technology) but have worked in development sector at a microfinance institution for 4 years
2. Lots of extra curriculars in the 1st 2 years - will mention them and how they helped me in my personal growth. Didnt balance my time well with studies
3. Worked harder in my 3rd year (learned to manage my time better) - grades improved - cleared the cut-off required for job placements - got selected in Infosys (a top IT firm). Only problem is that my 4th year grades again dropped after a good performance in my 3rd year (which helped me get placed)
4. Other mitigants - high GMAT, got selected at IIM-I (Indian Institute of Management - Indore) through CAT. This is an extremely competitive exam with overall admission rates at IIMs less than 1%. I didn't join the college though

Any views you have on this strategy would be extremely helpful.

Thanks,
Srijan
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Re: Repost:Profile Evaluation Request:development sector work-ex [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2011, 09:10
Expert's post
Hello seeker1984, thanks for your follow-up.

I believe the strongest tactic is simply to demonstrate – through an analogue or another vehicle – that you have the ability to handle the MBA academic workload. As you mention, your high GMAT score and the fact that you were admitted to other competitive business programs could be your most effective arguments. Your options #1, #2, #3 (as laid out in your email) would be less effective arguments, in my mind.

Best of luck,
Brian
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Brian Eng
Senior Consultant
mbaMission

646-485-8844

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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