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Request your review! [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2011, 03:08
Hello Paul,

I would be grateful if you could review my profile here--

Mentioned below are details which may give you an insight into my application:

From: India, Age 28

GPA: 3.28 Babson College, Massachusetts with a Finance major, Bachelors of Science, Business Management Degree in 2006
Started college with a 2.6 GPA freshman year & final semester was 3.9 GPA. Junior/Senior Year GPA was 3.5+and Finance Major GPA was about 3.7

Work Experience: (4 years in all PLUS entrepreneurial projects)
3 years in Financial Services at a small boutique firm in Boston - Financial Analyst, Investments (2006-2007 then 2008-2010)
1 year in Family Business - Manufacturing (India) from 2007-2008 ; then went back to Boston from 2008-2010
Returned to India in 2010 October as my father was diagnosed with cancer so i had to leave and return immediately.

Entrepreneurship Experience:
Started a Fashion Accessories business while working , designed a collection of scarves and sold to e-commerce websites and boutiques in USA (2007 onwards while in India)
Also started another fashion jewelry brand a month ago (May 2011 ) and selling in the USA again- again handled everything from designing right up to dealing with buyers

GMAT: 700

Passion, Personal Story And Career goals:

Major passion is Textile Design (woven textiles- I also learned to weave myself over these years) of the type achieved during the highest period of the Renaissance in Europe, in Turkey & Iran. Long term goal is to setup a luxury lifestyle brand that has the ability to revitalize those extravagant hand woven textiles by making the designs more contemporary and suitable for Haute Couture and the finest Home Decor. Setting up such a company would be patronizing the work of villages full of weavers and artists in India who have left the trade for other lucrative professions and/or are dying in poverty due to no demand of their work. I feel an obligation to these artisans as patronage of the arts in India stopped around 1950 when the british raj was abolished. I belong to an Indian Royal Family (not anymore though, my grand father was the last ruler---various Family members now are into National level politics- senator etc.) and would like to revitalize this industry but with an approach of running a luxury brand which is why i want to pursue a good MBA.

Keeping my long term goals in mind, I would like to work in the Luxury Industry immediately following the MBA program, on the management side which would eventually prepare me for my longer term goal !

Should i elaborate on family background and this story in my application essays? I dont know where i could stand a chance though im very keen on Columbia, Kellogg, Wharton or Dartmouth, even MIT.

What are your thoughts about my candidature for those schools? Also, any other schools you recommend which may be better for working in the Luxury Industry after graduation?

Your help is much appreciated-- Thank You!
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Re: Request your review! [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2011, 18:03
Expert's post
Hi ak,

I had another post about fashion and luxury goods today, so I apologize if I gloss over anything, but you can just check that one out as well.

The biggest thing for you is to be wary of leaning on an MBA program to get you a job in the luxury goods space. That market has been hammered by the economy and the labor force hit the hardest are highly paid MBAs. We've seen luxury brands go back to the old model of hiring interns and letting them rise through the ranks, rather than pay $130K for someone with an MBA. Even the schools that "specialize" in luxury brands (ie Columbia) are giving applicants in that area the cold shoulder.

Now, should you avoid it altogether and be someone you are not? No, of course not. Here are some strategies for dealing with this:
1) Take a detour. So basically, you have experience in this world, you want to eventually get back to it, but you are getting an MBA to ... what? Well, most likely, to *broaden out.* More knowledge, larger network, etc. So you can just continue that line of thinking and continue to broaden post MBA by going into a larger function that hires tons of MBA. You can pick based on your skill set, but consulting is the easiest. Banking, consumer goods, etc., are also options. The idea here is that you want exposure to more industries, models, success stories, and so on, so that when you go back to your roots - luxury goods - you have max insight to achieve success. This retains the integrity of your long-term goal while offering a more traditional (and, in the schools' eyes, achievable) short-term path.
2) Returning from whence you came. You can always sell "returning to family business" or "returning to current company." That rarely fails, as long as the MBA allows for an expanded role. This takes all the pressure off the school.
3) Working extra hard to forecast success. If you want to stick to your guns and talk about luxury goods for ST and if you are not returning to a business, then you can still make this work, but you have to work extra hard to show the road. This means really showing skills that a luxury goods company HAS to have when they see you come on the market. This means showing your own network and contacts that will allow you to succeed. This means presenting a few Plan B scenarios to give your path dexterity and resiliency.

The biggest thing is don't paint you - and the b-school - into a corner by announcing "I want a job in the market that has been hardest hit and is shrinking the most ... but don't worry, you, School X, can help me get it!" You will freak them out.

I hope this helps - good luck!

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti
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