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schools selection

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schools selection [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2005, 11:13
Hi Scott and Omari,

First off, I am reading your book and I think its a great resource!

Although you explain in your book about how to select schools, I am still not able to evaluate my chances at some schools. I plan to apply for the fall,2006 class (yes...I am up against it ! :-( )

Following is brief description of my profile :

Undergraduate Degree : B.E, Computer Science Engineering, Bangalore, India. Graduate with the highest grade in the university.

GMAT : 710, 94% ( Quant : 47, 81% V : 40, 91 %)
( The above is my second attempt score, first time : 680 Q: 90%, V : 77% )

Work Experience : Software development for 2 years for a large IT MNC. Received 2 awards for team work and technical excellence. Was also given the highest appraisal rating. Subsequently have moved on to Business Development for one of the products in the company. I wanted to be in a client facing role which would help me understand how customers evaluate and deploye Software products. Such a role is not usually given to a young guy like me, so have shown decent career progression here. ( I think ! :-) )

Regarding my leadership skills : I have not had any official leadership exp at work. But I did lead and implement a project(handed to me by my manager ) at work which turned out well.

Extra Currics :
a) I helped setup a trekking(which I really like) club at work.
b) I am involved in Toastmasters International and have held leadership positions there.
c) I also held leadership positions in under-grad college(Conceived and edited the first departmental yearbook in college ).

I guess the above is a normal description of a typical Indian applicant, but there is a small difference here. I come from traditional business family in India and we are involved in the food processing industry for quite sometime now. I always had a desire to diversify our business and take advantage of the Indian advantage to build a IT services organization. It was with this in mind that studied for and set out to work for a IT company. And I fully intend to come back to India post-MBA after a certain amount of work-ex(2-3 yrs) in the US and setup a technology services company.

Now my reasons for doing an MBA are :

•To learn entrepreneurship skills
•Hone and develop my leadership skills
•Skills to manage a family business
•Strategy skills
•Marketing skills


Given my interest in Entrepreneurship I have been able to shortlist the following schools :
Wharton (Stretch school. Good for Entrepreneurship )
Ross ( Hopefully a reach school : your comments on this ?)

I intend to apply to 5 schools. I want to apply to 1 stretch school, 3 reach schools and 1 backup school. I am considering the following :

1) Columbia (Given my GMAT (lower quant score ) do you think this is a reach school ? )

2) Duke ( Higher work-ex reqs. So your opinion on my chances here. Reach school ? )

3) Dartmouth ( Reach school ? )

4) HAAS ( Higher work-ex reqs. So your opinion on my chances here. )

5) Tepper ( quant score is low for my applicant pool. So should I consider this for a safety school or a reach school ? )

I did not chose Sloan here because I would prefer a balanced curriculum. And from my understanding Sloan is very quantitative.

I am terribly sorry for such a long post. Would greatly appreciate any inputs you can provide.

Thanks.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2005, 09:00
Expert's post
Thanks for the kind words about the book!

I think that your target schools are very appropriate given your interest in entrepreneurship. The normal advice that I give to Indian applicants -- "You need to differentiate yourself more" -- applies to you a little less than normal since you seem to have some good extracurricular activities.

But, I do think that you amount of work experience (two years) may be a little light for some of those schools. If you were already managing people, that would make it less of a potential issue, bu tteh fact that you haven't managed anyone will make it harder. The more that you can emphasize the leadership traits that we describe in the book, the better.

Specifically looking a those schools, Tuck was the only one that stood out a little as possibly not a perfect fit. Yeah, some (like Haas) do tend to have people with more work exp. than you, but I'd still apply there. I think that a school like Haas would otherwise be a good fit for you.

One other thought: Even though I think you will stand out more than most Indian applicants, I think your ultimate career goal (set up an IT company) is dangerously very similar to many other Indian applicants' goals. Definitely tell the truth and write about what you're passionate about, but the more that yo ucan emphasize your family business (which sounds unique to me), the better off you'll be!

Scott
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Last edited by quixx23 on 15 Nov 2005, 12:07, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2005, 06:23
Thanks for your valuable inputs Scott.

Regarding my work-ex I will have 3 years when I enter and a 2.25 years at the time of my application. I realize the IT services goal is similar to other Indian applicants. But it is what I intend to do. In light of this, if I position myself as someone who intends to grow both the family business and start the IT services venture, would this be construed as having a lack of clarity. I ask this because then I would have to focus on courses/interests which are inline with my family biz(manufacturing and retail[we are basically franchisees]) as well as focus courses/interests which are inline with starting a IT venture. I am probably being overly concerned here, but would be great if you could clarify this.

Also would it be possible for you to give your inputs on which of Columbia, Duke or HAAS would be a reach school for me ? I am sorry to ask this question, but would be really helpful if you could give your inputs here.

Thanks again for your time and patience.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Nov 2005, 12:11
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I think it's perfectly reasonable for you to have shorter-term and longer0term goals. In fact, I think that many adcomms will view this as realistic, compared to the applicant who says, "I want to graduate with my MBA and then immeditaely start a world-class company." Realistically, most MBAs work at "regular" jobs for at least a couple of years before starting their oen ventures. So, I think this is okay.

Columbia may be the farthest reach for you because of your fit with the program, although at Haas you may face more competition from very similar applicants. So, it's tough to say. I'd say that Duke may be the "easiest" of the three for you to get into, although I think you have a shot at all three.

Scott
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2005, 04:25
Sure did help me structure my school selection process.

Thanks for all your inputs scott.
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