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Shooting for the stars

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Joined: 19 May 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Denver, CO
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Shooting for the stars [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2004, 15:12
Hi Scott and Omar-

I'm trying to understand if I should take the leap to apply to a top 10 MBA school given my background and experience. Here's the skinny:

Undergraduate Background
I graduated from a small, private liberal arts college with a 3.34 GPA. My major was Psychology, but I had a great deal of emphasis in Business coursework. In my last year of college, I carried a 3.7 GPA as I was more focused on my grades at that point. I also took some challenging courses in my last couple of years (i.e. biology and advanced statistics)

Extracurricular Activities During College
While in college, I was involved in a number of activities in addition to my coursework, including:
- Work study all four years - 3 years supervising cleaning crews and manager of the on-campus restaurant
- President of my fraternity
- Taekwondo (Black Belt/instructor)
- Cheer Squad (captain of the squad multiple seasons)
- In Choir all four years (concerts and tours)
- Member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity

I've spent my career up to this point in various roles in Human Resources. For the last 5 years, I've worked at a large telecommunications company in Colorado in HR. Currently, I'm managing all major projects and program initiatives in HR. Prior to this role, I led multiple HR people and systems integrations resulting from mergers and acquisitions. Prior to that, I managed the entire HRIS function. In a five year period of time with this company, I've tripled my salary and been asked to lead multiple high visibility projects within HR. I held jobs in two other companies before that, but my contributions were not as extensive. I have 8 total years work experience.

While in college, I worked during the summers as a Director of an Inner-city summer camp for kids. I managed everything from budget and setting up fees with the parents, to coordinating logistics and overseeing the activities of three counselors and about 30 children.

I'm the president of our local Toastmasters club and I volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters program

610 on the first try; 710 on the second try (45-Q/41-V)

Can you help me understand what I would need to focus on if I wanted to have a decent chance at getting into a program like Kellogg or Harvard? Is any part of the backround I listed majorly deficient and/or largely irrelevant to admissions counselors?

Any insight you have would be appreciated.

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Joined: 22 Apr 2004
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Location: Southern California
Schools: Kellogg MBA 2004
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Re: Shooting for the stars [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2004, 20:08
Expert's post
Rasberry711 wrote:
I'm trying to understand if I should take the leap to apply to a top 10 MBA school given my background and experience.

At a glance, I'd say that you have as good a shot as anyone at getting into a top-ten school. Your community involvement is great, you've taken on leadership roles both in and out of work, and you've advanced quickly in your job.

The first thing that came to mind was, "I wonder how his quant skills are." Your first GMAT score would have been a liability, but your score of 710 will get you in anywhere (don't take it again!). Your undergrad GPA isn't incredible, but it's good enough, and it's good to see that it got better as you grew older.

It sounds like you did enough quant-type stuff in school, and you're obviously bright, but some adcomms might read that your an HR person and think "soft and fuzzy." That's not necessarily bad, but you want to do all that you can to make sure that they realize that you're not afraid of analytics. You could possibly take some business courses at a local college. But, you probably don't need to.

BTW, don't be afraid to use some of your community service experiences as the basis for stories in your essays. Definitely don't just talk about work. It sounds like you have some interesting stories to tell.

Overall, though, I can't spot any real deficiencies. You said you have eight years of work experience. Do you mean it's been eight years since college? If so, you may look a little "old" to adcomms, who are used to seeing apps from people with 2 to 6 years of experience. If this is the case, make sure that you can explain why *now* is the time for you to go to b-school (and not four years ago).

Also, have you managed people in your jobs? Not a big deal if you haven't, but it helps if you have. If you haven't, then be sure to talk about how you've managed to influence other people in order to accomplish what you need to get done.

I'd encourage you to shoot for the stars. I've seen people with far less interesting backgrounds get into top-ten schools.

Good luck!


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Joined: 19 May 2004
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Location: Denver, CO
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Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0

 [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2004, 07:16
Thank you for the candid feedback Scott. In response to your question about managing people, I have had anywhere between 1 and 6 direct reports for the last 4 years. It is interesting that the b-schools question more work experience. I would have thought 8 years out of college would be an advantage. I'll keep that in mind when putting together my application and interview strategies.

Also, my experience within HR has been much more focused on software implementation management (i.e. design, testing, upgrades, support, etc.) and project management than it has been on the "fluffy stuff". :-D Hopefully, that information along with demonstrating that my interests go beyond HR will help my chances of getting in.

Thanks again for your feedback. If it seems feasible that I could make it into a top progam, I'll definitely give it a shot. Now I just need to figure out how on earth I can make it work financially!!

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