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Special Case : First Degree from France [#permalink]
24 Jul 2004, 04:58
I am a 31yr-old Singaporean (where English is the first language). I did my Engineering undergraduate degree (diplome d'ingenieur which is equivalent to a Bachelor of Science degree) in France. The engineering course was quite a rigorous one though the university I went to is not in the top-tier in France. My GPA is in the region of 3.1 to 3.5 (I was constantly ranked among the top 3 though). I have also managed to complete a Master in Engineering concurrently to my last year of my Bachelor Degree course.
After school, I spent 2 years in the Army and have clearly demonstrated my leadership by clinching the Sword of Merit - one of the top honours/awards given to the best officer cadets.
Since then, I have been working in the public sector (for 5 years now), dealing in Technology R&D, Software Development and Project Management. Within these 5 years, I have been promoted from Engineer to Project Lead to Project Manager and have clinched several organisation-wide Excellence Awards.
My extra-curriculum activites include:
1)Student Union EXCO member (external affairs) in the French University
2)Leisure Soccer Team Captain (on-going)
3)Assistant Secretary for a Not-for-profit Grassroot Organisation cum Chairman for Sport Sub-group in the same organisation (on-going)
Meanwhile, I am also taking a part-time course (Graduate Diploma in Financial Management) in a local institution. The idea is to demonstrate my interest in Financial stuff (an impt aspect in MBA for engineering grads). Till now, I have been scoring As in all the modules.
My real interest is in General Management and I intend to apply to the following schools:
Most desired: Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Kellogg
2nd Choice: INSEAD, LBS, Columbia and Stern (NYU)
Back-up: CMU, Yale and Cornell
My questions are:
1) I scored 660 for my first GMAT in Jan this year. What are my chances for the schools cited here-above based on this so-so score? Should I take it again (if not necessary, I would rather concentrate on my essays and other stuffs)?
2) I reckon that my academic background will be the most "problematic". But I would like to know what are my overall chances for the schools cited? Which one(s) of those cited would I have a good chance (or none at all)?
Thanks in advance for any advice. I would also welcome any advice on the type of schools that I should apply to.
The middle GMAT 80% ranges for the schools you mentioned are as follows:
Stanford: 665 - 765
HBS: 670 - 755
Kellogg: 660 - 750
INSEAD: 660 - 730
LBS: 640 -740
CMU: 610 - 730
Columbia: 670 - 750
Cornell: 600 -730
Yale: 650 - 750
The middle GMAT 80% range says that only 10% of admitees got in with a score less than the lower range. Given that, your score gives you a decent shot at what you're refering to as you "Back-up schools", but you probably have a decreased probablility at the others. If I were in your shoes, (and I was) I'd take the GMAT again.
I wouldn't worry about your academics. Admissions reps understand that engineering is probably the most difficult undergrad degree and therefore aren't as rough on applicants with that backround.
The grade component of your academics seems fine. You pursued a difficult subject in a foreign country and performed quite well.
The GMAT component seems a bit weak for the elite schools you are considering and is near the mean at the transelite schools.
I am also a bit intrigued by the schools you have targeted. You have a list of great schools but many of the most respected general mgmt schools are absent while a number of schools that are present are less renowned as GM schools. I am also a bit puzzled by the fact that Chicago is not present while schools in the same general cluster such as Columbia and Stanford are. I would consider including these additional schools:
I would also consider adding some additional transelite or high near elite schools such as UNC and Indiana.
Assuming that I manage to score 700. Which of the elites schools mentioned will I have a better chance based on my profile written. (Kindly let me know if you gurus need more information about my background).
Personality: I am analytical, logical and tends to be out-going.
Goals: want to spend a few years in Consulting (McKinsey, BCG and Bains) before moving on to corporate management in a top MNC (such as Johnson & Johnson or Exxon-Mobile etc)
Interests: plenty but I guess I will focus on my MBA if I get into B-Schools
I would try to identify which schools meet your interests first and then worry about the admissions aspect.
As I am sure we all know, admissions is a stochastic process. Your chance of admission even at the same school varies with who is reading your file, how they feel at the time, when they read it in the admissions cycle, the year of admission, etc. Some readers might identify with your essays and life story while others might find little in common with the writer and thus might see less of a connection between the applicant and the school.
How can you address this chance element? Attempt to diversify your portfolio of schools. Identify all of the schools that genuinely meet your needs and apply to them. Do not apply to schools you have no interest in truly attending.