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- Asian female, 25 - Econ major from top 10 US liberal arts college, GPA 3.6, full scholarship - First try GMAT 670 with no preparation, will take again soon. - Took multiple leadership roles in college - Founded an online network to help international high-school kids apply to US schools - After college I moved out to the Silicon Valley to start a Web 2.0 business with some friends, but it didn't work out because we were just trying to do too many things at the same time (which could actually make a great story for app essays) and I moved back to my hometown in Asia after 1 year when my visa ran out. - Joined a major management consulting firm 1 year ago, got fast-tracked promoted recently. Have been extremely lucky to have received leadership roles pretty much immediately after I joined. Great relationship with boss (partner). - Not sure if this is relevant at all... I also have a moonlighting hobby of currency futures trading and have a profitable track record - Will have 3.5 years of exp by the time of matriculation
That's pretty much my background in a nutshell... I'm hoping to break into M&A and get some exp before moving onto the funding side of the startup world (PE/VC) - I just became more interested in that side of start-up businesses after trying relentlessly to pitch to angel investors and VCs when I was in the valley.
I'm particularly interested in Stanford (obviously), Sloan, HBS, Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia etc. Pretty much the same schools everyone is looking at. Any comments?
You do have an interesting background, especially with the start-up and coupling that with the MC job in Asia. One thing that glared at me is the number of years of work experience. As you probably know, it's going to be hard to consider too much of your start-up (though it may make good stories) but since it didn't get anywhere, it'll be almost impossible to benchmark you against other entrepreneurs (unless you have some hard-evidence of success). You're a relatively short-timer for the MC job and while it's great that you garnered leadership ability, it will all depend on how you play your profile against others. I honestly think you have a shot, but a lot will rest on the shapings of your essays and interviews.
First thing that you should do, as you're targeting Sloan, is to boost up your GMAT. Get your GMAT up to at least a 700 for you to not stand at a disadvantage. Harvard is probably a long shot even with a 700+ GMAT, but if it's your dream to go there, you have to apply (I'd rather spend $250 than living with regret afterwards). All in all, your schools are extremely competitive but if that's all you're targeting, go for it. If you're willing to go in the mid 10-20 range, you'll have an easier chance to get in.
that's what i'm kinda worried about too... we did have some successes that we were fairly proud of (we had a couple of major well-known clients in the retail sector) but we also made mistakes that just ended up being wrong turns and leading the business into dead ends. that's actually why i went into MC in the first place right after leaving SF - i wanted to learn the ins and outs of making businesses successful from the "big boys" - and i did in the past year.
so i will have 1.5 yrs with my current firm by the time i apply - not sure if this will make any difference, but i made promotion in 10 months while it typically takes 1.5-2 years. also the only person in the entire consulting practice who received a mid-year instead of regular round promotion. by the time of matriculation i will have 2.5 yrs in MC - which i believe will be the perfect time for me to wrap up my startup failure exp + business lessons from an established MC firm and move onto networking and hopefully jumping back into the startup world again - either on the startup side or on the PE/VC side.
It makes total sense and trust me, I'm not trying to douse on your dream. I really do think that you can have some very interesting stories to tell, but I think it'll be crucial for you to do that properly on your essays. Your number of years (2.5) at MC will contribute and your promotion will certainly help because if it's a well-known management consulting firm, AdComs will know the typical length people need before a promotion takes place. The mere fact that you got it in 10 months speak volume to your profile. All in all, I'd still recommend you retake the GMAT and aim for a 700+ score. After that, go for your dreams!!