I would like a straight forward and honest evaluation of my chances for HBS and Wharton...
Nat'l: Chinese American
Education: BS Mechanical Engineering - Penn State University, 3.34/4.00 GPA
**Note about Undergrad: Finished program in 4 years while taking 1 semester off for a long internship, did however have AP credits coming in from high school. is this a positive or negligible detail in application showing that i completed a program that takes some people 4.5 full years on campus (summers included) in effectively less time on campus?** Also... A- in differential equations, B+ in statistics, B+ in Calculus, (C in multivariable calc, horrible semester, took 7 classes (normal is 5) to try to set up to be ready for a semester off for internship, mistake i can't have back)
GMAT: 660 - taking again May 2010, hoping to get a bit higher after 2 month study plan.
Extra Curriculars In School
1) Elected Officer of Engineering Undergraduate Council - led campus wide undergrad engineering recruiting events and represented the club in most on campus philanthropic events as well. 2 years
2) Committee volunteer of the Penn State Dance Marathon - volunteered annually for 3-4 months of aggressive preparation in the fall semester to help with the operational launch and marketing campaigns for the event. This is the largest student run philanthropy in the entire nation. ($7million raised per year for pediatric cancer patients and families). 4 years
3) Led a team to achieve Best Engineered Design award by peoples choice for a Siemens Building Technologies design competition (10 team competition at final stage, boiled down from 30 teams). 1 year
4) Participated and gained certification in the Professional Development Program which was a program that combined real world exposure requiring 1 year worth of industry experience and multiple technical papers to be written and graded by college of engineering staff. 1 year of experience with Pratt & Whitney of United Technologies Corporation as Design Engineer Intern 2 year program
General Electric Company:
Operations Management Leadership Program - GE (2 years)
Gained experience across 4 locations around the US within a GE Supply Chain and Services business.
1) Experience in Global Sourcing as a strategic sourcing agent for a business integration team where I drove $1.2M of cost savings through a supplier exit and divestiture strategy.
2) NPI Material supply chain leader for engine assembly to outfit China's new CRJ21 commercial aircraft.
3) Production supervisor - 25 direct, and 40 indirect off-shift reports for a service & repair product line responsible for Safety, Quality, On-Time Delivery, and Customer Service.
4) Manufacturing Engineer & Production Supervisor - 5 direct reports - had full ownership of operations and technical responsibility of a small product line. Delivered a six sigma project to improve total production throughput capacity by 500% and implemented a six sigma process to deliver $600k of scrap loss reduction annually.
Lean Operations Specialist for GE Aviation's new manufacturing facility in China. (since July 2009, current job)
Selected for the global assignment where I am "wearing multiple hats". The high level goals are inventory reduction across the $60M+ operation, bringing on new technical process capability to drive top line sales growth, and to provide a steady dose of strong leadership to a young and eager to learn workforce (both salaried and hourly employees).
- Achievements thus far: Lead multiple teams totaling 60 salary and hourly employees to... Reduce product cycle time by 85% (from 80days to 14). Reduce another product cycle time from 17 days to 5. Also, mentored 50+ employees through Lean Methodology training and projects that reduce manufacturing cost variability.
- Current projects: Leading multiple high level projects with cross functional teams including bringing on a new $2M product line that will significantly strengthen the capability portfolio of the P&L. Also close to delivering on a project to save the business 4 months of inventory taking inventory days from 4+months to less than 2 weeks. Will continue with lean events and I'm sure there are more projects to come!
**Overall, I am taking on the tough international assignment and delivering consistent results through team work, project leadership, and personal dedication to help the business succeed and expect to be rated in the top 20% of my pay band across the entire business - either way I think I have a bright future here, I don't NEED HBS/Penn to progress in my current situation. I do however think I bring a lot of value to an HBS case study environment, or a Penn general management class environment and will benefit even more from collaborating with the caliber of people at these schools**
Extra Curricular Post Grad
Note: I have not been in the same physical location for more than 6 months but have been involved in every place as much as possible. Hence the lack of progressive roles within the same group.
1) Elementary School Math Tutor - 6 months
2) Junior Achievement Tutor - 3 months
3) Executive Committee Member at GE, March of Dimes, March for Babies, lead marketing campaign to grow internal donations, team exceeded previous years total during 2009 recession - 4 months.
4) Multiple United Way / GE Volunteers events, 4 events total over 2 years (participant/volunteer).
5) Volunteer English tutor - China - 3 months
6) Currently taking formal lessons to learn Chinese Mandarin to an intermediate level.
Really enjoying reading now (didn't use to like it at a young age)
golf, healhy foods, general fitness, socializing on weekends, sports fanatic, traveling and learning different cultures.
Summary: I am sure that my work experience is my strongest asset on my application. I am known by some Executive Band leadership within the company that I will deliver on commits, hence my involvement with significant projects in the strategic growth areas of the business. I have a lot of very good interpersonal and in-person skills that do not reflect on paper (maybe through my choice of extra curricular). Many peers and superiors always comment about my genuine personality, charisma, and sharp intellect (maybe they say this to everyone, I don't know). I have a unique ability to balance charisma and positive attitudes while delivering results. I guess I am learning when to push the throttle and when to jump in and re-direct a teams direction and progress to hit timelines. I think all of this will come out in my letters or recommendations and interview (if I am lucky to have one). My main question is do I even stand a chance at a Top 5? I have little ability to build an alternate transcript given my location. And I will strive to go 700+ on the GMAT but if I don't, should I let that stop me from applying? Please realize that applying with confidence will be important as I believe I may lose momentum in my career here by asking to return to school full time - hence I don't want to apply unless I have solid confidence. Maybe it helps that I'm Chinese American coming from a manufacturing / operations environment? Most Asians applicants come from banking & IT yes?
One more thing... I believe I want to stay in the general management / operations track but am also interested in testing the waters on the turnaround/restructuring side of Private equity in the long term. I can bring a lot of value to a PE group with a portfolio of companies that they want to improve operationally then sell as I gain more experience. Maybe a McKinsey for a few years to get ready??
Let me know what you think about my chances for HBS and Penn application for FA2011 entry (2010 application) - even if you aren't a professional consultant I can use a little bit of real advice! Or if you have a comment on the Private Equity idea in the future...
thanks so much,
The combination of so-so GPA and below average GMAT tell me that at the moment you are not competitive at HBS other elite programs. If you raise your GMAT significantly, that would change by virture of your impressive work experience. the fact that you finished your undergrad in one less semester is a detail that provides some context to your grades, but it's a detail, and it sounds like it may have been a mistake on some level because your grades suffered.
I am not sure that a <700 GMAT should stop you from applying. It also depends how far below 700. It should make you a little less confident of acceptance at top 5 programs, and I encourage you to consider programs outside the top 5 that also support your goals. If no other programs support your goals, except the top 5, then you probably should apply to the top 5 and no others, do the best you can and take what comes.
We are having a series of posts on the blog starting with "What MBA Programs Should You Apply To Next Season?"
. The others will appear over the next several weeks, but Cindy Tokumitsu, the author, will touch on several of your questions in this series..
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