I'm getting ready to apply to Wharton's Lauder program and would appreciate any feedback on my profile!
Undergraduate GPA: 4.0/4.0 (BA Psychology - Honors, UW-Madison)
GMAT: Have not taken
After I graduate college in 2002 I joined the Peace Corps. I served 2 years in Mali, West Africa as an HIV/AIDS health educator. I worked with a local NGO to improve its outreach efforts to important high risk groups. Most notably, I worked with anglophone sex workers living near a large gold mine to develop peer education programs.
Ten months after returning home from the Peace Corps I took a job as a Project Manager with a software company that designs electronic medical records systems for large health care organizations. I worked in the clinical implementation division. After 14 months in this role, I transitioned to a more technical team, which requires programming and other "techie" type skills. I have still been able to manage internal projects despite my formal switch out of the "project manager" position.
My ultimate goal is to use my MBA education to do foundation work. However, for next 10-15 years I would like to work internationally in a different capacity - perhaps marketing high tech medical technology to emerging markets. I need to refine these goals.
The Lauder program requires that applicants obtain an Advanced - High ranking on the ACTFL for a foreign language. I am confident that I will be able to get this ranking in French (my last ACTFL ranking in French was at this level, but that was 5 years ago in the Peace Corps). In addition to the time I spent in Mali (French was the national language), I studied in Paris for a semester.
I also volunteer with local LGBT advocacy groups (is this something that would be good or bad to put on an application to Wharton?).
What is the minimum GMAT score that I would need to shoot for?
The 10-month employment hole post-Peace Corps and my somewhat random switch to the technical position seem to be my application's bigest weaknesses. Any thoughts on those?
I know that it's probably a bad strategy to put all my eggs into the one proverbial basket, but Wharton's Lauder program is really the only one that completely "clicks" with me. Is it ever a good thing to indicate in the application that you are only applying to one school? My ultimate plan if I don't get in this year is to reapply to the program. At that time I would play the numbers and apply to other schools as well.
Thanks so much for your input!
You do need to refine the goals you mentioned. Show how the short- and long-term plan connect. Given your non-quant major and nontraditional work experience you need a minimum of a 700, but ideally 740 plus to really put any doubts they have to bed. The 10-month hole is a biggie, so just explain it as best you can. Hopefully you were engaged in meaningful activities during that time. If not, it will hurt. No negative in mentioning LGBT, and actually moderately positive (distinctive, etc.). As for the Peace Corps to tech role move, you will need to come up with a way to explain how that fits, or at the very least a way to avoud making them think "It was the only job he could get." Since Lauder is your only choice, you might as well state that. They will admire your focus; just make sure your essay makes clear why you believe Lauder is that unique. With a high GMAT, good execution on the wrinkles you asked about, and plenty of leadership, impact, and cross-cultural stories, you may have a shot.
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
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