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Alex, asking for your evaluation on the following profile and commentary on my choice of schools
Undergrad: 3.9/4.0, Math/Econ from UPenn (not Wharton). Grad: 3.9/4.0, Masters in Financial Engineering from NYU – obtained while working full time GMAT: Expecting ~750 Age: will be 27 at matriculation (5 years of WE) Experience: Quantitative risk analyst at a major investment bank (GS/MS) - had one promotion but no managerial responsibilities. Extracurriculars: At school I was involved in a lot of ECs: hip-hop dance (was president of the group), business fraternity (held a few officer positions), a cappella group. After graduation I haven’t really been involved too much especially given that I was going to school part time (the only activity now is that I volunteer as a mentor to urban high school students). Race: Asian male. Motivation for MBA: Want to go into management consulting or public policy consulting. Don't want to stay in quant finance.
Now onto my questions:
1) I think H/S are out of reach given my non-front office role and lack of any stellar ECs post-graduation. Do I have a realistic shot at Wharton? 2) My top 3 schools are Wharton (not as big of a feeder into MBB vs H/S but its still Wharton) / Tuck (big feeder into consulting) /Yale (good for public policy consulting). Can you recommend other schools that would be a good fit for my post-MBA goals?
I didn't know that about consulting interviews at the top schools... thanks for the info!
On another note, how do adcoms view middle-office (risk management, finance etc.) type roles in finance? Are they viewed the same as "Operations/IT" etc (i.e. back-office) or does it depend on function? Even though I am not on the revenue producing side of the bank the work I do is very technical and my compensation is not too different from front-office positions (especially these days)...
The whole middle office vs back office thing is what finance people tend to want to distinguish. To most people outside of it (including adcoms), it's basically "not front office". In any case, there's not much you can do about it. Rather than become a blubbering mess and getting too defensive about it in your applications, just focus on your strengths and trying your best to convey that you're not just another Asian math nerd (i.e. that you're not just a number cruncher, but someone who works effectively in groups).
Alex Chu email@example.com http://www.mbaapply.com
Thank you for taking the time to look at my profile.
I plan to apply next cycle (2013). I wish to jointly pursue a JD at the same institution
1. Work Experience: I have been a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board for the past 1.5 years. Starting in March, I will be a researcher at the Treasury. My work at both places are quantitative and research oriented. My work at the Fed focuses on Macro, while at the Treasury, I'll be dealing with Financial issues.
2. Test Scores: GMAT: 740 LSAT: 172
3. College/Grad: I did my BSc in Mathematics/Economics and MA in Economics jointly at UCLA. The combined GPA (undergrad+grad) is 3.62. According to the Law School Admissions Council, my undergrad GPA is 3.68. I finished the two degrees in 4 years.
4. Extracur. A few economic research fellowships and honors during college. Have a few economic working papers ongoing. I tutor kids from poor communities on a weekly basis, but have never taken on a leadership role in that setting. My only leadership experience came from managing my own crew of house painters back in college.
5. Aspirations I wish to bring research into action. I wish to motivate questions that have real-life implications and search for solutions that are feasible and permissible by law. The joint degree would empower me to execute my ideas and also help other materialize theirs.
6. Dream Programs: Wharton, Chicago, Columbia, NYU
Thanks so much!
How should I "sell" my research background to MBA programs?
You have strong stats, and given your background there's no doubt that academically you're strong and should have no problems handling the coursework in an MBA or JD.
With that in mind, you should be able to get into a good law school, since they are much more stats oriented.
With b-school though, it's not really about your research prowess. In fact, if you overemphasize it, it can be a liability because it tells the adcom "you're good when you're locked up in a room alone with your data/info". Remember that b-school isn't really an academic degree. They are looking for people with leadership potential. In plain English, it's about your effectiveness in groups and your ability to handle PEOPLE above all else.
In short, I think you have a decent shot at good law schools (at least from my limited knowledge of law school), but for b-school, you will have a very hard time competing against people who have deeper professional experience than you.
Also, your "aspirations" just comes across as way too abstract, conceptual and vague. If you write like that in your essays, you WILL get dinged because no one will know what you are talking about. Keep it rooted in REALITY - specific jobs functions and specific firms -- show that your career goals are rooted in reality, and not just high level ideas (which again comes down to real world experience - the more you've worked, the better able you are at talking about your goals in a less academic way). Are you looking to work in trademark/IP? Litigation? Securities? Family/estate? Labor? Tax? Which firms? Why do you think getting an MBA would help you as a lawyer in the specific practice area that you're looking to get into?
If you want to apply this year, go for it. Chances are, you'll get into some of the law schools but the b-schools will likely be a long shot. If you're getting a JD/MBA to become a lawyer, then apply this year. If you get in, go to law school, and then decide whether you feel it's worth it to reapply to the MBA program as a law student (your chances aren't much better but if you're looking to be a lawyer, the JD is the most important thing and the MBA is really a secondary/optional thing anyhow).
Alex Chu firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mbaapply.com
I am in no rush to apply. In terms of MBA admissions prospects, would I benefit from going to Wall Street after my stint with the treasury? Alternatively,without leaving Washington, what are some things that I can do to demonstrate leadership qualities?
Thank you very much. By the way, I thoroughly enjoy your car brand/MBA piece. Brilliant
You're in a city with more political groups (not just the political parties, but lobby groups, cultural organizations, international orgs, NGOs, think tanks, economic policy orgs, etc.) than perhaps any other city in the US or the world.
If you can't find stuff to get involved with in Washington DC, you're not going to find it anywhere else. The feast is right in front of you.
Why would you want to work in finance and become one of a gazillion other finance guys trying to apply to b-school (and whom adcoms will assume the same refrain no matter what you say in your essays: "I want to be a big swinging d*ck working in hedge funds, private equity, banking, etc as long as I can make a sh*tload of money to fulfill my God complex") Not every finance person is like that obviously, but they have always had a reputation for that, even before the whole meltdown.
Again, Washington DC has a sh*tload of things to get involved in. Lots of young people working and volunteering at ground zero of all kinds of orgs for causes, values, beliefs, etc. that they believe in -- across the entire political spectrum (and plenty of non-partisan orgs on top of that).
Stop thinking about b-school, and get involved. You want leadership/team experience -- it's all in front of you. Plus, as an aspiring law school student, I'm surprised there aren't more than enough orgs that you're interested in to volunteer for, as the profession is rooted in advocacy (regardless of what kind of law you want to practice).
Alex Chu email@example.com http://www.mbaapply.com
One last thing, since I do get this question frequently re: politics.
Don't be afraid to get involved in politically oriented orgs - it's not going to affect your application negatively. B-school is full of people of all views, both liberal and conservative (although admittedly the overwhelming majority of people in b-school are moderates or centrists - not really far left or far right) and adcoms will respect that. So long as you're not joining like the Nazi/Aryan orgs haha you're fine. There are folks who are involved in Zionist orgs, others who join Moveon.org (and other very liberal orgs), or folks who volunteer for Republican candidates. Or those who are involved in LGBT organizations, religious orgs, etc. What matters is you're involved in something you believe in.
Alex Chu firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mbaapply.com
Profile Evaluation - Reach, Match and Safety Schools [#permalink]
21 Feb 2012, 11:38
Hello, I'm planning on applying for fall of 2013, and am trying to figure out what I should consider a reach, a match, and a safety school. My plan is 1 or 2 reaches and 2-3 matches in EA/R1 and then a few safety schools in R2 if those dont work out.
Work History (At Matriculation) 4.0 years - Analyst IT Security - at a fortune 100 discount retailer. Lots of project management experience, but no management of people. Should be promoted to either Senior Analyst or Project Manager by the time I apply. 0.5 years - Marketing Analyst - Small internet startup 1.25 years - Marketing Analyst - Large international Bank
At each of my positions, although I have not had title changes, the role I was hired on for grew substantially. I have great stories from my current role. I was hired on to aid in a reporting process, and ended up revolutionizing the way we collect, report on, and manage data. Although I do not have anyone under me, I have trained many people on new tools and processes I've developed.
Gmat - 710 45q 42v
College - Graduated 2007 GPA 3.32 Major Marketing/Finance, In major GPA 3.78 - Small school in boston, ranked around 60 regionally. Has a respected business school for the area, but not well known outside of it.
Work/Extra-curricular in College
Worked full time while in school 2 years as a math tutor / Office assistant 2 years e-marketing manager/Assistant Innkeeper at an Inn (help raise sales substantially while there) Was also a waiter throughout college... not sure if that should be added
Extra 4 years - active member in marketing and finance clubs, 2 years as a college radio DJ
Post College Helped my fiancee launch a jewelry/photography business, this has taken up a good portion of my time... Not sure if I should include this in anywhere Have done many events through the years with a local cancer institute (walks/fund-raisers) Active in my alumni association Successful Poker/Casino Craps player...
Nothing too impressive I know... I have time to do a bit more and will.
US White Male, will be 27 (almost 28) at matriculation
Post MBA Goal - As you can see in my work history, I started out trying to pursue a career within the quantitative side of marketing. Unfortunately, along the way I pigeonholed myself into a more analytical career within a function that I find a bit dry. I have a strong background in programming, database creation, data analysis, and project management. Although my quant abilities are strong, I have a passion for consumer behavior. My dream would be to work either in Market Research, or Brand Management in the northeast. I know I can write compelling essays about my vision on the uses of the growing amount of data within the consumer industry. post mba career plan - Work for a CPG or High Tech as a brand manager, or for a retailer or vendor in marketing research. Marketing consulting is also on the table Future Goal - Start my own database marketing research company, or move up the ladder.
My career will be a bit more focused in my applications, still ironing out the details. All I know is my passion is for consumer behavior and data analysis. I'll be happy as long as I can build a career around this.
This list will shrink once I figure out where I rank
Kellogg Booth Duke (Fuqua) NYU (Stern) UVA (Darden) Michigan (Ross) Cornell (Johnson) CMU (Tepper) Indiana Wisconsin BC BU
(although I like the curriculum at both Wisconsin and Indiana, I may not consider applying due to fear of not being able to get back to the east coast post mba) Which do you feel are impossible, stretches, a good match, and safe? Should I forget about Booth and Kellogg? (I'm thinking I needed to do a bit better on the gmat to have a shot)
Although I know what I'm passionate about, and I know I need an MBA to get where I want in my career (or atleast have an easier road there) I'm just having a tough time figuring out how strong my profile is.
Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it!
Stretches are schools where your profile won't be out of place, but that there's way more people of a comparable caliber as yourself than there are spots (more often than not people of a comparable caliber as yourself and who put together strong applications would still get dinged - but there's still some who will be lucky enough to get in). Again, stretches are schools where you have enough of a chance that they're worth applying to 1-2 schools, and in your case Kellogg and Booth fall in that category.
Sweet spots are schools where you have a reasonable shot of getting in. By no means a guarantee (i.e you may not get into every school you apply to) but where you can be comfortable knowing you can get in somewhere. I'd focus on 3-4 from this list - and I'd recommend Ross, Duke and Darden for what you're looking for. NYU and Cornell are also great, but the other three tend to have more students with like-minded career interests as yourself.
Safeties are schools where you should be able to get in. Within your list, I'd stick to 0-1. Maybe look at Indiana or Wisconsin as both have good marketing programs.
So I'd recommend to narrow down your list to: Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Duke, Darden, Indiana, Wisconsin.
Re: Profile Evaluation - Reach, Match and Safety Schools [#permalink]
21 Feb 2012, 18:32
I would agree with everything that Alex mentioned.
Successful Poker/Casino Craps player...
Also, I wouldn't mention this in your application. Successful poker player I could believe since this is a game of skill, but there is generally a bad wrap that gamblers get. I don't believe most schools would consider this very impressive, and may actually look down on it.
Also, there is no such thing as a successful Casino Craps Player. The game is not in your favor, and although you may get a lucky and win, the game is always against you. Being a stats guy myself, reading that made me laugh, no matter how much $ you are up on craps, it's a losing game.
Don't "gamble" with your application.
Ha, I agree about craps, (although if playing correctly, your odds are right around 99%) the only reason I mention poker is because I actually have a failed startup experience. I created a great database tool that aided in analyzing hands vs situations vs pot odds, but right around the time it was ready for release, the online poker industry crumbled....
Either way, agreed, I wasn't seriously thinking about adding either.
Thanks for your help though, it really is great to hear I'm not crazy for still wanting to apply to kellogg and booth
Hi Alex, Thanks in advance for looking at my stats! I am shooting for a fall 2013 intake.
Indian Male, 33 Years old Undergrad - B.E - Computer Tech (2nd Tier university) - 3.5 GPA GMAT - 720 (48 Q, 41 V), 5.5 AWA TOEFL - 118 IELTS - 8.5
Work Ex (11 Years)- IT Consulting - 5 Years (3 years with IBM in US and Europe) - Team leadership responsibilities
IT Management - 5 Years (With a top tier Hollywood Movie Studio. I was based out of L.A) - Selected for management mentorship and promoted twice (next promotion would have been IT Director) - Led several major organizational transformations - People management responsibilities
Entrepreneur - Started a tech firm in London, UK in August 2011 - Focused on Supply Chain Tech consulting with client companies - Developed a few websites and social media products - Branching out into physical products (home automation)
Post MBA Goals - Return to my business and build it into a boutique tech firm within the supply chain domain.
Target (Non-MBA) MIT Sloan Masters - At Stanford or MIT-Sloan
My concerns - 1) Age - I realize I am pushing beyond the top end of the range. Is there anything I can do to compensate for it? 2) Recommenders - As an entrepreneur, what are my choices? Customers, vendors, partners? 3) Am I being realistic about the schools and programs? 4) 720 is bang in the middle of the average GMAT scores for most of my schools. Do I need a higher GMAT to compensate for my age and 2nd tier undergrad and to improve my chances?
p.s - I loved your interview help videos!! They were brilliant!!
So you just started a business less than a year ago, and want to close it down to go back to school? That makes no sense. Or it signals that you've given up on the business already. Or it wasn't much of a business to begin with that it was worth holding on to.
And so you want to close down your business so you can go back to school full-time, only to come back 2 years later to bring it back from hibernation? What kind of business is that? If I were an investor in your business, I would want my money back (and I would be pretty pissed if I heard that you wanted to go back to school), and would have serious doubts about your judgment and ability to lead a company. If you need to leave a business to spend a bunch of money to learn business, then as an investor I would find someone else to run the business in your place, and upon your graduation there may not be a spot for you in the company you founded. Not just investors (if there are any besides yourself). I mean, if I were a vendor or a customer, why on earth would I give you business if I knew that you were just going to leave for 2 years to go to school? How does that give the vendors or customers any faith in your business? And if you're expecting employees to run the day-to-day of your business while you're in school, what makes you think they will welcome you back as their boss once you graduate?
Sorry to be harsh, but if this is how investors, vendors, customers, and even employees in real life would see your decision, what makes you think adcoms would think otherwise?
To be honest, I think you should forgo the full-time MBA. If your business really has promise, focus on it solely. Bring in people to help you with areas you aren't as familiar with. And maybe later down the road should your business stabilize, consider going back to do an executive MBA, or take a la carte classes. As a business owner, the credential is useless for you - especially as you're only getting older, and as you get older, people care more about your experience and contacts (and not the 20-something "contacts" you make in school, but seasoned industry contacts you make in your industry/work).
Honestly, I don't think you have a real shot at any decent b-school at this point because adcoms will question your judgment - why you are going back full-time at this point in your career/life given the responsibilities you have.
And if the real reason is that you are indeed closing your business for good (and going to b-school to pursue something else), then it still begs the question why you never gave the business a fair chance (i.e. you need to give it a few years to see if it's going anywhere).
Again, if this business of yours has promise, you owe it to yourself to stick to it for a while before throwing in the towel so early. I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear or were expecting to get, but I think it's more important than the questions you asked (age, GMATs, rec letters, target schools, etc) because none of that will be relevant in light of what is really the issue: leaving a business you just started.
Alex Chu email@example.com http://www.mbaapply.com