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Ask Alex @ MBA Apply

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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 13:25
Hi Alex,


GMAT: currently preparing
Undergrad: Currently undertaking - Bachelor of Financial Services, Institute of Bankers, UCD, Ireland. The number 1 business school in Ireland. 2 years to go...
GPA year one: 3.67
Age: 31
Nationality: Irish
Target schools: top 20 US B-Schools

I've seen you give some really great advice here and it seems you shoot from the hip so I would be very grateful if you could take a look at my personal profile.

From what I have been reading on the forum I would not appear to rank as a typical business school applicant. Right now I am preparing for the GMAT. Perhaps if I provide some personal history some of you can direct me a little on what business school would be a good match and/or most realistic for me to apply to.

My medium term career objective is to move into another industry. Financial services and property development are my areas of interest. More long term I would hope to run my own business within those industries. In the short term I would hope to acquire the skills to grow my business to sufficient scale that I could exit with enough capital to do something myself, or change industry post MBA and pick up some experience in an area like banking.

Entrepreneurial experience
First off I'm 31. My 12 years of experience have been entirely in the fitness industry. I am a personal trainer by trade but during my career I’ve started several businesses; gyms, a fitness ecommerce site, nutrition education business etc... Up until recently I was running two gyms, both of which I started myself. I have just sold one facility in order to open another larger one, which is 6000 square feet or so. All these businesses have been started on a shoestring budget. The actual story behind some of these would make your hair stand on end. These startups extend all to way back to about the age of 7 and I'm pretty sure that any section on overcoming difficulties in my application letters should blow the socks off any admissions officer: )

Anyway prior to owning my own facilities I was an operations manager for six years with Irelands largest corporate fitness provider (a company that fits out fitness facilities in large corporate offices and provides management thereafter)

For 3 years I was a strength and conditioning coach for the IRFU. That’s the Irish rugby football union here in Ireland, we have a very high standard of rugby here.

I was the fitness and nutrition advisor to the Irish Everest expedition in 2008.

I've spent much time on TV and giving media interviews on the subject of nutrition and exercise. On a professional level one could say I have gone about as far as I can go as a personal trainer and am now really focused on building a business within the industry. One stand out skill can say has attributed to succeeding in the industry has been my curiosity for knowledge, I have done my best to assimilate as much information as possible on the subject.

Academics
I do not hold an undergraduate degree. I do hold a number of diplomas in personal training, nutrition, life coaching and an area called NLP. I over the years have consumed more books, and information on exercise science and nutrition than anyone I know! I really made an effort to create an informational advantage you could say.

Right now I'm doing an undergrad in financial services... 2 years to go. So far my grades have been good. This summer I will complete the ACCA diploma in business and accounting. Its like year one of an accounting degree. I really want to get comfortable with accounting before I enter the MBA.

Sport
From the age of 14 to 19 I competed for Ireland at the sport of archery. I was the number one ranking archer in Ireland for 6 years. I had a good European ranking and still hold many national records today. For the past 5 years or so I have competed at triathlon. Right now I race ironman distance triathlon and have competed internationally. I would tend to place in the top 20 in my category at international races. I really enjoy endurance sports and feel that they have thought me a great deal about work ethic and discipline.

Mountaineering
I have also climbed a number of high altitude mountains in Europe and Africa and had a lead role in preparing the climbers for the Irish Everest expedition in 2008. I trained for 12 months with the climbers both in Ireland and around the world.


Charity work
As a part of the mountaineering the climbers and myself decided to raise money for a Christian charity which was responsible for building school in Uganda. We raised over €70,000 and a new school was completed in 2009. As part of the project I spent some time in Entebbe, Uganda working with the charity.


I did note brevity in the requirements so I apologize for the length here.



I would really appreciate some good honest feedback here. If a personal profile like mine puts me right out of the top 50 just say it! I would really like to have some direction on what is realistic.



sincere thanks for the help



Kind Regards


Eoin McKenna
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 18:02
umeranyth wrote:
Hi Alex,

I've bought your book and have read a whole bunch of your posts on gmatclub. I second what supax said; you have, by far, the best quality posts out of all the consultants on gmat. I like your no-nonsense, no-frills style of answering and I was hoping if you could be kind enough to take a few minutes of your time to put me and my profile on blast (I swear I'm not a masochist).

Ethnicity: Malaysian Male (on H1b now)
Age: 24 (25 by end of 2012)

Undergrad: SUNY Stony Brook. '08 Psychology 3.79 CGPA
Grad: SUNY Stony Brook. '10 M.A Psychology 3.3 CGPA

Work Experience (4 years):
1st year - Did neuroscience research at Yale School of Medicine. Worked with patients with cocaine addiction/OCD. Our research involved performing fMRIs on them, did some pretty cool stuff... one experiment involved administering methylphenidate to patients with cocaine addiction. That experiment was published in PNAS and I was included as an author. Study was funded by NIH/NIMH. Would have stayed longer but had to leave Yale because of immigration problems.

2nd year - Since I had to leave Yale AFTER grad school application deadlines, my alma mater took me in for their 1 year grad program. Whilst doing my Masters, I did clinical psychological research. Worked with patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia. Our study was funded by the NIH. I conducted the experiments on the patients +analyzed data. We submitted a paper but it was refused.

3rd year to Now - Currently doing psychiatric research at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research. Working with teenagers at risk for psychosis/psychotic illnesses. I perform the EEG and fMRI procedures on them and analyze their data. My lab is part of a few multi-site studies funded by the NIH/NIMH. We collaborate closely with the other sites (Columbia/UCLA/Harvard/Yale/Calgary/Emory/UNC etc.). I'm working on publishing a journal article as one of the main authors now; would've done this earlier if it weren't for my indecisive attitude about academia and all the politicking happening around the lab.

So far I have 3 journal publications in my name (including the PNAS one), 2 posters and 1 talk.

Extra-curricular:
I help seniors use the computer at the local community center (volunteering through NY cares). Filed an application for a Big Brother position. I've taken movie script-writing classes and computer programming classes over the last 1.5 years in efforts to find an alternative career. I even tried starting my own web start-up, but ultimately lost all enthusiasm/excitement for it 2 months later. So after 2 months of networking at meetups + coding/building the website ... I stopped working on it. :( I'm also an avid skier.

Career path:
I'd like to do equities research upon completion of my MBA, preferably buyside (though either/or would be fine). My decision to switch to this career-path is due to my noticing that there are many similarities between researching equities and academia; requires lots of reading+analysis and discussion+defending of your thesis and arguments - difference is that results can be seen quicker, and (obviously) pay is better. Started my current portfoilo in 2011. It is, however, miniscule and I'm only invested in biotech positions (I only invest in what I know!).

In the long run, I'd like to see how far I go in ER. As you've written in a blog post of yours, people may change careers every 10-15 years, so I really can't see that far up ahead. But if I had to tell the adcom something, I'd tell them I'd like to be a PM or something.

If it weren't for b-school, I'd probably get a PhD (something which i'm not particularly keen on). Why the career change? I'm tired of the esotericism/triviality that is academia. (I mean, who cares if the magnocellular pathway has bias processing towards low spatial frequency stimuli?!)

Schools:
Would love to attend either Columbia/NYU. Would like to keep it within the northeast (gf lives in queens). Yale would be okay, but I worked/lived there long enough to know that New Haven is a shit-hole. I'd choose Fordham as a safety. Just afraid of being tagged as a 'commuter', seeing as I live in NYC already.

Questions:
1.) Is Columbia a stretch? NYU/Yale? (If I get my target score of 720 GMAT...)
2.) Should I take the CFA level 1 to prove that I'm interested in the public markets/finance?
3.) Would it improve my chances if I published one more journal article? i.e, would it show more accomplishment in my career?
4.) Seeing as I'm in academia, I don't have too many chances at leadership. Will the adcoms call me out on having applied for a big brother volunteer position so close to my application date?

As such, I'm struggling with the decision to apply either this year (2012), or next (2013). If applied this year, I would not have a CFA/extra publication/enough leadership experience as a big brother .... but I'm wondering, even if I had all that - would it even help me at all?

That's all. Sorry for being so verbose and thanks for reading. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!


Thanks! Glad you value my honesty and directness.

1. Columbia is a stretch, but you have enough of an outside shot that it's at least worth it (yes your experience to date is research - but it's in health sciences which helps; any other research discipline like engineering, humanities, etc and it would be a long shot). NYU and Yale would also be stretches as well but still worth applying. The thing is, you don't have the typical profile, so it's a wild card - i.e. even more subjective on the part of the adcom. All of this assumes a 720+ GMAT.

2. No. Within 5 years, about 2 billion Asians would've taken the CFA. Even with Level 1 - it's not hard, but the volume of work required to pass the exam means you will have no life. It's not something to do casually, unless you are a real geek.

3. No. It's not about your academic smarts. You're an Asian dude in health sciences. They'll assume you're book smart. What isn't as obvious is whether you have the team/interpersonal skills, so that's what you need to emphasize (think of the geeky Asian bookworm stereotype: that is what adcoms are thinking even if they will never admit it out loud - so you have to show the opposite).

4. Don't start stuff now for the sake of it. It'll be obvious. Focus on the team oriented aspects of your work, being able to work with different kinds of people, etc.
_________________

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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2012, 18:22
eoinhmckenna wrote:
Hi Alex,


GMAT: currently preparing
Undergrad: Currently undertaking - Bachelor of Financial Services, Institute of Bankers, UCD, Ireland. The number 1 business school in Ireland. 2 years to go...
GPA year one: 3.67
Age: 31
Nationality: Irish
Target schools: top 20 US B-Schools

I've seen you give some really great advice here and it seems you shoot from the hip so I would be very grateful if you could take a look at my personal profile.

From what I have been reading on the forum I would not appear to rank as a typical business school applicant. Right now I am preparing for the GMAT. Perhaps if I provide some personal history some of you can direct me a little on what business school would be a good match and/or most realistic for me to apply to.

My medium term career objective is to move into another industry. Financial services and property development are my areas of interest. More long term I would hope to run my own business within those industries. In the short term I would hope to acquire the skills to grow my business to sufficient scale that I could exit with enough capital to do something myself, or change industry post MBA and pick up some experience in an area like banking.

Entrepreneurial experience
First off I'm 31. My 12 years of experience have been entirely in the fitness industry. I am a personal trainer by trade but during my career I’ve started several businesses; gyms, a fitness ecommerce site, nutrition education business etc... Up until recently I was running two gyms, both of which I started myself. I have just sold one facility in order to open another larger one, which is 6000 square feet or so. All these businesses have been started on a shoestring budget. The actual story behind some of these would make your hair stand on end. These startups extend all to way back to about the age of 7 and I'm pretty sure that any section on overcoming difficulties in my application letters should blow the socks off any admissions officer: )

Anyway prior to owning my own facilities I was an operations manager for six years with Irelands largest corporate fitness provider (a company that fits out fitness facilities in large corporate offices and provides management thereafter)

For 3 years I was a strength and conditioning coach for the IRFU. That’s the Irish rugby football union here in Ireland, we have a very high standard of rugby here.

I was the fitness and nutrition advisor to the Irish Everest expedition in 2008.

I've spent much time on TV and giving media interviews on the subject of nutrition and exercise. On a professional level one could say I have gone about as far as I can go as a personal trainer and am now really focused on building a business within the industry. One stand out skill can say has attributed to succeeding in the industry has been my curiosity for knowledge, I have done my best to assimilate as much information as possible on the subject.

Academics
I do not hold an undergraduate degree. I do hold a number of diplomas in personal training, nutrition, life coaching and an area called NLP. I over the years have consumed more books, and information on exercise science and nutrition than anyone I know! I really made an effort to create an informational advantage you could say.

Right now I'm doing an undergrad in financial services... 2 years to go. So far my grades have been good. This summer I will complete the ACCA diploma in business and accounting. Its like year one of an accounting degree. I really want to get comfortable with accounting before I enter the MBA.

Sport
From the age of 14 to 19 I competed for Ireland at the sport of archery. I was the number one ranking archer in Ireland for 6 years. I had a good European ranking and still hold many national records today. For the past 5 years or so I have competed at triathlon. Right now I race ironman distance triathlon and have competed internationally. I would tend to place in the top 20 in my category at international races. I really enjoy endurance sports and feel that they have thought me a great deal about work ethic and discipline.

Mountaineering
I have also climbed a number of high altitude mountains in Europe and Africa and had a lead role in preparing the climbers for the Irish Everest expedition in 2008. I trained for 12 months with the climbers both in Ireland and around the world.


Charity work
As a part of the mountaineering the climbers and myself decided to raise money for a Christian charity which was responsible for building school in Uganda. We raised over €70,000 and a new school was completed in 2009. As part of the project I spent some time in Entebbe, Uganda working with the charity.


I did note brevity in the requirements so I apologize for the length here.



I would really appreciate some good honest feedback here. If a personal profile like mine puts me right out of the top 50 just say it! I would really like to have some direction on what is realistic.



sincere thanks for the help



Kind Regards


Eoin McKenna


Eoin,

Honestly I think you have an awesomely interesting story to tell.

In short, you'll be a big wild card for the adcoms. They won't really know what to do with you. As such, it'll be very very hard to predict where you stand.

It's not about talent, potential or achievement on your part - it's simply about *fit*. You'll be circle in a sea of squares. Or think of it like X-Factor (or whatever singing competition show there is in Europe) -- they get a ton of boyish pop/r&b singers auditioning all the time, and here's this grown man of an Irish tenor (you) with a glorious voice. The judges will all agree that you're an artist, you're extremely talented, etc - but what they will need to decide is whether you are right for their show? Some judges may be willing to give you a chance, while others may just feel that it's just not a fit.

And to be honest, I have my doubts as to whether it's worth it for you to do an MBA given where you're at in your life now. Are you sure you want to be around a bunch of kids (relatively speaking) who are going to be 5-10 years younger than you by the time you matriculate (33), especially at very pivotal time in these 20-something kids' lives (i.e. 5-10 years isn't a huge difference for those in their 40s, or even their 30s, but folks in their 20s change a LOT).

When b-schools talk about "network" - it's not some random alum who graduated 10 years before you, or even 3-4 years before you. It's really about your current classmates, and the people they know. It's just something to think about.

My suggestion at this point is to finish up your undergrad (you've got a few years), and then decide later whether you feel it's worth it to continue going to school for another 1-2 years. If you do, then by all means go for it - but again, just know that it'll be very hard to gauge your chances simply because it's even more subjective in your case since they can't benchmark you against other applicants because of your unique situation.
_________________

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http://www.mbaapply.com
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 18 Jul 2012, 14:52
Alex thank you. You certainly have a knack for getting to the important stuff and giving good honest advice.

You are correct on finishing up undergrad and then consider what the next move should be. Truth is I only started this undergrad so I could gain admission to an MBA. I do want the education too but I really see the value in working within an organization. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely and you really only learn what you put in front of yourself if you know what I mean. You can end up doing a bunch of things because you like them and avoiding things you dont like. This pattern can give you skill set that has some big holes in it. I've done lots of stuff because it was fun but it's left me with a brain that has a habit of avoiding stuff like accounting! I just want to knuckle down a pick up a really well rounded business education at this point. I'm a whatever it takes kind of person so I've committed to getting into the best programme I can.

Perhaps you could advise on what you think I could do in the next few years to really impress a top 10/20 adcom. I realize from what you have said its extremely hard to say but maybe theres a couple of things that might at least make me resemble a typical applicant.


Thanks again Alex. I value your input


Kind Regards

Eoin





AlexMBAApply wrote:
eoinhmckenna wrote:
Hi Alex,


GMAT: currently preparing
Undergrad: Currently undertaking - Bachelor of Financial Services, Institute of Bankers, UCD, Ireland. The number 1 business school in Ireland. 2 years to go...
GPA year one: 3.67
Age: 31
Nationality: Irish
Target schools: top 20 US B-Schools

I've seen you give some really great advice here and it seems you shoot from the hip so I would be very grateful if you could take a look at my personal profile.

From what I have been reading on the forum I would not appear to rank as a typical business school applicant. Right now I am preparing for the GMAT. Perhaps if I provide some personal history some of you can direct me a little on what business school would be a good match and/or most realistic for me to apply to.

My medium term career objective is to move into another industry. Financial services and property development are my areas of interest. More long term I would hope to run my own business within those industries. In the short term I would hope to acquire the skills to grow my business to sufficient scale that I could exit with enough capital to do something myself, or change industry post MBA and pick up some experience in an area like banking.

Entrepreneurial experience
First off I'm 31. My 12 years of experience have been entirely in the fitness industry. I am a personal trainer by trade but during my career I’ve started several businesses; gyms, a fitness ecommerce site, nutrition education business etc... Up until recently I was running two gyms, both of which I started myself. I have just sold one facility in order to open another larger one, which is 6000 square feet or so. All these businesses have been started on a shoestring budget. The actual story behind some of these would make your hair stand on end. These startups extend all to way back to about the age of 7 and I'm pretty sure that any section on overcoming difficulties in my application letters should blow the socks off any admissions officer: )

Anyway prior to owning my own facilities I was an operations manager for six years with Irelands largest corporate fitness provider (a company that fits out fitness facilities in large corporate offices and provides management thereafter)

For 3 years I was a strength and conditioning coach for the IRFU. That’s the Irish rugby football union here in Ireland, we have a very high standard of rugby here.

I was the fitness and nutrition advisor to the Irish Everest expedition in 2008.

I've spent much time on TV and giving media interviews on the subject of nutrition and exercise. On a professional level one could say I have gone about as far as I can go as a personal trainer and am now really focused on building a business within the industry. One stand out skill can say has attributed to succeeding in the industry has been my curiosity for knowledge, I have done my best to assimilate as much information as possible on the subject.

Academics
I do not hold an undergraduate degree. I do hold a number of diplomas in personal training, nutrition, life coaching and an area called NLP. I over the years have consumed more books, and information on exercise science and nutrition than anyone I know! I really made an effort to create an informational advantage you could say.

Right now I'm doing an undergrad in financial services... 2 years to go. So far my grades have been good. This summer I will complete the ACCA diploma in business and accounting. Its like year one of an accounting degree. I really want to get comfortable with accounting before I enter the MBA.

Sport
From the age of 14 to 19 I competed for Ireland at the sport of archery. I was the number one ranking archer in Ireland for 6 years. I had a good European ranking and still hold many national records today. For the past 5 years or so I have competed at triathlon. Right now I race ironman distance triathlon and have competed internationally. I would tend to place in the top 20 in my category at international races. I really enjoy endurance sports and feel that they have thought me a great deal about work ethic and discipline.

Mountaineering
I have also climbed a number of high altitude mountains in Europe and Africa and had a lead role in preparing the climbers for the Irish Everest expedition in 2008. I trained for 12 months with the climbers both in Ireland and around the world.


Charity work
As a part of the mountaineering the climbers and myself decided to raise money for a Christian charity which was responsible for building school in Uganda. We raised over €70,000 and a new school was completed in 2009. As part of the project I spent some time in Entebbe, Uganda working with the charity.


I did note brevity in the requirements so I apologize for the length here.



I would really appreciate some good honest feedback here. If a personal profile like mine puts me right out of the top 50 just say it! I would really like to have some direction on what is realistic.



sincere thanks for the help



Kind Regards


Eoin McKenna


Eoin,

Honestly I think you have an awesomely interesting story to tell.

In short, you'll be a big wild card for the adcoms. They won't really know what to do with you. As such, it'll be very very hard to predict where you stand.

It's not about talent, potential or achievement on your part - it's simply about *fit*. You'll be circle in a sea of squares. Or think of it like X-Factor (or whatever singing competition show there is in Europe) -- they get a ton of boyish pop/r&b singers auditioning all the time, and here's this grown man of an Irish tenor (you) with a glorious voice. The judges will all agree that you're an artist, you're extremely talented, etc - but what they will need to decide is whether you are right for their show? Some judges may be willing to give you a chance, while others may just feel that it's just not a fit.

And to be honest, I have my doubts as to whether it's worth it for you to do an MBA given where you're at in your life now. Are you sure you want to be around a bunch of kids (relatively speaking) who are going to be 5-10 years younger than you by the time you matriculate (33), especially at very pivotal time in these 20-something kids' lives (i.e. 5-10 years isn't a huge difference for those in their 40s, or even their 30s, but folks in their 20s change a LOT).

When b-schools talk about "network" - it's not some random alum who graduated 10 years before you, or even 3-4 years before you. It's really about your current classmates, and the people they know. It's just something to think about.

My suggestion at this point is to finish up your undergrad (you've got a few years), and then decide later whether you feel it's worth it to continue going to school for another 1-2 years. If you do, then by all means go for it - but again, just know that it'll be very hard to gauge your chances simply because it's even more subjective in your case since they can't benchmark you against other applicants because of your unique situation.
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 15:08
eoinhmckenna wrote:
Alex thank you. You certainly have a knack for getting to the important stuff and giving good honest advice.

You are correct on finishing up undergrad and then consider what the next move should be. Truth is I only started this undergrad so I could gain admission to an MBA. I do want the education too but I really see the value in working within an organization. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely and you really only learn what you put in front of yourself if you know what I mean. You can end up doing a bunch of things because you like them and avoiding things you dont like. This pattern can give you skill set that has some big holes in it. I've done lots of stuff because it was fun but it's left me with a brain that has a habit of avoiding stuff like accounting! I just want to knuckle down a pick up a really well rounded business education at this point. I'm a whatever it takes kind of person so I've committed to getting into the best programme I can.

Perhaps you could advise on what you think I could do in the next few years to really impress a top 10/20 adcom. I realize from what you have said its extremely hard to say but maybe theres a couple of things that might at least make me resemble a typical applicant.


Thanks again Alex. I value your input


Kind Regards

Eoin


Think about it for a second. You're in school now - what can you possibly do other than... finish school. Just continue getting the strongest grades you can and focusing on the GMAT prep. Don't worry too much about "extracurriculars" given your body of work already, as you're not 20 anymore.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 15:54
Hi Alex,

I've read a lot of your and I appreciate your honest feedback for fellow applicants. Would love to hear you thoughts on mine:

Firstly, I am a Bruneian. (It's rare I know)

Education:
Undergraduate: BEng in top 5 UK engineering school with Class 1 Honours (84% average), with 3 academic awards for: Best project, best student in the department and in the faculty. (Will not attempt to convert to GPA for now)

Graduate: Masters of Science in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in Imperial College with Merit - Thesis (Distinction) + Exams (Merit) = Merit

Scholarships: Shell Brunei Scholarship for fully funded Undergraduate and Graduate studies, after being assessed by certified Shell assessors based on Shell's assessment criteria.

GMAT: Plan to take early 2013 - Aiming for 730.

Work Experience: Shell Brunei

November '11 to April '12: Graduate Onboarding Programmes
May to Present: Reservoir Engineer (RE), responsibilities:
1) Delivering reservoir reviews to unlock business value in a mature hydrocarbon field, as part of a larger multidisciplinary team of subsurface engineers and geologist.
2) Responsible to deliver models to predict future reservoir performance for business planning purposes.
3) Focal point for managing and coordinating the implementation of an organization-wide Shell operations improvement program.

EC
1) One of the committee leaders of Shell's Young Professional Network. So far, I have:
- Created the first graduate mentoring circles and 'Lunch & Learn' programme to provide mentoring and development sessions by senior business leaders to graduates.
- Created a charity programme to enable graduates to give back to the community through various collaborations with other full time charity.
- Mentor to younger generation of Shell scholars to tackle corporate case studies during their internship, part of their onboarding programme. The programme received rave reviews from management and will be made a flagship event for the company.
- Involved in school outreach programs to promote careers in oil & gas, especially in how we incorporate safety in our lives (Note to all: no mobile phones while driving!)
2) Self taught guitarist and singer, but I don't perform in public.
3) Volunteer substitute teacher for physics for year 9 and 10 students (ad-hoc basis, I've once helped out because the teacher unfortunately suffered a heart attack.)
4) Planning to launch a community mentoring programme, targeted towards improving academics, soft skills and career knowledge of Year 9 and 10 students.

Why MBA:
1) General management and leadership development for future management/executive positions in Shell
2) Exposure to fields of non-profit, specifically in soft skills/leadership education and sustainable development. I believe being a oil and gas producer, incorporation of sustainable development in our business plans are vital.
3) Broadening my perspective - learning from immensely talented people and to improve myself as a person from all aspects.

Post-MBA Plan: After going to business school, I want to use those skills for the following:
1) 3 year stint in an MBB consultant focusing in sustainable development and operations management (If I'm allowed by Shell, if not go to (2))
2) Return to Shell Brunei and continue development of my technical skills as a RE, and then into management positions - team leader, development leader and onwards.
3) Launching a non-profit - provide a platform to develop younger generations, in order to develop Brunei's human capital to position ourselves for the future, when our oil and gas runs out.

Potential Shortcomings:
1) Work Experience: I plan to apply for Fall 2014 - 3 years in matriculation but 2 years during time of application.
2) Leadership: I do not, and will not have direct reports. For me to have direct reports, I need to be promoted 3 times! Therefore, conveying compelling leadership stories relative to others, will be more difficult.
3) ECs: I do not plan to volunteer in a lot of different organizations, I believe in depth. Also, my passion is in mentoring and developing people. I might have sufficient depth, but the question is: Is it sufficient?
4) Background: Are petroleum engineers an attractive candidate to these B-schools?
5) Any more?

I would like to get your evaluations on my prospects to be admitted in H/S/W, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Haas and Kellogg, assuming I achieve at GMAT score of 730

Thanks!
Thank you so much for helping out!
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 19:51
AlexMBAApply wrote:
umeranyth wrote:
Hi Alex,

I've bought your book and have read a whole bunch of your posts on gmatclub. I second what supax said; you have, by far, the best quality posts out of all the consultants on gmat. I like your no-nonsense, no-frills style of answering and I was hoping if you could be kind enough to take a few minutes of your time to put me and my profile on blast (I swear I'm not a masochist).

Ethnicity: Malaysian Male (on H1b now)
Age: 24 (25 by end of 2012)

Undergrad: SUNY Stony Brook. '08 Psychology 3.79 CGPA
Grad: SUNY Stony Brook. '10 M.A Psychology 3.3 CGPA

Work Experience (4 years):
1st year - Did neuroscience research at Yale School of Medicine. Worked with patients with cocaine addiction/OCD. Our research involved performing fMRIs on them, did some pretty cool stuff... one experiment involved administering methylphenidate to patients with cocaine addiction. That experiment was published in PNAS and I was included as an author. Study was funded by NIH/NIMH. Would have stayed longer but had to leave Yale because of immigration problems.

2nd year - Since I had to leave Yale AFTER grad school application deadlines, my alma mater took me in for their 1 year grad program. Whilst doing my Masters, I did clinical psychological research. Worked with patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia. Our study was funded by the NIH. I conducted the experiments on the patients +analyzed data. We submitted a paper but it was refused.

3rd year to Now - Currently doing psychiatric research at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research. Working with teenagers at risk for psychosis/psychotic illnesses. I perform the EEG and fMRI procedures on them and analyze their data. My lab is part of a few multi-site studies funded by the NIH/NIMH. We collaborate closely with the other sites (Columbia/UCLA/Harvard/Yale/Calgary/Emory/UNC etc.). I'm working on publishing a journal article as one of the main authors now; would've done this earlier if it weren't for my indecisive attitude about academia and all the politicking happening around the lab.

So far I have 3 journal publications in my name (including the PNAS one), 2 posters and 1 talk.

Extra-curricular:
I help seniors use the computer at the local community center (volunteering through NY cares). Filed an application for a Big Brother position. I've taken movie script-writing classes and computer programming classes over the last 1.5 years in efforts to find an alternative career. I even tried starting my own web start-up, but ultimately lost all enthusiasm/excitement for it 2 months later. So after 2 months of networking at meetups + coding/building the website ... I stopped working on it. :( I'm also an avid skier.

Career path:
I'd like to do equities research upon completion of my MBA, preferably buyside (though either/or would be fine). My decision to switch to this career-path is due to my noticing that there are many similarities between researching equities and academia; requires lots of reading+analysis and discussion+defending of your thesis and arguments - difference is that results can be seen quicker, and (obviously) pay is better. Started my current portfoilo in 2011. It is, however, miniscule and I'm only invested in biotech positions (I only invest in what I know!).

In the long run, I'd like to see how far I go in ER. As you've written in a blog post of yours, people may change careers every 10-15 years, so I really can't see that far up ahead. But if I had to tell the adcom something, I'd tell them I'd like to be a PM or something.

If it weren't for b-school, I'd probably get a PhD (something which i'm not particularly keen on). Why the career change? I'm tired of the esotericism/triviality that is academia. (I mean, who cares if the magnocellular pathway has bias processing towards low spatial frequency stimuli?!)

Schools:
Would love to attend either Columbia/NYU. Would like to keep it within the northeast (gf lives in queens). Yale would be okay, but I worked/lived there long enough to know that New Haven is a shit-hole. I'd choose Fordham as a safety. Just afraid of being tagged as a 'commuter', seeing as I live in NYC already.

Questions:
1.) Is Columbia a stretch? NYU/Yale? (If I get my target score of 720 GMAT...)
2.) Should I take the CFA level 1 to prove that I'm interested in the public markets/finance?
3.) Would it improve my chances if I published one more journal article? i.e, would it show more accomplishment in my career?
4.) Seeing as I'm in academia, I don't have too many chances at leadership. Will the adcoms call me out on having applied for a big brother volunteer position so close to my application date?

As such, I'm struggling with the decision to apply either this year (2012), or next (2013). If applied this year, I would not have a CFA/extra publication/enough leadership experience as a big brother .... but I'm wondering, even if I had all that - would it even help me at all?

That's all. Sorry for being so verbose and thanks for reading. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!


Thanks! Glad you value my honesty and directness.

1. Columbia is a stretch, but you have enough of an outside shot that it's at least worth it (yes your experience to date is research - but it's in health sciences which helps; any other research discipline like engineering, humanities, etc and it would be a long shot). NYU and Yale would also be stretches as well but still worth applying. The thing is, you don't have the typical profile, so it's a wild card - i.e. even more subjective on the part of the adcom. All of this assumes a 720+ GMAT.

2. No. Within 5 years, about 2 billion Asians would've taken the CFA. Even with Level 1 - it's not hard, but the volume of work required to pass the exam means you will have no life. It's not something to do casually, unless you are a real geek.

3. No. It's not about your academic smarts. You're an Asian dude in health sciences. They'll assume you're book smart. What isn't as obvious is whether you have the team/interpersonal skills, so that's what you need to emphasize (think of the geeky Asian bookworm stereotype: that is what adcoms are thinking even if they will never admit it out loud - so you have to show the opposite).

4. Don't start stuff now for the sake of it. It'll be obvious. Focus on the team oriented aspects of your work, being able to work with different kinds of people, etc.


Thanks for the advice Alex! Much Appreciated. One last question: since I'm considered a wild-card, would Harvard/Wharton be as much of an outside shot as Columbia?

Thanks again!
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 19:57
AlexMBAApply wrote:
jxatrillion wrote:
Hello Alex, just wanted to know if I'm a bit too ambitious in my school selections (stats and targets below). Which schools would be "sweet spots?"

Also, is it always better to apply RD1? I've been reading that some programs offer better chances if you submit your app during Round 2 due to them being ready to "round out" the class. Just reread all 8 pages. Thanks again for your commitment to this thread.


Sweet spots would be top 30 schools like Texas, UNC, Emory, USC, Tepper, Georgetown, etc.
Stretches are top 16 schools like NYU, Duke, UCLA, Ross, Darden, Cornell, Yale.

Sounds like you have good work experience, but the GPA is a big issue. First, you need at least a 710, if not a 740+ with your GPA. Plus, you need to enroll in some online extension courses (UCLA is one that offers them) to build an alternate transcript: take calculus, stats, algebra, microecon, etc. (just 2-3 courses should be fine).

Other than that, R1 vs R2 won't matter - I swear I hear both sides all the time. Some say R1 is better, others say R2 is better - and it all seems to be coming from folks who are trying to rationalize why they chose the particular round to submit to. Again, it does not matter for any school other than Sloan or Columbia (which only has 2 rounds).

Good luck


Alex, thank you for your input. One thing I'm worried about is my inability to create an Alternative Transcript if I'm looking to apply Rd 1/2 of this year. My applications are set to be due late October, a week after my GMAT (I'm going to work on my applications right now ahead of the GMAT).

My options are:
+ apply Rd 1/2 without the Alt. Transcript
+ apply Rd 3/4 and rush in a 2-class Alt. Transcript
+ apply next year when I have a full Alt. Transcript

Stuck in a pickle here. What would you recommend? Would the Alt. Transcript help make that big of a difference? Would a 700+ GMAT (80%+ Q) be enough to apply without an Alt. Transcript? Thanks again for your input.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 20:34
Dear Alex,

Trust all's well. Resonating views of some of the other people who have posted here, your style of answering questions on this website is much appreciated. I do feel you provide very accurate and to the point suggestions on a candidature. In that respect, am detailing my profile below to get some pointers from you

Background: Indian male, computer engineering (first class) from a top public university (non IIT)

Full Time Work Experience:
- Headhunter (Since late 2010), work at the India office of the world's largest executive search firm which has offices in 50+ countries.
- Promoted to Associate Consultant in Jan 2012 - the youngest and only non MBA to get this promotion in the India office's 18 year history
- Led business development activities with the managing partner which resulted in $250K of won business, successfully recruited the CEO of a $750Mn company while working on one of those projects
- Have led various projects such as the CEO of $1.5 Bn steel major, Global CEO of a $1 Bn Swiss conglomerate (working with a swiss client, international search for Indians and expats run from India), Chief learning Officer for a $30 Bn+ conglomerate etc.
- Lead the Socializing and CSR initiatives at office, successfully raised funds for a Green initiative
- Recognized as best performer in the India Office last year, received a Rookie of The Year award in our annual offsite in Thailand

Between Jun 2009 and late 2010
- Ran part of HR operations for a research captive of one of the worlds most prominent consulting firms
- Part of the global talent management and professional development team for employees
- Ran the allocations function, responsible for staffing the entire 250 member workforce, across all designations, in India, China and South Africa
- Received a perfect annual evaluation - one of only three such individuals company wide, and only one in the HR team
- Responsible for the revenue reporting function, where I reported to the Global CEO, and was responsible for billing and reconciliation of $10Mn+ of global revenue
- Led a team of two, whom I recruited, and which received the first ever outstanding client service award for an HR team

Part Time Work Experience:
While in college started a web design studio. made good margins and profits working across 8 projects with a global team (freelancers recruited online through portals like elance)

Achievements (Outside of Work):
- India's youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of 13
- Among the top three students consistently throughout school, in the top 15% in college
- Won Various National & State Level Declamations, Debates and Quizzes

Interests & Other Info
- Won the Best New performer award for Stand Up Comedy for an impromptu performance at one of Delhi's most prominent bars
- Highly involved in fund raising activities, teaching initiatives, and my school alumni board
- Love to travel - have traveled/backpacked to the US, UK, UAE, China, Japan, Thailand, and most of India

GMAT: First attempt in 2008: 690 (Q48, V36, AWA 6), Second attempt in 2011: 690 (Q48, V35, AWA 6), Third Attempt in 2012: 730 (Q49, V42, AWA 6)

School Selection:

Main Targets
Wharton
Kellogg (Reapplicant - interviewed last year, rejected)
Tuck (Reapplicant - rejected without interview last year)
Cornell
Darden
INSEAD
Columbia (Reapplicant - rejected without interview last year)

Dream Schools (will apply only after applying, or hopefully getting in, to schools above in Round 1)
HBS
Stanford
MIT
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2012, 02:54
AlexMBAApply wrote:
eoinhmckenna wrote:
Alex thank you. You certainly have a knack for getting to the important stuff and giving good honest advice.

You are correct on finishing up undergrad and then consider what the next move should be. Truth is I only started this undergrad so I could gain admission to an MBA. I do want the education too but I really see the value in working within an organization. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely and you really only learn what you put in front of yourself if you know what I mean. You can end up doing a bunch of things because you like them and avoiding things you dont like. This pattern can give you skill set that has some big holes in it. I've done lots of stuff because it was fun but it's left me with a brain that has a habit of avoiding stuff like accounting! I just want to knuckle down a pick up a really well rounded business education at this point. I'm a whatever it takes kind of person so I've committed to getting into the best programme I can.

Perhaps you could advise on what you think I could do in the next few years to really impress a top 10/20 adcom. I realize from what you have said its extremely hard to say but maybe theres a couple of things that might at least make me resemble a typical applicant.


Thanks again Alex. I value your input


Kind Regards

Eoin


Think about it for a second. You're in school now - what can you possibly do other than... finish school. Just continue getting the strongest grades you can and focusing on the GMAT prep. Don't worry too much about "extracurriculars" given your body of work already, as you're not 20 anymore.



Thanks again Alex. What I had in mind was something to do with my work. I was thinking of two things. 1. I exit my business and get a job in financial services. Or 2. Get myself into a corporate finance deal by acquiring a larger health club or something. I've been looking at this recently and wondered how something like this would be viewed by an adcom

Something to do with my work that says this guy is serious
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2012, 22:31
eoinhmckenna wrote:
AlexMBAApply wrote:
eoinhmckenna wrote:
Alex thank you. You certainly have a knack for getting to the important stuff and giving good honest advice.

You are correct on finishing up undergrad and then consider what the next move should be. Truth is I only started this undergrad so I could gain admission to an MBA. I do want the education too but I really see the value in working within an organization. Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely and you really only learn what you put in front of yourself if you know what I mean. You can end up doing a bunch of things because you like them and avoiding things you dont like. This pattern can give you skill set that has some big holes in it. I've done lots of stuff because it was fun but it's left me with a brain that has a habit of avoiding stuff like accounting! I just want to knuckle down a pick up a really well rounded business education at this point. I'm a whatever it takes kind of person so I've committed to getting into the best programme I can.

Perhaps you could advise on what you think I could do in the next few years to really impress a top 10/20 adcom. I realize from what you have said its extremely hard to say but maybe theres a couple of things that might at least make me resemble a typical applicant.


Thanks again Alex. I value your input


Kind Regards

Eoin


Think about it for a second. You're in school now - what can you possibly do other than... finish school. Just continue getting the strongest grades you can and focusing on the GMAT prep. Don't worry too much about "extracurriculars" given your body of work already, as you're not 20 anymore.



Thanks again Alex. What I had in mind was something to do with my work. I was thinking of two things. 1. I exit my business and get a job in financial services. Or 2. Get myself into a corporate finance deal by acquiring a larger health club or something. I've been looking at this recently and wondered how something like this would be viewed by an adcom

Something to do with my work that says this guy is serious


STOP thinking about adcoms. Focus on what YOU want to do. These are important enough career decisions that they should be dictated by what you want to do, irrespective of b-school.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2012, 12:25
Message received Alex, thanks again for the advice!
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Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2012, 20:21
Target program: Wharton Executive MBA (San Francisco)

Academics:

GMAT: 700 (Q-48, V-38)
Grad GPA: 3.9 (Clemson University)
Undergrad GPA: 83% from university in India. 1st in University.
Grad/Undegrad Major: Computer Science

Professional:

9 years work experience to date
Currently working as Sr. QA Lead/QA Manager leading a team of 15 resources.
Working as a consultant for networking giant in San Francisco bay area for past 4 years. Have worked full time for Verizon and Dell in my past 2 jobs as Test Lead.

Extra-curricular

Secretary (Board of Directors) for a non profit from 2005-2008. Currently volunteer through my company, mostly non-leadership roles.
Professional publications in magazines and online media since 2005 till date.
Few certifications associated to my field of work
Silver medalist, Taekwondo at national level competition (2004)

Please let me know what you think of my profile for Wharton EMBA? Also, which other EMBA program would be best suited for my profile?
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Re: Profile Evaluation [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 07:27
keeplearning wrote:
Target program: Wharton Executive MBA (San Francisco)

Academics:

GMAT: 700 (Q-48, V-38)
Grad GPA: 3.9 (Clemson University)
Undergrad GPA: 83% from university in India. 1st in University.
Grad/Undegrad Major: Computer Science

Professional:

9 years work experience to date
Currently working as Sr. QA Lead/QA Manager leading a team of 15 resources.
Working as a consultant for networking giant in San Francisco bay area for past 4 years. Have worked full time for Verizon and Dell in my past 2 jobs as Test Lead.

Extra-curricular

Secretary (Board of Directors) for a non profit from 2005-2008. Currently volunteer through my company, mostly non-leadership roles.
Professional publications in magazines and online media since 2005 till date.
Few certifications associated to my field of work
Silver medalist, Taekwondo at national level competition (2004)

Please let me know what you think of my profile for Wharton EMBA? Also, which other EMBA program would be best suited for my profile?


I think you're in the sweet spot for the EMBA program like Wharton: a mid-career professional with a solid work background and good numbers (GMAT/GPA). GMAT isn't amazing but it's good enough for EMBA programs. Unlike full-time programs, executive programs focus more on your professional growth (since those applying to EMBA programs have a lot more experience) - so while extracurriculars are a nice to have, the emphasis is more on your experience in managing and leading teams in the workplace.

For EMBA, there's essentially Wharton, Kellogg, Booth and Columbia as the top 4, then everyone else (Stern, UCLA, USC, Ross, etc).

Also, since you're in the Bay Area, you may want to look into Haas' part-time program, and if you want to take time off work completely -- Stanford's Sloan program (a 1 year masters that is essentially like a full-time EMBA for mid-career professionals).
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 08:40
Alex - i think u missed my profile up in the page. Could you pls have a look at it?

Thanks
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 11:55
[EDIT - Thank you, Alex]

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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 20:03
Rong wrote:
Hi Alex,

I've read a lot of your and I appreciate your honest feedback for fellow applicants. Would love to hear you thoughts on mine:

Firstly, I am a Bruneian. (It's rare I know)

Education:
Undergraduate: BEng in top 5 UK engineering school with Class 1 Honours (84% average), with 3 academic awards for: Best project, best student in the department and in the faculty. (Will not attempt to convert to GPA for now)

Graduate: Masters of Science in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in Imperial College with Merit - Thesis (Distinction) + Exams (Merit) = Merit

Scholarships: Shell Brunei Scholarship for fully funded Undergraduate and Graduate studies, after being assessed by certified Shell assessors based on Shell's assessment criteria.

GMAT: Plan to take early 2013 - Aiming for 730.

Work Experience: Shell Brunei

November '11 to April '12: Graduate Onboarding Programmes
May to Present: Reservoir Engineer (RE), responsibilities:
1) Delivering reservoir reviews to unlock business value in a mature hydrocarbon field, as part of a larger multidisciplinary team of subsurface engineers and geologist.
2) Responsible to deliver models to predict future reservoir performance for business planning purposes.
3) Focal point for managing and coordinating the implementation of an organization-wide Shell operations improvement program.

EC
1) One of the committee leaders of Shell's Young Professional Network. So far, I have:
- Created the first graduate mentoring circles and 'Lunch & Learn' programme to provide mentoring and development sessions by senior business leaders to graduates.
- Created a charity programme to enable graduates to give back to the community through various collaborations with other full time charity.
- Mentor to younger generation of Shell scholars to tackle corporate case studies during their internship, part of their onboarding programme. The programme received rave reviews from management and will be made a flagship event for the company.
- Involved in school outreach programs to promote careers in oil & gas, especially in how we incorporate safety in our lives (Note to all: no mobile phones while driving!)
2) Self taught guitarist and singer, but I don't perform in public.
3) Volunteer substitute teacher for physics for year 9 and 10 students (ad-hoc basis, I've once helped out because the teacher unfortunately suffered a heart attack.)
4) Planning to launch a community mentoring programme, targeted towards improving academics, soft skills and career knowledge of Year 9 and 10 students.

Why MBA:
1) General management and leadership development for future management/executive positions in Shell
2) Exposure to fields of non-profit, specifically in soft skills/leadership education and sustainable development. I believe being a oil and gas producer, incorporation of sustainable development in our business plans are vital.
3) Broadening my perspective - learning from immensely talented people and to improve myself as a person from all aspects.

Post-MBA Plan: After going to business school, I want to use those skills for the following:
1) 3 year stint in an MBB consultant focusing in sustainable development and operations management (If I'm allowed by Shell, if not go to (2))
2) Return to Shell Brunei and continue development of my technical skills as a RE, and then into management positions - team leader, development leader and onwards.
3) Launching a non-profit - provide a platform to develop younger generations, in order to develop Brunei's human capital to position ourselves for the future, when our oil and gas runs out.

Potential Shortcomings:
1) Work Experience: I plan to apply for Fall 2014 - 3 years in matriculation but 2 years during time of application.
2) Leadership: I do not, and will not have direct reports. For me to have direct reports, I need to be promoted 3 times! Therefore, conveying compelling leadership stories relative to others, will be more difficult.
3) ECs: I do not plan to volunteer in a lot of different organizations, I believe in depth. Also, my passion is in mentoring and developing people. I might have sufficient depth, but the question is: Is it sufficient?
4) Background: Are petroleum engineers an attractive candidate to these B-schools?
5) Any more?

I would like to get your evaluations on my prospects to be admitted in H/S/W, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Haas and Kellogg, assuming I achieve at GMAT score of 730

Thanks!
Thank you so much for helping out!


While I appreciate all the effort you put into your lengthy post, it's really quite simple:

You're getting ahead of yourself. I'm sure you can't wait to go back to school, but you seem to be anticipating a bit too much, rather than focusing on what is in front of you right now: your job.

Most engineers have around 4-7 years of experience at matriculation. So if you apply next year, you'll have a tougher time than if you continued to build a bit more experience first. Also, don't "assume" a GMAT score. You're not even taking it next year, so all this stuff about school chances is going to be pure fantasy on your part - and I won't feed into that fantasy. You're young. A *lot* can happen in just one year for you - both in terms of the kinds of experience you gain as well as maturity in ways that you simply can't anticipate at this point.

If you want an assessment, ask me in the year you're actually going to apply, and *after* you've done your GMAT. All the best
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 20:05
umeranyth wrote:
Thanks for the advice Alex! Much Appreciated. One last question: since I'm considered a wild-card, would Harvard/Wharton be as much of an outside shot as Columbia?

Thanks again!


Yes.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 20:09
jxatrillion wrote:

Alex, thank you for your input. One thing I'm worried about is my inability to create an Alternative Transcript if I'm looking to apply Rd 1/2 of this year. My applications are set to be due late October, a week after my GMAT (I'm going to work on my applications right now ahead of the GMAT).

My options are:
+ apply Rd 1/2 without the Alt. Transcript
+ apply Rd 3/4 and rush in a 2-class Alt. Transcript
+ apply next year when I have a full Alt. Transcript

Stuck in a pickle here. What would you recommend? Would the Alt. Transcript help make that big of a difference? Would a 700+ GMAT (80%+ Q) be enough to apply without an Alt. Transcript? Thanks again for your input.


If the adcoms love you, you're the kind of person who ends up on the waitlist. What I suggest is to shoot for R1/2 while building an alternate transcript so that in the event of a waitlist, you have something to show them, since I think if there's a reason to waitlist you, it'll be concerns about your ability to handle the academics at b-school (even if you had a strong GMAT; if your GMAT is weak, then there's a greater chance you'd be dinged outright).

Worst case is you don't get in, and try again next year. In short, apply this year rather than just waiting it out for the sake of waiting it out.
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Alex Chu
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http://www.mbaapply.com
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MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2420
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2012, 20:17
str1der wrote:
Dear Alex,

Trust all's well. Resonating views of some of the other people who have posted here, your style of answering questions on this website is much appreciated. I do feel you provide very accurate and to the point suggestions on a candidature. In that respect, am detailing my profile below to get some pointers from you

Background: Indian male, computer engineering (first class) from a top public university (non IIT)

Full Time Work Experience:
- Headhunter (Since late 2010), work at the India office of the world's largest executive search firm which has offices in 50+ countries.
- Promoted to Associate Consultant in Jan 2012 - the youngest and only non MBA to get this promotion in the India office's 18 year history
- Led business development activities with the managing partner which resulted in $250K of won business, successfully recruited the CEO of a $750Mn company while working on one of those projects
- Have led various projects such as the CEO of $1.5 Bn steel major, Global CEO of a $1 Bn Swiss conglomerate (working with a swiss client, international search for Indians and expats run from India), Chief learning Officer for a $30 Bn+ conglomerate etc.
- Lead the Socializing and CSR initiatives at office, successfully raised funds for a Green initiative
- Recognized as best performer in the India Office last year, received a Rookie of The Year award in our annual offsite in Thailand

Between Jun 2009 and late 2010
- Ran part of HR operations for a research captive of one of the worlds most prominent consulting firms
- Part of the global talent management and professional development team for employees
- Ran the allocations function, responsible for staffing the entire 250 member workforce, across all designations, in India, China and South Africa
- Received a perfect annual evaluation - one of only three such individuals company wide, and only one in the HR team
- Responsible for the revenue reporting function, where I reported to the Global CEO, and was responsible for billing and reconciliation of $10Mn+ of global revenue
- Led a team of two, whom I recruited, and which received the first ever outstanding client service award for an HR team

Part Time Work Experience:
While in college started a web design studio. made good margins and profits working across 8 projects with a global team (freelancers recruited online through portals like elance)

Achievements (Outside of Work):
- India's youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of 13
- Among the top three students consistently throughout school, in the top 15% in college
- Won Various National & State Level Declamations, Debates and Quizzes

Interests & Other Info
- Won the Best New performer award for Stand Up Comedy for an impromptu performance at one of Delhi's most prominent bars
- Highly involved in fund raising activities, teaching initiatives, and my school alumni board
- Love to travel - have traveled/backpacked to the US, UK, UAE, China, Japan, Thailand, and most of India

GMAT: First attempt in 2008: 690 (Q48, V36, AWA 6), Second attempt in 2011: 690 (Q48, V35, AWA 6), Third Attempt in 2012: 730 (Q49, V42, AWA 6)

School Selection:

Main Targets
Wharton
Kellogg (Reapplicant - interviewed last year, rejected)
Tuck (Reapplicant - rejected without interview last year)
Cornell
Darden
INSEAD
Columbia (Reapplicant - rejected without interview last year)

Dream Schools (will apply only after applying, or hopefully getting in, to schools above in Round 1)
HBS
Stanford
MIT


As you probably know, what certainly helps is that you are *not* an engineer like your Indian compatriots. Hard to say what happened last year, but it looks like you've had a solid career thus far, and as such I think that schools in the top 8 are stretches (but worth applying to 2-3: Columbia, Kellogg, Tuck, Sloan, Booth, Haas), and top 16 are more likely your sweet spots (choose 3-4: Ross, Darden, Duke, Yale, Cornell, NYU, UCLA). INSEAD and LBS are in between - I guess call them slight stretches. H/S/W are likely long shots to be honest (you're up against too many people with more pedigree than you and who can claim to be just as accomplished in their careers as you - and they aren't exactly shoe-ins for these three schools either simply because there are more folks of a similar caliber than there are spots).

In short, try again - which it sounds like you're doing. Your essays could've been an issue - but I would guess that it's not that they were bad, but that they were simply "okay" or even "good" - but that you just simply fell through the cracks or got lost in the shuffle (which may sound strange since you're not an Indian engineer - but strip away your nationality, and your work profile is that of a corporate professional - which isn't totally unusual).
_________________

Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com
Follow me on Facebook

Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply   [#permalink] 25 Jul 2012, 20:17
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