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Ask Alex @ MBA Apply

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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2014, 10:44
Alex,

How important is the interview at a school like Kellogg? I put in a strong app and most of my stats fall within the 80% range. However, I did badly on the video interview. I opted to interview on campus to make up for this, and it didn't go well either. It was my first MBA interview and my preparation didn't shine. I could feel the adcom that I met with already cross me off the list when the interview ended. I don't have my hopes up, but I'm wondering what questions they try to gather during the interview and whether other parts of an app can showcase these.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2014, 12:11
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AbhiJ wrote:
Hi Alex,

Please find my profile in brief.

Target: Finance.

- B Tech IIT (GPA 7/10)
- 6.5 years at Big 4 Advisory in Technology Consulting (Worked mostly in In House Systems and Domestic Consulting). Currently in Assistant Manger role.
- GMAT 710(Q50 V35), TOEFL 111.
- Age 30
- Passed CFA Level 1.
- Extra- curricular: Average

Have applied this year and have interview scheduled from schools in Top 20-40 range.

Assuming I get into any of these schools, would it make sense to re-write GMAT and get 750-770 range and apply coming Fall to schools in Top 15 namely: Columbia, Booth, NY Stern ?

As per my understanding for international applicants looking for a career change schools outside Top 10 are essentially the same.
Finance is practically impossible and Consulting is somewhat similar.
For example, would have similar career outcomes from UCLA, Cornell, Emory , Fisher.
All place students in Deloitte Consulting, Amazon etc.


It just depends on the kinds of jobs you want to get right after b-school. For top tier consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, BCG - you really need to focus on the top 16 schools (and ideally top 8 schools) where they recruit the overwhelming majority of their post-MBA associates. For finance, if you're looking at investment banking or any buyside jobs, it's going to be similar (top 16, and top 8 ideally). If these kinds of firms and employers aren't as important to you (i.e. you'll be fine with working at a Big-4 consulting firm, you're targeting commercial banking/lending or insurance, you're looking to work in industry/tech/Fortune 500 corporate post-MBA, etc) then whether you go to a top 16 school or not makes less of a difference.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2014, 12:20
DimensionalF wrote:
Alex,

How important is the interview at a school like Kellogg? I put in a strong app and most of my stats fall within the 80% range. However, I did badly on the video interview. I opted to interview on campus to make up for this, and it didn't go well either. It was my first MBA interview and my preparation didn't shine. I could feel the adcom that I met with already cross me off the list when the interview ended. I don't have my hopes up, but I'm wondering what questions they try to gather during the interview and whether other parts of an app can showcase these.


The interview isn't a make-or-break where it determines whether you get in or not, but it is an important part in an adcoms' decision making (other than HBS, where the interview is pretty much a make-or-break). With Kellogg, it's all about figuring out whether you'll fit into their school culture. It's a very social place that puts an even bigger premium on teamwork (and every b-school does, but Kellogg even more so), and they really look for folks who have strong social skills. They want to know that you can have an engaging conversation with someone, that you are a capable presenter who can respond and communicate in the moment (hence the video interview), and so forth.

Your interview is done, so there's no point in trying to figure out what you could have done or should have done. With the written app, it's again focusing on convincing the adcom that you'll be a great fit for the culture of the school. Good luck
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2014, 15:12
Hi Alex

Im Divya and was really hoping that you would be able to provide some insight with my profile.

Age-21
10th-aggregate 85%
12th-aggregate 89% with 95 in maths and 88 in English.
Im in final year doing B.com (Hons) and going to pass out of University of Delhi this may.
No work experience.
co-curricular activities
SCHOOL LEVEL
-Performed at the commonwealth games opening ceremony on 3rd Oct 2010.
-Performed kuchipudi and got an award from Union state minister and the minister for cultural, govt of Andhra Pradesh.
-Won many certificates for the projects done during school time.
-Managed all cultural events at school level.
COLLEGE LEVEL
-Gave a presentation on the topic E-Commerce and got appreciation from all.
-Summern internship at PHILIPS COMPANY under makerting department.
-Did a research and project work on the topic Online Shopping Vs Traditional shopping.
-Was in the organizing committee of cultural events held in college.
- Participated in public speaking in Model United Nations 2012 at ITM as the delegate of Germany.


I was planning to apply for MBA in marketing but because of no work experience i can't apply for MBA so im in a big confusion whether to go for masters or work for some years and then apply. I will give GMAT at the end of june this year.

Target School - Harvard 2+2, Yale silver scholars, LSE for masters, LBS

Can you please let me know if my target schools are realistic ? Any advice as to whether I should work first or I can apply and should I be aiming for different schools would be useful.


Thank You.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2014, 16:48
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Divyaalapati wrote:
Hi Alex

Im Divya and was really hoping that you would be able to provide some insight with my profile.

Age-21
10th-aggregate 85%
12th-aggregate 89% with 95 in maths and 88 in English.
Im in final year doing B.com (Hons) and going to pass out of University of Delhi this may.
No work experience.
co-curricular activities
SCHOOL LEVEL
-Performed at the commonwealth games opening ceremony on 3rd Oct 2010.
-Performed kuchipudi and got an award from Union state minister and the minister for cultural, govt of Andhra Pradesh.
-Won many certificates for the projects done during school time.
-Managed all cultural events at school level.
COLLEGE LEVEL
-Gave a presentation on the topic E-Commerce and got appreciation from all.
-Summern internship at PHILIPS COMPANY under makerting department.
-Did a research and project work on the topic Online Shopping Vs Traditional shopping.
-Was in the organizing committee of cultural events held in college.
- Participated in public speaking in Model United Nations 2012 at ITM as the delegate of Germany.


I was planning to apply for MBA in marketing but because of no work experience i can't apply for MBA so im in a big confusion whether to go for masters or work for some years and then apply. I will give GMAT at the end of june this year.

Target School - Harvard 2+2, Yale silver scholars, LSE for masters, LBS

Can you please let me know if my target schools are realistic ? Any advice as to whether I should work first or I can apply and should I be aiming for different schools would be useful.


Thank You.


Focus on doing the best you can academically right now in college, and then work for a few years before going back for an MBA. Alternatively, you could do an MS (like the LSE program) or any MS that doesn't require experience in the US or UK as a way to get work experience in the US/Europe before applying to b-school. The 2+2, Silver Scholars and other programs aren't really geared towards people like yourself (they are seeking folks who are underrepresented in terms of professional and cultural backgrounds).

Again, don't look at MBA programs right now. The most important thing for you right now is building a career, which is all about work experience. Until you have a few years of solid work experience (preferably in the US/Europe, or if it's in India it should be at a large multinational), there's no point in even thinking about MBA programs.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 03 May 2014, 06:21
Hi Alex, would you be able to give me a profile evaluation, thanks in advance for your time.

Ethnicity: Asian American Male
Age : 25
GMAT: 740 (Q 49 V42)
Undergraduate: Cornell Chem Eng, Cum GPA: 3.02, Major GPA: 3.34

WE:
1 yr – Top 2 US Chemical Company – Production Engineer / Site Project Lead for Work Process/Alignment Goal
2 yr – Top 10 European Chemical Company – Production/Process Engineer (working in U.S.)

EC:
6 mo: American Red Cross – Disaster Service Finance Volunteer
6 mo: Boys and Girls Club – Grant writer
6 mo: Investment Club – Stock Study Group
Running

Post MBA Goal: Transition from Engineering to pursue career in Investment Banking

Stretch: Upenn, MIT
Target: Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Darmouth

Thank you!
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 05 May 2014, 14:18
monatl89 wrote:
Hi Alex, would you be able to give me a profile evaluation, thanks in advance for your time.

Ethnicity: Asian American Male
Age : 25
GMAT: 740 (Q 49 V42)
Undergraduate: Cornell Chem Eng, Cum GPA: 3.02, Major GPA: 3.34

WE:
1 yr – Top 2 US Chemical Company – Production Engineer / Site Project Lead for Work Process/Alignment Goal
2 yr – Top 10 European Chemical Company – Production/Process Engineer (working in U.S.)

EC:
6 mo: American Red Cross – Disaster Service Finance Volunteer
6 mo: Boys and Girls Club – Grant writer
6 mo: Investment Club – Stock Study Group
Running

Post MBA Goal: Transition from Engineering to pursue career in Investment Banking

Stretch: Upenn, MIT
Target: Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Darmouth

Thank you!


In short, basically the top 8 schools are stretches but where you have enough of a shot that they're worth applying to 2-3 of them. Top 16 schools are sweet spots where you have a reasonable shot. The one thing to bear in mind is that engineers at b-school typically have around 4-6 years of pre-MBA experience at time of matriculation, so you're on the younger side (but if I read it right, it looks like you'll have 4 years by Sept 2015).

Only thing is to change up your school choices a little if you're looking to go into investment banking. Focus on Wharton, Booth, Columbia as your stretches, and then Stern, Yale and Cornell as your sweet spots.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 05 May 2014, 16:47
AlexMBAApply wrote:
monatl89 wrote:
Hi Alex, would you be able to give me a profile evaluation, thanks in advance for your time.

Ethnicity: Asian American Male
Age : 25
GMAT: 740 (Q 49 V42)
Undergraduate: Cornell Chem Eng, Cum GPA: 3.02, Major GPA: 3.34

WE:
1 yr – Top 2 US Chemical Company – Production Engineer / Site Project Lead for Work Process/Alignment Goal
2 yr – Top 10 European Chemical Company – Production/Process Engineer (working in U.S.)

EC:
6 mo: American Red Cross – Disaster Service Finance Volunteer
6 mo: Boys and Girls Club – Grant writer
6 mo: Investment Club – Stock Study Group
Running

Post MBA Goal: Transition from Engineering to pursue career in Investment Banking

Stretch: Upenn, MIT
Target: Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Darmouth

Thank you!


In short, basically the top 8 schools are stretches but where you have enough of a shot that they're worth applying to 2-3 of them. Top 16 schools are sweet spots where you have a reasonable shot. The one thing to bear in mind is that engineers at b-school typically have around 4-6 years of pre-MBA experience at time of matriculation, so you're on the younger side (but if I read it right, it looks like you'll have 4 years by Sept 2015).

Only thing is to change up your school choices a little if you're looking to go into investment banking. Focus on Wharton, Booth, Columbia as your stretches, and then Stern, Yale and Cornell as your sweet spots.


Thank you for your valuable input, Alex.

How would you evaluate my background/career goals/demographic in context of these schools, with emphasis on Yale and Columbia?

To help mitigate my undergrad GPA, do you strongly recommend an alternative transcript of 2-3 courses? I am considering a mix of Columbia/NYU/Berkeley/UCLA, online/instructor, statistics/calc(re-take)/accounting for R1.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 05 May 2014, 17:11
Hi Alex,

GMAT 700 (49Q/36V)..studying for a retake

Education:
Academy Grad (2007)- 3.25/Systems Engineering
-GPA steadily increased over time-under 2.5 first semester (I've heard that helps -- is that true?)
-Big Brother Big Sister and Special Olympics

UTEP Masters (2011)-4.0/Leadership (tried to nullify my low undergrad GPA)

Career (Air Defense Officer):
1st assignment:
Lived in Germany for three years where I had a couple of different
leadership positions (lead 35+ Soldiers for a year and second in command of 140+ Soldiers for a year. Also responsible for 40+ million dollars worth of equipment)
3rd year- Lead officer for establishing the US's joint missile defense program with Poland
2nd assignment:
Worked as an instructor at the University of Alabama ROTC for a year
(compassionate reassignment-father was in the hospital for an extended period of time)
Currently working in DC for 6 months where I have 40 employees, both military and civilian, working on my team.

Why I'm applying with 8 years time in service (I've heard 6+ years military service is frowned upon)- signed up for a Grad School option upon graduation from West Point that extends one's commitment to 8 years. At the time I planned on staying in the Army, but my Dad's illness shaped 2+ years of my Army career and honestly put me behind my peers in regards to key jobs for promotion (not planning on explaining this too much, but that's the reason why I'm an older applicant)

Post MBA: Aerospace and Defense consultant with Bain (I honestly don't know what field I want to go into exactly, but given my background, it allows me to tell an interesting story)

Other/Hobbies:
Volunteer- Awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for starting a volunteer group that contributed to various community events in the area.
Travel/Adventure- Been to 30 countries, Running of the Bulls, River rafting down the Grand Canyon, etc.
Fitness- Completed 110 mile bike race, etc.

Target Schools: HBS, Wharton (stretch)
Kellogg, MIT, Tuck (zone)
Fuqua (safe)
chances at each school?
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 06 May 2014, 08:58
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monatl89 wrote:
Thank you for your valuable input, Alex.

How would you evaluate my background/career goals/demographic in context of these schools, with emphasis on Yale and Columbia?

To help mitigate my undergrad GPA, do you strongly recommend an alternative transcript of 2-3 courses? I am considering a mix of Columbia/NYU/Berkeley/UCLA, online/instructor, statistics/calc(re-take)/accounting for R1.


Your GPA is fine - there's no need to take more courses (adcoms are more forgiving of engineering GPAs since as you know engineering courses are graded on a much harsher curve than humanities/sciences/business).
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 06 May 2014, 09:11
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usmabama wrote:
Hi Alex,

GMAT 700 (49Q/36V)..studying for a retake

Education:
Academy Grad (2007)- 3.25/Systems Engineering
-GPA steadily increased over time-under 2.5 first semester (I've heard that helps -- is that true?)
-Big Brother Big Sister and Special Olympics

UTEP Masters (2011)-4.0/Leadership (tried to nullify my low undergrad GPA)

Career (Air Defense Officer):
1st assignment:
Lived in Germany for three years where I had a couple of different
leadership positions (lead 35+ Soldiers for a year and second in command of 140+ Soldiers for a year. Also responsible for 40+ million dollars worth of equipment)
3rd year- Lead officer for establishing the US's joint missile defense program with Poland
2nd assignment:
Worked as an instructor at the University of Alabama ROTC for a year
(compassionate reassignment-father was in the hospital for an extended period of time)
Currently working in DC for 6 months where I have 40 employees, both military and civilian, working on my team.

Why I'm applying with 8 years time in service (I've heard 6+ years military service is frowned upon)- signed up for a Grad School option upon graduation from West Point that extends one's commitment to 8 years. At the time I planned on staying in the Army, but my Dad's illness shaped 2+ years of my Army career and honestly put me behind my peers in regards to key jobs for promotion (not planning on explaining this too much, but that's the reason why I'm an older applicant)

Post MBA: Aerospace and Defense consultant with Bain (I honestly don't know what field I want to go into exactly, but given my background, it allows me to tell an interesting story)

Other/Hobbies:
Volunteer- Awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for starting a volunteer group that contributed to various community events in the area.
Travel/Adventure- Been to 30 countries, Running of the Bulls, River rafting down the Grand Canyon, etc.
Fitness- Completed 110 mile bike race, etc.

Target Schools: HBS, Wharton (stretch)
Kellogg, MIT, Tuck (zone)
Fuqua (safe)
chances at each school?


In short, I think you have a pretty good handle on where you stand, and you're looking at the right range of schools for your profile. Maybe add Darden as a safety school (or in place of Fuqua), as Darden is one of the more military friendly schools out there.

Key thing to emphasize in your case is your experience working with both military and civilians in your team (i.e. you thrive working in diverse environments blah blah blah). Adcoms value the kind of leadership experiences military officers like yourself can bring to the table that civilian applicants cannot. However, the one thing you want to highlight are the kinds of leadership experiences you believe are applicable or adaptable to a purely civilian/business context (as you are planning on transitioning out of the military and into a business career). The one big asset you have is that you seem to have is a wide array of experiences having lived in different parts of the world and having worked/led different kinds of group situations.

GPA: you're doing all you can. It's not really going to be an issue, and yes an upward trend in undergrad helps.

GMAT: what you have now is actually fine, but if you can score a 720+ that would be ideal.

Years of service: I don't think this will be an issue. Traditionally, military folks tend to be on the older side compared to other applicants, so whether you're 2 years older compared to other military folks isn't really going to be as big a deal compared to bankers, consultants, engineers, etc. Again you have a totally reasonable explanation for why you went beyond your six year commitment (and as an aside, while there aren't as many applicants from the Air Force compared to Army, Navy, or Marines -- the Air Force folks in b-school tend to be even older given their eight year commitment). Again, it comes down to your leadership experience, and how you intend to draw upon that experience in your future career as a mgmt consultant (or whatever it is you intend to do in business should you change your mind).

Good luck
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 12 May 2014, 06:30
usmabama wrote:
Hi Alex,

GMAT 700 (49Q/36V)..studying for a retake

Education:
Academy Grad (2007)- 3.25/Systems Engineering
-GPA steadily increased over time-under 2.5 first semester (I've heard that helps -- is that true?)
-Big Brother Big Sister and Special Olympics

UTEP Masters (2011)-4.0/Leadership (tried to nullify my low undergrad GPA)

Career (Air Defense Officer):
1st assignment:
Lived in Germany for three years where I had a couple of different
leadership positions (lead 35+ Soldiers for a year and second in command of 140+ Soldiers for a year. Also responsible for 40+ million dollars worth of equipment)
3rd year- Lead officer for establishing the US's joint missile defense program with Poland
2nd assignment:
Worked as an instructor at the University of Alabama ROTC for a year
(compassionate reassignment-father was in the hospital for an extended period of time)
Currently working in DC for 6 months where I have 40 employees, both military and civilian, working on my team.

Why I'm applying with 8 years time in service (I've heard 6+ years military service is frowned upon)- signed up for a Grad School option upon graduation from West Point that extends one's commitment to 8 years. At the time I planned on staying in the Army, but my Dad's illness shaped 2+ years of my Army career and honestly put me behind my peers in regards to key jobs for promotion (not planning on explaining this too much, but that's the reason why I'm an older applicant)

Post MBA: Aerospace and Defense consultant with Bain (I honestly don't know what field I want to go into exactly, but given my background, it allows me to tell an interesting story)

Other/Hobbies:
Volunteer- Awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for starting a volunteer group that contributed to various community events in the area.
Travel/Adventure- Been to 30 countries, Running of the Bulls, River rafting down the Grand Canyon, etc.
Fitness- Completed 110 mile bike race, etc.

Target Schools: HBS, Wharton (stretch)
Kellogg, MIT, Tuck (zone)
Fuqua (safe)
chances at each school?



Hi although I am not Alex (yet) I would suggest you to take a look on MIT LGO programm. This is a dual degree programm and they have a MBA/MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics specialisation. http://lgo.mit.edu/ms-aeronautics-astro ... ering-mba/
This program fits your esperience very well and they offer sizable scolarships.
From the website "Tuition Fellowships for the Class of 2016 For the Class of 2016, fellowships are $70,000 for students in Aeronautics and Astronautics, "
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 15 May 2014, 11:58
Hey Alex,

In several of your posts, you mention how Asians/Asian-Americans in various professions such as engineering and finance are disadvantaged when it comes to b-school apps. Is this true for all Asians/Asian-Americans in general? Or is this only in regards to those within specific career fields? For example, I would think a Chinese-American serving as a US military officer in Iraq or an Indian working as a Peace Corps supervisor in Central America are somewhat rare ethnic-professional combinations. What bearing do applicants like these have on adcoms? Or are all Asians/Asian-Americans lumped into one pile?

Would appreciate your insight on this. Thanks.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 16 May 2014, 12:14
cowabungaman7 wrote:
Hey Alex,

In several of your posts, you mention how Asians/Asian-Americans in various professions such as engineering and finance are disadvantaged when it comes to b-school apps. Is this true for all Asians/Asian-Americans in general? Or is this only in regards to those within specific career fields? For example, I would think a Chinese-American serving as a US military officer in Iraq or an Indian working as a Peace Corps supervisor in Central America are somewhat rare ethnic-professional combinations. What bearing do applicants like these have on adcoms? Or are all Asians/Asian-Americans lumped into one pile?

Would appreciate your insight on this. Thanks.


You're right - it's not ethnicity (or nationality) in isolation, but in conjunction with occupation (i.e. Indian engineer, Asian/Asian-American banker, white consultant, etc). It just happens that folks from certain cultural backgrounds tend to be overrepresented in certain industries (or at least those who are applying to b-school). Some of this is cultural, like Indians where traditionally the only means for social/economic mobility in their highly stratified society/economy was engineering (and what you'll find is that the Indians who were born/raised in the US are actually more diverse in their career choices compared to Indian nationals - i.e. it's not so heavily weighted towards engineering).

And there's an odd thing within the b-school application world where so many Asian/Asian-Americans come from finance backgrounds. Or white Americans in management consulting. For some reason, this particular subset tends to apply to b-school (and you'll find fewer say Asian/Asian-American engineers applying, or white Americans outside of consulting/finance; for example, there's plenty of white Americans who graduated from MIT/CalTech/Stanford engineering, but you don't see as many of these folks in the applicant pool compared to the armies of mgmt consultants).

In many respects, the schools have been trying to expand their applicant pool, especially with American STEM (science/tech/engineering/math) professionals (there's no shortage of Indian engineers, but they've had trouble attracting American STEM folks to apply to b-school in the same numbers like the armies of finance and consulting folks).
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 17 May 2014, 04:37
AlexMBAApply wrote:
cowabungaman7 wrote:
Hey Alex,

In several of your posts, you mention how Asians/Asian-Americans in various professions such as engineering and finance are disadvantaged when it comes to b-school apps. Is this true for all Asians/Asian-Americans in general? Or is this only in regards to those within specific career fields? For example, I would think a Chinese-American serving as a US military officer in Iraq or an Indian working as a Peace Corps supervisor in Central America are somewhat rare ethnic-professional combinations. What bearing do applicants like these have on adcoms? Or are all Asians/Asian-Americans lumped into one pile?

Would appreciate your insight on this. Thanks.


You're right - it's not ethnicity (or nationality) in isolation, but in conjunction with occupation (i.e. Indian engineer, Asian/Asian-American banker, white consultant, etc). It just happens that folks from certain cultural backgrounds tend to be overrepresented in certain industries (or at least those who are applying to b-school). Some of this is cultural, like Indians where traditionally the only means for social/economic mobility in their highly stratified society/economy was engineering (and what you'll find is that the Indians who were born/raised in the US are actually more diverse in their career choices compared to Indian nationals - i.e. it's not so heavily weighted towards engineering).

And there's an odd thing within the b-school application world where so many Asian/Asian-Americans come from finance backgrounds. Or white Americans in management consulting. For some reason, this particular subset tends to apply to b-school (and you'll find fewer say Asian/Asian-American engineers applying, or white Americans outside of consulting/finance; for example, there's plenty of white Americans who graduated from MIT/CalTech/Stanford engineering, but you don't see as many of these folks in the applicant pool compared to the armies of mgmt consultants).

In many respects, the schools have been trying to expand their applicant pool, especially with American STEM (science/tech/engineering/math) professionals (there's no shortage of Indian engineers, but they've had trouble attracting American STEM folks to apply to b-school in the same numbers like the armies of finance and consulting folks).


Got ya. Glad to know adcoms don't try to compare apples to oranges. Appreciate your response, man.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2014, 10:46
Hi Alex,

I would really appreciate a review of my profile.

Based on my profile and post-MBA goals, do the schools I have short-listed make sense? Any other recommendations?

Am I competitive at the schools I am applying to?

Am I still considered part of the Indian male demographics even if I lived in the US almost all my life and completed all my schooling here?


My profile:

Age and Ethnicity: 26 at Matriculation, Indian-born US male
GMAT: 710 (Q48, V38) AWA 6.0, IR 8
School: Regionally well-known STEM university in northeast US
Major: Double major in Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Biology, Minor in Computer Science
GPA: 3.61/4.00
Background and Work Experience: I was born in India but moved to the US when I was 12. All my higher education (high school and beyond) was done in the United States. After graduating with high distinction with a double major, I switched focus from R&D to Operations. I started out as an analyst in the Process Excellence group and after 6 months, got my first promotion where I became a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt. I started a Process Excellence program for a manufacturing site and became part of the site management team. Got a second promotion after 2 years where I got an additional site for which I am the Process Excellence leader and part of the new site’s management team as well. Currently, have two temporary direct reports (summer intern for 3 months and grant writer for 9 months). Total work experience right now is 37 months and at matriculation it will be 50 months.

Extracurricular: I was a Math and science tutor for GED students for a year during which I spent 5 hrs/week on tutoring. I am an Everybody Wins! Reading Mentor for elementary school kids since November 2012.


Leadership: I have had multiple leadership roles in my work environment but none in my extracurricular activities. I mentored projects in various functional areas such as R&D, Project Management, Quality, Production, Internal Sales, Sales Support, and Logistics. Led several Lean Six Sigma projects that span three group functions with cost-savings of more than $1M.

For Fun: I won’t be mentioning this in my app but I enjoy museums a lot so I have started volunteering at an art museum soon after I finished my GMAT. Gives me a different perspective and it’s a change of pace from my technical and scientific work environment and colleagues.

My Career Goals:

Short-term Goals: Right after completing my MBA, I would like to work as a consultant for a boutique biotechnology management consulting firm (Putnam Associates, Heath Advances) or for the life sciences arm of a general management consulting firm (Bain, LEK).

Mid-term and Long-term Goals: After gaining experience and exposure as a consultant, I would like to work as a corporate strategy analyst at a biotech/pharmaceutical company. In the long-term I would like to continue working in corporate strategy and eventually, would like to head the group at a leading life sciences company.

My School List: Harvard, Wharton, MIT LGO, Tuck, Duke, and Kellogg

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2014, 17:25
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lousantace wrote:
Hi Alex,

I would really appreciate a review of my profile.

Based on my profile and post-MBA goals, do the schools I have short-listed make sense? Any other recommendations?

Am I competitive at the schools I am applying to?

Am I still considered part of the Indian male demographics even if I lived in the US almost all my life and completed all my schooling here?


My profile:

Age and Ethnicity: 26 at Matriculation, Indian-born US male
GMAT: 710 (Q48, V38) AWA 6.0, IR 8
School: Regionally well-known STEM university in northeast US
Major: Double major in Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Biology, Minor in Computer Science
GPA: 3.61/4.00
Background and Work Experience: I was born in India but moved to the US when I was 12. All my higher education (high school and beyond) was done in the United States. After graduating with high distinction with a double major, I switched focus from R&D to Operations. I started out as an analyst in the Process Excellence group and after 6 months, got my first promotion where I became a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt. I started a Process Excellence program for a manufacturing site and became part of the site management team. Got a second promotion after 2 years where I got an additional site for which I am the Process Excellence leader and part of the new site’s management team as well. Currently, have two temporary direct reports (summer intern for 3 months and grant writer for 9 months). Total work experience right now is 37 months and at matriculation it will be 50 months.

Extracurricular: I was a Math and science tutor for GED students for a year during which I spent 5 hrs/week on tutoring. I am an Everybody Wins! Reading Mentor for elementary school kids since November 2012.


Leadership: I have had multiple leadership roles in my work environment but none in my extracurricular activities. I mentored projects in various functional areas such as R&D, Project Management, Quality, Production, Internal Sales, Sales Support, and Logistics. Led several Lean Six Sigma projects that span three group functions with cost-savings of more than $1M.

For Fun: I won’t be mentioning this in my app but I enjoy museums a lot so I have started volunteering at an art museum soon after I finished my GMAT. Gives me a different perspective and it’s a change of pace from my technical and scientific work environment and colleagues.

My Career Goals:

Short-term Goals: Right after completing my MBA, I would like to work as a consultant for a boutique biotechnology management consulting firm (Putnam Associates, Heath Advances) or for the life sciences arm of a general management consulting firm (Bain, LEK).

Mid-term and Long-term Goals: After gaining experience and exposure as a consultant, I would like to work as a corporate strategy analyst at a biotech/pharmaceutical company. In the long-term I would like to continue working in corporate strategy and eventually, would like to head the group at a leading life sciences company.

My School List: Harvard, Wharton, MIT LGO, Tuck, Duke, and Kellogg

Thanks in advance!


In short, I think you're targeting the right range of schools -- although it really comes down to what you're willing to risk as well. If you want to be more assured that you'll get in somewhere next year, you may want to apply to 1-2 other top 16 schools (maybe look adding Ross and Darden to make it 8 schools total?). The top 8 schools including HBS and Wharton are stretches (but not long shots) for you -- basically you have enough of a chance that they're worth a serious shot, but not to the exclusion of not applying anywhere else. MIT is a hard one to get into because it's tiny - AND the fact that it's like Mecca for any engineer (their applicant pool is even more overrepresented with engineers - yes, their incoming class also has a greater % of engineers than other schools, but still it's competitive in way for engineers that is unique to MIT). What you have to your advantage is that you're not an IT/software engineer - being in manufacturing/operations helps. When you mentioned that you have leadership experience at work, I'm not surprised because the nature of your industry and job offers those kinds of opportunities that many other industries do not at a relatively junior level (financial services, consulting, tech, etc).

So the fact that you have leadership experience at work but not in your extracurriculars is not a bad thing at all - in fact, it's a good thing. A lot of applicants seek out extracurriculars precisely because they lack the opportunities to take on leadership responsibilities in the workplace.

And finally no -- you are American! Technically you'll be considered "Asian-American" in the admissions process, so you won't be benchmarked against the Indian nationals (most of whom are engineers - but even then, they are IT/software engineers). Furthermore, there's a disproportionate number of Asian-Americans applying to b-school who are in finance, so that will help you as well.

At this point, it's really about focusing on the applications. You probably won't get in everywhere, but that's the point - if you did, it means you're not shooting high enough. If you don't get in anywhere, it could mean that you were shooting too high, or you ran into really bad luck somehow. Assuming you apply to 8 schools (including say Ross and Darden), my hunch is that you'll likely get into a few of the schools (and you may find that the results will be random and a crapshoot at times - i.e. getting into a higher ranked school, and dinged at a lower ranked one).

Finally with your GMAT - it's a smidgen below the average, but not enough to worry about. If you feel you can score say a 740+ without any additional effort (i.e. your 710 was a "bad hair day" so to speak), then reconsider taking it, but otherwise it's unlikely worth retaking it (your GMAT is good enough).

Good luck
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Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2014, 18:05
Dear Alex,
I am a 24 year old female Indian applicant with a 690 gmat (44q 40v). I have 2 years of internal audit experience at a big 4, after which i decided to transition to the social sector. I worked at an impact investing firm in Bangalore for 8 months but had to move back to mumbai due to a family emergency. I couldn't work at another fund because I was bound by a non-compete clause so now I continue to work in the social sector - at a foundation that invests in non profits, referred to as venture philanthropy.
I had good grades in college ~85% and plenty of extra curriculars throughout like leading pro bono consulting assignments at the big 4 for a local NGO, committee director at college Model UN, designed english speaking workshop for peons of my college, pro bono consultant for an up coming social start up in mumbai, mutual fund broker and advisor (have invested 40,000+ USD till date for friends and family). If you like, I can send you a copy of my resume.
My short term goal is to work in social sector consulting and long term goal is to transition back to an impact investment firm that focuses on education and rural livelihoods in India and Latin America.
My dream schools are Haas and Kellogg but I would be happy to attend Tuck or Duke. I'd also love to get your take on what other schools I should target.
Do you think I have a shot at top 15 business schools in the US?
I'm writing to you because from what I understand, you are straightforward and I don't want to waste my time and money applying if I have no chance.
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2014, 08:14
g01 wrote:
Dear Alex,
I am a 24 year old female Indian applicant with a 690 gmat (44q 40v). I have 2 years of internal audit experience at a big 4, after which i decided to transition to the social sector. I worked at an impact investing firm in Bangalore for 8 months but had to move back to mumbai due to a family emergency. I couldn't work at another fund because I was bound by a non-compete clause so now I continue to work in the social sector - at a foundation that invests in non profits, referred to as venture philanthropy.
I had good grades in college ~85% and plenty of extra curriculars throughout like leading pro bono consulting assignments at the big 4 for a local NGO, committee director at college Model UN, designed english speaking workshop for peons of my college, pro bono consultant for an up coming social start up in mumbai, mutual fund broker and advisor (have invested 40,000+ USD till date for friends and family). If you like, I can send you a copy of my resume.
My short term goal is to work in social sector consulting and long term goal is to transition back to an impact investment firm that focuses on education and rural livelihoods in India and Latin America.
My dream schools are Haas and Kellogg but I would be happy to attend Tuck or Duke. I'd also love to get your take on what other schools I should target.
Do you think I have a shot at top 15 business schools in the US?
I'm writing to you because from what I understand, you are straightforward and I don't want to waste my time and money applying if I have no chance.


You have a solid background thus far, but with 1-2 more years of experience, you may be more competitive for the top 16 schools - the issue now is that you have less experience than the majority of people applying to b-school at this point.

At the minimum, what I suggest is to retake the GMAT if you are confident you can improve it by 20+ more points. Your current GMAT score isn't fatal, but it's near the bottom end of the middle 80% for the top 16 schools (especially when benchmarked against other Indians).

If you want to apply this year, go for it, and if you get in, great! But be prepared for the possibility that you may have to reapply next year or the year after.

Good luck
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Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2014, 09:25
Hey Alex,

Quick reality check?

UPenn, engineering, 3.44 GPA, 750 GMAT
Asian male, 24
Raised funding and started a web startup which I have been working on for the past 2 years. ECs some overseas volunteering/teaching experience.

Main concern is low number of years of work experience.

Target schools
GSB, UCLA, Haas, HBS, Booth
Re: Ask Alex @ MBA Apply   [#permalink] 04 Aug 2014, 09:25
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