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Where should I apply?

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Where should I apply? [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2010, 15:02
My post in the peer review garnered no response, so I am posting here as well. I am only interested in top 25 schools. Please let me know what you think would be a better fit with better odds based on my experience. Right now, I am really interested in UT-Austin and Duke, but will apply to up to ten schools (I am not applying until next year). Also, assuming I score in the lower end (650-670) What do you think would be the best reach school I could get into.

Academic

Undergraduate Diploma: Bachelors degree in Political Science
Undergraduate College/University: Top 25 (#24 in US News)
GPA: 3.38
GMAT score: I got a 670 on the MBA website practice test, and expect low-end 650 to high-end 700 when I take the real thing in November. I am also signed up for private tutoring so hopefully that should push it towards the higher end.


Work-related

Work Experience:
-4 1/2 years as an Army Officer (Combat Arms Branch)
-Held positions and Led Soldiers at the Platoon level (~40 men) and at the Brigade level (~3,500 people) where I led various projects.
- 2 Combat tours in Afghanistan, medals for valor and performance, and great evaluation reports.

In addition

-Bilingual
-Son of southeast asian immigrants
-Member of numerous professional organizations, also did extensive volunteer work in college and presently. Leadership in a veterans organization that has raised $50K in donations.

Aspirations:

Short-term: Right now, I am interested in doing International Management Consulting with a focus in southeast asia.

Long-term: Entrepreneurship, would like to start a consulting firm or anything else given the right opportunity with a focus on emerging markets of southeast asia.

Question: Given my goals, would it be better to focus on an entrepreneurship path or an international business path if I go to business school?

My academic record isn't to impressive with an average gpa and gmat. I also have a weak quantitative background (I took one stats class in college and score higher in the verbal section of the GMAT). But I feel I am a strong leader, with proven decision-making ability. I am also comfortable working both small and large groups of people and have unique cross cultural experiences.
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Re: Where should I apply? [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2010, 08:52
Expert's post
Honored that you would reach out for assistance. Thanks for your service.

The biggest thing you will want to focus on when you set out to apply is the transferability of your skills. Applicants from a military background often fare well *when* they do a good job of taking leadership, teamwork, maturity, decision-making, etc. out of the abstract and placing it in context. Management consulting is a great place to do that. It's about pushing forward on assignments that are often accompanied by aggressive timelines, rigid thinking, and hit-or-miss group members. Being able to showcase your ability to handle all that in much more serious situations will allow you to paint a picture of your ability as a consultant.

You will also want to work to showcase intellect in your applications. I think you will see top programs make a few concessions for a military applicant with such strong thematic traits, but they still want to see that spark. If both your academic record and your GMAT are underwhelming, you have to compose a very "smart" set of essays. I know the pressure is on, but as you can see, the application you forward will make all the difference.

As for schools, I would focus on programs with robust recruiting opportunities in consulting. Duke is a great choice. Definitely consider Ross and Haas as well among elite programs. Darden and Indiana are worthy of consideration.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti
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Re: Where should I apply? [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2010, 07:45
Paul, thank you so much for the reply. Your professional opinion is invaluable
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