Thanks Linda for answering so many questions of prospective applicants.
As a 2006 applicant, I would like to have your views on my chances of getting into top schools and what all schools can I concentrate on.
Brief about my profile:
I am an Indian IT professional working with Accenture, Bangalore for past 2 years and have a total IT experience of 6 years as on date. My profile has been very diverse. I hold a Civil Engineering Degree from a not so reputed college in India and with average grades but my score in Quant subjects have been reasonably high - almost top of the class. Even my GMAT score of 700 has Quant score as 50.
Brief about my experience, I have 6 years of experience as on date (1999 grad) primarily in IT domain but varied in the sense that I worked in a contact center as a client relationship manager, have a failed entrepreneurial experience in eCRM domain (web based outbound email management firm), was manager operations of a small startup of about 12 people delivering web development projects, text & online tutorials for IT training institute (All clientele from US & Europe) & other low end IT stuff.
Currently, working with Accenture India for the past 2 years. I have done fairly well in Accenture getting promoted from Programmer Analyst (Sr. S/w Engg.) to Systems Analyst (Module lead) within 1 year of joining the organization.
Other than Accenture, I am an advisory board member of a Call center training institute and recruitment firm in Goa, India (Goa has a lagre population of catholics â€“ Native English speaking population and hence a good market for voice based call centers to pick candidates from there). As I can not pursue any other professional work outside Accenture hence I am acting as an advisory board member. I put in extra hours post office while in Bangalore to manage the centers offline and visit Goa every fortnight to monitor activities.
I would like to highlight the following major points in my essays:
1) Leadership potential & Risk taking: My entrepreneurial stint, achievements, failures & lessons learnt.
2) Diversity in work experience: Cross-functional & breadth of knowledge gained not just through working in IT services, but also as a Civil Engineer doing real-estate evaluations, handling client relationship in a call center, project deliveries in financial domain as a Systems Analyst and a lot of skills in the startup experience.
3) Social commitments: Me being instrumental in founding the cultural clubs within Accenture including the corporate social responsibility initiatives like village adoption (Accenture in India is a relatively new entity and is in process of getting evolved; forming ties with organizations devoted to social cause like CRY (Child Relief and You), Helpage India etc and luckily, my involvement in this area here has helped me getting the right exposure). I am currently heading the cultural club GPTW (Great.Place.To.Work) as a peopleâ€™s lead and have done a lot which I can highlight in essays like organizing large events like MyAccenture, Annual Day and other such events with budget totaling in excess of $ 3 million.
4) Other co-curricular achievements: Sports activities including lawn tennis, Mountaineering, rock climbing & Chess. Each of them was done at states level. Awards & certificates which I have received in Music competitions performed at National TV channels and at university level.
1) I donâ€™t have a long term plan or Why MBA thing chocked out. Though I am happy with what I am doing, I know the Tag of HSW would take me to the next level. But honestly, I donâ€™t have any long term plans set up in my mind right now on what field to choose and where I would be headed post MBA. This is one area; I guess I would like to take your honest help to brainstorm.
2) Lack of International exposure â€“ All of my work experience has been in India. I am not sure how US B schools see it but international exposure to me is to know how to do business in this ever shrinking world and being enthusiastic about it. I have adequate experience in doing business with global clientele but I havenâ€™t traveled continents.
3) The college I attended, though one of the oldest colleges in North India but is not very well known (as compared to IIT etc which have made a mark in other countries). Also my grades are very average. This for sure is a dent in my profile.
Please give me your candid advice on my overall fit for a good school in US. I am not very particular about HSW but I would not be applying to any school which is below 20 in rank.
Thanks for your inquiry. Before I address your questions, I want to point out that the top schools prefer to see percentiles of 80% or more on each section of the GMAT if you scored a raw score of 50 on the quant, I am a little concerned that your verbal may hurt.
Now for your questions.
1) I don't think I can over-emphasize the importance of goals for MBA admissions.
Look at what you have done in the past. What have you liked? What have you disliked? What kind of career progression would give you more of the former and less of the latter? Talk to people in positions a few years ahead of you. What do they really do? Does it appeal? HOw did they get to their positions. You have to know what you want to do after your MBA -- at least the first job -- to know if taking off two years from work and spending roughly $80,000 makes any sense.
2) If you haven't spent significant time outside of India then you have to make the most of the international exposure you have had living and working in India. If you worked on an international team or had exposure to customers from around the world in the call center, you need to highlight that experience. You also mentioned that Goa is distinctive from other parts of India. As a result, you could write about dealing with cultural differences within India. As always,make the most of what you have.
3) The good news is that your college performance is 6-10 years old. That will decrease its significance. In addition you have a competitive GMAT or at least a high quant score. Also, please see "MBA Admissions: Low GMAT/GPA.
Unless your GPA was really low, you have a competitive profile, if you clarify your goals and reasons for wanting an MBA, in the lower half of the top twenty.
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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