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Hi Alex, I wanted your advice on the number of schools to apply to, let me first give you a brief about myself
1. Life Actuarial at big european insurer in LatAm (will be promoted twice in 18 months) and will have 3 yaers of WE by time of matriculation (including 6 months in another job function) 2. Graduated first of my class at a top b-school in LatAm (Wharton Partner), TA for various courses including one for grad students. 3. No GMAT yet, but will be 700+ 4. Fluent in 3 languages, intermediate in 2 more 5. VP of local chapter for biggest student org. in the world 6. no extra-curricular activities after undergrad (currently a volunteer at an NGO but we barely meet once a month)
Post_MBA goal :Investment Banking or Investment Management
So my strategy is: First round: HBS, Wharton & Chicago (October) november: Stern Second Round: Columbia, Tuck, MIT
Thinking about adding one of(or two): Kellog, Yale, LBS, Duke or Cornell
I kind of wanna be sure i go to a school that will make me "very" competitive for IB. Applying to lots of schools is the only insurance policy i have...
Last edited by toiysam on 01 Feb 2011, 15:01, edited 1 time in total.
Don't apply to that many schools. You're better off focusing on 5-6. Right now, it just seems like you're desperate and applying to any top school, and hoping that one of them will say yes. And by doing that, you can decrease your chances because you will dilute your efforts across too many schools. There are going to be schools where you are a better fit compared to others (beyond just "I want to work in IB", but from a personal standpoint in terms of the kind of student culture fits best with your personality, family situation, regional preference, etc).
At this point, focus on the GMAT, as that is the biggest hurdle right now. If your GMAT isn't competitive (700+), you're going to have a very tough time getting into any top 16 school.
As for the list, focus on schools like Columbia, Booth, NYU, Cornell, Yale and LBS. HBS and Wharton are going to be big stretches and if you're looking at IB, you really don't need to go to these schools. Sloan, Kellogg and Duke aren't likely going to be a good fit if you're that hardcore finance guy (or you want to be that hardcore finance guy - you'll find relatively fewer friends in your class or people who share the same sensibility and career goals as you at these schools).
Alex, I understand that HBS is a strech for anybody (specially in my case since I lack extra-curricula), however, why is Wharton also a "big" stretch? Do you think my experience isn't good enough (not IB/PE) or is it something else? I could really appreciate your feedback since Wharton is my Top Choice. From the schools you mentioned, I am not very fond of Cornell, and not so sure about LBS (I think I rather go to a US school if I can). One of the two guys in my country admitted to Wharton in R1 works at WallMart (I dont know about the other one), all the finance guys were wait-listed (I met them at a coffee chat about a month ago), don't you think my experience will add diversity to the class?
Really interested in your opinion since you attended Wharton.
You're overestimating the value of "diversity for the sake of diversity" at b-schools.
Getting a diverse class is important up to a point -- but it's not like some Roman Catholic priest is going to have a huge advantage just because he's the only one applying to Wharton.
Also, while there may not be boatloads of people from insurance applying, keep in mind that while it's not quite finance, it's an analytical job within financial services, and they'll see you in a similar light as other candidates from corporate banking, finance at a large company, accounting, and so forth.
To be honest, adcoms aren't immune to "glamor" -- and there's certain kinds of underrepresented jobs that have more sex appeal than others - fashion, music, film, sports, etc. And the kind of profile that they love the most -- the US military. Also, Wharton in particular gets a ton of wannabe finance types (and their close cousins - insurance, accounting, treasury, etc.) -- enough that they can afford to be very picky.
Again, I'm not trying to put down your profession, as you have a solid all around profile, but keep in mind that when adcoms talk about "diversity", they are really talking about the glamor industries, as uncouth as that may sound.
Of course, apply if you really want, but just know going in that you'll be a bit of a stretch. _________________
I was just put off-guard when you used the word "big" in front of the word stretch... I didn't think you put down my profession, it is just that I am really trying to look objectively at my profile, some people say my profile is great for top schools , and others say not to pull up hopes, hence the panicking and trying to apply to as many schools as I can. If i were to hire a consultant to help me with 1 application, which school do you think it should be.
Alex, I have the opportunity to enter the Alumni Board (country level) of the student association i was involved with during undergrad (probably work in CSR or other projects), do you think that would help a lot? Trying to fill the gap in my application;
-Academically: I think I kinda pass the test (first of my class), Teacher assistant to many courses -Professionally, I have been promoted really fast (unusual in the actuarial world) and have more responsibility than it sounds (own many reports and tasks in the area, little to no supervision), in charge of product development, involved in reserves, pensions, etc..., -Leadership is were my app falls... Kinda good during undergrad, but since then nothing really going on.
If you're really gung ho about applying to Wharton, go for it. No one is going to stop you. Just spend your energy focusing on convincing the adcom (rather than spending your energy trying to convince me or change my mind about your chances!).
In my opinion, you're going to be a big stretch - even with the kinds of things you're mentioning. You're likely going to get mixed opinions - that's the nature of this process, which is very subjective. In any case, just do the best you can on your applications -- that's all you can do. _________________