I was wondering if you could give me a quick profile evaluation, in the absence of having done my GMAT (let's say 680-700, but unlikely to be higher). I'm aiming to apply to IESE, NYU, Haas, LBS, and (Judge as a backup) next winter, so would be keen to know what I need to work on now.
British male; 25 years old (will apply when I'm 27). London based.
- University of Manchester, BSc (Hons) Psychology, 2:1 (I guess a GPA of 3.5?). Straight A grades at high-school (unsure whether this is taken into account in b-school apps).
- Currently studying for CIMA; will have sat the Strategic level papers by the time I apply (not sure how well this is recognised in the US... seems to be a European qualification)
- President of the Photographic Society at university (increased membership base by 50% to approx 150 people; personally taught seminars of 20-30 people)
- Founded a 'dot com' while at Uni generating over 1m hits per month (unfortunately it is no longer online!) and which broke-even ("successful", given the conditions in 2001/2). I was responsible for tech development (taught myself how to code) and marketing
- PADI qualified diver
- Travelling experience in USA, Far East, Africa
- Training for triathlons; due to take part in many half-marathons and the London/NY marathon next year
- Due take part in a competitive trek through Borneo this October, raising money for The Princes Trust
- Founded and still work on a website/organisation which acts as a not-for-profit platform and community site for creative students; currently 30,000 users (leading annual creative competitions sponsored by blue chip organisations; exhibitions; etc.)
- Due to help in a local school with mock interview practice for teens.
- Due to start Mandarin classes.
Somewhat eclectic, so please bear with me:
- 1.5 years in the advertising industry at J Walter Thompson, clients including Coty and Shell
- Decided that technology/consulting was more appropriate, so 2.5 years at a major US tech consulting firm (starts with A...), leaving just as I was promoted to consultant (various specific roles, some including leading small teams of up to 6)
- Found my niche in capital markets, so moved to a bulge bracket US IB in Oct 2006 as a business analyst; got accepted as one of 12 out of 130 applicants onto a CFO fast-track scheme (which includes two year-long placements, the first in corporate audit, and other strategic group-projects - hopefully which I will be able to lead)
My main concern is my lack of community-focussed extra-curricular activities... I'd like to think that my involvement with the local school, upcoming charity Borneo trek, and my continuing work with the creative student website somehow contribute to this. What do you think? I don't think I have any chance/time/opportunities to get involved with community organisations at the moment.
Also do you think my hop-scotch work experience is a negative? The main reason for this is that psychology doesn't necessarily help with defining one's career in the city from the outset, so I have been keen to try out different things.
No international work experience, despite trying very hard to realise opportunities... this will be a major negative with LBS.
Ultimately I'm aiming to move into more senior strategy or business development, ideally at my current firm, or moving into tech equity research. I'm keen to do an MBA to confirm that this is actually what I wish to do... it may be that I move into business development at tech firms like Adobe/Oracle/Google etc. (hence the inclusion of Haas).
Apologies for the delayed reply. Regarding your high school grades, B-schools don't care much about those. I do think CIMA is more of a European qualification but U.S. schools will value it if you explain it to them a bit. I like your extracurriculars -- all very distinctive and interesting and with just enough 'social impact' that you should be fine in terms of community-focused extracurriculars. Just make sure you emphasize your leadership roles in them in your essays. I do see your career progress as potentially unfocused so work double hard in your essays in explaining what the thread is and why you moved from point to point. Also be very knowledgeable and focused about your post-MBA goals in your essays. Don't come across like the MBA is one more attempt to try to find where you belong. Come across as: "OK, *now* I know where I'm going and it requires an MBA." I think your work for U.S. firms in presumably diverse work teams combined with Africa/Borneo exploits should be sufficient for a moderately international profile. Given a 680-700 GMAT I would say your odds at Haas and LBS are fair/decent and better than decent at IESE, NYU, and Judge. In terms of what you could work I would focus on nailing that GMAT. Otherwise, just keep doing what you're doing.
Paul Bodine /
Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance
Follow Paul Bodine on Twitter