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Would love to hear what you think about my profile

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Would love to hear what you think about my profile [#permalink] New post 19 Feb 2010, 10:44
Hi there,

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps me out by taking a look at the information below. This sounds a tad crazy and definitely over-ambitious but I believe that I will only be applying to Harvard Business School and no others. Why? I feel that my current experience is enough for me to succeed in life but that if I'm going to take the time off to better myself professionally, why not go big or go home?

I am almost certain I am not your typical HBS accepted applicant but I have this feeling that I may just stand out from others. With that being said, here is my profile. I would love to hear thoughts and overall feedback.

Age: 25

Work experience: Started working for myself at 19 years old as an online marketing consultant while studying as a sophomore in college. I grew this effort into a full time at-home new media marketing business I now run managing a few employees while also servicing multiple companies including Fortune 500 brands. I currently manage an online community which I've helped grow from 500 people to 80,000 people (in just one year) from all over the world for quite possibly the biggest global name in consumer electronics (I serve as the sole Community Manager for this brand).

Education: Graduated with a BS in Communications from St. John's University - 3.2 GPA (One class I bombed one semester due to a variety of reasons). I otherwise would have graduated with Honors at least. I know that my undergraduate GPA is not one of my stronger points nor is the mark that made it dip quite substantially. However the last 2 years of my undergraduate, I averaged a 3.75 GPA.

Extracurriculars: Before graduating college in 2007, I raised over $8,000 for a volunteer trip by approaching businesses, individuals, publications and holding a charity event. With the money raised, I volunteered in Ghana Africa for a month while structuring the first summer camp ever for the children of an underprivileged remote village. I have also held a few other leaderships positions in college and with other smaller efforts before then.

Additionally, there is one item I could choose to include or omit from the application but that I think is vital in understanding the type person I am. I happen to be a single mother on top of all of my endeavors. I am an atypical one of course and defy the stigma usually associated with one. However since that takes up most of my time, the extracurriculars are naturally kept to a minimum lately. I would only want to state this fact to show my determination and ability to succeed as opposed to use it to evoke any other thoughts. Do you think that is worth mentioning on an application?

GMAT/GRE:
Here is my biggest concern: I am not a huge math person. The class that really messed with my GPA was a math course with a very difficult (personality-wise) professor. With that being said, I'm terrified of the type of math that is existent on the GMAT's. I am great with writing/verbal skills but math is simply not my strong point. It seems the GRE suits my testing style a bit more and I see that HBS accepts it now. Question is, how many people do they truly accept that submit GRE scores as opposed to GMAT? I did hear that oddly enough, HBS is a bit less quantitative than most business schools and that they focus a lot more on managerial talent and so forth. Is this true?

Recommendations: I am very fortunate to have worked with and made connections with top-tier professionals from Fortune 500 corporations who I am sure would provide great recommendations.

Also if I was invited to interview, I'm extremely confident in my interviewing skills as I tend to obtain about 95% positions/opportunities after any interview opportunity. I am also a great essay writer and have no doubt that my essays would be compelling enough to grab their interest.

I would appreciate any honest opinion.

Thanks!
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Re: Would love to hear what you think about my profile [#permalink] New post 19 Feb 2010, 11:05
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Here's the thing.

With HBS (as with any other top b-school, but moreso with HBS), there's a TON of super accomplished and/or super blue chip people applying - and some have incredibly compelling backstories and narratives. However, it really comes down to numbers - there's only so many seats and as such just because you are super accomplished doesn't mean you will get in.

In plain English, you have the elements of a compelling application that an HBS adcom will take seriously, but you really do have to be prepared for the possibility that you still may not get in. The truth is, while adcoms like to publicly tout how they love diversity, they want compelling people, blah blah blah and how they want non-traditional, unique applicants -- at HBS in particular they tend to go with the safer choices in taking your standard issue Ivy types -- those who did well academically at an Ivy or equivalent (i.e. it's not just about pedigree of school, but getting strong GPAs on top of that), and then spent a few years at a top tier firm and/or in well known avenues such as Teach For America, Peace Corps, the foreign service, etc. That's their bread and butter. In a way, their bread and butter are those folks who experience a marginal benefit at best from the "Harvard" brand simply because their resumes are already full of pedigree.

Do they accept true "non-traditionals" (i.e. those without pedigree, but have had some unique experiences, achievements, etc.)? Absolutely, but it's more of a wild card. It's hard to predict. And this has little to do with the GMAT or GRE (take either one - HBS isn't really as hardcore about standardized tests as other schools).

Practically speaking, if you're really that gung ho to the point where you're HBS or bust, just be prepared for the fact that it could really go either way in your case.
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Re: Would love to hear what you think about my profile [#permalink] New post 19 Feb 2010, 11:17
Very good assessment I must say. I can totally see all of this. I guess it's a "wait and see" process for me and I'm OK with that. Providing I even have a small shot at getting in, I am fine with applying. If I was told "There is absolutely no way you'd get in honestly", I would reconsider this whole idea. If I don't get it - no sweat. As I said, I'm a bit different than most applicants as my intention is not to necessarily go to grad school in general at this point but to do so if I were ever given the opportunity to attend that particular program. I currently work in a very social career and networking is also vital. I believe that even the overall experience of the HBS program would provide me with invaluable networking opportunities and the ability to establish unparalleled business relationships that would last me a lifetime. I just have a gut feeling I should do it while also understanding the highly competitive nature of it all.

Thanks again!
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Re: Would love to hear what you think about my profile [#permalink] New post 20 Feb 2010, 10:51
In short, you have enough of a shot that it's worth giving it a serious go, but you're not so much of a shoe in that you can count on getting in.
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Re: Would love to hear what you think about my profile [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2010, 11:01
Glad to hear that - it's exactly what I suspected. Any chance is enough for me to apply. Thanks!
Re: Would love to hear what you think about my profile   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2010, 11:01
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