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Your thoughts for a frazzled MBA applicant

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Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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Schools: Cornell University
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Your thoughts for a frazzled MBA applicant [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2007, 22:33
Hi Paul,

Reading through this forum, I really appreciate the time you give to all us MBA hopefuls who are a little bit lost.

My heads been spinning for the last couple days now since I took the GMAT and started focusing my thoughts on the application process, and guidance would be greatly appreciated. I took a couple weeks, studied hard for the GMAT, and wound up with a 760 (48Q, 45V). I felt confident, but this was a very pleasant surprise.

I've been spending a lot of time on the forums here reading what other people are thinking who have scores in that range, and it's all H/S/W, etc. Still, I find myself drawn to smaller schools, namely Vanderbilt, North Carolina and the University of Washington. I'm looking seriously at Duke and Northwestern, but I always come back to those three, especially Vanderbilt and North Carolina.

My question is, am I doing myself any sort of long-term damage if I choose to pursue most aggressively smaller schools like Vanderbilt and UNC over the top-5 or top-10 programs? I feel like right now the GMAT score has potentially opened doors to the top programs, but I'm unsure as to whether my overall academic experience and career potential will be hurt if I go for a top-30 program instead.

If it matters, other pertinent "profile" info is a 3.7 undergrad GPA from a small private school in Oregon (where I live now) with a liberal arts double-major. I'm 23 and have around 1 1/2 years managerial work experience right now in a small private real estate business that my family runs.

Again, I truly appreciate any advice you can offer on this subject. Perhaps I could finally stop my head from spinning for at least a little while.
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Re: Your thoughts for a frazzled MBA applicant [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2007, 16:10
PaulK wrote:
Hi Paul,

Reading through this forum, I really appreciate the time you give to all us MBA hopefuls who are a little bit lost.

My heads been spinning for the last couple days now since I took the GMAT and started focusing my thoughts on the application process, and guidance would be greatly appreciated. I took a couple weeks, studied hard for the GMAT, and wound up with a 760 (48Q, 45V). I felt confident, but this was a very pleasant surprise.

I've been spending a lot of time on the forums here reading what other people are thinking who have scores in that range, and it's all H/S/W, etc. Still, I find myself drawn to smaller schools, namely Vanderbilt, North Carolina and the University of Washington. I'm looking seriously at Duke and Northwestern, but I always come back to those three, especially Vanderbilt and North Carolina.

My question is, am I doing myself any sort of long-term damage if I choose to pursue most aggressively smaller schools like Vanderbilt and UNC over the top-5 or top-10 programs? I feel like right now the GMAT score has potentially opened doors to the top programs, but I'm unsure as to whether my overall academic experience and career potential will be hurt if I go for a top-30 program instead.

If it matters, other pertinent "profile" info is a 3.7 undergrad GPA from a small private school in Oregon (where I live now) with a liberal arts double-major. I'm 23 and have around 1 1/2 years managerial work experience right now in a small private real estate business that my family runs.

Again, I truly appreciate any advice you can offer on this subject. Perhaps I could finally stop my head from spinning for at least a little while.


PaulK,

Kudos to you for not automatically jumping on the H/S/W bandwagon. Your GMAT does indeed open doors for you but aside from your numbers I don't think your profile is ready for the H/S/W heights just yet anyway. I certainly think Vanderbilt and U Washington would admit you, but as for UNC, Duke, and Kellogg it depends on how much else you have in your profile. The updside of your W/E is the "managerial"; the downside is the small family business part. You will want to have some serious people-leadership and bottom-impact stories *and* you will want to have stories of similar caliber from your extracurricular side. If you don't then I recommend waiting a year or two and building up your profile. Maybe by then your goals will have crystallized more as well. That nice GMAT will still be there to open doors for you.

Good luck,
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2007, 09:18
Paul,

Thanks for the detailed feedback. As I have learned that most people fall between 4-6 years on the W/E scale, I do feel like 2 years is my weakness, adding the fact that it is within a family business. If you do have any more time, I have a few more questions as I've been evaluating where I am and where I want to go:

Although I'm short on the work experience, I feel like this is the best time I will have available for a natural transition. The business is at a point where we just went through a pretty big expansion, selling/acquiring a few properties, so there will be no new major acquisition happening for a couple years, which has been one of my primary duties. Second, I'm getting married here in a couple months, and my to-be-wife will be getting her Master's in Teaching, so she will be at the point of looking for a job. With these factors combined, I feel like making a move to a new area now will fit well, b/c she can work at finding a job and I can establish myself in an MBA program. If we were to stay in Oregon, and find jobs here, we would both essentially go in knowing the jobs are just a temporary holdover.

Still, I understand that getting to the point where I can explain this to the admission people would be a challenge, and even if I do they may well still prefer the person with a high GMAT/GPA and more work experience. But, I suppose my question is, will having such a clear explanation for wanting to pursue an MBA at 24 instead of 27/28 do me any good when I am explaining the situation to the admission officers, or will they be more likely to say "that's all well and good, we still don't want you"?

To add one more question, do you have any programs besides Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Duke, UW that you recommend? I've been looking at University of Virginia and Emory, but don't know too much about the schools.

Thanks again.
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2007, 09:43
PaulK wrote:
Paul,

Thanks for the detailed feedback. As I have learned that most people fall between 4-6 years on the W/E scale, I do feel like 2 years is my weakness, adding the fact that it is within a family business. If you do have any more time, I have a few more questions as I've been evaluating where I am and where I want to go:

Although I'm short on the work experience, I feel like this is the best time I will have available for a natural transition. The business is at a point where we just went through a pretty big expansion, selling/acquiring a few properties, so there will be no new major acquisition happening for a couple years, which has been one of my primary duties. Second, I'm getting married here in a couple months, and my to-be-wife will be getting her Master's in Teaching, so she will be at the point of looking for a job. With these factors combined, I feel like making a move to a new area now will fit well, b/c she can work at finding a job and I can establish myself in an MBA program. If we were to stay in Oregon, and find jobs here, we would both essentially go in knowing the jobs are just a temporary holdover.

Still, I understand that getting to the point where I can explain this to the admission people would be a challenge, and even if I do they may well still prefer the person with a high GMAT/GPA and more work experience. But, I suppose my question is, will having such a clear explanation for wanting to pursue an MBA at 24 instead of 27/28 do me any good when I am explaining the situation to the admission officers, or will they be more likely to say "that's all well and good, we still don't want you"?

To add one more question, do you have any programs besides Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Duke, UW that you recommend? I've been looking at University of Virginia and Emory, but don't know too much about the schools.

Thanks again.


PaulK,

You could certainly give both reasons--the professional and the personal--to the B-schools in your essays, but I would put the emphasis on the professional reason. It is a solid one, and one they hear alot. The personal reason seems less compelling and they probably wouldn't give it much weight since they like to think their programs are 'life-transforming' rather than just 'convenient.'

I can't suggest other schools because I don't know your post-MBA goals.
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Author, Great Applications for Business School and Perfect Phrases for Business School Acceptance

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Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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Schools: Cornell University
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2007, 11:26
Thanks Paul. Again, I really appreciate the feedback.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 09:18
PaulK wrote:
Thanks Paul. Again, I really appreciate the feedback.


You're welcome.
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