What Are My Chances? Adopted Vietnamese-American Teach for America Alum

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This blog post is one in a series of MBA applicant profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?” authored by Michelle Stockman. Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, will provide selected applicants with school recommendations as well as an evaluation of their qualifications.

If you would like Michelle to evaluate your profile at no charge and as part of this series, please provide the information requested at http://reports.accepted.com/what_are_my_chances.

Profile 3: “Cecilia” Adopted Vietnamese-American Teach for America Alum

Low_Quant-Background: 27-year-old adopted Vietnamese-American female. Learned English at the age of 5. Participated in state-level speech competitions, attended Ivy League (think Dartmouth, Cornell) as molecular biology major.

Normally I steer applicants away from discussing their pre-college years. But in your case, full steam ahead! Almost all schools will give you a chance to tell this story, whether in the regular set of essays or the optional essay. Focus on what you learned about yourself by going through the experience. How did it inform your future career choice, and the impact you desired to have on the world around you? Also, both Dartmouth and Cornell are feeder schools (not the top feeder schools, but definitely feeder schools) to top B-school programs such as Wharton, Harvard and Stanford.

-Work Experience:
 Teach for America alumna in Philadelphia. Taught for 3 years, Biology Team Lead, had 90% passing state exam, served as mentor to incoming TFA teacher. Currently working at in charter school network in New York as a recruitment coordinator. Grew applicant pool by 30% through both travel and online networking.

TFA is a great credential, as you’ve already been through a substantial vetting process and taken on a challenging, impact-driven career move. Most business schools have some sort of application waiver, deferral program, or major tuition break for TFA applicants. Some of the best packages are offered by Yale, Darden, UT McCombs and NYU. You likely haven’t been making huge money, so seriously consider schools with a good scholarship package so your debt won’t be so burdensome. I would think you’re a dynamic and persuasive speaker as a recruiter, so you’re well on you’re way to having that “executive presence.” The question will be: “Can she hang with the quants?” when it comes to the academics at top programs.

-Short-Term Goal: Work for management consulting firm (Deloitte, McKinsey, Bain) in human resources efficiency and recruitment.

Great goal in line with your past, making sense with your future. Do yourself a favor by researching now the recruitment rates for these companies from your set of schools. Talk to current students about the interview process for internships, and how best to angle yourself for this niche.

-Long-Term Goal: Start consulting firm intent on assisting for-profit companies and academic institutions to attract talent to economically struggling US cities.

Inspiring goal. As you are focused on a large geographic swath of the US in the future, think about how the “brand” of your future institution is respected, not only in the city where you anticipate taking up residence post-MBA, but also across the nation.

-GMAT: 680, 45 Q, 38 V

Your GMAT is not a W/H/S median score, which is floating right around 730. Those don’t have to be your only dream choices though, and may not be the best fit. Even so, your quant score is a bit low. You may want to think about retaking for a better shot at your stretch schools. Also show you have significant “quant-ability” through your GPA or on-the-job demands.

-GPA: Increased GPA each semester, from 2.5 freshman year to 3.8 last two semesters.

If low scores in core humanities courses, or a failed foray into classes like Sculpting 101 brought down your GPA, I wouldn’t worry too much. But if you did poorly in quant courses, you really should retake the GMAT.


- Mentoring inner city dance troupe

- Started foodie society mapping out monthly “restaurant crawl” meet-ups that now boasts +200 members with healthy online following, and average attendance of 20 per event.

Very cool extracurriculars. I expect these are your most current, and you left off those from college. What’s great is that you are still currently involved, and they show a sort of entrepreneurial leadership, and joie de vivre—you know how to work hard, and play hard.


Stretch matches: Stanford, Yale, NYU

On-par matches: Darden, Michigan, UT McCombs, Vanderbilt

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Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.



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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.

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