What Are My Chances? Research Analyst Interested in Luxury Corporate Strategy

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This blog post is part of a series of MBA profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?”  by Michelle Stockman. For this series Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, provides selected applicants with school recommendations as well as an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.

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: Akanksha, Indian research analyst at consulting firm seeks future in luxury corporate strategy.

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It's not enough to be a leader in an extracurricular role.

- PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: 20-something Indian female who graduated in 2012 from University of Delhi with a business finance degree. Describes herself as a “quasi-consultant” currently working at a professional services consulting firm in Delhi for a US-based client.

Why do you describe yourself as a “quasi-consultant?”  Either own the full term “consultant”, or drop it. It makes you sound young and whimsical.

From what I can gather, you’re a smart, eager businesswoman. That shows both in the awards you’ve racked up at work and from your go-getter attitude as an entrepreneur.

You’re in a tricky situation as a research analyst, however, as it’s sometimes difficult to describe leadership experiences, and quantify how much impact your work has had.

First of all, leadership. You are a leader in an extracurricular role where you work. But what about the money-making part? Have you ever stepped up to take the place of a manager on a project? Did you ever disagree with a superior on the direction of a project and have to win him/her over as a stakeholder? In your essays, you want to show how you punched above your weight as an effective, yet diplomatic leader on actual client work.  Also, be sure to highlight if you have received any promotions in title in the two years you’ve been at the consulting firm.

Next, your impact. Can you check back with your clients to see if any of your research has been acted upon? Also, in your recommendations, your recommenders need to comment on how you stood out above and beyond your peers in terms of smarts and leadership. You can’t write these letters for them--but there’s no harm in giving them a one-page achievement summary as a reminder of why you’ve won all those awards.

- GOALS: Move into a corporate strategy role at a large CPG or luxury firm.

With your work trajectory and your sideline in jewelry, this appears to be a solid goal. You need to draw a closer connection to any consulting work you have done on consumer products to show experience. Also, try to spruce up the website for your jewelry sales. Right now it doesn’t look very luxury. The pieces are attractive (a bit difficult to see because the photos are so dark), but more of a casual style instead of high end. If you’re going to highlight that as evidence of a trajectory toward the luxury market--it’s not quite there yet.  

- GMAT: Not taken yet. Aiming for 700-720.

Aim for a 720 or above. That will give you more options.

- GPA: 71%. First class honors.

This is a solid, respectable GPA. No worries here.

- EXTRACURRICULAR: Heads the ‘fun’ employee engagement club at her firm, comprising a team of >10 individuals. In October 2012, undertook a 5 day, 55 km trek in Northern India. Also holds a junior diploma in Hindustani Classical Music.

These are great, but nothing truly special or stand out. However, depending on the schools you end up choosing, you could talk about the discipline you developed in training in Hindustani music, and how that drive has bled into other aspects of achievement in your life.

- EXTRAS: Runs a bespoke jewelry business with mother, serving clients in India and overseas.

See above, under goals.

- SCHOOLS:

Because you haven’t taken the GMAT yet, I will only recommend schools that you should research: Wharton, Kellogg, NYU, Tuck, Ross, HEC, Emory.

Overall I find your profile intriguing, and I’d send you on for a second read if you’ve got convincing stories of leadership and ingenuity in your essays.

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

 

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