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Application Advice Needed

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Joined: 28 May 2011
Posts: 6

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Application Advice Needed [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2011, 13:32

I took the GMAT around a month ago and have been researching B-schools since. While I have managed to put a dent in awesome ignorance, there are quite a few questions that I can't seem to wrap my head around. So here are 25 years of my life compressed into a post. Hope I don't bore you to death. ;)

I am a Computer Science Engineer from India (surprise, surprise). Vital stats:

Bachelors in Engineering, Mumbai University (not a stellar univ but not substandard either): 63%
GMAT: 780 (Q-51, V-46)
GRE: 1520 (Q-800, V-720): Not very sure how I can leverage this.

My main concern about my acads is my Undergrad GPA. I tried a online credentialing agency's GPA converter and it puts me at 3.6/4. But I doubt that is a great representation. I was around the middle of my class and the guy who ranked first had 75-76% (damn him).

Extra-currics at Undergrad:
General Secretary of Student Government: Highest elected position and led a team of 14 other secretaries
Overall-Coordinator and Publicity Manager for a 2-day technical Festival: Led a team of ever 200 volunteers and achieved several tangible improvements over previous years.
Captain, College basketball team: Went from not making the team in freshman year to captain in my senior year. Though our team was mediocre at best, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and learnt so much.

Work Experience:
I work in the consulting arm of one of the Big Four in a Business/Tech role. Was given significant responsibility in my first project. Was the only developer from my firm responsible for delivery of a million dollar project. Led and coordinated efforts between client and vendor teams on 3 continents.
As a result, was promoted from analyst to consultant 12 months ahead of schedule (a rarity).

Extra-currics after Undergrad:
Founder and Editor of a Magazine: I come from a country where a newly empowered youth has a lot to say, but doesn't always have a platform to get it out to others. This magazine is aimed at students and young professional who are interested in what goes on in the world around them and want to get the word out on something they are passionate about.
So far we have been able to solicit articles from students and alumni of some India's finest colleges and have focused primarily on political, social and economic issues. The magazine has a growing readership of 5,000 and is stocked by India's largest book store chain. We have been able to get advertisements from some large Indian corporates and are close to breaking even.
Distance Running Enthusiasts: I enjoy running and have run 4 half marathons. Through a tie-up with a children's foundation, I have also trained around 80 under-privileged children in the past 3 years for local races. We also teach the kids the importance of staying fit and staying away from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

Post MBA, I would want to work in the Technology/Media sector and gain an understanding how of companies in these sectors function the world over. In the long term, I would want to return to India to start my own enterprise in the tech/media sector with the goal of empowering the youth and facilitating their involvement in mainstream policy-making and governance.

If you've managed to get this far, you're probably a bit of a distance runner yourself.

My major questions at this stage are:

1. What schools should I be looking at in the United States?
2. My acads are definitely not stellar. How will this affect my chances at a top school? What can i do to offset this?
3. My work-ex is in the IT sector and I am an Indian male. How worried should I be about over-representation?
4. Finally, I will have 36 months of work experience at matriculation if I apply this year. Would it be advisable to wait a year, progress at my job and maybe get some international experience?

Thanks for getting through this. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.


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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
Joined: 10 Jun 2011
Posts: 306

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New post 13 Aug 2011, 15:18
Hello Pranay, thanks for your question and for all the details!

Your GMAT is strong. To your concern about your undergraduate GPA, a 3.6 is not bad at all. Are you sure it’s a 3.6 and not lower? If it ends up lower: Was there an extraordinary circumstance that caused your GPA? Did your GPA rise as you progressed through undergrad? If so, you might try to explain these factors in the optional essay. Better yet, do you have any other analogue that is a better representation of your academic ability and potential? Programs will want to know that you can handle the material. Your high GMAT certainly serves as an indicator, but it couldn’t hurt to use another data point to convince the admissions committees.

It is the quality of your experience that will get you in., as you probably already know. Can you draw upon “moments” both in and out of work when you have truly led – influenced people and organizations, driven results, taken initiative? If you have enough strong stories to fill the essays, and staying one year will not appreciably add more, then you would not have to wait another year. I know it’s a judgment call, so it’s really up to you.

In terms of differentiating yourself from the Indian IT male demographic, I think your extracurricular activities are your best bet. I think they are quite strong and tie into your post-MBA goals. Call out those leadership experiences from those activities and, in terms of your overall career story, paint a picture that cohesively ties together your past, present, and future. Demonstrate to the admissions committees that your desired career path necessitates an MBA.

I think if you can successfully mitigate your GPA challenge and leverage your unique extracurriculars, you could take a shot at any program. Of course, the top programs will be slight reaches, but I think you could have a shot.

Best of luck,

Brian Eng
Senior Consultant


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