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New post 11 May 2018, 14:30
Hi there! And whew, this is a tricky situation!

I'm going to send your question to ApplicantLab clients from the Philippines to see if they might have any thoughts, since I am not an expert in the post-MBA recruiting scene in the Philippines. They might not know either! But if they do, stay tuned.

In the meantime, let me break out your question / my thoughts into a couple of buckets:

- The "which MBA should I consider?" bucket: For starters, I'd never ever ever advise that someone put all of their eggs into one basket for ANY school. So right off the bat, I'd advise you to look at several schools. INSEAD for sure... do the other major Asian schools (NUS, CEIBS, HKUST, to name a few) send people to the Philippines after graduation?

If the answer to that is "yes", THEN the question becomes: "Well, ok, at what salary level?" In many cases, salaries may be adapted to local cost of living, so the same job that might pay $150k in, say, NYC might pay half that in another market...and yet! The person making less may in fact have a higher standard of living than the NYC counterpart.

-The "Do you even need an MBA at all?" bucket: So. Um. Do you even need an MBA at all? You say that you've been having trouble finding a job since your current consulting firm is only known in your current local market. But... surely, if the skill-set is transferable... surely it's the skillz that matter more than the company name?

Some other options to perhaps consider, especially since an MBA will = 1 - 2 years of your life and easily $100k+ in expenses:

  • Spend time in Manila with your wife, networking and getting to know people, to see if any leads appear... assuming you've already been hitting up LinkedIn to try to find people in your extended network who are already there?
  • If literally NO ONE is even giving you the time of day, consider that perhaps your current resume is not adequately highlighting your transferable skills?
  • Can you try to get a job in Australia for a global consulting firm that could then later transfer you to the Manila office after a year or two? That could still land you in Manila after the same amount of time, but without the hassle / expense of the MBA.
  • If the plan is to settle down in the Philippines long-term, wouldn't an MBA from the local market carry a strong amount of brand weight / very strong local networks? And the cost of the degree will be far less. This is similar to what I tell people who want to live in Los Angeles for the rest of their lives: UCLA and USC should be in their top school choices, because people graduate from those programs and then never leave LA and so the alumni network is insane.
  • This is certainly going to be, by far, the least popular idea I've got, but -- is it possible that you might (???) have to take a pay-cut to move to Manila? For example, if the job market does not support $100k+ salaries the same way Oz does... your standard of living might still be amazing, even if the dollar amount is lower. AND/OR you may need to take a pay cut / demotion to get in at a lower level at a global consulting firm in Manila. Many, many people in life who want to make some sort of "switch" will often take a lower-paying job / a backwards move for a year or two in order to invest in their career for the long term.

Of course, you should probably pursue some of the above paths simultaneously!


Best of luck to you!,
Maria


tanzimislam wrote:
Hi All,

For a while now I have wanted to do an MBA but for different reasons from why I want to do it now.

Previously, I was only interested in pursuing an MBA to break into consulting. However, now the primary motivator behind pursuing an MBA is to work in Asia and primarily the Philippines.

My wife has recently moved to the Philippines to start Med school and I have been looking for work there albeit with limited success. I have a civil engineering background but I am working in management consulting in Australia and I think my struggles are sort of coming from the fact that although I am in consulting my firm is really only known in the local market.

And as such, I wanted to get the opinion of the community here on which MBA program they felt would give me the greatest possible chance in snagging a role in the Philippines that paid quite decently ($100k plus).

From my research INSEAD seems to be the most logical choice but I am also reluctant to put all my eggs in one basket.

I am open to any and all suggestions and happy to answer any questions.

Thanks team,

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New post 11 May 2018, 23:15
Hi Maria,

Thank you for the in-depth response. I have considered a lot of what you have said already, for instance with networking, I have more or less exhausted all of my potential plays/cards available. The only thing I can do more is that I could potentially keep at it since these things take time and I have only been at it for about 2 months.

In terms of translatable skills, I think a lot of my skills are translateble, however, I have sort of a niche background where I work primarily in infrastructure advisory and I don't think that sort career path has fully taken off in the Philippines yet. I know only off PwC and KPMG that do it and even they only have a very small service offering in that area.

I have considered some of the other Asian MBA's hat you mentioned and again I am not so sure how much 'prestige' they hold for say some of the bigger firms not just in the Philippines but worldwide also.

I was primarily considering INSEAD, LBS and the Oxbridge institutions but outside of INSEAD, I am not sure how much pull they may have there. And that's what I was trying to gauge from the MBA community here.

Thanks a bunch Maria appreciate the response!

Cheers,
T
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New post 12 May 2018, 12:16
Yeah, hopefully other folks in the broader GMATClub community might be able to help -- this is the "Ask ApplicantLab" thread, and alas, the Philippine post-MBA employment market is not my area of expertise :( (my specialty is helping people get in to programs... I'm not as well-versed on the career services side of things) But maybe other people will weigh in!



tanzimislam wrote:
Hi Maria,

Thank you for the in-depth response. I have considered a lot of what you have said already, for instance with networking, I have more or less exhausted all of my potential plays/cards available. The only thing I can do more is that I could potentially keep at it since these things take time and I have only been at it for about 2 months.

In terms of translatable skills, I think a lot of my skills are translateble, however, I have sort of a niche background where I work primarily in infrastructure advisory and I don't think that sort career path has fully taken off in the Philippines yet. I know only off PwC and KPMG that do it and even they only have a very small service offering in that area.

I have considered some of the other Asian MBA's hat you mentioned and again I am not so sure how much 'prestige' they hold for say some of the bigger firms not just in the Philippines but worldwide also.

I was primarily considering INSEAD, LBS and the Oxbridge institutions but outside of INSEAD, I am not sure how much pull they may have there. And that's what I was trying to gauge from the MBA community here.

Thanks a bunch Maria appreciate the response!

Cheers,
T

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New post 12 May 2018, 12:39
OH MY GOSH -- Ankit, I am SO SORRY! This message completely slipped through the cracks!!!

So, a few things:

Regarding "how to combat a low GPA" -- the GMAT is going to be your best friend here. I know the GMAT strikes fear in the hearts of applicants, but instead, anyone with ANY concern about their undergraduate background needs to embrace the GMAT as "the great equalizer", since it helps show the admissions committee that your mental chops are up to the task of handling their rigorous programs!

So the good news is, you can really undo a lot of the GPA "damage" (so to speak) by getting a really strong GMAT score.

The less-good news is, I'm not sure a 730 would be quite to the level of results you'd be aiming for. I think for the top programs, ideally a 750 - 760 would make that stronger case you're hoping to make. Either way, your intuition is on track that 710 will probably not make you competitive at the programs you'd be aiming for.

For the start-up -- it's a little confusing that you say that it's "until present..." but based on the description ,it seems like it's no longer operating? If you're no longer working on it, just be sure to reflect that in the resume / application form, to avoid confusion.

Your current role seems interesting, especially if the work with BP has given you a chance to work overseas (or, at a minimum, work with overseas clients). This could help complement your earlier experiences living in the U.S.

The one thing that isn't totally clear from your message is how strong your leadership experience is -- e.g. as an "individual consultant" , are you literally just working alone, by yourself? Or are you leading effective teams? The more group-leadership experiences you can talk about, the better.

In terms of school choice, I'm a little bit worried that the leadership profile may not be super-competitive -- which, if we assume at GMAT of 730, I think means you may want to consider casting a wider net for schools to look in to. It's NOT that the GMAT is "THE" be-all and end-all, but everything in the application balances, like on a complicated, multi-faceted scale... and folks who are able to overcome lower test scores usually do so via having flawless college records and, more importantly, proving incredibly strong impact in their work. The description of your current job certainly gives you TONS of credibility as an ENERGY SCIENCE NINJA ROCKSTAR! ... but it's not clear how much of that ninja-rocking-out has involved leading and persuading and inspiring other people.

So....I mean, yes! Apply to those top schools because hey, why not... but also, if you really want to go to an MBA program, you may need to broaden the range a bit.

Some other programs that have good "energy" offerings are Duke and UT Austin. You may also want to look at Oxford -- they are trying to attract people who are trying to solve Big Global problems, and the renewable energy story coupled with a GMAT that is 30+ points above their average, could make you interesting. Finally, if the start-up really is your dream, look into the #1 school for entrepreneurship, Babson, which is an excellent program for anyone with start-up ambitions. I visited their campus / program two years ago and I was so impressed that I texted my husband that I want our our (then five-year old) son to go to Babson for college. (Hey, it's never too early to start thinking about these things, eh?)


Thanks!,
Maria



ankit1345 wrote:
Hi Applicant Lab,

Request you to kindly evaluate my profile for MBA from TOP B Schools and suggestions if any

Indian Male 28 (at time of applying)
College: IIT Roorkee (2008-2013)
Degree: Integrated Masters in Geophysical Technology
CGPA: 6.4/10
GMAT: 710 but giving it again and hopefully will score 730+

Work Experience:

1) Internship - Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), California - (Jun-Aug, 2012)
LBNL is a top US Department of Energy Funded Research Organization and operates under University of California Berkeley.

2) Senior Research Associate (Geophysics Research) - Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), California - (Aug,13-Feb,16)
I primarily worked on Geothermal Energy ( a type of renewable energy). My work included scientific research, Project handling, product development and also Business development (to get projects).Worked in a highly collaborative environment. Most of the projects were Department of Energy, USA funded.
I had 3 promotion during my stay at LBNL: Student Assistant -> Research Assistant -> Research Associate -> Sr. Research Associate

3) Technical consultant - for a private firm in India - March, 16 - Jun,16
Domain: Geothermal Energy

4) Founder of a Startup - June, 2016 - present
Objective was to work on Seismic Exploration Services for Geothermal and Oil and Gas in India. Didn't work out. Had many meeting with big PSUs but nothing concrete happened.

5) Individual Consultant at an International Consulting Firm (in over 63 countries) - (Oct,17 - present)
Presently working as an individual consultant (at the firm) in Power Sector and Renewable Energy space in India. Worked on some good projects
Clientele includes UNDP, British Petroleum, Indian Railways, World Bank and CLASP (USA based NGO).
Consulting projects on Solar, Wind, Distributed Generation etc.

Extra Curricular at College:
Management Team: Annual Cultural and Sports Festivals
College Sports Team Member : Soccer and Athletics
Member: College Choreography Section

NGO: worked at a newly founded NGO related to Environement

B School Choice:
Ambitious Colleges: HAAS, Stanford
Others: ROSS, SLOAN, YALE (list is long and I still have to decide )




Post MBA Goals:
Short Term: To work in a firm excelling in Environment Sustainability ( clean Energy, clean tech, sustainable development, etc.).
Long Terms: Start my organization (once again)

Kindly let me know your suggestions on how to make my profile strong and combat low GPA. What are the ideal schools I should apply and what are the chances of getting in and get a scholarship.



Thanks!
Ankit

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New post 15 May 2018, 04:21
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Hi Tanzimislam,

Maria asked me to take a look at your post over here at GMAT Club and let me give you a few thoughts from my end. Just for your reference, I've spent most of my life in the Philippines and our family business is in executive recruitment and coaching (with core clients in the Finance and Consumer sectors). I also worked at MBB in Southeast Asia and in the Asset Management Business (so I've got good coverage of the Finance and Consulting fields myself). So now that that's out of the way, here goes:

1. Do you need an MBA at all: Honestly, most of the top-level recruiting in the Philippines won't require it and most of the executive level jobs (CFO, CIO, other C-level roles) just look at it as a 'wow' factor (and in that case, HSW comes to mind rather than other MBA programs). If you're looking at management consulting - MBB typically recruits an MBA from M7 (and even then, mostly HSW as well). If you're looking at PE - there are a couple of great places (Macquarie Infrastructure Fund and Equis Infrastructure Fund) that do recruit talent (but they do tend to look at overall experience rather than any educational cred). Those are probably the only jobs that pay $100k+.

2. Which MBA to go for: Based on my response to #1 above, you can see that M7 (and HSW) works best for both consulting and executive-level roles (if you have the experience for it). But given your situation, I'm not sure if it will be worth it.

3. Pay cut: Honestly, anyone planning to make $100k in the Philippines will find it very challenging. Cost of living is quite low and you may be surprised to find how comfortable life is at even half that amount. You're looking at a nice 2BR condo, a full-time maid, a nice car, and enough money to send kids to great schools.

But do reach out to headhunters - they may be of some great help to you in your job hunt. But I'd definitely keep my options open. Goodluck!

tanzimislam wrote:
Hi Maria,

Thank you for the in-depth response. I have considered a lot of what you have said already, for instance with networking, I have more or less exhausted all of my potential plays/cards available. The only thing I can do more is that I could potentially keep at it since these things take time and I have only been at it for about 2 months.

In terms of translatable skills, I think a lot of my skills are translateble, however, I have sort of a niche background where I work primarily in infrastructure advisory and I don't think that sort career path has fully taken off in the Philippines yet. I know only off PwC and KPMG that do it and even they only have a very small service offering in that area.

I have considered some of the other Asian MBA's hat you mentioned and again I am not so sure how much 'prestige' they hold for say some of the bigger firms not just in the Philippines but worldwide also.

I was primarily considering INSEAD, LBS and the Oxbridge institutions but outside of INSEAD, I am not sure how much pull they may have there. And that's what I was trying to gauge from the MBA community here.

Thanks a bunch Maria appreciate the response!

Cheers,
T
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New post 16 May 2018, 10:31
Hi Maria, hope you could evaluate my profile below:

Background:
- Male
- Dual Citizen: Filipino and US
- Born in the US but lived my whole life in the Philippines
- Turning 26 this December

Work Experience - total around 5 years at matriculation
- Did 1 year in a boutique alternative investment manager
- Now in my 3rd year in Corp. Dev for one of the largest corporations in the Philippines
- Promoted twice - once in my first job and once in my second job

GMAT: 740

Education
- Math in Top 3 university in the country
- GPA: 2.5/4. 2.5 is around average in my class. No excuse for the low GPA other than being unfocused and immature.
- CFA Charterholder.

Extracurriculars
- Opened my own neighborhood sundry store. Operated for a few months and made some money but had to close down because there wasn't enough foot traffic
- Been doing volunteer work the past 5 months - teaching financial literacy classes to less fortunate

Goal
- Corp Dev/Strat for a F500 in the US
- Eventually go back to the Philippines to do Corp Dev or start my own fund

Targets
- Booth, Kellog, Tuck, Ross, Stern, Darden, McCombs

Questions
1. How likely are my chances with each school (particularly my M7 choices)?
2. Would the CFA charter lessen adcoms’ fears of my academic capabilities? The exams are relatively quant-heavy and were taken more recently than my college classes. Additional classes to offset my GPA aren’t really an option in the Philippines.
3. I'm also planning to address my GPA through optional essays. Is it okay if I just become straightforward and tell them I was lazy but I'm better now?
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New post 20 May 2018, 20:25
Quote:
Hi Maria, hope you could evaluate my profile below:

Background:
- Male
- Dual Citizen: Filipino and US
- Born in the US but lived my whole life in the Philippines
- Turning 26 this December

Work Experience - total around 5 years at matriculation
- Did 1 year in a boutique alternative investment manager
- Now in my 3rd year in Corp. Dev for one of the largest corporations in the Philippines
- Promoted twice - once in my first job and once in my second job

GMAT: 740


So far, so good! Your age / 4 years of work experience is right at the average, and the 740 GMAT (assuming it's a well-balanced score and the Q is a 49+) is solid. The avg GMATs for programs are steadily creeping up every year, but with a 740 you should be "safe", so to speak. Also, you seem to have "blue chip" (regional / local market) blue chip work experience.

Quote:
Education
- Math in Top 3 university in the country
- GPA: 2.5/4. 2.5 is around average in my class. No excuse for the low GPA other than being unfocused and immature.
- CFA Charterholder.


Ok, so it's going to be on you to explain in the optional essay that 2.5 / 4.0 put you smack-dab in the middle of the class; if not, the assumption will be that you were near the bottom. So if you were at the 50% range of the class, or certain "quartile", maybe you can express it that way. In terms of the maturity issue, was there an upward trend in the grades, or were they choppy the whole way through? If there was improvement, you can also point to that, and then also mention the GMAT as evidence of your ability to handle the program.

Quote:
Extracurriculars
- Opened my own neighborhood sundry store. Operated for a few months and made some money but had to close down because there wasn't enough foot traffic
- Been doing volunteer work the past 5 months - teaching financial literacy classes to less fortunate


This part isn't quite as strong. Starting with the 2nd bullet point first: I differ from other admissions consultants on stuff like this. Some of my peers in this space will say things like: "If you haven't done much volunteering before applying, then hurry up and try to cram something, anything, in in the months leading up to application season to fill that gap". I take a different view. IMHO, admissions people are, for the most part, a pretty smart / perceptive bunch. Do you have any idea HOW MANY people start "coincidentally" volunteering 6-12 months before applying to MBA programs, having previously done JACK SQUAT volunteering? It's. A. Lot. Of. People. Even if it truly was a coincidence, and even if this is some sort of new-found love of teaching, I think it runs the risk of looking like: "Oh cr*p! You mean I was supposed to be doing volunteer work all this time for my MBA application? ARGH, let me find something now!!!" I worry that it might run the risk of looking insincere.

There are other ways to prove that you'll be an engaged member of the campus community -- e.g. perhaps by pointing to things you've done to make your employer's company culture a better place, e.g. mentoring, etc.

The sundry store is another puzzler. On the good side, it shows practical business experience, and the lessons from the failure might make some good fodder for essays and/or interview questions. On the other hand, it might also make them question your judgment -- retail can be a notoriously difficult space (along with, say, restaurants), and unless your corp dev job is for a retailer, one might ask why you decided to do this, was it well thought-out, was it a good idea to give up after only a few months, etc.? I'm on the fence about this one. I think a lot of it wil come down to allaying some of the concerns (e.g. "I spent 6 months doing a detailed feasibilty analysis....") to show that it really was well-thought out plan and not something done (and then abandoned) on a lark. There is a small voice in me wondering if maybe it doesn't get mentioned at all, JUST IN CASE it ultimately raises more questions than it answers? Hmm. It's tricky.

Quote:
Goal
- Corp Dev/Strat for a F500 in the US
- Eventually go back to the Philippines to do Corp Dev or start my own fund


The corp dev/ strat post-MBA goal is a good one, esp if it's in the same or related industry you're in now. The Career Vision module in the Lab will help you create something strong (don't worry -- you can access the part I'm talking about as part of the free trial). Talk about how the MBA will make you better at it. The U.S. citizenship helps a lot in terms of allaying fears about "argh, will he need to get a visa?"

The long-term goal might need a bit more refinement. Is Corp Dev really the terminal title you'd want to have? In which kind of company? And for "fund" if you mean "investment fund" then the question becomes: "Well ok, is he studying strategy, investing, or both? If he wants to do investing long term, then honestly why bother with the strategy job first; why not jump directly to investing post-MBA? If he really likes investing more, then why did he only do that for 1 year vs. 3 years in corp dev.?" In my experience (and I say this as a former Corp Dev person myself] the long term path for corp dev tends to be: 1) corp dev long term (though many people honestly feel restless after a decade or so 2) operational role -- eg. recommending a JV and then getting to run it 3) forming an advisory company to consult to firms that may want strat / M&A / etc. advice but who don't have the resources to hire an full-time team.

Quote:
Targets
- Booth, Kellog, Tuck, Ross, Stern, Darden, McCombs


This list seems like a good start. You also might want to throw Columbia in, esp since SO MANY U.S. corp dev offices are based "at the heart of business", in NYC. If you really do want to do corp dev post-MBA, I'd make trying to get to NYC for school a priority. (I mean, unless the industry you're in right now is NOT an NYC-heavy one). INSEAD might be good for "global" strategy jobs. Did you leave Columbia and Wharton off the list due to concerns about the GPA? If so, I'd agree with your trepidation, but if you wanted to throw your hat in the ring, you might as well give them a shot? This is assuming that the impact at your current company has been strong / you've been a top performer in the group. Has anyone else from your company / dept gone on to US MBA programs?

Oh! Also! Cornell has an "Emerging Markets Institute" that might have some great resources if your long term goal is to live / work in the Philippines: https://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Emerging-Markets-Institute/About

Quote:
Questions
1. How likely are my chances with each school (particularly my M7 choices)?
2. Would the CFA charter lessen adcoms’ fears of my academic capabilities? The exams are relatively quant-heavy and were taken more recently than my college classes. Additional classes to offset my GPA aren’t really an option in the Philippines.
3. I'm also planning to address my GPA through optional essays. Is it okay if I just become straightforward and tell them I was lazy but I'm better now?

[/quote]

I think your chances are solid, perhaps not "Stellar" due to GPA concerns and again, the level of leadership / impact at work is murky given the description above (I get why you were being vague, for the sake of privacy, but I don't know if you're viewed as a "solid but average" performer, or if you're a "Star" in the group who's been a real stand-out). Thankfully, the 740 GMAT should help allay academic fears. The CFA helps, but it doesn't hold as much weight as the GMAT. Re: the "additional classes to offset GPA", well, there are online courses via, e.g. UCLA extension, so the geographic constraint can be overcome that way.

Re: the optional essay, yes, bring it up, since it will be the "elephant in the room", but try to include the elements I mentioned above -- to counter the fears.

In ApplicantLab I've got a ton of step-by-step advice on how to structure these essays, how to approach the different schools' different essays, etc. in case you think it would be helpful!


Thanks!,
Maria
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New post 23 May 2018, 18:53
Hello,

I would appreciate it if you could evaluate my profile and provide feedback. Thank you!

Currently, 26yr old Asian American Male. 27 at Matriculation.

College- 2 yrs at community college (3.8 GPA), then 2 years at UC Riverside (3.15 GPA). Combined GPA ~3.5. GPA fell at UCR due to familial obligations of taking care of a sick relative. Will use optional essay to discuss this.

GMAT: GMAT Prep Test Score of 740 (49Q 41V) Let's assume I will score between 720-740 on the real test.

Work Exp
1.5 yrs- Wealth Advisor at Guardian Life. My team and I specialized in working with business clients on insurance and investment programs, corporate tax planning, and business succession planning. I took this role out of college to really strengthen my soft skills (boardroom presentations, relationship building, communication, etc..). I am a huge believer in working on my professional skills and at the time, my soft skills were lacking in my opinion.

What will be ~3.5 yrs (at matriculation) as a analyst in Product Management at a Top 15 P&C Insurance Company (~$4B in revenue). I love the work I do. This role marries two interests of mine- data analytics and leading cross functional executive level projects within the company. I have plenty of quantitatively-backed examples of the impact I have had. The P&C insurance industry is going through a transformation and it will be heavily disrupted within the next 10-15 years by autonomous vehicles. I aspire to be a leader of a top 5 insurer in the long run and guide the industry through the changing landscape.

Extracurriculars: Vice Chair of a Young Entrepreneurs non-profit organization for 4 years. I was brought in to grow the membership base, and I was able to grow it from ~300 to now over 2,400 members. We provide entrepreneur education and community to grow and collaborate. I also started a volunteer program within this organization and we have volunteered over 3,000 hours at local food banks, beach clean ups, Easter egg hunts, soup kitchens, local libraries, etc..

Organized a basketball team through work. We play in a local men's league. I will somehow incorporate the importance sports (and basketball, specifically) has had in my personal and professional development over the past 18 years.

United Way Rep for 2017. Organized fundraisers and food drives at work. Launched our first Annual Silent Auction which raised more money than any other event.

Short-Term Goal: To work in strategy consulting (MBB, Deloitte, ATK, etc..)

Target Schools: Columbia, MIT, Kellogg, Ross, Fuqua, Darden, Cornell, NYU, UCLA. I will shorten this list but those are the schools I have an interest in.
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New post 25 May 2018, 12:25
Hi there! My comments below:

LakersFanCali wrote:
Hello,

I would appreciate it if you could evaluate my profile and provide feedback. Thank you!

Currently, 26yr old Asian American Male. 27 at Matriculation.

College- 2 yrs at community college (3.8 GPA), then 2 years at UC Riverside (3.15 GPA). Combined GPA ~3.5. GPA fell at UCR due to familial obligations of taking care of a sick relative. Will use optional essay to discuss this.

GMAT: GMAT Prep Test Score of 740 (49Q 41V) Let's assume I will score between 720-740 on the real test.



The higher GMAT is a relief -- while the lower GPA can definitely be explained via a thoughtfully-constructed optional essay, you'd need the higher GMAT score to help show these more elite schools that you can play ball (GET IT? BECAUSE YOU'RE A LAKERS FAN) academically. I love the GMAT because it's the "great equalizer" -- the standardized nature of it helps level the playing field for folks who may not have had an opportunity to go a snooty-pattooty undergrad. So if the GPA is on the lower side, you can balance it out -- picture a see-saw -- with a higher-than-average GMAT.

Quote:
Work Exp
1.5 yrs- Wealth Advisor at Guardian Life. My team and I specialized in working with business clients on insurance and investment programs, corporate tax planning, and business succession planning. I took this role out of college to really strengthen my soft skills (boardroom presentations, relationship building, communication, etc..). I am a huge believer in working on my professional skills and at the time, my soft skills were lacking in my opinion.

What will be ~3.5 yrs (at matriculation) as a analyst in Product Management at a Top 15 P&C Insurance Company (~$4B in revenue). I love the work I do. This role marries two interests of mine- data analytics and leading cross functional executive level projects within the company. I have plenty of quantitatively-backed examples of the impact I have had. The P&C insurance industry is going through a transformation and it will be heavily disrupted within the next 10-15 years by autonomous vehicles. I aspire to be a leader of a top 5 insurer in the long run and guide the industry through the changing landscape.


Oh my gosh -- ok, so I'm not gonna lie... I first started reading about "insurance" and I thought: "Yeeks", ONLY because it's USUALLY seen as being a sort of snoozy / boring field. That, and also the earlier experience from the first job is OK but the NEWER job is way more interesting and I LOVE the career vision of figuring out liability insurance for autonomous vehicles. That is sexy as hell. (while you're at it, could you also figure out liability for those damn motorized scooters? One of them plowed into me at top speed while I was walking on a sidewalk a couple of months ago, knocked me unconscious, and gave me a grade 3 concussion! (it's illegal for them to be on the sidewalk). These new "disruptive" transportation models will need disruptive insurance solutions and I am SO HERE for this career vision. BTW, it won't just be about figuring out the actuarial tables (since the actuaries do that), but I think also new ways to deliver / sign up for this insurance. That is, if someone signs up for a motorized scooter, would you require that the company track if that person is riding it (ILLEGALLY) on a side-walk, and thus charge the company more accordingly, if its riders are recklessly endangering pedestrians like yours truly? In other words, is there a tech / GPS component to this that other types of insurance have not needed before? Ability to sign up via mobile phone / via the app? Tracking each user's maximum speed? For things like self-driving Ubers, tracking whether or not the braking system is working or has been disabled? etc. etc. etc. WOW. Look at me -- I'm totally into thinking about this. You've managed to make insurance interesting -- quite a feat!

Quote:
Extracurriculars: Vice Chair of a Young Entrepreneurs non-profit organization for 4 years. I was brought in to grow the membership base, and I was able to grow it from ~300 to now over 2,400 members. We provide entrepreneur education and community to grow and collaborate. I also started a volunteer program within this organization and we have volunteered over 3,000 hours at local food banks, beach clean ups, Easter egg hunts, soup kitchens, local libraries, etc..

Organized a basketball team through work. We play in a local men's league. I will somehow incorporate the importance sports (and basketball, specifically) has had in my personal and professional development over the past 18 years.

United Way Rep for 2017. Organized fundraisers and food drives at work. Launched our first Annual Silent Auction which raised more money than any other event.


Solid extra-currics, especially the first one. Tons of people do the United Way thing so it's "nice" but in a "meh, nice" way -- JUST because it's SO common. The first one is strong and basketball as an enduring hobby is good.

I'd tread lightly re: "what basketball has taught me" as a core essay topic, unless the topic is explicitly asking you about a non-work experience and how it's shaped you. Just my 2 cents there.

Quote:
Short-Term Goal: To work in strategy consulting (MBB, Deloitte, ATK, etc..)


On this, I'd tread even more lightly. You career vision is cool + it ties in to your past... but is strategy consulting really the interim step that will most get you from Point A to Point C? Check out the free career vision advice module in the Lab and hopefully it will explain why, IMHO, you might want to pick another short-term goal to write about.

Quote:
Target Schools: Columbia, MIT, Kellogg, Ross, Fuqua, Darden, Cornell, NYU, UCLA. I will shorten this list but those are the schools I have an interest in.

[/quote]

I think this is a good start -- you may want to consider the Early round at Columbia. In terms of prioritization, I'd then choose NYU and Cornell -- JUST because their proximity / links to / connections with NYC, which is where I think a lot of insurance companies have their HQs (?) could be good for you. Since I'm not a big Insurance Industry Expert, I'd then prioritize next based on other places where the big insurance cos are located / where do you want to live long-term? Not sure this is quite an MIT story, BUT of course I don't know ALL the details of your experience -- you may as well throw your hat in the ring. Kellogg might work -- I think you'd really need to convince them that their program offers what you need and that you're not simply chasing rankings. Ditto for Fuqua / Darden. In other words, they might say, "Hey, nice kid. Bright. Motivated... too bad we can't actually help him?"

If this advice was helpful, please do check out the detailed step-by-step guidance I have for each of those schools' essays in ApplicantLab... as the new questions come out as summer rolls around, I update them with extensive details / advice that can help you tailor your story to each school!


Thanks!,
Maria

(L.A. resident and mom to a big Dodgers fan!) :)
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Re: Ask ApplicantLab  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2018, 13:58
Hi ApplicantLab,

I'm considering applying in round 1 this year for full-time MBA programs enrolling fall 2019 and would love to get a profile evaluation and general thoughts on my potential career path. Any evaluation or advice you could give me would be much appreciated. Also curious if I'd gain anything from waiting another year, getting some more experience in my current role and getting some more community involvement.

White male, 26 years old

Education:
"Southern Ivy" (Duke, Emory, Vandy, etc.), graduated in 2014, Mathematics and Economics BA, GPA: 3.25 (started out pre-med which did not go well. Started to do better when I switched to math and econ, but suffered family tragedy fall of senior year which hurt my grades and recruiting as well)

GMAT:
770 (50Q/46V/8IR/5AWA)

Work (all at private, family-owned diversified holding company with $20B+ revenue):
-1 year as a business analyst in the Operational Excellence department in the automotive division. Acted as a liaison between business operations and IT development for the development of enterprise mobile applications, completed heavily statistical analysis to complete the business cases for these applications as well as justify a multi-million dollar acquisition, created operational tools for field use and trained several GMs on their use.
-2 years as a manager in the Financial Planning and Analysis department in the same division. Promoted to manager 3 years ahead of schedule for being recognized as a top performer. Managed a contractor and intern. Currently in charge of budgets and forecasts for several smaller portfolio businesses and on the leadership team of these businesses to provide insights that drive strategic decision-making.
-2 years (at matriculation) as a senior analyst in an elite corporate strategy & development group at the holding company level responsible for portfolio management, M&A, diversification strategy. So far led primary due diligence for several minority investments as well as played an integral role developing a strategy for the Company's extension into the clean technology industry (renewable energy, food and agriculture, water conservation, etc.). Interface regularly with C-level leaders, board members and external parties (banks, PE firms, Consultants, VCs)

Extracurriculars:
-Pro Bono consultant at an eCommerce retail store, creating the business plan, social media marketing strategy, and pricing methodology
-Half marathon participant in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program. Raised $2000 for cancer research
-Finalist in my company's internal StartUp business plan event
-Mentor at Big Brothers/Big Sisters Atlanta

Post-MBA Goals:
Ultimately I want to become the CFO of a well-funded start-up in my current industries of expertise (Cleantech, Auto). To get there, I want to work in Finance at one of the external parties I regularly interface with (PE or VC if possible) unless the opportunity presents itself to be a finance leader at a start-up right out of my MBA. I think working in M&A at a particularly flexible, family-owned Strategic provides a different, interesting perspective.

Schools under consideration:
I have two routes I'm considering, since I actually really like my current job:
-Shoot for the stars (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago) where I think the the value would justify leaving my current role and paying the tuition
-Go to the one year MBA at my local university (Emory, where I think I can get close to a full scholarship), continue working part-time or take 1 year off and come back to my current role.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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New post 05 Jun 2018, 14:48
Hi there! My thoughts below:
MBAthrowaway2101 wrote:
Hi ApplicantLab,

I'm considering applying in round 1 this year for full-time MBA programs enrolling fall 2019 and would love to get a profile evaluation and general thoughts on my potential career path. Any evaluation or advice you could give me would be much appreciated. Also curious if I'd gain anything from waiting another year, getting some more experience in my current role and getting some more community involvement.

White male, 26 years old

Education:
"Southern Ivy" (Duke, Emory, Vandy, etc.), graduated in 2014, Mathematics and Economics BA, GPA: 3.25 (started out pre-med which did not go well. Started to do better when I switched to math and econ, but suffered family tragedy fall of senior year which hurt my grades and recruiting as well)

GMAT:
770 (50Q/46V/8IR/5AWA)


So the good news is:
  • The "optional essay" exists precisely to describe situations like the ones you faced that impacted your GPA.
  • The GMAT score helps balance out the lower GPA; it clears the hurdle of "Academics" in what I call the "AdComs' Hierarchy of Needs" (see video here if you haven't yet


Quote:
Work (all at private, family-owned diversified holding company with $20B+ revenue):
-1 year as a business analyst in the Operational Excellence department in the automotive division. Acted as a liaison between business operations and IT development for the development of enterprise mobile applications, completed heavily statistical analysis to complete the business cases for these applications as well as justify a multi-million dollar acquisition, created operational tools for field use and trained several GMs on their use.
-2 years as a manager in the Financial Planning and Analysis department in the same division. Promoted to manager 3 years ahead of schedule for being recognized as a top performer. Managed a contractor and intern. Currently in charge of budgets and forecasts for several smaller portfolio businesses and on the leadership team of these businesses to provide insights that drive strategic decision-making.
-2 years (at matriculation) as a senior analyst in an elite corporate strategy & development group at the holding company level responsible for portfolio management, M&A, diversification strategy. So far led primary due diligence for several minority investments as well as played an integral role developing a strategy for the Company's extension into the clean technology industry (renewable energy, food and agriculture, water conservation, etc.). Interface regularly with C-level leaders, board members and external parties (banks, PE firms, Consultants, VCs)


I think you're OK to apply this year -- you might as well. Worst case, you'd be a re-applicant next year (so you'd end up on the "applying one year from now" timeline anyway). While you're waiting to hear back from schools, you could keep trying to get increasing responsibilities (e.g. in the due diligence process) -- either way, it'll either help with MBA recruiting OR it would help with the re-applicant story later, should it come to that (which I'm not saying it WOULD; I'm just a "Plan B"...."Plan Z" type!)

I really like the early promotion and the move IN to corp strategy. The fact that the co moved you into what is usually such as coveted (and usually a post-banking or post-MBB role) is a strong vote of confidence. I'm guessing your recommendations are going to be super strong. There's a version of this story where that first job might have trapped you in some dead-end "person helping build apps" role, but looks to me like you hustled and were able to expand your responsibilities!

I'm especially excited about the fact that you're helping run finance and having an impact on several small portfolio companies. That, plus the move into M&A. Later in your career, that operational perspective might give you a unique perspective into M&A discussions that someone who's only done deals their entire career might not have.

You know, the irony of the "personal tragedy = low grades = recruiting issues" is that you might have ended up in a way cooler job than if you had gotten some cookie-cutter post-college finance job!

Quote:
Extracurriculars:
-Pro Bono consultant at an eCommerce retail store, creating the business plan, social media marketing strategy, and pricing methodology
-Half marathon participant in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program. Raised $2000 for cancer research
-Finalist in my company's internal StartUp business plan event
-Mentor at Big Brothers/Big Sisters Atlanta


These are good; if you run out of room in the resume / application you can probably leave off the Big Brothers and the half marathon. Not that they are small potatoes, but they are sooooo common and the other 2 seem more interesting. Maybe put the traditional volunteer stuff (half-marathon / Big Brothers) into one resume bullet.

Quote:
Post-MBA Goals:
Ultimately I want to become the CFO of a well-funded start-up in my current industries of expertise (Cleantech, Auto). To get there, I want to work in Finance at one of the external parties I regularly interface with (PE or VC if possible) unless the opportunity presents itself to be a finance leader at a start-up right out of my MBA. I think working in M&A at a particularly flexible, family-owned Strategic provides a different, interesting perspective.


For the "Why MBA?" make sure you really talk about the cross-functional benefit of the MBA to make you a well-rounded CFO... the most common path to CFO is usually via the CPA (more so in public companies than in private ones where you work).

The post-MBA job working for a PE shop (your experience is not early-stage enough at this point to be interesting to VC?) might work -- ideally, you'd have some more transactional experience to talk about vs. having done due dliigence. You might want to do some informational interviews with folks in PE to see if they're open to folks with "non-banking" backgrounds. I'm a little hesitant on the PE story in terms of 1) PE is one of the hardest post-MBA jobs to get, and while you DO have SOME relevant exp. via corp dev, there is, I think, more of a preference for former i-bankers or even former PE folks ...

and 2) The PE role doesn't necessarily move you towards the CFO job as directly as, say, working in corporate finance directly? I mean, sure - -you could invest in a portfolio company and then jump in to run its finance department, but why do a job like that if you could just stay in PE ? :) Put another way -- my husband is a CFO, and his day-to-day relies 90% upon what he learned doing corporate finance, and almost none of it relies upon his earlier corp dev work. Yes, the paths can certainly work out the way you've stated, but there are smoother, more frictionless paths to describe.

If you're *currently* interfacing with these external investors, I'd spend the next month or two asking them out to lunch, getting their take on the MBA, on the post-MBA and the long term career path.

Musing: what about trying to do a search fund later? Would that be appealing?

Quote:
Schools under consideration:
I have two routes I'm considering, since I actually really like my current job:
-Shoot for the stars (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago) where I think the the value would justify leaving my current role and paying the tuition
-Go to the one year MBA at my local university (Emory, where I think I can get close to a full scholarship), continue working part-time or take 1 year off and come back to my current role.


Whew. A LOT OF THIS depends upon whether or not you plan to stay in the South / Atlanta area, and how much you like your current company (sounds like quite a bit, and I don't blame you because I really respect their ability to identify talent and give that talent interesting stuff to do!!!). There is a version of this path where you only do a 1-year MBA, you go back to your current company, rise up through the ranks and then end up in the same place you would have ended up with the "fancier" 2-year degree anyway?

For the 2-year programs, if you really do have a cleantech expertise / career interest, I would also look into MIT and Haas.

Why not aim for the 2-year programs in Round 1, and then try to throw an app in for Emory at the same time, or if not then in R2?


Thanks!,
Maria
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The only MBA admissions service endorsed by Harvard Business School's student newspaper, ApplicantLab takes admissions consultants' tools and puts them in your hands, teaching you how admissions officers think. It guides you through your strategy, essays for all of your schools, resume, recommendations, and even interviews.

Learn more now:

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New post 09 Jun 2018, 03:11
Hi Maria,

I'd love to hear your view on my profile and my chances:

Age: 23 year old, Female

Education: Graduated in 2016 as top 5% from a Top tier commerce college with a degree in Commerce
(Consistently ranked as No. 1 and I've had college seniors go to H/S/W in the recent past)
Did well in school with consistently topping the class in high school. I've done consistently well in Academics my entire life and have a college grade which translates to 4.0 as per WES translation.
I've also passed CFA L1, and planning to take CFA L2 this year.
In addition to that, I've taken certain Actuaries courses as well during college.

Work Experience:

1. Worked in S&T in a bulge bracket Investment Bank on the Sales and Strategy side for almost 2 years, where I was the youngest and only analyst supporting the APAC team, so was working directly with the APAC head of Strategy. Out of my 20 month stint, I spent 3-4 months working in Singapore and Hong Kong.
2. Recently, transitioned to a nonprofit Government role on investment advisory for foreign investors (completed only about 2 months in new organization to date). Lots of leadership opportunities at this new firm, whereby I proposed and recommended changes that were accepted and are now in the implementation stage by the Govt.
Please note that this is a pre-MBA role.

During college, I did an academic intern with a T20 B-school Finance prof.

Volunteer Work: I've worked quite closely with a well known built heritage preservation organisation in India, raising awareness on the need to restore built heritage in India, including helping organizing fund raising events for this organization and ancillary involvement such as writing for the quarterly newsletter and performing at events (I'm a trained classical dancer)

Test Scores: GRE 162V, 167Q, 4.5AWA taken earlier this year

Post MBA Goal:
Short term - Work at a social fund, leveraging on my previous strategy, sector, advisory and financial skills (in undergrad as well as developed during my stint at S&T)
Long Term - Start my own social venture

Extra-Curriculars:
Senior Diploma in Indian Classical Dance form (Founded a classical dancing society in college)
[Fun Fact: I also taught underprivileged children classical dancing because I firmly believe in the importance of ECs in the growth and development of the brain during early years]
Play a Persian classical instrument
I enjoy writing and was editor of my college magazine and still write from time to time for online journals and magazines
Starred in a home produced music video as the lead, and I help market and promote a band

LOR: Definitely sorted on 1 LOR - I had a very good relationship with my manager in my previous role. Still need to figure out the second recommender.

Others: I'm also working on a startup presently but it's in super early thought stages. Not too sure if it will make into my applications,

Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, UCLA (safety)

Questions:
1. I'm confused between applying this year vs next year. I have about 2 years of work exp to date. Only issue is that if I apply to R1/R2 to my target schools, I will have less than 6 months of experience in my new firm, so might be hard to get a solid LOR and justify my time here.
2. Is my s/t goal too ambitious? I know many people want to get into VC after MBA, would it be more practical if I just say social consulting? Or maybe, public sector consulting? Please advise!
3. Do I need more of a social angle in my profile to be able to justify my goals?
4. What bucket would I be classified under given my experience in S&T and Govt investment consulting? Also given my Indian education and work experience vs US citizenship.

What loopholes do you think I need to address the most?

Thanks in advance!
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Ask ApplicantLab  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jun 2018, 05:21
Hello and greetings from the AIGAC conference! Members of AIGAC spend several days each year visiting schools & meeting with AdComs to glean insights into their different programs --- insights I then use to make the advice in ApplicantLab better and better! We just an amazing visit to the Rotman School in Toronto (a program more non-U.S. citizens should be looking in to, since the work visa situation in Canada is WAY more promising than the U.S.) and now I'm in Ann Arbor, visiting Ross!

Since the tour / meeting schedule is PACKED, this will be fast but I hope is useful!!!

hoodprincess wrote:
Hi Maria,

I'd love to hear your view on my profile and my chances:

Age: 23 year old, Female

Education: Graduated in 2016 as top 5% from a Top tier commerce college with a degree in Commerce
(Consistently ranked as No. 1 and I've had college seniors go to H/S/W in the recent past)
Did well in school with consistently topping the class in high school. I've done consistently well in Academics my entire life and have a college grade which translates to 4.0 as per WES translation.
I've also passed CFA L1, and planning to take CFA L2 this year.
In addition to that, I've taken certain Actuaries courses as well during college.


The fact that your college is prestigious enough to send people to top b-schools is a good start... CFA is fine... Actuarial stuff probably doesn't matter that much unless you want to work in the insurance industry. Probably not worth drawing attention to.

Quote:
Work Experience:

1. Worked in S&T in a bulge bracket Investment Bank on the Sales and Strategy side for almost 2 years, where I was the youngest and only analyst supporting the APAC team, so was working directly with the APAC head of Strategy. Out of my 20 month stint, I spent 3-4 months working in Singapore and Hong Kong.
2. Recently, transitioned to a nonprofit Government role on investment advisory for foreign investors (completed only about 2 months in new organization to date). Lots of leadership opportunities at this new firm, whereby I proposed and recommended changes that were accepted and are now in the implementation stage by the Govt.
Please note that this is a pre-MBA role.

During college, I did an academic intern with a T20 B-school Finance prof.


So this is where your research on your Resume Twin (http://blog.applicantlab.com/mba-admissions-chances-determine-odds/)will come in handy -- the S&T function is not usually one that sends people to tippy tippy top b-schools (though it is of course possible! It's just not AS common as someone who worked in M&A) ....the good news is, the investment advisory role may have given you (or -- scratch that -- *WILL* give you since you've only been there 2 months) more opportunities to develop impactful, influential leadership skills. It seems like it was a good career move and one that will teach you a lot. Also some time overseas is always nice.

The academic internship is nice but the MBA is not an "academic" degree -- it's a hands-on degree looking for hands-on people. So the work you did for that prof is nice but I wouldn't expect to get a ton of mileage out of it.

Quote:

Volunteer Work: I've worked quite closely with a well known built heritage preservation organisation in India, raising awareness on the need to restore built heritage in India, including helping organizing fund raising events for this organization and ancillary involvement such as writing for the quarterly newsletter and performing at events (I'm a trained classical dancer)


This is fine but pretty basic / common. Sure, put it in the resume but it's pretty standard "community involvement 101".

Quote:
Test Scores: GRE 162V, 167Q, 4.5AWA taken earlier this year


Ideally, I'd like to see a slightly stronger showing in Verbal, especially since the A.W.A. is also on the "acceptable but still low-ish" side. Schools are finding that employment outcomes are strongly correlated to communication skills -- in fact Rotman, where I just was, pioneered this insight -- so since you're young and since (spoiler alert on my advice) you're not going to apply for another year or two, I'd consider a re-take.

Quote:

Post MBA Goal:
Short term - Work at a social fund, leveraging on my previous strategy, sector, advisory and financial skills (in undergrad as well as developed during my stint at S&T)
Long Term - Start my own social venture


Short term goal seems to flow OK, but ideally you'd use the next year or two at your current job making those contacts / connections to help facilitate getting that job. Can you establish partnerships with those types of firms?

Long term goal needs to be more specific.

Quote:
Extra-Curriculars:
Senior Diploma in Indian Classical Dance form (Founded a classical dancing society in college)
[Fun Fact: I also taught underprivileged children classical dancing because I firmly believe in the importance of ECs in the growth and development of the brain during early years]
Play a Persian classical instrument
I enjoy writing and was editor of my college magazine and still write from time to time for online journals and magazines
Starred in a home produced music video as the lead, and I help market and promote a band


These are all fine. Good - not amazing, but that's OK since the extra-curricular part is usually overrated. They show some interests / passions outside of work.

Quote:

LOR: Definitely sorted on 1 LOR - I had a very good relationship with my manager in my previous role. Still need to figure out the second recommender.


This is part of why it's too soon to apply this year. Your current role is what will give you a shot at a top school (since S&T usually isn't quite as valued) and yet you've only been at it for a few months. The current boss might now know you well enough to write a really compelling recommendation yet.

Quote:
Others: I'm also working on a startup presently but it's in super early thought stages. Not too sure if it will make into my applications,

This might be interesting -- hopefully you'll apply in a couple of years and would have some cool impact stories from that.

Quote:

Schools: HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, UCLA (safety)


I will never tell anyone to not apply somewhere; again, I'd look for those resume twins who have made it into those top schools to see if your profile / accomplishments match up. Given your goals, I think Columbia should be your top choice. For your "safety" (not sure I'd call UCLA your safety? If you were to apply now I'm not sure you'd be a shoe-in?) -- for the lower-ranked programs you may be more realistically targeting, look into programs that have emerging markets / investing specialties. I'd look into Cornell, NYU,

Questions:
1. I'm confused between applying this year vs next year. I have about 2 years of work exp to date. Only issue is that if I apply to R1/R2 to my target schools, I will have less than 6 months of experience in my new firm, so might be hard to get a solid LOR and justify my time here.
[/quote]

Yep. If you really MUST got to b-school next year, cast a wider net than you'd otherwise consider, since your lack of experience might be tricky to overcome.

Quote:
2. Is my s/t goal too ambitious? I know many people want to get into VC after MBA, would it be more practical if I just say social consulting? Or maybe, public sector consulting? Please advise!


Whoa! Who said anything about VC!??!?! Oh, no -- you won't get a VC job! I mean anything is possible but from what you've said here, you don't have the pre-requisite job experience. When you said "Social fund" above I thought you meant something like social enterprise funds, or as you note here, social enterprise consulting? VC should not at all be the story. See the Career Vision module in ApplicantLab for guidance.

Quote:
3. Do I need more of a social angle in my profile to be able to justify my goals?


The "angle" matters less than being a leader / showing real impact. Do stuff that genuinely matters to you. If your goal is to do social enterprise investing, then try to move more towards that.

My advice is always: "If business school didn't exist, which jobs would you pursue?" <-- optimize your life for that, not for "well maybe I should do X thing JUST to look good for b-school".

Quote:
4. What bucket would I be classified under given my experience in S&T and Govt investment consulting? Also given my Indian education and work experience vs US citizenship.


You'd be more closely placed in the govnt' bucket, the current bucket, which is a good thing.

Quote:
What loopholes do you think I need to address the most?

Thanks in advance!


It seems that your career is off to a good start. I think you should definitely wait another year or two until you've have a chance to amass great accomplishments that will make you competitive. If people from your college have gone on to H/S/W, ask them to informally mentor you over the next two years.

If you're desperate to go to b-school at this young age, then you'd need to cast a wider net.

Look into the virtual version of the Forte Launch program. I'm not sure how it would work if you're based in India, but that could be a good thing to look into to start to prepare your apps for later.

Thanks!
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New post 18 Jun 2018, 11:20
Hi Maria

I just gave my first GMAT exam. I have scored 710 out of 800 and the score details in each section is below

1. Integrated Reasoning: 7
2. Quantitative: 49
3. Verbal: 38

I have not yet received the score for AWA.
I would say I was pretty nervous when the exam started, and was extremely anxious when I saw the first 3-4 verbal questions. 38 in verbal is a bit disappointing for me because I was consistently scoring 40 plus in my mock exams and 740 or more overall. However, unlike my mock tests, I felt very nervous for the initial 15 minutes or so during the real GMAT. Probably that hurt my verbal score a little. Surprisingly, I have never scored even 6 in the integrated reasoning section in my mocks. I almost did not prepare at all for this section. So I got lucky to score 7.

Coming back to my profile, I have worked with Johnson Controls for 7 years and I am an Instrumentation Engineer from West Bengal University of Technology, India (I graduated in 2011 with a GPA of 4). I have overseas experience of 4 years (1 year in the US, 3 years in Singapore, 3 months in Qatar). I am currently working as Product Owner/Business Analyst. I am currently working with Johnson Controls, in the Building Management System domain.I am planning to do the MBA from the top 20-40 US B schools, preferably with a scholarship. I need your advice on whether 710 is a good score with my profile, or if you would advice me to give the GMAT again. I would also appreciate your advice regarding the colleges I should aim for with such a score and profile.
Thanks in advance!!!
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New post 18 Jun 2018, 19:38
1
judhakoool wrote:
Hi Maria

I just gave my first GMAT exam. I have scored 710 out of 800 and the score details in each section is below

1. Integrated Reasoning: 7
2. Quantitative: 49
3. Verbal: 38

I have not yet received the score for AWA.
I would say I was pretty nervous when the exam started, and was extremely anxious when I saw the first 3-4 verbal questions. 38 in verbal is a bit disappointing for me because I was consistently scoring 40 plus in my mock exams and 740 or more overall. However, unlike my mock tests, I felt very nervous for the initial 15 minutes or so during the real GMAT. Probably that hurt my verbal score a little. Surprisingly, I have never scored even 6 in the integrated reasoning section in my mocks. I almost did not prepare at all for this section. So I got lucky to score 7.

Coming back to my profile, I have worked with Johnson Controls for 7 years and I am an Instrumentation Engineer from West Bengal University of Technology, India (I graduated in 2011 with a GPA of 4). I have overseas experience of 4 years (1 year in the US, 3 years in Singapore, 3 months in Qatar). I am currently working as Product Owner/Business Analyst. I am currently working with Johnson Controls, in the Building Management System domain.I am planning to do the MBA from the top 20-40 US B schools, preferably with a scholarship. I need your advice on whether 710 is a good score with my profile, or if you would advice me to give the GMAT again. I would also appreciate your advice regarding the colleges I should aim for with such a score and profile.
Thanks in advance!!!


Hi there! Thanks so much for reaching out!

So, to answer your question about whether or not you should re-take the GMAT, to be honest, I think you should.... BECAUSE! you are saying that you felt very nervous during the actual test. If someone says to me: "I honestly did the very best I could... I left it all on the (proverbial) field and I've got nothin' else in me"... then I would tell them to set the test aside and focus on other aspects of the application.

In your case however, it seems that you yourself think that you can do far better.

That, when combined with the competitiveness of the applicant pool you're applying from, to me make a re-take of the test a no-brainer. Especially if you're targeting a school in the 20-40s, the higher score will not only help you get accepted but also makes it more likely that you'll get a scholarship.

In terms of schools to look at, the ones that have industrial / manufacturing ties would probably appreciate your experience working for a large manufacturing company. Look at their curricula / student profiles and see if they have an operations / manufacturing cluster of classes.

Your diverse international experience might also make you attractive for some European schools... and don't forget about Canada, with its far-more-generous visa policies! I was just at Rotman last week and they were the nicest people ever. :) (note though that they look for strong communication skills, so yet another vote in favor of a re-take to get that Verbal score up!)


Thanks!,
Maria
_________________

What is ApplicantLab?

The only MBA admissions service endorsed by Harvard Business School's student newspaper, ApplicantLab takes admissions consultants' tools and puts them in your hands, teaching you how admissions officers think. It guides you through your strategy, essays for all of your schools, resume, recommendations, and even interviews.

Learn more now:

Free Trial / GMATClub Reviews / Founder's interview with the HBS student newspaper

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New post 19 Jun 2018, 08:06
ApplicantLab wrote:
judhakoool wrote:
Hi Maria

I just gave my first GMAT exam. I have scored 710 out of 800 and the score details in each section is below

1. Integrated Reasoning: 7
2. Quantitative: 49
3. Verbal: 38

I have not yet received the score for AWA.
I would say I was pretty nervous when the exam started, and was extremely anxious when I saw the first 3-4 verbal questions. 38 in verbal is a bit disappointing for me because I was consistently scoring 40 plus in my mock exams and 740 or more overall. However, unlike my mock tests, I felt very nervous for the initial 15 minutes or so during the real GMAT. Probably that hurt my verbal score a little. Surprisingly, I have never scored even 6 in the integrated reasoning section in my mocks. I almost did not prepare at all for this section. So I got lucky to score 7.

Coming back to my profile, I have worked with Johnson Controls for 7 years and I am an Instrumentation Engineer from West Bengal University of Technology, India (I graduated in 2011 with a GPA of 4). I have overseas experience of 4 years (1 year in the US, 3 years in Singapore, 3 months in Qatar). I am currently working as Product Owner/Business Analyst. I am currently working with Johnson Controls, in the Building Management System domain.I am planning to do the MBA from the top 20-40 US B schools, preferably with a scholarship. I need your advice on whether 710 is a good score with my profile, or if you would advice me to give the GMAT again. I would also appreciate your advice regarding the colleges I should aim for with such a score and profile.
Thanks in advance!!!


Hi there! Thanks so much for reaching out!

So, to answer your question about whether or not you should re-take the GMAT, to be honest, I think you should.... BECAUSE! you are saying that you felt very nervous during the actual test. If someone says to me: "I honestly did the very best I could... I left it all on the (proverbial) field and I've got nothin' else in me"... then I would tell them to set the test aside and focus on other aspects of the application.

In your case however, it seems that you yourself think that you can do far better.

That, when combined with the competitiveness of the applicant pool you're applying from, to me make a re-take of the test a no-brainer. Especially if you're targeting a school in the 20-40s, the higher score will not only help you get accepted but also makes it more likely that you'll get a scholarship.

In terms of schools to look at, the ones that have industrial / manufacturing ties would probably appreciate your experience working for a large manufacturing company. Look at their curricula / student profiles and see if they have an operations / manufacturing cluster of classes.

Your diverse international experience might also make you attractive for some European schools... and don't forget about Canada, with its far-more-generous visa policies! I was just at Rotman last week and they were the nicest people ever. :) (note though that they look for strong communication skills, so yet another vote in favor of a re-take to get that Verbal score up!)


Thanks!,
Maria



Hi Maria,

Thank you for such a thorough reply, especially the suggestions about the schools I might apply. I should surely think of a re-take after reading this response from you. I have been going through Applicant Lab software and it looks pretty good. I have been an e-gmat student, and Rajat is always praising Applicant Lab in his emails. I want to add little more detail about my profile.
I started working as a field engineer responsible for programming and commissioning large BMS sites. Two of my biggest projects were in Singapore and one of them was the biggest hospital of Singapore. I was responsible for the efficient operation of all the Building Systems and had to manage the technicians onsite. I later moved to India and joined the research and development team to provide valuable insights of my experience. After working with the R&D team for a a year, I joined the product development of next generation BMS as a product owner/business analyst and I have been working there since the last 1.5 years. I am also CSPO certified and I have recently applied for US Provisional Patent (I am not sure whether it adds any value to my resume). I have also participated in Technology events at work, demonstrating proof of concepts for future products of our industry and won a few awards. Post MBA, I want to pursue a career in product management.

Thanks again!!

Warm Regards,
Judhajit Sarkar.
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New post 19 Jun 2018, 08:25
judhakoool wrote:
ApplicantLab wrote:
judhakoool wrote:
Hi Maria

I just gave my first GMAT exam. I have scored 710 out of 800 and the score details in each section is below

1. Integrated Reasoning: 7
2. Quantitative: 49
3. Verbal: 38

I have not yet received the score for AWA.
I would say I was pretty nervous when the exam started, and was extremely anxious when I saw the first 3-4 verbal questions. 38 in verbal is a bit disappointing for me because I was consistently scoring 40 plus in my mock exams and 740 or more overall. However, unlike my mock tests, I felt very nervous for the initial 15 minutes or so during the real GMAT. Probably that hurt my verbal score a little. Surprisingly, I have never scored even 6 in the integrated reasoning section in my mocks. I almost did not prepare at all for this section. So I got lucky to score 7.

Coming back to my profile, I have worked with Johnson Controls for 7 years and I am an Instrumentation Engineer from West Bengal University of Technology, India (I graduated in 2011 with a GPA of 4). I have overseas experience of 4 years (1 year in the US, 3 years in Singapore, 3 months in Qatar). I am currently working as Product Owner/Business Analyst. I am currently working with Johnson Controls, in the Building Management System domain.I am planning to do the MBA from the top 20-40 US B schools, preferably with a scholarship. I need your advice on whether 710 is a good score with my profile, or if you would advice me to give the GMAT again. I would also appreciate your advice regarding the colleges I should aim for with such a score and profile.
Thanks in advance!!!


Hi there! Thanks so much for reaching out!

So, to answer your question about whether or not you should re-take the GMAT, to be honest, I think you should.... BECAUSE! you are saying that you felt very nervous during the actual test. If someone says to me: "I honestly did the very best I could... I left it all on the (proverbial) field and I've got nothin' else in me"... then I would tell them to set the test aside and focus on other aspects of the application.

In your case however, it seems that you yourself think that you can do far better.

That, when combined with the competitiveness of the applicant pool you're applying from, to me make a re-take of the test a no-brainer. Especially if you're targeting a school in the 20-40s, the higher score will not only help you get accepted but also makes it more likely that you'll get a scholarship.

In terms of schools to look at, the ones that have industrial / manufacturing ties would probably appreciate your experience working for a large manufacturing company. Look at their curricula / student profiles and see if they have an operations / manufacturing cluster of classes.

Your diverse international experience might also make you attractive for some European schools... and don't forget about Canada, with its far-more-generous visa policies! I was just at Rotman last week and they were the nicest people ever. :) (note though that they look for strong communication skills, so yet another vote in favor of a re-take to get that Verbal score up!)


Thanks!,
Maria



Hi Maria,

Thank you for such a thorough reply, especially the suggestions about the schools I might apply. I should surely think of a re-take after reading this response from you. I have been going through Applicant Lab software and it looks pretty good. I have been an e-gmat student, and Rajat is always praising Applicant Lab in his emails. I want to add little more detail about my profile.
I started working as a field engineer responsible for programming and commissioning large BMS sites. Two of my biggest projects were in Singapore and one of them was the biggest hospital of Singapore. I was responsible for the efficient operation of all the Building Systems and had to manage the technicians onsite. I later moved to India and joined the research and development team to provide valuable insights of my experience. After working with the R&D team for a a year, I joined the product development of next generation BMS as a product owner/business analyst and I have been working there since the last 1.5 years. I am also CSPO certified and I have recently applied for US Provisional Patent (I am not sure whether it adds any value to my resume). I have also participated in Technology events at work, demonstrating proof of concepts for future products of our industry and won a few awards. Post MBA, I want to pursue a career in product management.

Thanks again!!

Warm Regards,
Judhajit Sarkar.



Just received the Official Score Report. I got a AWA score of 5.
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New post 25 Jun 2018, 10:02
Dear Maria,

Request you to evaluate my profile. Below are the details.

Name: Vidit
Nationality: Indian
Sex/Age: Male/32

Educational details:

Schooling: 10th, 2002 and 12th, 2004: CBSE board, New Delhi
Graduation: B.Tech - Information Technology - Uttar Pradesh Technical University, 2004-2008

Professional details:

(~ 3 Years) Mar’2010 to Dec’2012 – Syntel Inc. Mumbai – Domain : Insurance
Full stack Senior Web developer (Microsoft .NET platform) : Develop and re-engineer new and existing web applications using C#.NET platform handling client's Insurance Business.
Worked with client BA's for requirement elicitaions and grooming and lead a team of 3 developers at offshore for overall delivery of project.

(~ 4 Years) Jan’12 to July’16 – Infosys - Hong Kong & Bangalore – Domain: Supply Chain Management
Handled support for supply chain applications of Order to Ship cycle. Re-engineered 120 web/windows legacy application portfolio of existing EDI applications to latest technology stack and reduced the portofolio to 48 applications. Managed a 5 member offshore team
and single point of contact for clients for new application development.

(~ 2 Years) August’16 to Present – Sapient Consulting, New Delhi- Domain: e-Commerce Product Development
Working as Team lead - QA for e-commerce client (US based) product development team and handling a team of 6 members @ offshore. Working with client Product Owner, BA's and other stakeholders for requirement grooming, sprint planning and QA planning for delivery using (SCRUM) agile model.

Areas of interest:

Worked for nearly ~08 years primarily in technical development/delivery and application support (using Time & Material and Fixed price models) in IT. Now, want to move into IT strategy consulting or Product Management role. I do not want to change my industry at this point as it barely make any sense to target an industry transition.

GMAT: Preparation in progress from last 5 weeks.
The big question in mind: With around +9 years of experience and the experienced as described above, which schools should be on my target list. I don't want to restrict myself to any location but job location preferences Post MBA are below
a) North America, b) Singapore & India, c) Europe

Appreciate your inputs for my profile and any pointers which I should consider at this stage (that also will help in MBA program) to make this transition possible.

Please let me know if its missing some information to answer the specific question I have. Thanks.
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Regards,
Vidit

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New post 27 Jun 2018, 01:28
Hi Maria,

I am an Indian female having the following profile attributes:
GMAT:680
10th:93.8%
12th:89.6%
BE Cgpa:7.73
Work experience:I have been in the software engineering profile with Banking services company(1.5 years) and Healthcare IT company(2.5 years) for a total of 4 years now.
Post MBA goal:Product Management
I have a couple of colleges on my mind.Is it tough to get an admit from a college in the US with a 680?I am planning to retake the GMAT but I just wanted to evaluate my chances with a 680 as well.Or is it favorable to apply in Canada?I had Michael G. Foster school of business on my mind but I see that the average score is 693.Please provide some inputs on the same.

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New post 08 Jul 2018, 22:36
Hello and "Ni Hao" from Shanghai! Your inquiry arrived while I was on holiday with my family, but I'm in China for the next two weeks and able to work via WeWork! Let's dig in to your questions!

viditm4 wrote:
Dear Maria,

Request you to evaluate my profile. Below are the details.

Name: Vidit
Nationality: Indian
Sex/Age: Male/32


Ok oof -- right off the bat, your age gives me cause for concern. Obviously, age alone isn't necessarily a deal-breaker; it's more about years of experience. When people are more "seasoned", there is a higher bar to clear in terms of:

- Having more accomplishments (that is, showing a clear upward professional trajectory)

- Having a VERY strong reason to go to a full-time MBA program at this phase of life, vs. an Exec or Evening/Weekend program

Quote:
Educational details:

Schooling: 10th, 2002 and 12th, 2004: CBSE board, New Delhi
Graduation: B.Tech - Information Technology - Uttar Pradesh Technical University, 2004-2008

Professional details:

(~ 3 Years) Mar’2010 to Dec’2012 – Syntel Inc. Mumbai – Domain : Insurance
Full stack Senior Web developer (Microsoft .NET platform) : Develop and re-engineer new and existing web applications using C#.NET platform handling client's Insurance Business.
Worked with client BA's for requirement elicitaions and grooming and lead a team of 3 developers at offshore for overall delivery of project.

(~ 4 Years) Jan’12 to July’16 – Infosys - Hong Kong & Bangalore – Domain: Supply Chain Management
Handled support for supply chain applications of Order to Ship cycle. Re-engineered 120 web/windows legacy application portfolio of existing EDI applications to latest technology stack and reduced the portofolio to 48 applications. Managed a 5 member offshore team
and single point of contact for clients for new application development.

(~ 2 Years) August’16 to Present – Sapient Consulting, New Delhi- Domain: e-Commerce Product Development
Working as Team lead - QA for e-commerce client (US based) product development team and handling a team of 6 members @ offshore. Working with client Product Owner, BA's and other stakeholders for requirement grooming, sprint planning and QA planning for delivery using (SCRUM) agile model.


Ok, so my first bit of actionable advice here is to realize that AdCom members don't have technical backgrounds. I like to joke that "they don't know their PHP from their SQL". So right off the bat, realize that in your application materials, jargon like .NET and SCRUM need to be eliminated, as that doesn't necessarily mean anything to them.

Instead, in your resume, essays, and recommendations, you need to ditch the tech jargon and instead focus on impact and results -- Ok, so you head up QA for an e-commerce company; what has your impact been? How many fewer bugs are they experiencing now that you're heading up QA, and what does that mean for their bottom line? Can they implement changes more rapidly? Are they able to save money, or to make more of it?

Also, your background is interesting because I thought people usually moved from QA into eventually being a full-stack developer... but in your case, you seem to have gone in the other direction? I guess the good news is that you are managing others, so hopefully there are some good "leading others / inspiring the team" stories in there..

...the tricky thing is, QA roles don't usually lend themselves to the sort of company-changing leadership that can make for strong MBA applications, since QA happens at the end of the development cycle, not during the more crucial earlier phases. I'm hoping you were able to convince the company to, perhaps, not launch software that wasn't ready yet? Or make some sort of Big Decision that was Driven By You?

Quote:
Areas of interest:

Worked for nearly ~08 years primarily in technical development/delivery and application support (using Time & Material and Fixed price models) in IT. Now, want to move into IT strategy consulting or Product Management role. I do not want to change my industry at this point as it barely make any sense to target an industry transition.


Agreed that an industry transition would be tough at this point. IT strategy might be tough at your age -- the consulting firms usually prefer younger employees; employees who won't complain about the constant work / travel involved in that career.

Therefore, I'd say that moving into product management is the best bet. Again.. this is where the "Why MBA?" argument gets tricky. Do you need the MBA to make that move? Could a shorter (and, frankly, cheaper) course of study work instead? And in your role in QA, have you had an impact on which products are built, how they're built, etc.? I'm just a little worried that you're too far-removed from the core decision-making process. I suppose, though, that perhaps you could try to make the argument that, in QA, you've been stuck testing a ton of terrible apps, and ...and... and this has given you insight into [something product managers should be taking into account]?

Have you been able to find your Resume Twin yet to find someone else who has used the MBA to make that jump? That will help tremendously!

Quote:
GMAT: Preparation in progress from last 5 weeks.
The big question in mind: With around +9 years of experience and the experienced as described above, which schools should be on my target list. I don't want to restrict myself to any location but job location preferences Post MBA are below
a) North America, b) Singapore & India, c) Europe

Appreciate your inputs for my profile and any pointers which I should consider at this stage (that also will help in MBA program) to make this transition possible.

Please let me know if its missing some information to answer the specific question I have. Thanks.


Ok, so getting that GMAT score will be key. Once you get it, subtract 30-40 points and then look for schools that have avgs in that range. This is because the Indian applicant pool is SO competitive, so to stand out, you usually need a higher-than-average GMAT score.

The U.S. schools, at least the top ones, may not be your best bet. The Full-Time MBA programs usually look for people with about half (4 - 5 years) of experience, and it's unclear that your leadership profile is stellar enough to balance out the years of experience. Also, the whole work visa situation in the U.S. is no joke! If you're set on the U.S. (which it sounds like you aren't), then I'd look into the 1-year programs.

The European programs do tend to be more open to more mature candidates, in part because they are only 1 year long. NUS MBA profile is 7 years of experience, so you're not too far out from their program's average age, so that potentially bodes well for Singapore.

And by the way, schools aren't opposed to older candidates just to be cruel -- the full-time MBA experience (and, let's be honest: the recruiting process) is primarily 26-ish-year-olds. Older candidates may find that they have little in common socially with their classmates, they may find their classmates frustratingly naive re: The Real World, and they may be unhappy with the more junior-ish roles on-campus recruiters come to campus to provide.


Thanks!,
Maria
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What is ApplicantLab?

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