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I need help evaluating my chances at top schools

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Joined: 31 Oct 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Taiwan
GMAT 1: 690 Q49 V34
GMAT 2: 740 Q49 V41
I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2017, 20:31
Hello all,

I am in the process of preparing for MBA application. Realizing that certain things on my profile are working against me (particularly GPA), I would like to know if there's still any chance for any of the top schools in the US or Canada. Harvard, MIT, Duke, Emory, and Queens are schools that I am shooting for. Though, realistically, I'd be more than happy to be at any of the top 20 schools.

My profile:

Nationality: Ecuadorian, Taiwanese (parents are Taiwanese but I was born and raised in Ecuador. I speak Mandarin Chinese, English, and Spanish)
Age: 30

Academics
Undergrad: National Taiwan University: Computer Science and Information Engineering (The most prestigious school in Taiwan, if that matters) GPA: ~2.8
Masters Degree: National Taiwan University: Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics GPA: 3.25
GMAT: 730 (is what I am aiming for, I've not taken the real GMAT yet, but am consistently getting above 700 on any practice tests, GMATPrep, Veritas, Manhattan)


Work Experience
Years of Work Experience: 5
1. Interned at Quanta Research Institute (QRI) while I was getting my masters degree. QRI is a very prestigious center in Taiwan that collaborated with MIT in various research programmes. 2 months
2. Worked full-time at QRI under the title software engineer. Job function included 50% software development, 30% entrepreneurship, and 20% product/market research. 3 years
3. Worked as a product manager at a private company owned wholly by a mentor of mine. Managed two teams of 5 people each. One was an e-commerce software development team. The other was developing slot machines for a large North American firm. 2 years
4. Currently, I am a senior engineer at Qnap Systems (you can find our products on Amazon!) Here I assess software architectures suitable for future products. 4 months and counting.

Other activities
1. President of Oversea Chinese Student Association at NTU - 2009
When I took over there were less than 10 active members. I worked to make it a thriving community that it later became.
2. National Taiwan University Varsity Team Handball - Player - 2005 ~ 2012
3. National Taiwan University Foreign Student Dragon Boat Rowing Team - Trainer, Co-captain - 2012
The team consisted of foreign students of NTU representing 10 countries. I was really into cross-fit and stuff back in those days so I volunteered to train the team whenever we trained without a coach.
4. 3rd place winner of The 2015 Job Accommodation Contest hosted by Taiwan Ministry of Labour
My girlfriend and I noticed that, in many places, cleaning staff who are cognitively impaired face a certain problem that prevents them from performing without supervision. We invented a simple electronic device that could alleviate if not solve the problem, enrolled the said contest, and won! We also ended up selling a few of the devices. But as the demand for the kind of product is very low, and the stuff we invented was only a working prototype, we stopped selling them before the sloppiness of the prototype ruins my reputation.


Now if you're still with me. I feel like I should explain my poor GPA.
I grew up in an impoverished, single-parent family. My mom and I could not afford to rent anything larger than a studio apartment (we were not only US poor or Taiwanese poor, but also Ecuadorian poor). So I had to share a room with my mom up until I graduated from high school when I left Ecuador for Taiwan. There was even a year during my college which my mom lost her job in Ecuador and had to come to Taiwan to share a tiny studio with me to save costs. So the two things that ruined my GPA were:
1) I took on a lot of part-time jobs to finance my college. (some of the kids I tutored ended up in Ivy League schools, so I am proud of that)
2) I felt like I had missed out on a lot of joys of childhood due to poverty and single-parenthood. So in college, I tried to make that up by participating a varsity sport and other activities. The fact that I experienced culture shock when I moved from Ecuador to Taiwan did not help. If I could do it again, I would ditch the cool extra-curricular stuff, and focus more on studying. Young me was not wise.

I guess that summarises my story. If anyone can help me assess the likelihood to get admitted to a top school I would be very grateful. Even better if anyone can give me suggestions on how to increase my odds.

One more question! My former employer, QRI, would like me to join the team again. The only reason that I left in the first place was that I was snatched away by a mentor of mine who promised me a lot of great things. If I were to return to QRI, how would that look on my MBA application?

Thank you all for your time and efforts!

David
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Re: I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2017, 10:41
1
Dear David,

thank you for sharing your profile.

As you know, it would be much easier to evaluate your chances if you already had an official GMAT score.

However, judging by the rest of your profile, you definitely have good chances to make it to a Top 20 school.

Regarding your concerns:

(1) Low GPA: there are ways to compensate for this:

(1.1) High GMAT. The AdCom will look at the combination of GPA/GMAT, so try to get higher than 730.
(1.2) Tough school years. Try to explain the struggles during your school years and how they affected your grades.
(1.3) Examples of analytical and problem solving skills. This could be from work, from college or from your personal live. Any research papers during undergrad or grad school. The electronic device that made you won the contest...

(2) Ways to improve your odds

(2.1) Study and practice hard for the GMAT
(2.2) Work really hard on getting an early promotion at work
(2.3) Focus on achieving outstanding accomplishments that show leadership, team-work, etc...

(3) Going back to QRI?

If you were to decide to go back to QRI, just make sure you do so in a higher position with more responsibility than the position when you left. After all, it has been more than 2 years since you left.

I hope this helps.

Good luck!
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Re: I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2018, 17:55
I like your profile a lot. It will certainly stand out if you can frame it appropriately. Your GPA will be a red flag and will most likely keep you out of the top 10 programs but top 20 is not out of the questions especially if you can hit the upper bound of your GMAT estimate.


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I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 08 Jan 2018, 03:18
tadada50 wrote:
Hello all,

I am in the process of preparing for MBA application. Realizing that certain things on my profile are working against me (particularly GPA), I would like to know if there's still any chance for any of the top schools in the US or Canada. Harvard, MIT, Duke, Emory, and Queens are schools that I am shooting for. Though, realistically, I'd be more than happy to be at any of the top 20 schools.

My profile:

Nationality: Ecuadorian, Taiwanese (parents are Taiwanese but I was born and raised in Ecuador. I speak Mandarin Chinese, English, and Spanish)
Age: 30

Academics
Undergrad: National Taiwan University: Computer Science and Information Engineering (The most prestigious school in Taiwan, if that matters) GPA: ~2.8
Masters Degree: National Taiwan University: Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics GPA: 3.25
GMAT: 730 (is what I am aiming for, I've not taken the real GMAT yet, but am consistently getting above 700 on any practice tests, GMATPrep, Veritas, Manhattan)


Work Experience
Years of Work Experience: 5
1. Interned at Quanta Research Institute (QRI) while I was getting my masters degree. QRI is a very prestigious center in Taiwan that collaborated with MIT in various research programmes. 2 months
2. Worked full-time at QRI under the title software engineer. Job function included 50% software development, 30% entrepreneurship, and 20% product/market research. 3 years
3. Worked as a product manager at a private company owned wholly by a mentor of mine. Managed two teams of 5 people each. One was an e-commerce software development team. The other was developing slot machines for a large North American firm. 2 years
4. Currently, I am a senior engineer at Qnap Systems (you can find our products on Amazon!) Here I assess software architectures suitable for future products. 4 months and counting.

Other activities
1. President of Oversea Chinese Student Association at NTU - 2009
When I took over there were less than 10 active members. I worked to make it a thriving community that it later became.
2. National Taiwan University Varsity Team Handball - Player - 2005 ~ 2012
3. National Taiwan University Foreign Student Dragon Boat Rowing Team - Trainer, Co-captain - 2012
The team consisted of foreign students of NTU representing 10 countries. I was really into cross-fit and stuff back in those days so I volunteered to train the team whenever we trained without a coach.
4. 3rd place winner of The 2015 Job Accommodation Contest hosted by Taiwan Ministry of Labour
My girlfriend and I noticed that, in many places, cleaning staff who are cognitively impaired face a certain problem that prevents them from performing without supervision. We invented a simple electronic device that could alleviate if not solve the problem, enrolled the said contest, and won! We also ended up selling a few of the devices. But as the demand for the kind of product is very low, and the stuff we invented was only a working prototype, we stopped selling them before the sloppiness of the prototype ruins my reputation.


Now if you're still with me. I feel like I should explain my poor GPA.
I grew up in an impoverished, single-parent family. My mom and I could not afford to rent anything larger than a studio apartment (we were not only US poor or Taiwanese poor, but also Ecuadorian poor). So I had to share a room with my mom up until I graduated from high school when I left Ecuador for Taiwan. There was even a year during my college which my mom lost her job in Ecuador and had to come to Taiwan to share a tiny studio with me to save costs. So the two things that ruined my GPA were:
1) I took on a lot of part-time jobs to finance my college. (some of the kids I tutored ended up in Ivy League schools, so I am proud of that)
2) I felt like I had missed out on a lot of joys of childhood due to poverty and single-parenthood. So in college, I tried to make that up by participating a varsity sport and other activities. The fact that I experienced culture shock when I moved from Ecuador to Taiwan did not help. If I could do it again, I would ditch the cool extra-curricular stuff, and focus more on studying. Young me was not wise.

I guess that summarises my story. If anyone can help me assess the likelihood to get admitted to a top school I would be very grateful. Even better if anyone can give me suggestions on how to increase my odds.

One more question! My former employer, QRI, would like me to join the team again. The only reason that I left in the first place was that I was snatched away by a mentor of mine who promised me a lot of great things. If I were to return to QRI, how would that look on my MBA application?

Thank you all for your time and efforts!

David


Dear David,
Very good to hear from you!
To begin with, I think you have a very interesting and touching personal story, and although having a low GPA is not great and might limit you a bit, I think that if you tell that story and can combine it with a very good GMAT, it shouldn't harm you too much. Top 5 schools in the US might be out of range, but if all else goes well, you could be in the running at all the rest. Which is pretty darned good!

Obviously the first step here is to actually PULL that GMAT that you are aiming for. With a 730 you will have many options open to you.

Other than that, you seem to have a solid work experience. I don't know your company but if they are a strong firm, and if they want to hire you post-MBA those are both good signs. Also, you have a nice variety of extra curriculars, and also a unique double-background which I think can play in your favor.

So overall, things look good. There are still a few things to think about (your goals and stories among other things) but for now, pour all those energies into the GMAT. That is what will be definitive.

I hope you find this helpful.

Best,
_________________

Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado

Admissionado | Packages | Success Stories | Team

If you like the post, give it a KUDOS!


Originally posted by JonAdmissionado on 06 Jan 2018, 03:15.
Last edited by JonAdmissionado on 08 Jan 2018, 03:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Status: Application Consultant
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Joined: 13 Jul 2016
Posts: 272
Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
Schools: Yale (A)
GMAT 1: 740 Q47 V44
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Re: I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2018, 03:35
tadada50 wrote:
Hello all,

I am in the process of preparing for MBA application. Realizing that certain things on my profile are working against me (particularly GPA), I would like to know if there's still any chance for any of the top schools in the US or Canada. Harvard, MIT, Duke, Emory, and Queens are schools that I am shooting for. Though, realistically, I'd be more than happy to be at any of the top 20 schools.

My profile:

Nationality: Ecuadorian, Taiwanese (parents are Taiwanese but I was born and raised in Ecuador. I speak Mandarin Chinese, English, and Spanish)
Age: 30

Academics
Undergrad: National Taiwan University: Computer Science and Information Engineering (The most prestigious school in Taiwan, if that matters) GPA: ~2.8
Masters Degree: National Taiwan University: Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics GPA: 3.25
GMAT: 730 (is what I am aiming for, I've not taken the real GMAT yet, but am consistently getting above 700 on any practice tests, GMATPrep, Veritas, Manhattan)


Work Experience
Years of Work Experience: 5
1. Interned at Quanta Research Institute (QRI) while I was getting my masters degree. QRI is a very prestigious center in Taiwan that collaborated with MIT in various research programmes. 2 months
2. Worked full-time at QRI under the title software engineer. Job function included 50% software development, 30% entrepreneurship, and 20% product/market research. 3 years
3. Worked as a product manager at a private company owned wholly by a mentor of mine. Managed two teams of 5 people each. One was an e-commerce software development team. The other was developing slot machines for a large North American firm. 2 years
4. Currently, I am a senior engineer at Qnap Systems (you can find our products on Amazon!) Here I assess software architectures suitable for future products. 4 months and counting.

Other activities
1. President of Oversea Chinese Student Association at NTU - 2009
When I took over there were less than 10 active members. I worked to make it a thriving community that it later became.
2. National Taiwan University Varsity Team Handball - Player - 2005 ~ 2012
3. National Taiwan University Foreign Student Dragon Boat Rowing Team - Trainer, Co-captain - 2012
The team consisted of foreign students of NTU representing 10 countries. I was really into cross-fit and stuff back in those days so I volunteered to train the team whenever we trained without a coach.
4. 3rd place winner of The 2015 Job Accommodation Contest hosted by Taiwan Ministry of Labour
My girlfriend and I noticed that, in many places, cleaning staff who are cognitively impaired face a certain problem that prevents them from performing without supervision. We invented a simple electronic device that could alleviate if not solve the problem, enrolled the said contest, and won! We also ended up selling a few of the devices. But as the demand for the kind of product is very low, and the stuff we invented was only a working prototype, we stopped selling them before the sloppiness of the prototype ruins my reputation.


Now if you're still with me. I feel like I should explain my poor GPA.
I grew up in an impoverished, single-parent family. My mom and I could not afford to rent anything larger than a studio apartment (we were not only US poor or Taiwanese poor, but also Ecuadorian poor). So I had to share a room with my mom up until I graduated from high school when I left Ecuador for Taiwan. There was even a year during my college which my mom lost her job in Ecuador and had to come to Taiwan to share a tiny studio with me to save costs. So the two things that ruined my GPA were:
1) I took on a lot of part-time jobs to finance my college. (some of the kids I tutored ended up in Ivy League schools, so I am proud of that)
2) I felt like I had missed out on a lot of joys of childhood due to poverty and single-parenthood. So in college, I tried to make that up by participating a varsity sport and other activities. The fact that I experienced culture shock when I moved from Ecuador to Taiwan did not help. If I could do it again, I would ditch the cool extra-curricular stuff, and focus more on studying. Young me was not wise.

I guess that summarises my story. If anyone can help me assess the likelihood to get admitted to a top school I would be very grateful. Even better if anyone can give me suggestions on how to increase my odds.

One more question! My former employer, QRI, would like me to join the team again. The only reason that I left in the first place was that I was snatched away by a mentor of mine who promised me a lot of great things. If I were to return to QRI, how would that look on my MBA application?

Thank you all for your time and efforts!

David


Glad to see your post; Hard work and Persistence is the Key.
Will confirm much of it once we can see your detailed resume, but I believe 5-10 would be a stretch but doable. 10-20 would be a better target to aim at.
1) Get a GMAT above 740 (With the Chinese and the Software association, you do get very close to a competitive pool)
2) Your Goals are not clear. UG in CS, MS in Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics. Shape goals that are clear, feasible, not too niche, and yet can tie your life story and life learnings.
3) Low GPA in UG can be offset by your GPA in MS (and hopefully 740 GMAT)
4) Get into a lot of volunteer activities now..

Feel free to connect for a free profile eval.
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Joined: 31 Oct 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Taiwan
GMAT 1: 690 Q49 V34
GMAT 2: 740 Q49 V41
Re: I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2018, 13:08
So it's been a while. Thank you all for helping me out. I've been working on the GMAT and got 690 (Q49 V34) on my first try and 740 (Q49 V41) on the second. My first attempt at it was completely ruined by me being foolish drinking too much water prior to the test (someone had told me that drinking plenty of water enables one to think more clearly.) I couldn't concentrate at all because my bladder felt like it was exploding 10 minutes into the verbal section. I kept checking the timer hoping that the section would end soon so I could go to the restroom.
On my second attempt I was aiming for 760, because I was getting 760 on the mocks. I don't know what happened but I only got 740. Maybe it was because of the nervousness, I get really nervous with standardized tests.

As of now, I suppose I am done with the GMAT. I am now looking for opportunities to do extra-curricular activities. Unlike in Ecuador, in Taiwan, extreme poverty is not an issue. Back in Ecuador I used to join different community services aimed at extremely poor communities. In Taiwan, most of the services I found are ones that involve helping the elderly, keeping them entertained. Personally, I'd like to do something more productive. I am thinking of teaching underprivileged children English or programming. While I am still brainstorming for ideas, if anyone has any fun ideas, please share!

It is also time to consider what schools I want to apply to. For the last few months Duke has been my school of choice. But a successful entrepreneur friend of mine is trying to convince me to apply for Columbia (and aim to be an investment banker), which honestly was never on my list. He says that he can get me to intern for someone who has donated a lot of resources to Columbia (not to the MBA program though), and that person would write me a recommendations letter, boosting my chances at Columbia. I am very tempted since, well, if this can really boost my odds at a top school, I want in. I am also somewhat swayed by someone I met who attended the London Business School. She told me that my grad school GPA and the GMAT score could well compensate for my undergrad GPA.

Honestly, I really want to be at the best school I can be at. I've read how MBA works at HBS, and it's the kind of program I want to be in. Since Harvard is a long shot, pragmatism drags me to think about Duke and others more. haha.

For the next few weeks I'll be plenty busy at work, expecting to work a lot of overtime. I'll be checking this thread from time to time. Hopefully you have school suggestions for me!

Thank you!

David
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Re: I need help evaluating my chances at top schools  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Apr 2018, 08:53
Hey tadada50
Thanks for the follow up and congrats on the 740! That's great news. Now, lots to think about here. The low GPA could make things a little challenging but it is what it is...make sure you write an optional essay explaining why the GPA happened...be humble and own it. Then, for you, I think you will want to have a broad selection of schools. Try CBS and Fuqua but be cognizant that the GPA may drag you down. Add schools like Tepper, UNC, Texas, etc. where your GMAT score will be more of a draw.
You strike me as the type of person who would get a lot out of a free consultation so we can go through everything in your profile in more detail. (And also talk about extracurriculars.) I suggest you set up a free consult at your earliest convenience!
Krista
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Re: I need help evaluating my chances at top schools &nbs [#permalink] 19 Apr 2018, 08:53
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