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non-traditional profile eval. help, thanks!

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Intern
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Joined: 02 Jun 2009
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Schools: Columbia, Booth, UCLA
non-traditional profile eval. help, thanks! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2009, 06:44
Alex, let me thank you in advance for taking the time to give me some feedback on my applications profile.

I'm a 35 yr old white male, married 11 yrs. and have a 6 yr. old son.
My gmat scores are 730 q/47 v/44 awa 6.0
I attended U. or Florida and FSU, graduating in 1997 with a b.s. in social sciences and a 2.85 gpa. I am currently enrolled in business calculus and accounting summer term at a local state university.

self employed for the last 9 years and still currently, as the founder and president of HVAC contracting business in northeast Florida since 2000. (600k+ sales per yr. and 6 employees). I am also a state licensed general building contractor and I started a second business to augment the first...a "green building" contracting firm in 2005, to concentrate on energy retrofits for existing homes, (insulation, windows, ac, etc.) and attempt to build energy efficient homes. Unfortunately, there really isn't a market for those services in the city where I live, and I had to put this on hold in 2007.

My extracurricular activities include: Spending time with my family, coaching youth soccer, I am a private pilot (I fly an antique 1950 piper and write an aviation blog), and I play golf.

My brother and one of my cousins are HBS grads classes of '01 and '05, and are encouraging me to apply to top 5 schools. They seem to think that my nontraditional business experience could make me an interesting “oddball” candidate to an admissions committee. They also feel that my gmat will mitigate my low gpa, even at top 5-10 schools. Is this truly the case?
Thanks for your input.

Last edited by flyingator on 20 Jul 2009, 23:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Location: Ann Arbor
Schools: Ross '10
Re: non-traditional profile eval. help, thanks! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2009, 08:11
Wow! I dont know about HBS and Wharton, but I am sure the adcom here at Ross will love you.

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Re: non-traditional profile eval. help, thanks! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2009, 14:23
You are an example of a "non traditional" candidate -- which means that age really isn't going to be a factor, even at schools like HBS. Also, Wharton isn't really looking for super quant types anymore than any other school.

There is a good and bad being a non-traditional applicant (like everything, there's a good and bad...). The good is that you'll stand out no matter what. And in a good way - you seem to have done well with your business career thus far, and in an area that isn't really "corporate". In other words, if you were a 35 year old guy with an established traditional corporate career (Fortune 500 company, etc.) then it'll be a much tougher sell for full-time. In your case, a full-time MBA can be a strong complement to your business experience, allowing you to transition into a corporate career (the need is easier to justify compared to another guy who already has a corporate career).

The bad is that you are an unknown quantity precisely because you're unique. It's harder to benchmark you vs other applicants. Are you an "oddball" candidate that can fit in. Diversity matters, but this isn't a reality show where they want people who could potentially disrupt or become alienated from the rest of the group because of how different they are. The key is coming across as "different, but still being able to fit in with the b-school culture").

On balance, as a result it's much harder to predict, because for candidates like you it becomes even more subjective -- one person's gem is another person's dirt. The b-school admissions process is more akin to dating than it is to "admissions" - they can accept or reject you for any reason or no reason -- and if you're different, it can become pretty random.

So my suggestion for folks like yourself is to apply to a wide range of schools - and don't be surprised by the results (i.e. you get dinged at Georgetown, but in at Wharton).

HBS, Wharton -- stretch
Kellogg, Booth, UCLA -- sweet spot
Georgetown, Olin -- safety

Good luck
_________________

Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com

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Schools: Columbia, Booth, UCLA
Re: non-traditional profile eval. help, thanks! [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2009, 03:14
thanks so much for your input. I really appreciate it.

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Re: non-traditional profile eval. help, thanks!   [#permalink] 04 Jun 2009, 03:14
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