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Joined: 27 May 2019
Posts: 8
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New post 15 Jul 2019, 21:39

I would really appreciate your help in reviewing my profile below.

Ethnicity/Nationality: Chinese/Canadian
Age: 30
Work Experience: 8 Years
GMAT: 680 (Q47, V36, AWA6, IR4) 1st time. Wrote a 2nd one within a month and didn't have time to study in between.
Scored 680 again (Q48, V34, AWA?, IR7)
Undergad: University of Western Ontario in Canada majored in Finance/Accounting (3.3 GPA)

Work Experience:

2 Years at Philip Morris Int. - Market/Business Analyst within the Business intelligence team
- First Full time job out of school.
- Worked with supply chain, CRM, Marketing Data to provide solutions for Sales & Marketing.
- Was promoted once in between from a regional role to a head office role
- Lead several company wide projects (SKU Rationalization, Implement new CRM, etc) with multi-million dollar impacts.

1 Year at Spin Master Ltd (Up and coming Canadian Toy Company) - Forecasting Analyst supporting the Wal-Mart US Account
- Worked on the largest Customer/Account at the Company
- Received Vendor of the Year Award from Wal-Mart

2 Years at Spectrum Brands - Category Management for several lines of Small Kitchen Appliances
- Started as a Category Advisor for Wal-Mart Canada (supported the customer/buyer with retail strategies and execution)
- Was promoted in a year to Category Manager overseeing the category for total Canadian retail channel (Multiple large customers)
- Had 1 direct report post promotion. Grew sales by double digits

2 Years at Kraft Heinz Canada - Manager, Sales Advisor
- Joined because of opportunity to work at Tier 1 CPG company
- Worked on the Loblaws Account (#1 Grocery Chain in Canada) for several large categories (Coffee, Peanut Butter)
- Sold through all innovation items and doubled distribution/shelf face at LCL for my category.
- Worked on several large exclusivity and Preferred Vendor deals to align customer to a shared growth plan.

Current: 13 months thus far on a Canadian Public Tier 3 CPG company - Key Account Manager
- Moved into a Key Account Manager/Sales from Sales support
- Responsible for the P&L of Loblaws, Canada's largest grocery chain and the company's largest customer
- Role can be summarized to developing a sales plan, executing the plan and delivering financial targets
- Reality is that majority of the responsibilities is executing and solving day to day issues
- Biggest accomplishment here was that in 2017 where the account had a negative trade balance of half a million I was able to balance in 2018


I did a couple summers of pro-bono consulting with a Non-Profit Organization that organize teams and that lends help to various small businesses/NPOs seeking these services. Typical engagements relates to building marketing or operation strategy and are about 8 weeks long.

Target Goal Post MBA: Consulting or in a Strategic Role in Corporate

My GMAT score isn't ideal and it has been challenging putting away time to study with my current role. Working in sales means that I have to spend a lot of my non-working hours still thinking about work. Otherwise I'm not committed to achieving targets.
I've held a lot of different roles at various organizations but can all be explained. Partially it was because I wanted to explore different industries or discover what I really like to do. Partially it was also because of unforeseen circumstances such as restructuring.

I think my background is decently well rounded and I have been able to leverage what I'm learned in my previous experiences in every new role I've taken. I'm excited about improving performance and solving problems which lead me to this post MBA goal.
I haven't seen too many profiles here that comes from a consumer packaged goods background and I'm not sure if this is an unfavorable background.

Here are the list of schools I'm looking for based on their employment reports
London Business School

I would also love to go to Kellogg, Columbia, Yale but understand that my GMAT is very far off. I do want to reattempt GMAT again in 2 months to try to achieve a 720.

Here are the questions I have regards to the application process.

1. Do I have a shot at those 5 schools listed above? If not, is there anything else (GMAT is one) I can do to improve my profile?
2. I'd like to be in for Round 1. However, reading a lot of the posts here, I understand the application is just as if not more important. Should I spend the current time rewriting GMAT or actually preparing for the application?
3. I see that the average age and work experiences of students at these top schools tends to be around 28 and 5-6 years. Since I'm already over the average, does delaying my application hurt my chances?

Thank you,
Avanti Prep Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 08 Aug 2017
Posts: 307
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New post 16 Jul 2019, 14:24
Hi wwang252,

Thank you for your post. Here are my thoughts:


You seem to have charted a very strong, impactful, and progressive path in various corners of CPG. You're right that CPG comes up a little less in these forums, but it's a totally viable and respected pre-MBA industry, so you should definitely not shy away from it -- instead, you should own, unpack, and communicate the unique and diverse value of your deep experiences in the industry. I'd argue that you've got greater depth and expertise in your industry than many other applicants do in their's, and there is value to that. At the same time, I do think that your career goals could do a better job playing off of the depth of that expertise -- perhaps even by way of advancing within CPG, though you would then need to articulate the details of your short-, medium-, and long-term goals and why you need an MBA to achieve them. You can read more on that here.


With respect to the GMAT, I would strongly encourage you to try to boost your score, even if that means pushing many, most, or even all of your applications to Round 2. Although your GMAT largely falls within the middle 80% range for many of the schools you've listed, and you've got some nice work experience, I think it's going to be tough to crack the list you've presented with a score that's 20 to 35ish points below their class averages. The value of another 20 to 40 points on your GMAT definitely outweighs any marginal value that exists between Round 1 and Round 2. You are on the older, more experienced end for full-time applicants, but delaying from Round 1 to Round 2 does not affect that, as you're often asked to calculate your work experience as of the summer before you'd start the program, and you'd be the same starting age regardless of whether you apply in Round 1 or Round 2. (If you can't break through on the GMAT, then taking and applying with only a GRE score could become a consideration for you. Happy to discuss.)


For context, most U.S. programs have class averages of five years of work experience, with middle 80% ranges of three to seven or three to eight years. You would be applying with eight years of experience to enroll with nine years of experience, which does put you on the older end, but definitely still close enough to "go for it." It couldn't hurt to exercise an extra layer of due diligence as you research schools (e.g., Fuqua tends to be a a little more open-minded about older candidates, which is in part reflected in anecdote and in part reflected in their slightly higher average age and work experience numbers). European programs also tend to trend about a year older than their U.S. counterparts. In any case, you should be extra proactive about explaining "why MBA" and "why now" -- and going back to one of my original points about goals, being an older candidate might lend itself more toward a CPG-oriented (still MBA-dependent) career goal, rather than trying to convince adcoms you're going to totally transition into something new after graduating from a full-time program at age 33. (I happen to believe that **in life** it's never too late to learn and do something new... but we should put ourselves in the mindset of the adcoms when developing and articulating super-specific post-MBA career goals.)


Hope this helps! If you would like to continue this conversation, please feel free to email me at or sign up for a Free Consultation via this link: As always, we can cover a lot more -- and do so with far greater nuance -- by way of a live, back-and-forth conversation. I would be happy to chat at your convenience!

Best Regards,
Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Profile Evaluation   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2019, 14:24
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