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Profile Evaluation

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Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Posts: 3
Profile Evaluation [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2009, 12:06
Hi Paul! Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to questions on here!

I am looking to apply in 2010 for admission to an MBA program in the Fall 2011 semester and am in the process of planning my application approach. Some relevant profile info is as follows:

I recently took the GMAT and received a composite score of 780 (Q: 50; V: 48) and an AWA score of 6.0.

I graduated in May 2004 from a fairly small private liberal arts school in the Midwest with a B.S. in Finance and a GPA of 3.99. I immediately proceeded to a reputable, but not elite, state law school (also in the Midwest) and graduated with a J.D. in May 2007 with a GPA of 3.25. As might be expected, my undergraduate transcript bears a range of business-oriented quantitative coursework, while my law school record does not.

In addition to having logged some part-time employment during law school, I anticipate having about 59 months of full-time work experience under my belt by MBA matriculation. I expect that about forty of those months will have been spent working for my current law firm in a tenure that will likely conclude around July 2010. As an associate attorney in my particular current firm, short-term opportunities for substantive advancement in responsibility and title are limited. However, due to some personal circumstances, I think it best to stay the course for about another year.

I have also worked two short-term (one-month) clerkships in Beijing with an unrelated (to my U.S. firm) Chinese law firm. I am still affiliated with that firm as outside U.S. legal counsel (requiring fairly occasional project work) and anticipate that I may further participate in a full-time one-year fellowship arrangement with that firm from July 2010 to July 2011. I am by no means fluent in Mandarin but have studied it for about a year and intend to continue doing so.

Over the course of my undergraduate, law school, and subsequent years, I have been fairly extensively involved in faith-based and other community extracurricular organizations and activities, and I have held a handful of leadership positions related to the same. I also participated in some intercollegiate academic competitions during my last two years of college. I didn’t play any varsity sports in undergrad, but I am an avid basketball fan/player. I received several academic scholarships in college and law school and was given a handful of other named awards. I am a fellow in a national legal organization and have published one small research-based work in the course of my involvement therein.

I am hoping to eventually move from traditional legal practice to a more entrepreneurial path. It is my post-MBA desire to create and develop a services-oriented business tailored to internationals (with an initial primary Chinese emphasis).

One of my highest priorities with respect to business school, however, is to complete a program without any debt. I recognize that this will likely narrow the range of schools on my radar, and I understand counter-arguments that might be presented with respect to return on investment at elite schools, student loans notwithstanding, but the debt-free objective is an important one for me. It is my anticipation that I will have sufficient funds to cover living expenses during both years of an MBA program, but essentially none left to allocate to tuition. Thus, a primary goal is to elicit at least one financial aid offer sufficient to cover tuition through non-repayable (grant, scholarship, fellowship, assistantship) aid only.

I'm in the process of asking a few admissions consultants their thoughts on these two questions and would appreciate any feedback you might have:

(1) Assuming solid essays, recommendations, interviews, and other pieces of the application not quantified by the information given, at what sorts of programs do you think I might be competitive for both admission and financial aid offers that would fit my financial criteria?

(2) Would you suggest that I address my law school GPA or let it stand without explanation? At 3.25, it is substantially lower than my undergraduate GPA, and while I believe the disparity does not imply a low set of standards at my undergraduate institution, I think a full discussion of the same would have potential to prove dicey. I also think the similarity in both substance and structure is greater between my business-oriented undergraduate coursework and most MBA coursework than between law school coursework and most MBA coursework. I’m certainly willing to engage a short but tactful dialogue in my application if appropriate, but I think I’d prefer to avoid it unless doing so leaves a gap. What do you think?

Thanks so much for all of your help,

A Grateful Prospective Applicant
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Status: Trust Experience, Trust Success
Affiliations: U. Chicago, Johns Hopkins, AIGAC
Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 1796
Re: Profile Evaluation [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2009, 19:52

First, I think your concerns over your law school GPA are unnecessary. Your GMAT score will hide a multitude of sins. Needless to say you have a very distinctive profile, which when combined with your GMAT score, make you competitive at a number of schools. Given your entrepreneurial goals, I think you would be competitive at such highly ranked entrepreneurship-strong schools as MIT Sloan, Wharton, Haas, Kellogg, perhaps even HBS or Stanford as long shots. However, you are asking a more difficult question, which top schools will admit you and give a free ride. Financial aid is not my speciality but, assuming that applicants who are considerably stronger than a B-school's typical applicant are more likely to be showered with scholarship money, I think you could consider the following schools. They are (a) good, ranked B-schools overall, (b) highly ranked for entrepreneurship, and (c) sufficiently low on the selectivity scale that your profile will make them covetous of your charms, perhaps even enough to give you a free ride:

USC, UNC Kenan-Flagler, Babson, Indiana U., Texas, Duke, maybe NYU and UCLA

Hope this helps,
Re: Profile Evaluation   [#permalink] 20 Jul 2009, 19:52
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