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Profile Evaluation - a few years out

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Profile Evaluation - a few years out  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 08:01
Hi,

I'm looking to apply to US-based MBA programs in the next few years and want to make sure I'm setting myself up well. I'm only 1.5 years out of school right now, so I'm not looking to apply for at least a couple more years. Fortunately, that gives me plenty of time to address any weak points in my profile:

GMAT: 770 (49Q, 48V) - I took the GMAT now as the scores are good for 5 years and I wanted to get it out of the way while test-taking was still fresher in my mind. Very pleased with the score. I'm assuming taking it again to try to bump it up at all is most likely not worth the time/money

Undergrad: 3.4 GPA in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Not a name school, obviously, but ranked 14 (tied) in US News report for engineering undergrad programs in the US. While I believe my GPA in EE is certainly competitive as grade deflation meant the school of engineering had significantly lower grades when compared to the university as a whole, I'm worried that admissions programs will see a 3.4 and write me off. Is that a legitimate concern, or will they contextualize that, given my major, a 3.4 is actually a good (not breathtakingly so, but still good) GPA? Additionally, I'm very worried about the non-name-school portion of this as well. I obviously chose the school back in high school for the engineering program, where it is well-regarded. But I don't have a big name on my resume as a result.

Work experience: I've worked as a financial analyst for Capital One for 2 years. Obviously, as I'm years away from applying, I'm looking to manage multiple people by the time I apply. I've led training sessions on both python and tableau as my background lends itself nicely to these areas. I'm also attempting to get very involved in the automation efforts within the company and really round out my data science skillset. My concern here is similar: while Capital One is a very recognized name, I'm worried it doesn't carry the stopping power of some of the "name" companies. Will this be a detractor? Will it be a neutral data point? How would admissions look at my work experience?

Extracurriculars: I volunteer with a program teaching financial literacy to elementary and middle school kids in 6-week sessions. Have been doing this for the last year and intend to continue. I also volunteer as a tutor at my local community center to teach English to non-native speakers. In school, I was the technology sector lead of a student-run portfolio managing 5M (not sure if that's worth mentioning but it was a cool experience and I managed 5 other students). Do I need to attempt to turn my volunteer work into more leadership-based roles? It's all very hands on.

Letters of recommendation and essays: I'm confident I can get very good letters of recommendation from my managers and former managers - I am, however, concerned that none of them went to the business schools I'd be applying to. Is that a legitimate concern?

Sorry for the wall of text, but being this early in the process, I still have a lot of shaping to do with regards to my story. Do I have a foundation in place where I could be competitive at top-15 schools? I'd love to know your advice on the next couple of years, and, if followed, what my chances might be across the range of top-15(ish) schools.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - a few years out  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 11:50
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Hi there, and thanks for writing! To address your questions:

GMAT: excellent job. Definitely do not retake
Undergrad: Virginia Tech is NOT a no-name school. It has a good reputation - in fact, I've worked with clients who went to Virginia Tech and were admitted to Top US MBA programs. Regarding your GPA - it's not just the overall number that matters but also, the rigor of the major and institution. Since EE is quite challenging, a 3.4 will be just fine.

CapOne is a great company. What matters is not the company's reputation (though a brand name can help) but more the IMPACT you've made in your roles there, as well as the progression (increasing responsibility, compensation, promotion). Management experience is great, but by no means a requirement - many people have gone to bschool without having managed anyone directly. Just make sure you show leadership (training sessions are good for this), teamwork, and growth, and that your recommenders can attest to your strong performance and potential. Speaking of recommenders, it's ok that they didn't go to bschool (mine didn't either!) - they just have to know you very well and be able to provide concrete examples that back up what they say about your strengths and growth.

Your volunteer work is great - if you are able to enter some sort of leadership role within your current involvement, that would be ideal. But I don't think it's absolutely required - more than anything, admissions committes want to see that you are committed to your pursuits, that they are genuine, and that you've positively impacted others through them.

Hope that helps a bit! You're on your way towards building a strong profile for sure. Keep learning and growing at work, see how you can continue to add value to your volunteer organizations, think about what motivates your reason for pursuing an MBA and your future goals, and start researching the schools to start getting a sense of which ones might be a good fit for you. If you do that, I think you'll be a strong candidate. Best of luck!



necrow wrote:
Hi,

I'm looking to apply to US-based MBA programs in the next few years and want to make sure I'm setting myself up well. I'm only 1.5 years out of school right now, so I'm not looking to apply for at least a couple more years. Fortunately, that gives me plenty of time to address any weak points in my profile:

GMAT: 770 (49Q, 48V) - I took the GMAT now as the scores are good for 5 years and I wanted to get it out of the way while test-taking was still fresher in my mind. Very pleased with the score. I'm assuming taking it again to try to bump it up at all is most likely not worth the time/money

Undergrad: 3.4 GPA in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Not a name school, obviously, but ranked 14 (tied) in US News report for engineering undergrad programs in the US. While I believe my GPA in EE is certainly competitive as grade deflation meant the school of engineering had significantly lower grades when compared to the university as a whole, I'm worried that admissions programs will see a 3.4 and write me off. Is that a legitimate concern, or will they contextualize that, given my major, a 3.4 is actually a good (not breathtakingly so, but still good) GPA? Additionally, I'm very worried about the non-name-school portion of this as well. I obviously chose the school back in high school for the engineering program, where it is well-regarded. But I don't have a big name on my resume as a result.

Work experience: I've worked as a financial analyst for Capital One for 2 years. Obviously, as I'm years away from applying, I'm looking to manage multiple people by the time I apply. I've led training sessions on both python and tableau as my background lends itself nicely to these areas. I'm also attempting to get very involved in the automation efforts within the company and really round out my data science skillset. My concern here is similar: while Capital One is a very recognized name, I'm worried it doesn't carry the stopping power of some of the "name" companies. Will this be a detractor? Will it be a neutral data point? How would admissions look at my work experience?

Extracurriculars: I volunteer with a program teaching financial literacy to elementary and middle school kids in 6-week sessions. Have been doing this for the last year and intend to continue. I also volunteer as a tutor at my local community center to teach English to non-native speakers. In school, I was the technology sector lead of a student-run portfolio managing 5M (not sure if that's worth mentioning but it was a cool experience and I managed 5 other students). Do I need to attempt to turn my volunteer work into more leadership-based roles? It's all very hands on.

Letters of recommendation and essays: I'm confident I can get very good letters of recommendation from my managers and former managers - I am, however, concerned that none of them went to the business schools I'd be applying to. Is that a legitimate concern?

Sorry for the wall of text, but being this early in the process, I still have a lot of shaping to do with regards to my story. Do I have a foundation in place where I could be competitive at top-15 schools? I'd love to know your advice on the next couple of years, and, if followed, what my chances might be across the range of top-15(ish) schools.

_________________

Nisha Trivedi
mbaMission Admissions Consultant

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Re: Profile Evaluation - a few years out  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 11:54
Thanks so much! This was incredibly helpful
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Profile Evaluation - a few years out

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