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Prof Qualifications: Passed CFA Level I, would clear Level II by matriculation
Work Experience: Total 87 months by matriculation - 24 months with largest infrastructure utility in India as Assistant Manager - stratefy & business planning - handled enginnering as well as commercial aspects of business - managed a division with 200 employees for a year - earned appreciation certificates from management for achieveing targets - Manager with consulting arm of India's largest rating agency - worked in mostly in infrastructure domain - was the top rated employee in the division - worked with Indian as well as overseas clients - Associate Vice President with a private equity firm focusing on Indian markets - worked on investment evaluation as well as fund raising - travelled to 5 countries for investor meetings and road shows - earned appreciation from investors and management for excellent fund models
Extra Curriculars: - Actively engaged with several NGOs through an associate foundation of my employer - Several other community activities as well - Won numerous competitions and been president of a club in my postgrad college
Goals Post MBA: Move from India focused fund to a global fund catering to emerging economies
Request you to provide a feedback on how does my profile stand for H/W/S. My key concern is that am I too old, specifically for H and S?? Also, should I retake GMAT to improve my score or is it sufficient?
I started reading your profile, and with the 31, Indian background, and 700, and was about to write "you have no chances" when I came to the part that said you lead 200 people! Which totally changed my mind. So I think you CAN apply, BUT you will be fighting an uphill battle. There is a lot going against you, your age, your country, your GMAT (for these programs), and you are gonna have to fight for your admission. But you do have a shot! However, because of all the above, especially the age, you need to apply to a LOT more programs, even 7,8. the thing is, that your age makes you a sort of wildcard, and the statistics start shooting off in all directions, and thus the predictability of you getting into such ans such a program.
However, I am confident that if you make a strong case for yourself, and apply to enough places, that you can get in a top 10 school.
Since the deadline in Jan 1st week for R2 of most of the schools, would you suggest to reappear and improve my GMAT score. I am confident that I can improve it by 30-40 points with a month of preparation.
Further, I have applied to R1 of INSEAD and LBS, the schools I was told are more receptive of older candidates. The interview invites for both these schools are expected this week, so I can decide depending on that outcome.
Another thing which I wanted to ask was that does my experience in core industry, consulting and PE differentiates me from the typical Indian pool (IT) and is it something that I should use as USP in my essays?
Okay, so where to start? Let's start with the GMAT. Don't retake. It'd be a waste of your time. At this point, you need to maximize your time if you intend to apply this round, and the time you spend on your GMAT to get a score that will MIGHT go up that is not the best use of your resources IMHO.
Instead use that month to add two-three applications to your list. Broaden your chances.
700 is good. Excellent even. Now as far as the age, you are totally right. INSEAD is much more accepting of older candidates. Actually this goes for ALL European programs. They are a bit more flexible when it comes to both age and GMAT. If you are adding schools in the US, just have a look at their "Average age" statistic. If it's 26 (Harvard) it may be a bit tougher, and if it's 28 it'll be a bit easier.
How to differentiate? that's easy!! you lead a DIVISION!!! of TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE!!!!! Do you realize how rare this is??? even five years AFTER an MBA most people don't lead as much. Batter them down with stories about you leading and training and motivating hundreds of people. There's nothing better you can do to help your chances! Wow!
And if you need any additional help, you just drop us a line.
There was a slight concern that I had. I led this division (and 200 employees - around 15 direct reports and rest indirect reports) during the very initial part of my career i.e. second year of my first job. After this, I went for my master's degree and then led a team of 7 people in my next firm and am leading 4 people in my current firm. The team size is reducing because of nature of work and size of organisation. My first company was a large infrastructure company with almost 10000 employees, the second one was in consulting, with around 150 employees, and current one (private equity) has around 15 employees. Do you think, this can be a concern? Further, can I still write stories about leading 200 people, even if this happened like 6 years back??
Also, the fact that I have already done a master's degree (Masters in Management Studies - Finance), is a disadvantage for me?
First of all, leading those teams is always valid do you can and should still mention it. As for your career progress, well it depends. The thing you want to show is that you are moving up. So for example, it happens a lot that I see candidates who lead teams of 20 in some specific industry and then move to consulting to lead a team of 0!
But it still is a move upwards. So as long as you can show that you have kept that forward motion, you should be fine.