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Profile Evaluation for Columbia EMBA

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Joined: 17 Jan 2019
Posts: 4
Profile Evaluation for Columbia EMBA  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jan 2019, 21:02

Work experience:

Started a mobile gaming company (Y-Combinator backed) during last semester of college (Dec 2011) with some high school friends. Managed design and development of 2 top grossing titles as CTO. Sold to a Chinese gaming publisher 4 years later with around 15 employees for $3M.

Then, with same founding team, started an e-commerce business primarily focused on makeup (also YC-backed, as well as Index Ventures, Goldman Sachs). Performed more of jack of all trades duties: developing software, logistics management, setting up photo shoots. I left after about 8 months as it was much more of an operations play than a technology play, and was no longer geared towards my strengths. The company has gone on to raise a series B, 30M at 160M valuation, although I claim no part in their success.

Moved on to a mid stage fintech startup focusing on consumer lending. Primarily did standard software eng work, most notably leading a team of 3 engineers to onboard the company's biggest enterprise merchant. Left after a year and a half because I wanted to move out of the Bay Area.

Joined a NY tech-based quant hedge fund as a quantitative software engineer mid last year. The work primarily consists of doing equity research and analysis using terabyte-sized datasets, which requires good knowledge of parallel computing frameworks. I am partnered with a few data scientists and take care of any engineering requirements. To date, there is little leadership in my current role, but plenty of opportunity to have a team built around me if I execute correctly. I am also going to be leading a project starting next month so this could pan out pretty quickly. I am one level below VP title, although in finance that doesn't necessarily mean much.

Undergrad school/major: UC Berkeley, Electrical Eng and Comp Sci (graduated in 3 years, 2012)

Race/nationality: Indian American

Sex: Male


GMAT Score: Not taken. Planning to take EA within the next month.

Undergrad GPA: 3.65

MBA Info

Goal of MBA: To take on increasingly influential leadership roles within the engineering and modeling department of my organization.

Target schools: Columbia EMBA, NYU part-time MBA

Do I have a chance of getting I Columbia EMBA program? And if so, will I be at a significantly lower level than other candidates, i.e. are most of the students managing large teams? Columbia's EMBA program seems to skew slightly younger than other business schools since they don't have a part-time option. I just barely hit the 7 year work experience mark, although my previous entrepreneurial work may play to my favor here. I am not interested in doing a full time MBA since I like my current job and don't plan to leave the tech industry.

While I don't have a super concrete idea of my long term goals, I suspect I will start a tech company in the finance space if/when I get bored at my current company (already have a couple ideas for software products targeted at hedge fund clients).

Any advice would be helpful!
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6463
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
Re: Profile Evaluation for Columbia EMBA  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2019, 20:07
Yes, you have a good shot at it for sure, especially if you score well on the GMAT - and based on everything you shared here I am guessing that you will. You are a bit below their average of 9 years, but you have strong experience and demonstrated impact that will help set you apart.

That said, it will be critical to formulate some specific ST & LT career goals. You entire argument for why you need the degree rests on those career goals (since the purpose of the EMBA is to fill the skill gaps you need to fill in order to achieve those goals). So definitely do some thinking there. Ultimately it all rests on your LT goal. The purpose of your ST goal is to be the very best preparation for your LT goal and the purpose of the MBA is to help prep you for both. If you do decide you want to start a tech company in the finance space, you'll want to be ready to paint a picture of the types of problem(s) you plan to address & the unmet need you plan to fill. You'll also want to be ready to field questions about how you'll compete with larger firms (with potentially more resources) that may be going after this same space. And then, like I said, you'll want to name a ST goal that will best prep you to launch this future business. That might be a role at your current company - but you'll want to name the specific title, what you'll gain in that role, etc. Or, if the specifics of your eventual start up feel too hard to define, I'd consider aiming for a senior role in an existing firm in the tech/finance space. Either way you'll still want to be ready to speak to the problems you plan to solve, the specific impact you plan to have, and why this is your passion.

If you decide you need some help thinking through your goals, definitely reach out to us. That is a big part of what we help our clients do since it's so integral to your overall value proposition. Claudia can get you set up with a free consultation with one of our MBA consultants if that's of interest. You can reach her at
Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado


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