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Profile Evaluation - Indian Engineer Male

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New post 27 Jul 2019, 06:50
Hi,

Can you please go through the below and provide me your valuable inputs? Specific questions I have are listed at the bottom.

Bio: 1994 born, Indian, Male

GMAT: 770 (Q 50 / V 46)

Intend to apply R1 for 2021 intake.


Education:
Top 20 (By govt rankings) Indian School (non-IIT) GPA 8.11/10 Electrical and Electronics Engineering (no official figure on rank. The gold medalist had 9.84/10 GPA). Grappled through a serious medical condition during college. (Note - Got selected for ISB Young Leaders Program but I dropped out)

Full time work Ex - Total 4+ years (at the time of applying in Sep 2020)
1. 2.9 years in a Consulting division of a Big 4 Accounting firm. Worked with Fortune 500 clients in insurance and hospital industry. Mostly on Cost Optimization, business Process Restructuring and Project Management consulting assignments. Worked at Office of the Managing Director for a year. 4 awards. Few months of international client facing experience in US (had to come back due to immigration issues).
2. 1.5 years in top tier non-profit (think Gates/Dell/Clinton Foundation) where I work with national govt on a high impact project in digital transformation & leveraging AI/ML for public health systems.

Part time work ex (pro bono):
1. Worked with a Member of Parliament (Upper house) to create a strategy to make Bangalore a tourist hub.
2. Worked as remote volunteer with a national award winning documentary film maker for his new project around families residing along borders of India

Extra curricular:
School
Ambassador for a top tier international education NGO. Co-founded its school chapter. Taught English, Math to 30 children for 2 years.

Undergrad
1. Organizer (1/15, led Revenue Dept) of one of the largest college cultural festivals in the country. Led team of 80 to generate revenues of 65K USD+ and footfall of 30,000+
2. Volunteer with top tier national education NGO for 3 years in various roles - Teacher, fundraiser, career counselor, Mentor
3. Social Entrepreneurship venture with Enactus to create livelihood for 6 widows in rural India. Raised 6K USD as funds from Walmart, KPMG. Led 50 member team.
4. Co-founded a college club which was a collab between the college and an MNC. Led 40+ member team
5. Participated and won in 15+ debate tournaments (MUNs)

After undergrad
1. Ambassador for alumni association of college and created the social media presence - generating 20K+ engagement in 6 months.
2. Participated in education related CSR activities at Big 4 firm
3. Completed Certificate course in public policy (Young Leaders for Active Citizenship). Studied under Harvard MPA/Oxford MPP educated mentors.
4. Rejoined the national NGO in (2) above as a Mentor for youth (18+ years of age)

Target Schools: H/S/W/MIT/Insead/Booth

Post MBA Goal - Deciding between Impact investing in India and International Public Sector Consulting

Added Info - Applied in 2018 with a hurried application (think 4 schools in 1 month) to H/S/W/Sloan. This was when I was still at big 4 consulting. Bad Decision. I know. But that ship has sailed.

Thank you for taking time out to go through my profile. The questions I have are -

Questions-
1. I have a non-IIT undergrad and not-so-stellar GPA. How do I optimize this aspect for H/S/W? the GMAT is one way. But what else can I do?
2. I have never had direct reportees during professional life. Even in my current role I am directly working with the leadership of the Ministry of Health. I have guided technical/ops teams but its not direct reporting. How do I showcase leadership?
3. Re-applicant. I applied 2018 December. I will again apply 2020 September. What is the potential impact?
4. Are the target schools realistic?
5. What else can I do to improve my profile?
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New post 29 Jul 2019, 06:23
Hi Observer0911,

Thank you for your post, and congratulations on the great GMAT! Here are my responses to your questions:

1. ACADEMICS

Your GMAT score is very strong and already helps to uplift your academic standing. Moreover, for international applicants, the GMAT carries even more weight relative to GPA than it does for domestic applicants (so long as your GPA or class positioning wasn't bad), in large part because international GPAs do not get tabulated within schools' published class-average GPAs. You have a strong profile overall; given the schools to which you're applying, it would be lovely to have come from a first-tier college, worked at MBB instead of the Big 4, and (to a slightly lesser extent) had a higher GPA. (More on schools below.) But everyone has strengths and areas they wish they could improve in their profile. Given that Round 1 deadlines are only a few weeks away, it's a matter now of telling your unique story, unpacking the value of your experiences (through which your intellectual horsepower will shine through), articulating your goals, why you need an MBA to achieve them, how you'd uniquely contribute to a program (in ways that others with similar profiles can't for example), etc. Your recommenders will play a very important role in this as well. As you consider these things, remember that you do not want to brag. Your acumen and unique skills and experiences will shine through if your stories and essays are well told. Be humble. Think of others. Don't tell them "how smart you are!"

2. LEADERSHIP

I would focus less on whether you officially had "direct reports" and more on unpacking the value of your experiences, including leadership experiences. I imagine that you have spearheaded projects or been the go-to-person for various initiatives, and by way of doing so, you effectively "led" people and "led" ideas into execution. And within that, I'm sure there were even more interesting, MBA-relevant leadership themes, such as international or cross-functional partnership, relationship- and team-building, uniting teammates behind a common purpose, managing upward, influencing (sometimes without formal authority), and so forth. In short, leadership is not a matter of how many people "fall under you" in an org chart; it's about all of these themes and more. (Same goes for your experiences outside of work.) Where exactly these themes lie in your professional and extracurricular experiences would require introspection and conversation. I'd be happy to chat about it by way of a Free Consultation: https://www.avantiprep.com/free-consultation.html

3. REAPPLICANT

In a similar spirit as the previous comment, I would worry less about the fact that you are a re-applicant. From an admissions perspective, the bearing is neutral. I would focus more on (a) how you are going to articulate the specific, concrete, tangible improvements to your candidacy that you've made since you last applied, and (b) at a more strategic level, in what ways your applications weren't so strong the last time around, and how they can therefore improve. As a re-applicant, you are usually going to be required to accomplish the first of these by way of a re-applicant essay (250 to 500 words depending on the school) in which they explicitly ask you how you've improved your candidacy. I encourage applicants (and very often work with them) to crystallize a series of improvement categories and then articulate not only the specifics of the improvement, but also the self-awareness and connections to your goals and why you're now better prepared to achieve them and contribute more meaningfully to the program. I would be happy to brainstorm this with you as well. (Your recommendations should be fresh and enhanced as well; they can usually come from the same people -- schools' LOR instructions for re-applicants vary, so look closely -- though you likely have a new voice now via the nonprofit. And even if a recommender is the same, his/her recommendation should definitely not be a repeat of last time!)

4. SCHOOLS

4. As noted above, you have a strong profile and are in the unique territory where, despite coming from the most crowded and competitive demographic in the world, you can justifiably apply to schools like the ones you've listed. At the same, it is still very important to understand the broader admissions landscape when doing so (and to potentially adjust your school strategy accordingly). According to some studies, Indian applicants with a 770 GMAT score still have only a 6% acceptance rate to Wharton. That figure is going to be even lower for Indian male engineers and for schools like Stanford, HBS, and MIT Sloan, which have considerably lower acceptance rates than Wharton. Moreover, these super-elite schools draw more heavily from the MBBs than the Big 4 (especially when you're coming from an overrepresented group) and more heavily from first-tier undergraduate programs. (Your more recent and seemingly blue-chip global nonprofit experience helps here, as you are no longer "just" a Big 4 applicant; if that were the case, these programs would be even more difficult.) With all of that in mind, I think it would behoove you to consider including at least some schools from the next tier (T8-16). INSEAD is the most achievable of the group you've listed. The rest of the schools range from super-hard to hard -- not unachievable, just very difficult as the data referenced above suggests. You can certainly include some or all of these programs, but I'd probably diversify a bit too.

5. THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE NOW IS TO FOCUS ON YOUR APPLICATIONS

With the first of these deadlines only a few weeks ago, there isn't much else you can "add" to or "change" about your profile. There is ***a ton*** you can do, however, to maximize the value and articulation of your story through your applications, essays, resume, and recommendations. That is where you should invest yourself completely now. You can read more about certain key considerations related to career goal specificity, why MBA (what knowledge, skills, and experience are missing en route to these goals?), why each school, school specificity and contributions, passion / purpose / interests / motivations, recommendations, and the like through this blog post: https://www.avantiprep.com/blog/the-mos ... on-process

HAPPY TO CHAT

I know that's a lot to digest, and there's even more we could discuss by way of a Free Consultation. I would be more than happy to chat and build on the specifics of what's addressed above, so please feel free to email me at greg@avantiprep.com or sign up for a Free Consultation via this link: https://www.avantiprep.com/free-consultation.html

Best Regards,
Greg
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New post 29 Jul 2019, 10:01
Hi Greg,

Thank you for the detailed response. I really appreciate it. The points you mentioned are informative and valid.

I am not applying this cycle. I will apply next year 2020 R1 for 2021 intake. From that standpoint, is there something I can do to improve my profile?
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New post 29 Jul 2019, 11:47
If I were to be more specific - I am looking to improve the quantitative aspects about my profile. From that standpoint, do you think a certification like HBX Core will help?

Thanks.
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New post 29 Jul 2019, 14:15
Thank you, Observer0911. My apologies for misreading the intended application year. With this year's Round 1 deadlines coming in just a few weeks -- and most applicants posting about those -- I was admittedly a bit wired to interpret your post through the lens of a 2019 application : )

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CANDIDACY: QUANT / BUSINESS / CONSIDERATIONS

As for your specific question about "how to improve" between then and now, I do not think you necessarily *need* to boost your Quant profile by way of an HBX CORe or similar. You might not have attended a tippy-top tier program or had a top-tier GPA, but the 770 GMAT, Q50, and consulting experience (which presumably included business-oriented analytical work) all help in those regards. The 770 GMAT score is a "plus" score, and I would be hard pressed to think that an admissions committee is going to lack faith in your Quant abilities. At the same time, if you really wanted to use the next 12 months check every box you could and improve your profile in every way you can, then an HBX CORe certainly isn't going to hurt. If you were to pursue it, I would think of it more as evidence of a continuous desire toward self-improvement and an ability to build a foundation / succeed in foundational classroom-style business subject matters, which you were exposed to on the job but didn't have in the classroom as an undergrad. In my mind, it would be more those things than needing to prove or bolster your pure Quant abilities. I believe that that is already in hand.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CANDIDACY: OTHER KEY CONSIDERATIONS

Now, whether you invest time in that should be judged in context of what other steps you can take to improve your profile, and whether you think you have time to do all of them. These other areas include (1) investing yourself in (or even creating!) an impactful extracurricular / leadership activity that positively impacts others and is super meaningful to you, (2) considering how you can raise your hand for (or again, even create) a new, impactful initiative at work that goes beyond your core job responsibilities and elevates the organization and others around you, (3) developing the specificity of your career goals through research, coffees and conversations with people who have the jobs you think you might purse post-MBA, and (4) getting to know programs very deeply, both through events and info sessions and conversations with current students and alumni from programs that you are considering. Ideally you'd try to chat with students and alumni who share your professional interests, that way you can understand what resources they avail themselves at a given program, how they contribute, and what the job (and visa) landscape is post-MBA for an international applicant with your professional goals.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

The first two items above (and within that particularly the first one) probably have the biggest upside in terms of differentiation and impact, and your post-college ECs do look a little more "membership-oriented" than "leadership-oriented," so this will help there. The second two items are essential to any successful application strategy; you simply have the benefit of doing a year worth of building, as opposed to folks who are applying in one month who are now playing catch up in terms of building out their goals, getting to know schools very deeply, and having the requisite conversations. As you do so, also begin to brainstorm: what knowledge, skills, and experience do I already possess that are relevant to these goals? What knowledge, skills, and experience am I missing therefore need to acquire via an MBA? And as you learn more and more about each program, consider *exactly* how you'd acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, and experience by way of each unique program (and how you would uniquely contribute if you were a student there... keeping each school's culture, community, and special programs in mind as you do so).

I would be happy to elaborate / brainstorm the above with you, so please feel free to send me a message (greg@avantiprep.com) or sign up for a Free Consultation: https://www.avantiprep.com/free-consultation.html

Thanks!
Greg
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To better understand how I work with clients and what they've historically felt were the major benefits of partnering, I encourage you to read through my Client Testimonials, all of which are independently verified by GMAT Club. I believe you'll find the reviews to be among the most transparent and detailed out there, and I believe you'll observe a unique level of time, depth, quality, commitment, attention to detail, and personal care. For serious inquiries, I am happy to connect you with former clients so you can hear about their experiences.
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New post 30 Jul 2019, 08:34
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Hi Greg,

I must say, that is one of the most comprehensive feedback I have received. I really appreciate you structuring it out for me.

While I understand that the quant aspect does not necessarily need more focus, I just wanted to put it out there with the extremely selective nature of the schools in mind. I asked about HBX Core since it is explicitly asked for in the HBS admissions form. I am assuming they do look at it as some sort of indicator regarding the potential performance of the individual during the MBA.

I happen to be a diploma holder in art. I also have an interest in the liberal arts (history, psychology and political science to be precise). I am planning to start something at the intersection of the two to increase awareness. I intend to leverage a digital platform for the purpose. Yet to work out the details. I did not mention this since I am not doing this from an applications perspective. It is just something I want to do. Do you think it might have a bearing on admissions? Asking wrt the first point you mentioned.

Again, thank you for the detailed guidance. I will schedule a session with you in the next few months to understand things better.

Best regards
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New post 30 Jul 2019, 15:43
Thank you, Observer0911. I appreciate your kind words. It is my pleasure to help!

Given the extremely selective nature of these ultra-elite programs, if you wanted to "turn over every single stone" you possibly could, then you can consider a program like HBX CORe. Again, for reasons described, I would be very hard pressed to say that you **need** to do something like this to prove yourself from a Quant perspective, but it certainly won't hurt you in terms of shoring up your quasi-academic business fundamentals, especially given you're originally an engineer. In a game of inches, this can be an extra inch amidst a handful of other possible "inches" that you could pursue with your time between now and next year's application season. If you can do them all, great, otherwise you will need to choose where to spend your time. Yes, HBS asks about the program in their application; I would think of it as something that can add a nice touch (assuming strong scores). But it's not going to make or break an application.

With respect to the idea that you have, I think it's great that you would be taking initiative, creating something new, and drawing upon your passions to do so. At the same time, I would encourage you to consider how an idea like this might also manifest at the grassroots level, beyond being purely digital. Digital is good for scale, but let's see what impact you can make with it in communities, person to person, group to group, etc. That tends to be the crucible for a lot more personal and leadership growth and human impact than something that's purely digital. Consider how you can thus combine digital and grassroots. Also consider what the focus here is. I know it's just a raw idea right now, but you named a lot of different disciplines, "increasing awareness" about them sounds kind of abstract, and I'm not really sure what the tangible impact of merely "increasing awareness" would be. So try to take it to the next level. What real impact can you have? Is it more teaching oriented? Is it mobilizing others to do so, and organizing and spearheading that effort?

A real, tangible, impactful community leadership initiative that you create -- and is more than just a website or a simple driver of awareness -- something that really touches people and helps people -- would definitely have a positive bearing on admissions. That doesn't come easy, and if it's a light effort or thin initiative, the admissions committee will see through it. Real initiatives take real effort, real time, real building, and as a result, they produce real, positive community impact. Like you said, these should be things that you are passionate about and what to pursue anyway, and as a corollary to that, they can also end up helping to differentiate you in your MBA applications. Hope that helps -- feel free to sign up for a Free Consultation at you convenience!

Best Regards,
Greg
_________________
Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
Sign up for a Free Consultation!

To better understand how I work with clients and what they've historically felt were the major benefits of partnering, I encourage you to read through my Client Testimonials, all of which are independently verified by GMAT Club. I believe you'll find the reviews to be among the most transparent and detailed out there, and I believe you'll observe a unique level of time, depth, quality, commitment, attention to detail, and personal care. For serious inquiries, I am happy to connect you with former clients so you can hear about their experiences.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Indian Engineer Male   [#permalink] 30 Jul 2019, 15:43
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