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Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old

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Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2020, 18:36
Hello,

I've wanted to get my profile evaluated but had not have a GMAT score until yesterday. Now that I finally have one, I would like to ask you to review my profile.

· Demographics: South Korean, Male, 35 years old

· Education: University of Pennsylvania, 3.62 GPA, Economics (Math minor)

· GMAT: 730 (Q50, V39, IR8)

· Work experience
9 years, Family business (Textile trading), Director
I have worked in a company my father founded about 30 years ago and have been a part of each side of jobs possible in this relatively small company. Right now, my role is mostly sales, production control, and accounting. As a trading company, I
travel many times a year to China, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.

· Extracurricular activities: Founded a baseball club (25 members) and run for 8 years / Low-handicap golfer, Assistant manager in a golf club for 3 years

· Post-MBA goals: I would like to find a way to enhance our family business by either strengthening the current business or employing a new business model, or both. (+ comment#2 below)

· Target schools: Wharton, CBS, Haas, Stern, Sloan


1. My biggest concern/curiosity is about my age as I have heard many negative comments about being 35+ years old. I know my target schools are set too high, but these are the ones, of which I want to know my chances of admission. I am also considering Fuqua, McDonough, USC, UCLA.

2. Regarding the post-MBA goals, I have another controversial thought in mind. I also want to explore ways to get into sports industry if I get into MBA, but I'm not sure if I should leverage this in my application because my work experience is not at all related even though I put a lot of time outside of work. Having the age as a concern for admission already, I'm worried about whether this will further increase adcom's conern about my candidacy. So, I'm wondering if I should just not mention any of it and focus on more realistic goals.

3. Do you think it's worthwhile to take another GMAT? I'm asking because I already registered for two exams a month ago, one of which I took yesterday and another expected in 17 days from today. I can only get $75 refund out of $250 if I choose to cancel now, so I thought I might as well take it and see if get any better score, and if not, cancel. Or do you think it's not worth the time and effort and I should rather focus on other parts of application?

4. Regarding letters of recommendation, I heard the best resource would be my direct supervisor, but in my case, it's my father. I also heard that a letter from a family member is something I should avoid. That leaves me with no candidate in the company, and next possible sources are our customers. Though this is the only option I'm left with, I think asking customers to write recommendation is too much to ask and somewhat risky for the sake of the business.

Please give me your thoughts on above, and anything you provide would be much appreciated.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2020, 09:20
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Hi kimchuri,

Thank you for your post. Here are my thoughts and responses:

From an age and work experience perspective, you are unfortunately going to be a major outlier for full-time programs. Among top programs, students are, on average, about 5 years removed from undergrad (at the point of enrollment), with a middle 80% range (10th percentile to 90th percentile) of 3 to 7 years, 3.5 to 7 years, or in some wider cases (e.g., Haas, Tepper) 3ish to 8ish years. Applying to a full-time program when you are presumably 13 years removed from undergrad creates extreme outlier status. You might see a couple of students per year in this age range at smaller programs, and perhaps a handful at larger programs, but more often they are going to have "age-justified" backgrounds -- like they were (are) doctors and thus had previous (or concurrent) medical career, or they spent 10+ years in the military.

You can certainly try if you have that desire in your gut, but I think you're really in a situation where you should be looking at MBA programs that are specifically designed for mid-career professionals. The exact options there depend a little bit on your residency (South Korea versus U.S. versus both), as many part-time or Executive MBA options do not confer student visa status (though some do). To be completely candid, I would explore those over full-time options. You can potentially throw one-year MBA programs into your consideration as well, as those would confer student visa status and they tend to trend a little older than their two-year counterparts. Here is a good list reference for one-year programs from Poets and Quants: https://poetsandquants.com/2019/09/29/t ... -states/4/

If you're dead set on trying for full-time programs, then the further down-ranking you go, the more willing schools might be to look past your outlier status. Among the schools you've listed as your targets, I think it's unfortunately going to be tough sledding for traditional full-time programs, but most of those do have alternatives designed for folks at your career juncture (again somewhat dependent on visa status). Columbia has a J-Term MBA that is a slightly condensed full-time program, and where you sometimes see "strong but full-time outlier candidates" end up. Stern has a couple of the aforementioned one-year programs. MIT Sloan has a one-year MIT Sloan Fellows MBA program, which is 73% international and boasts an average work experience of 14 years -- that could be an interesting consideration. (And many of these programs have part-time and executive options, though in those cases they usually don't confer visa status.)

Long story short, I think that with strong research (and guidance, if you were interested in working together on school selection/strategy), you could assemble a wise and targeted combination of mid-career / executive / one-year programs from these very same schools that are a much better fit than trying for such a long shot at traditional full-time programs (or trading down in the rankings to the point that a school might consider you at this point in your career, but perhaps you're less enthused about the school or program itself). If you re-engineer toward these types of programs, then I don't see a need to reconsider the GMAT, as their GMAT bars are usually a little lower (unless you really felt like you had more points up your sleeve).

Regarding your other questions, the sports goal could tie to your founding the baseball club (which sounds really interesting and unique!), so it's not completely out of nowhere, and if it's a really specific and authentic dream, it could be a consideration -- at least something to talk about and weigh pros and cons. More of a gamble, and the why MBA becomes tough, so my inclination is to stay away from it (and keep it as a personal ambition, but not necessarily something for a goals essay, or perhaps woven in as a side passion or long-term side passion rooted in your founding the club... like it can have a home somewhere as it's part of who you are, but perhaps not serve as "the goal.") For recommenders, you should not (cannot) use family members, so you will have to be more thoughtful and strategic about whom you can ask. Business partners and clients and such are often viable considerations for folks applying from family business.

Long response but I hope the detail helps. Your academic, professional, and personal background certainly give you a nice foundation; the main obstacle for you is really age (and, in turn, why a full-time MBA now, and what your path would look like when these programs and their recruiting apparatuses are designed for folks with half or less than half your experience). With the right program, your strengths can shine through as true strengths, without these likely prohibitive age and placement and why MBA now concerns from the adcoms. If you are considering the possibility of partnering on any of the above (or anything else) and would like to learn more, I encourage you to read my reviews and sign up for a Free Consultation (links below). I wish you the best of luck and hope we have the opportunity to connect!

https://www.avantiprep.com/testimonials.html

https://www.avantiprep.com/free-consultation.html

Best Regards,
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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Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 13 May 2020, 17:08
Dear Greg,

Wow, I did not expect a response this much in detail. Thank you so much for this. It means a lot to me. Everything you mentioned makes total sense and actually made me feel depressed a little but gave me a clear guidance at the same time.

I'm not sure whether the years removed from undergrad is important or the age is, or both, but I graduated in 2011 because I had to serve in the military for 2.3 years before graduation. That makes it about 10 years removed from undergrad, but I guess it doesn't change much since it's still well above average and my age is still 35.

Though the part-time and executive MBAs seemed not fit for me, I've been actually looking into one-year MBA programs and was still inclined to pursue the full-time. But, after reading your comments, I now think I should consider the one-year MBAs more seriously and maybe mix them up with a few full-time programs. I was also considering the early decision for Columbia full-time, but do you think J-Term would be a better choice?

My original plan was to try only in-person consultations in my country, but your thoughtful/detailed review made me want to try yours. I don't know if I will get to talk to you or someone else but will definitely sign up at the link you provided after my second GMAT attempt. I decided to take it because I already paid for it and might get a higher score.

Again, thanks a lot for your kindness.

Best,
Chulhee

Originally posted by kimchuri on 11 May 2020, 17:45.
Last edited by kimchuri on 13 May 2020, 17:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2020, 09:54
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Hi Chulhee,

Thank you for your kind words and follow-up note. I am glad that the detail helped, and I apologize if my response made you feel a little depressed about the two-year programs. That definitely was not my intention. My intention was to offer detail, nuance, and candor. I think you have a great background and great experiences, so from an optimistic perspective, I think the next step is figuring out how to translate that into the right type(s) of programs, or right school strategy / combination of programs.

I am very much an optimist in life, and I happen to believe that it is never too late for anyone to do anything. But in this case, we have to marry that optimism against the realities of the application process and admissions filters that are beyond our control in order to devise an optimal strategy -- the very strategy that (again optimistically) enables you to achieve the goals you want to achieve and take the next steps you want to take in your life and career : )

The military experience is helpful to know, and I think that the experience itself and growth / lessons / failures from that experience will likely offer interesting perspective within your applications (in part, and properly sized). Military experience can help mitigate age outlier status in the eyes of admissions committees a little bit, but starting a full-time, two-year program at age 35 is still pretty rare. Still, you are free to shoot your shot at as many of those programs as you'd like, and in all cases you will want to be super proactive about why you are seeking a full-time MBA now (and even why a two-year experience is necessary over alternative types of MBA experiences).

I think that if you dug in on school research and strategy -- and you still really wanted to include some two-year programs -- that you might well end up with an interesting but very well considered mix of program types... some full-time two-year programs (to test your chances if that's where your heart lies), some one-year programs, and still some Executive-style Programs (as there are some out there designed for people at pretty much exactly your career juncture, which sponsor people for student visa purposes, and which are still essentially residential in nature). If you're open to looking outside the U.S., you might encounter other full-time programs that trend slightly older than U.S. programs.

In many cases, you will also find schools that allow you to apply to one program variation but indicate openness to attending certain other of their programs. This policy and the level of formality associated with it varies by program, so you'd almost want to start an online application for programs you're considering to see if they ask this question (e.g., "If the Admissions Committee determines that you would be a better fit for our Executive MBA program, would you be interested?" OR "Would you also like to be considered for our one-year MBA program?"). (And/or you can reach out to adcoms for clarity.)

For Columbia, I think you'd have a better chance of getting into the J-Term program, but I have heard of cases where the CBS adcom receives a two-year app and then pretty much tells the candidate they like them, but they'd be a better fit for J-Term. (I do not believe that CBS asks this question in the app, but even if they don't, you could apply Early Decision, state your preference for the two-year program and specific rationale for why, while also indicating openness for being considered for the J-Term. You would do this in the Optional Essay.) In doing so, you're sort of giving them an "out," but I think that in this case, that openness would be to your strategic benefit. (If you really only want to be considered for the two-year program, then do not do this, but you would in doing so be reducing your overall chances at earning some sort of admission to CBS.)

I would be more than happy to chat with you, so please feel free to reach out at your convenience / after you've retaken the GMAT. You would speak with me directly, and if we were to work together, you would work with me directly as well. You can email me at greg@avantiprep.com or sign up via the Free Consultation link below. I wish you the best of luck with next steps, and I hope we have the opportunity to speak soon!

Kind Regards,
Greg
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Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
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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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Re: Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2020, 16:55
Dear Greg,

Thank you again for the detailed response. But, you shouldn't apologize for your first comments since I wouldn't want to hear someone saying things that would just make me feel good. I was definitely expecting some negative feedback and was disheartened to actually have someone confirm the hard truth, but I can now see more clearly where I stand and decide how I should proceed.

All of your comments are insightful and helpful, and I'm very tempted to ask you more follow-up questions but will save them for later because it would be a nonsense to keep asking you in this forum.

If I may, I'd like to ask one more quick one. If I happen to score the exact same score of 730 on my second GMAT, should I cancel it or keep it? FYI, I just got my official scores with 4.0 in AWA. I heard 4.0 in AWA is the minimum that wouldn't raise any concerns in adcom but concerns me a little, and it would be much appreciated if you could give me your thoughts.

I will stop now and will certainly contact you after I take the exam and get myself more organized/determined with my approach to MBA.

Best regards,
Chulhee Kim
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2020, 07:43
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Thank you, Chulhee. If I were to receive a 730 again, my personal inclination (or default) would be to keep the score. For starters, it's an excellent score about which you should feel proud, and it shows consistent performance on a high level on your part. Second, if you ever had to upload an unofficial document that showed the 'C' for a canceled score, adcoms would assume you underperformed the 730, and probably by some margin. Third, when you get the same or similar overall score, your sub-scores are usually moving up and down a little bit. That could mean that your best Q or best V or best AWA or best IR come by way of this exam, even if the overall score stays flat or goes slightly down.

While schools "officially consider" your best overall score, they do still observe your sub-scores, so seeing a higher sub-score in one of the other areas has value (even if it did not come on the same exam when you received your highest overall score). In other words, they see from that sub-score that you have a higher degree of capability in a given area. So even if your overall score goes down a little, if you receive your highest sub-score in any of the four areas, I would keep the score.

I would personally only cancel it if (a) the overall score AND all four sub-scores went down, or (b) you got your highest ever sub-score in one of the areas, but it was very very marginal, and the overall score went down by "more" than it's worth to show (i.e., if the "con" of the overall score decrease was clearly more detrimental than the "pro" of the sub-score increase). You sort of have to make a judgment call in that case.

Regarding the AWA, I would agree that a 4.0 is something of a de facto baseline. Adcoms definitely take international and linguistic context into account, so while a little higher is always nice, I would not be too worried about the 4.0. You can clearly perform well in an English-speaking academic setting, you conduct business internationally, and you did really well at an elite U.S. university as an undergrad, so they have their real-life proof points on that front : )

Best Regards,
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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Re: Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2020, 16:15
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Thank you, Greg. Your answers are always more than satisfying. I will talk to you again soon.

Best regards,
Chulhee Kim
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Re: Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old  [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2020, 12:23
Thank you again, Chulhee. Best of luck with your upcoming GMAT. Please feel free to reach back out to me whenever is convenient for you. I look forward to reconnecting with you then!

Kind Regards,
Greg
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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 - Korean male, 35 years old   [#permalink] 15 May 2020, 12:23

Profile Evaluation - Korean male, 35 years old

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