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Intern
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Joined: 21 Dec 2018
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Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2019, 10:37
Background:
26, Asian Male

Academics:
Undergraduate: UCLA
GPA: 3.86 (Magna Cum Laude)
Major: Chemical Engineering

GMAT: 720 (Q: 48, V: 40, IR: 3, AWA: 4)*

*I plan to write an essay addressing my low IR/AWA scores. Key points for that essay are as follows:
- When I officially decided to go for an MBA (March 2019), my work was going through a work intensive maintenance window.
- I was working ~80 hours a week, 6 days a week, including days/night shifts for 12 weeks
- I tried studying while working 80 hrs a week, but the physical and mental fatigue made it tough (my work entails physical activity - climbing through equipment for inspections & technical analysis during this maintenance window).
- When the maintenance window ended, I had to transition from night shifts and had effectively 3 weeks to study.
- With verbal reasoning being my weakest subject, I choose to focus on that.
- With a relatively strong work experience and GPA, I felt that would help bolster my IR/AWA scores (and even my quant score).
- Instead of retaking the GMAT, I felt my time was better suited researching MBA programs, determining post-MBA career, & determining what I would do with my time at different MBA programs to achieve the post MBA career.

Work Exp:
4 years (currently) as a Process Engineer at a Fortune 50 petroleum refining company

A sample of major projects/achievements include the following:
- Leading interdisciplinary teams to remove equipment deficiencies & increase unit reliability
- Optimizing process unit to increase throughput & generate millions of dollar/year in profit

Extra curricular:
I am very big on mentorship so a lot of my extra cirriculars reflect this:
- Mentorship roles in a few engineering clubs as an undergrad. Help set up various events including: UCLA's Engineering Welcome Day, resume workshops, interview/internship prep, etc.
- Recruiting lead at UCLA for my company. This extends to being involved in our internship program as a supervisor & buddy. Also I have been involved with my local high school students (through my company) with discussions about college, STEM fields, career fairs, resumes, etc.

Goal:
Ideally, I hope to make a joint degree program that has exposure to tech to help switch in Tech as a product manager.

My current role has me communicating with a wide audience from engineers, operators (essentially our customers), and management, so I feel like this aspect translates smoothly. The reason I am pursuing and MBA to learn the business side of this role (different analytical tools/metrics, case studies, hands on experience, etc.) and also learn more about the tech space (joining clubs, learning how to code, etc.)

Target Schools:
MIT Sloan, Kellogg, Chicago, Wharton, HBS, GSB, Haas, Anderson, McCombs

I am planning to apply this fall for 2020 admit. I choose these schools based on the programs & the location. I still need to do more research into the culture/fit and other resources that would help my career goals.

Thanks! Please do let me know how realistic/unrealistic the goals are or if there are areas of my profile I need to address to make myself more competitive. Also, if there are other schools with a strong Tech MBA that I should be considering, please let me know.
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New post 24 Jun 2019, 20:20
I do not recommend writing this stuff in the optional essay. It's going to come across as an excuse, especially since you could in theory take the GMAT again to try to improve your score. Lots of people are working long hours, etc but still manage to retake it in addition to doing everything else in their life. That said, honestly the adcom does not care all that much about the IR/AWA scores. I'd either take the GMAT again if you feel like you can improve your score or just don't call attention to it in the optional essay.

It would actually be ideal if you could improve upon the 720 -- otherwise Anderson & McCombs will be a good fit, but the other schools will be more in the reach category. Even if means applying R2 it would be worth it if you could score a 740+. As an engineer you're coming from a competitive demographic, and it's one that tends to have high GMAT scores. Your work experience sounds solid, but you'll be competing with engineers who have equally solid work experience. In addition to that, the #1 most popular goal among this demographic is product manager in a tech firm. The key is going to be to look for every way possible to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Out of all the engineers who want to be product managers in a tech firm why should they admit YOU? Your unique value prop is based on all sorts of factors: the specifics of your work experience, your leadership experience, your extracurriculars, the specifics of your goals, etc. Your mentorship experience will help for sure, especially since it's unique among engineers (who are stereotypically not known for their relationship building abilities). You could consider shifting your goals -- energy is a more unique post-MBA goal than your current one & you've got a foundation that would serve you well if you were to go that route. It's impossible to say what your unique value prop might be just via this forum conversation -we spend hours helping our clients identify & articulate their unique stories -- but hopefully this will give you some food for thought.

And if you are unable to budge that GMAT, I'd consider just being less aggressive with your school list. Tepper, UNC, & Emory would all be great options & you'd be competitive there. Columbia, Yale, Duke, UVA & NYU would be a bit harder to get into but would be realistic options.

Hope that helps! Definitely reach out to us if you'd like to talk in more detail. If you email Claudia at claudia@admissionado.com she can set you up with a free consultation with one of our MBA consultants!
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New post 25 Jun 2019, 18:08
Thanks Admissionado for the feedback! You make a good point about many engineers wishing to transition into a PM role in Tech.

I have been reading that IR scores below 4 will draw the attention of the admission staff and will often require an explanation. Is this not the case?

Also, I was hoping my GPA would even out my GMAT score (I'm slightly below the median for the GMAT but above the average for GPA). In your experience is the GMAT weighted more than GPA?
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New post 26 Jun 2019, 15:26
Yes, both are important but GMAT definitely matters more than GPA. Your GPA was a while ago -- and the GMAT is a recent metric they use to compare applicants & gauge whether or not you are up for the rigors of b-school. Really strong work accomplishments can outweigh a GMAT score more than GPA will. That said, when you're coming from a competitive demographic & have common goals you really want to do everything you can to make sure every part of your application is strong & you're not having to compensate for anything. :)

A higher IR score is ideal, but your explanation will only draw attention to it - and it honestly is not a strong enough explanation. Plenty of other applicants work 80 hour weeks & still have strong GMAT scores. The simple solution in the adcom's mind will be to just take the test over again.

I hope that helps!
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New post 26 Jun 2019, 17:11
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Thanks Admissionado for all the insight. This seems to be the common response I have gotten.
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New post 29 Jun 2019, 16:30
Happy to help!
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Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado

==

***NEW Admissionado Products & Services! ***

If you like the post, give it a KUDOS!

Now, read up and get smart:

That'll get you started. Still have questions? Reach out, and let’s gab. 
Our only requirement is that you don’t prefer warm milk over cold milk. Everyone else, 100% welcome.

Email: claudia@admissionado.com
Young People: WhatsApp or WeChat (@JonFrankHBS)
Older: FacebookTwitterLinkedIn 
Oldest: 866-409-4753
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