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Profile Evaluation Request

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Joined: 21 Dec 2018
Posts: 15
Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2019, 09:42
26, Asian Male

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.

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.
Avanti Prep Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 08 Aug 2017
Posts: 307
Re: Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2019, 14:15
Hi uhhgmat,

Thank you for your post. Here are my thoughts:


I know you don't get to share a ton of information in these profile requests, but on its face, it seems there is some good value to unpack within your professional experience and extracurricular activities. It would require a deeper conversation and a lot of probing and brainstorming, but I like where you could potentially go with some of the interdisciplinary work you've done; the problem solving, communication, leadership, and idea-to-execution transformation that often goes along with that; and the quantifiable business impacts that you've had, among other things. On the extracurricular side, I like the genuineness and depth of your mentorship activities; and again there, there is likely a lot to unpack in terms of what you've learned, how you've grown, how you've had to empathize and build relationships with people, and so on and so forth.


Your GPA is great (at a great school and in a tough major... and at a school that I've always understood to be pretty strict with its engineering grade curves... so as an aside, I'd look for opportunities to articulate your ranking or percentile position within your engineering class, which might even evoke a "higher standing" than the already great 3.86 GPA does). That said, given the schools that are currently on your radar and some of the tough engineering pool considerations that go along with it, I really do think you'd benefit from boosting your GMAT score. That will also give you an opportunity to clean up the IR/AWA situation; even though those aren't a hyper focus of adcoms, IR is generally eye-balled more than AWA, and optically, it does make your 720 feel like something of a "720 minus" (if that makes sense).

I know that many of these schools boast average GMATs right around 730, and you're not far off of that mark, but at present, I think the M7 and Haas would be really tough. There are unfortunately just too many engineers out there with great GPAs, better GMATs, and in some cases more prestige business chops coming in. Even if you were to boost you score, I'd encourage you to consider gap-filling your school strategy "between" the M7 / Haas and UCLA / McCombs, as I think you could benefit from a more evenly balanced strategy. (That kind of depends on how exactly you regard UCLA, which is a great program that I'd imagine you're even more partial to, but even then, I think you might consider adding another program or two from the 9/10/11 to 15/16 tranche of the rankings, depending on how many programs you ultimately apply to.)


I would be careful about the direction your IR explanation is going. It feels overly detailed and I worry about pointing to "physical and mental fatigue" and long work-weeks, which essentially every applicant deals with, the schools will expect you to deal with as a student, and which begins to feel pretty excuse-ish. The panacea to this would again be a retake and improved score, which I know is a pain when you want to put the GMAT behind you. But I really do believe that overall GMAT score improvement would be very valuable for you. Beyond that, we could discuss whether it makes sense to include a brief acknowledgement of the IR result, but if so, it would need to be very carefully worded, have a good hint of self-awareness baked in, and a point in a non-braggadocios way to other ways you've demonstrated similar problem-solving, critical thinking, and quick reasoning ability, rather than try to explain away why your IR score is low. (If you go to bat with this score, you might also consider encouraging recommender(s) to help buttress this area... not as the lone focus of their recommendation(s), of course, but as one theme among a handful.)


Not enough bandwidth to go into career goals, why MBA, why XYZ school, school fit, what you can uniquely contribute, your passion and purpose, etc. within this already long post, but those "application execution" and "story / fit / authenticity" elements will be critical as well. You can read more about them in this blog post: ... on-process


If you have any questions or would like to further the conversation, please feel free to sign up for a Free Consultation. We can cover a lot more via an iterative, back-and-forth conversation, rather than a static one. Hope this helps!

Best Regards,
Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Re: Profile Evaluation Request   [#permalink] 10 Jul 2019, 14:15
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