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Profile Evaluation Request

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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 01 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
GRE 1: Q166 V165
Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2019, 00:02
1
Hi,

Would love your feedback on my profile.

Basic Background/Demographics:
Current age: 26 - will be 28/29 when matriculating (thinking of applying in 2021 for Fall 2022 admission - explanation below)
Ethnicity: East Asian (not China)
Gender: Male
GRE: 331 (166Q - 89% ; 165V - 96%; AWA: 5.5 - 98%)
Reason for 2022 admission: Will get Canadian citizenship around then; ideally working in US post-MBA so having Canadian passport is much easier for work authorization because of the TN-Visa that allows management consultants to work in the US
Fun fact: Lived/attended school in 5 countries (US/Canada/Asia)

Educational Background:
Undergrad: Top 3 university in Canada
Dates: Sep 2012-Jun 2016
GPA: 3.3/4.0
Major: Mechanical engineering; minor in aeronautical engineering, minor in finance
Performance: Mixed - some A's, some C's - no upward trend; mixed each semester
Note: School known for grade deflation and extremely theoretical (think proofs, etc) - prefer a B average
Extracurriculars in undergrad:
  • Business/Engineering club
    --Climbed ranks (became president) and turned around lackluster business/engineering club to become top club in engineering faculty for companies to look for engineering undergrads to work in their business fields
    --Launched first annual business/engineering case competition where a Yale SOM assistant director attended + 10 large companies + 3 sponsors
  • Joined novice rowing team in 3rd year; was on varsity team in 4th year

Study abroad semester: University of Hong Kong
Dates: Jan-June 2015
Performance: Pass/Fail; Failed one course abroad
Explanation: Supposed to take 4 "easy" classes abroad but took 6 advanced courses

Summer MBA Program: M7 Business School
GPA: 4.0/4.0
Dates: July 2016
Note: much more interesting since it was more "applicable" and "tangible"

Work Experience:
Global Tier 2 consulting firm (outside of MBB and Big 4 accounting firms)
Dates: late-2016-early 2019 (~2.5 years)
Location: Canada
Achievements:
  • Team won 1st place in North American innovation challenge (51 teams total - teams all across US + Canada)
  • One of the youngest analysts to lead a team of 4 analysts for my project workstreams (even consultants - a level above analyst - have maybe only one or two analysts under their wing)
  • Turned around one of our client's relationship at one of our largest clients which resulted in extra deal signings
  • Promoted to consultant before receiving short-term notice of mandatory military service
Extracurricular: was on board of international board of business/engineering club; increased outreach to other schools + initiated process for schools to join our organization before being called to military (same club as in undergrad but parent organization)

Mandatory military service in East Asian country
Dates: early 2019-early 2020
Location: East Asian country
Achievements:
  • Created and launched an algorithm for employee scheduling to be used across all 9 divisions that's currently reducing time spent on employee scheduling by 80%
  • Only conscript out of ~100 to get promoted by our commander (not supposed to happen for conscripts)
  • Only conscript to be able to work in international affairs - specifically requested by the section leader
  • Received medal for exemplary service since I helped as a translator for our commander on multiple occasions

Returning to Tier 2 consulting firm after military service

Recommenders:
Mid/high tier management in consulting firm

MBA location:
Indifferent - small town, big city, close to hub, far from hub, etc are all fine

Ideal MBA curriculum/style
More flexible curriculum + ideally have Grade Non Disclosure

MBA brand:
Looking to work abroad 3-5 years after MBA graduation, so international brand recognition is important

MBA Goals:
Get formalized education in strategic/global leadership since I'm working with senior executives and would like to understand the fundamentals of how they make decisions and to "speak their language" more effectively because what I know is from observation and trial/error

Post-MBA Career:
Management consulting right out of bat (open to others if offer similar comp/opportunity for advancement)

Post-MBA location:
Ideally US for a bit (no region/city/town preference), then ideally Europe/Middle East/Australia (like to move)

Ideal school choice (M7 minus Sloan + Dartmouth Tuck/Yale SOM/Duke Fuqua):
  • Stanford GSB
  • HBS
  • Wharton
  • Booth
  • Kellogg
  • Columbia

One or two of the below:
  • Dartmouth
  • Yale SOM
  • Duke Fuqua

Questions:
    1. Is my school list too ambitious? More specifically, which 2-year MBA schools should I keep/remove/add? I'm thinking of applying for 6 or 7 schools where:
    *1 or 2 schools are a "reach"
    *2-3 schools are "average probability"
    *1 is more of a "safety" school that is still in the top 16 MBA programs in the US, else I would not consider doing the MBA.
    2. How should I address my mixed academic performance in my undergrad (including study abroad)?
    3. What other things in my profile/application should I consider patching up/improving?
Admissionado
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6620
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
Re: Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2019, 19:06
1
Hi Uncertainmba,

First of all, kudos to you for being proactive and planning ahead for applying in 2021. What I like about your background is that you have solid work experience with impressive leadership achievements both during your time at the consulting firm and in the military. Above all else, leadership is what the adcom will be looking for in candidates. You come from a top Canadian university and your GRE score is in line with the averages at the top MBA programs, which are pluses. Your GPA however is low, and while a difficult major like engineering at a school known for grade deflation would be taken into account by the adcom, the fact is that other applicants with the same major at top schools will have higher GPAs. You can address this in your application if there are extenuating circumstances for your grades, such as illness or death in the family. If not, then I would take a look at the classes where you performed poorly to see if there is a theme. If so, perhaps there is an online course you can take to demonstrate that you can do well in that subject. If there is no pattern, then your work achievements and recommendations will have to be stellar to mitigate the low GPA and demonstrate to the adcom that you will be able to do well in their program.

Without more details about your accomplishments it's hard for me to assess whether or not your school list is too ambitious. That being said, besides the low GPA (which can be mitigated) , I don't see any reasons why you don't have a chance at these programs. What's going to determine how many of these are reach vs. average probability schools is going to be how impressive your leadership accomplishments are, and how stellar your recommendations are. You have another 1.5 years after military service to lead projects and demonstrate your leadership potential and be calibrated at the top of your peer group. The latter would go a long way to help you get stellar recommendations that show why you're the best. Another important thing to consider is your long term goal. It should be something ambitious yet achievable for you that you're passionate about. Adcoms want to give a spot to someone who really needs the MBA to achieve an amazing long term goal that's going to make a difference in this world.

Hope this helps and feel free to follow up with any additional questions.

Best,
Cindy
Intern
Intern
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Joined: 01 Dec 2019
Posts: 3
GRE 1: Q166 V165
Re: Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2019, 01:17
Hi Cindy,

Thanks for your thoughtful response! It certainly does provide some perspective and help me think about what I need to be doing for the next little bit.

4 questions in response:

1. The courses where I didn't do so well in were courses that were primarily theoretical courses in engineering. Is it worth taking online courses for these courses to offset/prove to adcom that I can do well in them?

2. Post-military, I'm currently considering switching jobs (perhaps to a Tier 1 strategy consulting firm or another industry). If I switch to a tier 1 strategy firm, I'll drop down a rank in terms of job title but be able to do more "strategy" related tasks which should give a better case for the MBA. Do you think this will be detrimental to my leadership story if I do this?

3. For the long-term goal, what if you don't have a "set" long-term goal? I know I want to make a difference wherever I am but I'm not set on where/how I do so (e.g. what if I don't have a goal to cure cancer?)

4. I took the "What are my chances" test on this forum and realized I forgot to address the extracurriculars. How important is it to maintain extracurriculars outside of work for the app? I typically spend my time doing extracurriculars "at work" (e.g. helping out with recruiting, etc)

Thank you so much again for evaluating my profile!
Admissionado
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6620
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
Re: Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 19:27
Hi uncertainmba,

Picking up the baton from Cindy here -- see my responses below!

1. If you wanted to become an executive at an engineering firm down the road, I'd say you would do well to prove that you have that knowledge by now and are capable of understanding engineering theory. However, if that's not the case, I wouldn't be too worried about it at this point. It's primarily a concern if you didn't perform well academically in a subject area that's directly relevant to business school (like economics or finance) or to your career path.

2. This one is a tricky toss-up. On the one hand, top b-schools do care about brand-name employers, so switching to a Tier 1 consulting firm would provide a boost there. On the other hand, b-schools also want to see career progression and growth, and part of that is taking on more responsibilities and managing larger workstreams / teams, which you're likelier to do if you return to your original firm. I'd say that if you have a sterling reputation and a strong group of advocates at your original firm, you might have better stories to tell by returning there and building upon what you already started there.

3. Plenty of applicants don't know what they want to do long-term! Never fear. However, you want to present yourself as a thoughtful, promising future business leader who has a plan as well as the humility to remember that life is full of twists and turns and unforeseen opportunities. So it's best to articulate some kind of long-term goal, ideally involving both the type of role you'd like to have (CEO of a Fortune 500 company, entrepreneur, top advisor to XXX type of corporate clients, etc.) and the industry that most interests you at this point in time. You want to be able to clearly connect the dots between your pre-MBA work experience, what you want to get out of your MBA, your immediate post-MBA ambitions, and this long-term goal. The AdCom won't hold you to your word, but they do want to see coherence and logic to your planned career trajectory.

4. The primary importance of extracurriculars for MBA applicants is to demonstrate your well-roundedness and involvement as a concerned citizen of your community. AdComs want to know that you're someone who cares about things outside of your narrow job description, and they want to see how you roll up your sleeves and participate in groups, organizations, and society around you. If your main non-job activities are still related to your firm (or the military), that's cool! Just be clear that these are commitments you take on *outside* of your formal job description.
Admissionado
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6620
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
Re: Profile Evaluation Request  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2019, 19:28
Hello uncertainmba--

Apologies, I hit "submit" before I could sign off!

We hope our perspectives on your profile are helpful. Don't hesitate to contact us at www.admissionado.com if we can be of further help!

Best,

Doris
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