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Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)

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Author Message
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 13
Location: India
Schools: Other Schools
GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V41
GRE 1: Q165 V159
GPA: 3
Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2018, 06:04
Hi!

I'd be grateful if you can evaluate my profile.

26 M, Indian. Looking to get into a top US business school.
5 years WE
GMAT - 720, 48Q/41V
Expecting 110+ on the TOEFL
Undergrad: 3.0 GPA in Engineering from a not-so-popular Indian university.

Very passionate about startups and entrepreneurship.
Battled my way through severe anxiety and depression.
(would be) First in the family to study abroad.

Work Experience:

Current:
Ø Entrepreneur. Bootstrapped an ed-tech startup from scratch to a $150,000 ARR business in 3 years. Still running it with positive cashflow. I know $150k might not sound that impressive to US adcoms, but the company is based in India, it's in a small niche, and it is growing y-o-y.
Ø Grew the business from 0 - 10,000 paying customers from over 150 countries.
Ø Singlehandedly built and grew the company's blog from 0 to 2 million annual readers without spending a dime on ads. The site is currently ranked very highly in the test prep niche.
Ø Helped over 1000 students improve their test scores, through one-on-one personal interaction and mentorship.

Previous:
Ø Director of Support for 2 years. First hire at a SaaS startup company funded by top global VC firms.
Ø Helped scale the company's online support system from 0-10,000 B2B customers.
Ø Worked with the CEO and the engineering teams to improve customer experience.

Previously, I also co-founded an offline test prep company straight out of undergrad. It did really well for a year or so, and we gave the major players (the likes of Princeton Review and Manhattan Review) a run for their money, but had to shut it down due to lack of funding (needed to expand operations). Used this experience to pivot the service into an online platform (the aforementioned ed-tech startup).

Extra-curricular:

Startup Festival - 3 years
Ø Organized the first ever startup festival in my home state (which is also one of India's largest entrepreneurship events) with over 2500 delegates attending from across the country.
Ø Led a team of 20 managers and 60 volunteers, and played a key role in raising funds, partnering with the state government, and managing over 100 speakers, startups, corporate, sponsors, and partner companies.
Ø The event kickstarted innovation and tech in our state.
Ø Not sure how relevant it is to my application, but I have a letter of recommendation from our State Minister for IT & Entrepreneurship (similar to Secretary of State), as I worked closely with the state government on building a startup ecosystem.

President and Regional Head at a major national level non-profit - 3 years
Ø Built and lead the city chapter of one of India's largest non-profits (on the lines of Teach for India) from scratch to the city's largest and the fastest growing non-profit org.
Ø Recruited, trained, and mentored over 250 young volunteers to teach, train, and mentor over 300 underprivileged children across 5 shelter homes in my city.
Ø Helped the organization expand to two new cities in South India. Recruited, trained, and managed over 30 young leaders and over 300 young volunteers, who in-turn impacted more than 500 underprivileged children in 10 shelter homes across the region.
Ø Although this was a few years ago, it wasn't just another community service activity. I actually worked 10-15 hours a week for 3 years straight.

Other details:
Ø Was a founding member of my university's student magazine.
Ø Was also a member of a couple of clubs in college (entrepreneurship, speaking).

Hobbies:
I'm a fitness enthusiast. Have done freelance modeling, and was also a Mr. India 2016 quarter-finalist.
Also an avid reader and debater.

LORs:
Can get strong letters of recommendation from my supervisors.

Cons:
Ø No recent community service experience.
Ø No international exposure.
Ø Although I've built a successful business, I haven't worked for big brand corporate companies.
Ø Indian male. Although I'm not in the IT sector.
Ø Low GPA?

Post MBA Goals:

Long term goal is to build a global business (ed-tech SaaS company). I plan to use the business acumen and the vast network from my MBA to achieve this. To get there, I believe I need experience in the SaaS domain. My immediate post MBA goal, therefore, is to join a growing SaaS company in the US. Over the past couple of years, I've had a growing interest in the SaaS revolution in the US, and I very much want to be a part of it.

Can you please evaluate my profile? Since I have a relatively unique background (and experience), I'm having a hard time understanding how competitive my profile would be at a top school. I'm also looking for schools where my profile would be very competitive, so I can secure a handsome scholarship (half-ride, or GA). I'm planning to apply in Early or Round 1 this year.

Please suggest what schools I would be a good contender at. Whether they would be among the Top 10 (Haas, MIT, Ross), Top 30 (Duke, UCLA, Cornell), or Top 50 (Indiana, UT-Austin, Carlson), etc. Thank you very much. :)
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
User avatar
B
Joined: 05 Jun 2018
Posts: 21
Re: Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 27 Jul 2018, 09:42
Hi SachinKaundinya! Thanks so much for writing in to us.

Before you start moving forward on a list of schools, I recommend spending a little time refining your goals and what you want out of the MBA program. This thinking will help you not only have a better application, but figure out which schools will deliver what you need best. Why do you need an MBA to do what you're planning? What kind of role are you looking for at the typical SaaS company? Is it very different from your past SaaS experience? What schools have the best programs that can prepare you for your goals? So, make sure that you think about your answers to those questions, and then from there you'll be ready to talk about which schools are best for your list.

Once you've done some work on that, we have some factors to consider. The schools evaluate MBA applications holistically, and so there's no simple formula to figure out your competitiveness. On the pro side, you have impressive startup experience (multiple times!) and show a true pattern of leadership. On the con side, as you know, there are many applicants from India and so the schools often get to be extra picky about test scores and GPAs because so many applicants in that "category" are high achievers. So, although your GMAT is pretty good at a 720 (with a good Q score), you may be subject to a higher hurdle. Your GPA at 3.0 is also on the low side. So, to be safe, you'll want to apply not only to a range of schools (reach, target and safety), but you'll want to build out the "target" and "safety" categories a little bit more than the usual applicant. I'd say that's even more true because you're looking for scholarship money, though that can be tricky to gauge from the outside.

Combining all this, we can start to form a list of MBA programs to consider. Given what I know about you from your description, here's a list of schools I'd suggest that you investigate:

Cornell/Cornell Tech, Fuqua, UNC, Foster, McCombs and Tepper. Those schools all have some strength in tech but also have average GMATs that are below your score. Foster and McCombs are also particularly good for entrepreneurship. I'd also add Babson, Emory and Rice to your list because of the entrepreneurship factor. The wild card, however, is the funding. It's a little hard to say where you'd be likely to get it, but I suggest applying as early as possible, and to a longer list of schools than you might otherwise consider.

As part of your investigation, you might check to see if any of these programs are visiting where you are. Summertime is a popular time for business school admissions offices to hit the road. I happened to notice that Emory is in India right now and visiting Mumbai on July 28, New Delhi on July 30, and Hyderabad on August 2. Check out the schools' pages for how to sign up if you're able to make a session.

Hope this helps! If you're looking at Round One this year for next year entry, you have a lot of work ahead of you, as the deadlines are approaching!

Best of luck to you in the application process!

Julie-Anne Heafey
Senior Consultant
mbaMission




SachinKaundinya wrote:
Hi!

I'd be grateful if you can evaluate my profile.

26 M, Indian. Looking to get into a top US business school.
5 years WE
GMAT - 720, 48Q/41V
Expecting 110+ on the TOEFL
Undergrad: 3.0 GPA in Engineering from a not-so-popular Indian university.

Very passionate about startups and entrepreneurship.
Battled my way through severe anxiety and depression.
(would be) First in the family to study abroad.

Work Experience:

Current:
Ø Entrepreneur. Bootstrapped an ed-tech startup from scratch to a $150,000 ARR business in 3 years. Still running it with positive cashflow. I know $150k might not sound that impressive to US adcoms, but the company is based in India, it's in a small niche, and it is growing y-o-y.
Ø Grew the business from 0 - 10,000 paying customers from over 150 countries.
Ø Singlehandedly built and grew the company's blog from 0 to 2 million annual readers without spending a dime on ads. The site is currently ranked very highly in the test prep niche.
Ø Helped over 1000 students improve their test scores, through one-on-one personal interaction and mentorship.

Previous:
Ø Director of Support for 2 years. First hire at a SaaS startup company funded by top global VC firms.
Ø Helped scale the company's online support system from 0-10,000 B2B customers.
Ø Worked with the CEO and the engineering teams to improve customer experience.

Previously, I also co-founded an offline test prep company straight out of undergrad. It did really well for a year or so, and we gave the major players (the likes of Princeton Review and Manhattan Review) a run for their money, but had to shut it down due to lack of funding (needed to expand operations). Used this experience to pivot the service into an online platform (the aforementioned ed-tech startup).

Extra-curricular:

Startup Festival - 3 years
Ø Organized the first ever startup festival in my home state (which is also one of India's largest entrepreneurship events) with over 2500 delegates attending from across the country.
Ø Led a team of 20 managers and 60 volunteers, and played a key role in raising funds, partnering with the state government, and managing over 100 speakers, startups, corporate, sponsors, and partner companies.
Ø The event kickstarted innovation and tech in our state.
Ø Not sure how relevant it is to my application, but I have a letter of recommendation from our State Minister for IT & Entrepreneurship (similar to Secretary of State), as I worked closely with the state government on building a startup ecosystem.

President and Regional Head at a major national level non-profit - 3 years
Ø Built and lead the city chapter of one of India's largest non-profits (on the lines of Teach for India) from scratch to the city's largest and the fastest growing non-profit org.
Ø Recruited, trained, and mentored over 250 young volunteers to teach, train, and mentor over 300 underprivileged children across 5 shelter homes in my city.
Ø Helped the organization expand to two new cities in South India. Recruited, trained, and managed over 30 young leaders and over 300 young volunteers, who in-turn impacted more than 500 underprivileged children in 10 shelter homes across the region.
Ø Although this was a few years ago, it wasn't just another community service activity. I actually worked 10-15 hours a week for 3 years straight.

Other details:
Ø Was a founding member of my university's student magazine.
Ø Was also a member of a couple of clubs in college (entrepreneurship, speaking).

Hobbies:
I'm a fitness enthusiast. Have done freelance modeling, and was also a Mr. India 2016 quarter-finalist.
Also an avid reader and debater.

LORs:
Can get strong letters of recommendation from my supervisors.

Cons:
Ø No recent community service experience.
Ø No international exposure.
Ø Although I've built a successful business, I haven't worked for big brand corporate companies.
Ø Indian male. Although I'm not in the IT sector.
Ø Low GPA?

Post MBA Goals:

Long term goal is to build a global business (ed-tech SaaS company). I plan to use the business acumen and the vast network from my MBA to achieve this. To get there, I believe I need experience in the SaaS domain. My immediate post MBA goal, therefore, is to join a growing SaaS company in the US. Over the past couple of years, I've had a growing interest in the SaaS revolution in the US, and I very much want to be a part of it.

Can you please evaluate my profile? Since I have a relatively unique background (and experience), I'm having a hard time understanding how competitive my profile would be at a top school. I'm also looking for schools where my profile would be very competitive, so I can secure a handsome scholarship (half-ride, or GA). I'm planning to apply in Early or Round 1 this year.

Please suggest what schools I would be a good contender at. Whether they would be among the Top 10 (Haas, MIT, Ross), Top 30 (Duke, UCLA, Cornell), or Top 50 (Indiana, UT-Austin, Carlson), etc. Thank you very much. :)
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Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)

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