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Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)

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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 13
Location: India
Concentration: Technology, Entrepreneurship
GRE 1: Q170 V155
GPA: 3.1
WE: General Management (Education)
Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2018, 06:08
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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Re: Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2018, 07:43
1
Hi SachinKaundinya,

Thank you for your post and all of the detail you've shared.

A 720 GMAT score for Indian male applicants typically puts the U.S. top 20 out of reach. Your work experience, what you've built, and your depth in your niche (which will seemingly carry forward, along with the MBA, into your career goals) could give you some boost beyond the typical applicant. Haas and Sloan are very likely out of reach, but you could probably include a couple of programs in the back end of the top 20 as part of a broader, multi-school, diversified strategy. Ross, Fuqua, Anderson, and Johnson will be very hard, but I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to include one of them as a reach as part of the aforementioned strategy. They are all top 15/16 programs (not top 30, unless you were referencing global rankings). Tepper could also be interesting from the back end of the top 20 given your goals. It will also be hard, but you'd essentially be pinning your hopes on the differentiation that could come by way of your work experience and goals, provided you tell your story and articulate your goals well.

If you're open to considering schools throughout the top 50, then I'd encourage you to stretch your school strategy out throughout the 15-50ish range. Indian applicants often apply to more schools given how crowded, competitive, and unpredictable results can be. So if you were open -- and able -- to apply to something like eight schools, you could stretch your strategy out from the back end of the top 20 (per above) through the 40s, researching and selecting schools that align with your technology and ed-tech related goals. Chances for scholarship would increase as you get into the 40s of the rankings. In the 30 to 50 range, you might take a closer look at Georgia Tech (Scheller), Rochester (Simon), Boston University (Questrom), and UC Irvine (Merage). Again, schools like these (and others) could be balanced out with others that are ranked a little higher, such that you end up with a wide and diversified school strategy -- reaches at the "top" of your list and some chances at scholarships toward the "bottom" of the list.

In all cases, you will need to tell your story, unpack the value of your work experience (it's quite interesting!), articulate well reasoned and specific career goals, articulate why exactly you need an MBA, get to know the programs to which you're applying extremely well (events, online events, conversations with current students and alumni), articulate your fit, articulate how exactly you'd contribute, articulate your passion and purpose and what drives you, etc. You can read more about these factors via the first link below.

Avanti Prep: The Most Overlooked Elements of the MBA Application Process

GMAT Club: MBA Admission Chances for Indian Applicants (Top 50 Analysis)

GMAT Club: The Indian Male MBA Application Guide

Please feel free to reach out to me if I can be of any assistance with School Selection, Story Development, Essay Brainstorming, Essay Review and Editing, Resume Review and Editing, Recommenders, or Interview Prep. You can email me at greg@avantiprep.com or sign up for a Free Consultation here: https://www.avantiprep.com/free-consultation.html

Best Regards,
Greg
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Re: Profile Evaluation Request (Indian Entrepreneur with unique WE)   [#permalink] 26 Jul 2018, 07:43
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