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Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE)

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Joined: 20 Aug 2013
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Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE) [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2014, 11:04
Hi Jen,

I'm currently working on my profile to determine the best strategy for my R1 applications coming fall.

I hope my stats help to hear from you how you'd rank me and see my chances with Top 10 schools I intend to apply to:

- GMAT: 720; IR8, Q49; V41
- 28y at time of application, European national
- Spent a high school year in the United States
- Finished high school in Germany, completed my mandatory military service and then moved to Hong Kong
- The German educational system differs from others, as you can opt to study in the "dual education system" and attend Business School part-time, while also working in a company, which sponsors the studies. Did this for two years and became a certified "Management Assistant in Wholesale and Foreign Trade Management" (German word is "Berufsausbildung"). I remained with my company in Hong Kong for another 2.5years while obtaining my top-up Bachelors degree from a European university that's got an offshore campus in HK.
- I got my Bachelor as a top-up on the basis of my vocational training, while I was working full-time, with a 3.6 GPA, second class upper honors.
- Moved to Mainland China afterwards, where I currently still am. I'm responsible for a European company's operations in China and managing a team of 40 people.

By the time I'll matriculate in 2015 I'll have had 7 - 9 years of work experience. I'm stating it as a range as I'm not sure if the first two years, when I was working 3.5 days and attending school 1.5 days per week, are counted towards the full time work experience by schools.

I consider myself very career-motivated and currently live in a smaller city basically for my work.
This being said, my biggest problem with my resume is that I don't have any extracurriculars or voluntary work experience to state.

I speak three languages fluently and currently try to improve my Mandarin, which is just on a small-talk-level.
One of my goals for the next 12 months is thus finding a tutor to take language lessons. I believe it would disqualify me if I were interviewed by a business school but couldn't speak enough Mandarin after having lived in China for four years.. I have to admit learning languages is one of my bigger weaknesses.

Do you have any suggestions what else I could do to tune my resume and improve it?
Although I'll try to work out my international exposure as my main strength there are several flaws, or question marks on my resume and I'm not sure whether they could have a negative impact on my chances with H/S/Booth/Sloan and the like:

- Completed my undergrad in 18 months, since it was a top-up degree (although issued by a known European university)
- No pedigree names on my CV; neither big schools, nor any McKinseys, Goldmans and banks
- No voluntary work yet, no ECs as my main focus is on work
-- Starting voluntary work this month; one of my extra curricula's is actually running our own bar with two friends but I'm not sure if that's a good essay-topic

Besides improving my Mandarin should I spent time and money on courses that I could mention (e.g. Green Belt Sig Sigma) or try to find some hobbies or dedicate time to some other extracurriculars?

Any advice is well appreciated!!! :-D
Many thanks in advance!
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Re: Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE) [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2014, 07:45
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Hi there,

Thanks for posting, and for all of the detail regarding your background and profile. It helps to have you explain your path and the process, and b-schools will take all of that into consideration too (for example, the process of obtaining the bachelors-- I wouldn't worry about it; the US or other global schools aren't going to 'judge' a different approach to completing a degree if valid in the country you were in, for example).

What stands out to me in your profile, is 1) international experience, as you mentioned, especially considering it spans time in Europe, the US, and Asia-- this is impressive and something many candidates just can't replicate. I would definitely emphasize, and think about what you learned from it-- how you are better able to work with others from various backgrounds and perspectives etc; has it made you more open minded? More respectful or considerate of different viewpoints? Exposed you to other cultures? etc. And 2) solid management & leadership experience in your work, from the sounds of it. Think about what experiences in your work have shaped you and your approach to leadership and teamwork, and of what you'll bring to a b-school classroom. And supporting the above, your GMAT/academics are solid which is vital.

I understand your concern about involvement/activities... on one hand, it is fairly common that those with long hours, high-stress jobs etc, don't have much time for other involvements. BUT it's also common in the profiles of top applicants for top schools..... is there anything you can get involved in even right now? Are there volunteering opps even through your company if that makes it easier? Do you have other interests, personally even?

Re: the bar you're managing... could go either way. If you feel it has been an entrepreneurial learning experience, you could bring it up if and where it makes sense, if not so much, then maybe not.

Not sure if you have specific schools in mind, and why or why not, and also don't believe you've mentioned your post-MBA goals, or WHY you want the MBA. That is also an important element of your application... with 2 strong candidates, one has made the case for WHY they need this degree, why this school is best, and exactly what they plan to do with the degree, and the 2nd candidate has not... the first will get the acceptance.

I would say top 3-5 schools will still be challenging due to the quality of applicants out there, but not impossible. Top European schools would be a great match for you, as well, not sure if you are considering, btw. If you are looking for a class profile that is very international, schools like INSEAD, LBS, IMD, Cambridge & Oxford do a great job with that-- on average, generally 25-35 countries represented within every 100 students; very mixed. US schools tend to be 70-80% Americans, again on average. But of course the top US schools have a world-renowned global ranking and reputation too no matter what, so up to your personal preferences and what schools (and potentially geographic location) you believe will most open doors for your next career steps.

Let us know what other questions you have, and if you'd like to speak further we have a free consult option, or just post back here. Keep us updated, and good luck!

I wouldn't stress too much about the Mandarin language in that you have great global experience and it sounds like more than one language already.

Jen Kedrowski

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Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE)

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