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Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE)

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Current Student
Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 138

Kudos [?]: 24 [0], given: 30

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Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE) [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2014, 11:17
Dear Cindy,

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!

Kudos [?]: 24 [0], given: 30

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Re: Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE) [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2014, 08:45
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You have an interesting background and professional profile. You might be surprised by some of my suggestions and feedback.

- First, your educational background is a bit unconventional, but be assured that adcoms understand the different types of academic paths in different countries and cultures. They will understand the German system. And it’s a plus, showing initiative, etc., that you pursued the top-up degree, especially since it’s from a known institution. As long as you did well in it, that will suffice. Is it as good as being valedictorian at Princeton? No, but most people accepted to top MBA programs don’t have such an academic record either. You can use the optional essay to clarify your academic path in a straightforward paragraph.
- Your work experience is impressive, and not just what, but where – the perspective and experience you are gaining must be incredible. Adcoms like some students from brand-name organizations – but they seek diversity, including diversity of organization type. So your work situation can actually be a positive, differentiating factor, enabling you to bring something unique and special to the table. It does, however, put the onus on you to clarify in your application (online form, resume, essays, recs) the details of the organization so the adcom can understand it.
- Volunteering is always good, but I think you are over-concerned about it. Adcoms appreciate the cultural context, and your situation overall might not lend itself to a lot of community volunteering. I’ve worked with successful applicants to top programs (including HBS and Stanford) who didn’t have impressive volunteering. Rather, I suggest that you focus on building a track record of leadership and impact at work. The more, the better. If you can volunteer, fine – but note that adcoms are skeptical about volunteering that starts within a year of MBA applications.
- Working toward proficiency in Mandarin will be seen as positive, regardless of how advanced (or not advanced) you are. Here too, don’t stress over this!

Overall, in your application, identify your strengths and distinctive attributes, and push them all the way, make them vivid and memorable. Don't worry so much about checking all the boxes of what a typical candidacy should be.

Cindy Tokumitsu
Senior Advisor, Accepted
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Kudos [?]: 55 [1], given: 0

Re: Profile evaluation request (non-traditional education & WE)   [#permalink] 02 Feb 2014, 08:45
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