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profile evaluation/suggestions

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Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 18

Kudos [?]: [0], given: 2

profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink]

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New post 05 Mar 2009, 11:00
Posted in both admissions consultant forums, but wouldn’t mind having opinions from anyone else:

Long time lurker (original member from 2006ish but changed names because my original name was a little too obvious to who I was), looking for some assistance in developing an application strategy.

Brief overview: From a small rural southern town, went to large public university (enrollment approx 5-6 times population of town I grew up in ). Graduated in political science and economics spring 2006, and have worked for banks since graduating, supporting derivatives trading. I want to get an MBA to make the move into research. Short term goal would be to work in fixed income research for a sell side firm (I believe there will be a reduction in reliance on the ratings agencies for fixed income products). Long term goal would be either to move into in house investment strategy or portfolio management, or maybe moving to a buy side firm for portfolio management.

Program: Full-time MBA
Area of interest: Finance – Investment Management/Research
GMAT: 710 (92%ile), 48q 40v, AWA : 5.5
GPA: ~3.0 overall (+/- .05, took courses at community colleges that would be factored)
-I made A-A+ in precalc, calc, business statistics, intro to finite math, and some econ courses…taking this into account with my 48Q I believe my low GPA is alittle different than some (my lower grades are in non-quant courses
Major: Doubled in Political Science and Economics (relatively well-known state school)

Work experience:
- Either 4 (c/o 2012) or 5 (c/o 2013) years at matriculation.
- Current – greater than 2 years experience, well known commercial bank that had grown into investment banking, role was analyst in middle office, still operational, but more risk/p&l type work. Supported a structured credit trading desk, on trading floor with daily interaction with traders. Also, no one directly reported to me, but I should be able to pull some leadership type story out of project leadership type work, and should be able to make it sound decent.
- First job – 7 months, well known investment bank, operations analyst in trade support for credit and interest rate derivatives (off site), it was a new group and the job was a little too mind numbing, I should be able to make it sound better in essays and make it sound like a stepping stone.
- Actively searching for next role, targeting either a supervisory role in operations or maybe a move to a more front office role.
- I plan to get a solid recommendation from a supervisor at current job.

Nationality: US (Caucasian)
Age: 25 (current)
Gender: Male (married)
- In college, my EC activities were pretty minor, worked some and maybe a member of a few clubs, no leadership.
- While at the first company, I participated in Habitat, I also played on the company softball team.
- While at my current company, continue with Habitat (different city). Soon, I hope to gain either leadership in a habitat role. I have also been in discussion with an established group’s national director to possibly get a chapter started in my city that helps homeless children, if this works out it could be very good for essays.
-Habitat in the city I live in also runs a work trip to El Salvadore for a few weeks that I am hoping to be a part of this summer to add alittle international experience.
- Also, member of alumni association and homeowners association; may try to get more active in these
- If I apply this fall, I will get recommendation from an EC
- Taking CFA1 in Dec.

Schools: targeting Michigan, Duke, Cornell, UVA but have Columbia and Dartmouth as a dream

I believe I can come up with a good story for my career moves and my motivation for an MBA. Also, hoping to use my rural upbringing (poor area, not many people going to school, few southerners at big MBA programs etc.) to at least capture a little diversity points.

I have thought of executing a reapplication strategy, and wanted your opinion. I was thinking of applying to only Dartmouth EA, Columbia ED, and Duke in fall of 2009 (c/o 2012) with low/no expectations. I think I should be able to significantly increase my profile over the next year (possible new role/job with more responsibility and leadership, more EC involvement/stories, CFA1 maybe 2) and then in fall of 2010 (c/o 2013) apply to Dartmouth EA, Columbia ED (djhouse81 re-applicant admit is too inspiring), Duke, and two other schools from my target list. All three of the re-application schools seem to be extremely favorable to re-applicants (Columbia accepts 25% of re-applicants, Dartmouth is the same or more, and Duke seems to have yield issues) and also make it easy for re-applicants (only one new recommender, etc.).

1. As I mentioned, I feel my chances at Tuck and Columbia are very low for this fall. I am planning to apply so that I can: get application “practice” and also show those 3 programs that I am fully committed to them. Is this a bad idea (i.e. is reapplication ever looked upon negatively)? Should I just wait and apply next fall for class of 2013?

2. If I do the reapplication strategy, what are my chances at the schools that I noted for entrance fall 2011 (Columbia ED, Tuck EA, Duke after reapplication and Cornell, Michigan, Darden)?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Joined: 27 Feb 2008
Posts: 299

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Schools: Kellogg Class of 2011
Re: profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2009, 07:08
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Career Goals: I think your goals are both realistic and specific.

Low GPA: I agree that your high grades in math/econ classes combined with your Q48 should be enough to compensate for your overall GPA. This will need to be addressed in the optional essay though. Just try to put a positive spin on it and don't make excuses. That being said, an accounting/calculus class or two can only help your case, although I don't think it is a requirement.

EC's: They can definitely help your application. If you don't have a lot of leadership at work, EC's are a great opportunity to gain/show leadership. As a bonus, they make you a more well-rounded person. Just make sure it doesn't look like you did stuff just to add to your application. You need to be passionate about whatever you choose. Also, it doesn't have to be non-profit related...e.g. organizing weekly tailgates, as one member mentioned, is interesting and shows initiative.

School Selection: I think Duke/Cornell/UVA/Michigan are good targets for you. I would recommend replacing one of them with NYU though. Columbia/Tuck are both stretches, but it couldn't hurt to try if you feel like writing extra applications. I would focus on 4 schools in R1. You can decide if you want to do 4 targets or 3 targets/1 reach. R2 will be a function of what happens in R1 (i.e. safeties if you need them or stretches if you get in somewhere).

Re-app Strategy: I personally think you will have a much better profile in fall 2010. It sounds like you have some good ideas for enhancing your profile (CFA, work leadership, EC leadership, possible class). I agree that re-applying will show your commitment to those programs, and you will gain valuable application experience. However, keep in mind that you will be burning recommendations and spending extra money on trips to schools, app fees, etc. If you don't get in, you may have to go back to the same schools the next year. I think the "edge" you might gain will be small, and I would just wait until 2010. It's a choice you have to make though.

I'd be interested in other members' opinions though. Good luck.

Kudos [?]: 70 [1], given: 15

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Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 1689

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 31

Schools: Kellogg '11
Re: profile evaluation/suggestions [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2009, 07:07
I agree with most of what maverick said above :)

A few additional points about reapplying:
- keep in mind that in addition to having updated essays on your end (reflecting what's changed over the year, etc), your recommenders will also have to update their letters to describe your growth/promotions/etc
- if you're certain you're willing to reapply, you might want to consider only applying to cbs/tuck this year (since they're your dream schools) and then retrying next year with safeties

Regarding schools:
- I'd also add NYU to your list - they have fairly strong finance placement
- I'd reach out to ryguy on this forum - he might be able to offer you some insight on Ross and finance.

Kudos [?]: 203 [0], given: 31

Re: profile evaluation/suggestions   [#permalink] 11 May 2009, 07:07
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