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Profile Evaluation. Thank you very much!

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Joined: 30 Dec 2010
Posts: 23
Concentration: Strategy, General Management
GMAT 1: 710 Q42 V46
GMAT 2: 770 Q49 V48
Profile Evaluation. Thank you very much! [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2011, 17:30
Thank you in advance for taking the time to look over my profile!

Demographic information:
Female, 27, grew up in India but am now a U.S. permanent resident

Work Experience:
I will have 5 years of experience (at the time of application) working for an entrepreneurial women-owned consulting company in Washington, DC. I have been promoted every year, reaching a project leadership position in 1.5 years and a management position in 3 (most of the other individuals at my level are in their mid-to-late thirties). I have managed over a dozen projects related to housing and housing finance for a range of government agencies with responsibilities including managing the day-to-day client relationship, timelines, profitability, resource allocation, team performance, issue resolution and deliverable formulation and delivery. I managed one project in particular, that resulted in the company winning a prestigious national small business award from the government agency involved.

I was Treasurer of two campus organizations for three of my four years in college. My junior year of college, I was selected through a competitive hiring process for a position as a Resident Assistant. Since college, I have not really had many extracurriculars in the traditional sense. Given that the company that I work for is a relatively recent, albiet successful, start-up I have spent a lot of time working with the Partner's to build our practice. So I helped the company set up a Project Management Office and delivered company-wide training on the competencies, tools and techniques we developed. I am also currently leading an effort to re-design the compensation and benefits structure for the company and improve employee retention.

GMAT 710 (92% overall, V99%, Q61%)

GPA: 2.75 with a degree from a top 15 undergraduate business school

While there really is no excuse for my UG GPA, the primary contributor to my low GPA was one very bad year. I was struggling with being away from my family during a difficult time for us all, the demands of being a Resident Assistant and effectively living where you work, and my extracurricular commitments, and my GPA suffered. My GPA before that year was a 3.2 and my GPA my senior year was a 3.5. To help demonstrate that I can handle the coursework of a challenging MBA program, I have been working on building an alternative transcript for the last year or so. I have taken Business Statistics, Managerial Finance and am currently taking Calculus with UCLA's Extension program and have gotten/hope to get As in all of my classes.

Short-term goal: Work for one of the top five strategy consulting companies after my MBA to gain additional experience and exposure to other industries and companies.
Long-term goal: Transition to general management at a consumer products company that has a significant investment in/focus on developing markets.

The schools I am considering applying to are:
Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, NYU, UCLA, Duke, U Va, UNC and USC

I would really appreciate your assessment of my chances of getting into the schools mentioned above, and any thoughts on additions to or subtractions from the list.
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MBA Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 25 Jan 2010
Posts: 994
Re: Profile Evaluation. Thank you very much! [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2011, 11:27
Hi, thanks so much for reaching out and seeking my advice.

You have a really cool backstory actually. Not only is your education and WE stateside, which is helpful at broadening your life experience and what we call "origin diversity," but you also enjoyed rapid promotions and did some interesting work.

When you factor in a nice solid thread of themes (leadership, teamwork, creativity, etc.) and you have the magic 700+ GMAT, you can make yourself very competitive in spite of your GPA. We've seen 2.6-2.9 GPAs be the thing that can most easily be sidestepped when talking about potential "ding trigger."

Here is how to do it:

1. Choose the right schools. Don't just look at what they are good at and where you would most want to go, although those are clearly critical. Also look to see where your GPA will cause you the fewest problems. You want either schools that A) are big, which means they are more easily able to absorb your lower score without messing with the average, B) have a little bit lower average GPAs (ie, not Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton), or C) have anecdotally demonstrated that they will take a high 2 GPA without batting an eye (Haas is one such school).

So even though Haas is small and has a pretty high average GPA, we've seen enough students buck the odds because they had good WE, good GMAT, and great essays. Likewise, Wharton is huge and has the ability to absorb, but it also boats a really high average GPA that tells you they value it quite a bit. Ross is a pretty big b-school with a very low average GPA and that is good in consulting, so that is a program you should definitely target. Right now, pulling Wharton for Ross would be an important first step in your process.

2. Showcasing fit with that school. Once you pick them, you have to really, truly nail them. On a DNA level. Hit that school right where it ticks. This is obviously hard to do. Sometimes research is enough. Often, it's working with someone like me if you have the resources to do so, quite frankly. (And be sure to check our promotions we're running, as there will never be a more better time to sign up and save a lot of $.)

2. Articulate perfect career goals. You + an MBA from School X = you ST goals. Then, bridge your ST to long-term and connect the LT goals back to your greatest passions. Everything should connect and work in a circular fashion. Any holes in the job plan and overall career narrative and you will give the program an extra "out" and they will take that and your lower GPA and punt you. As long as you weave flawless goals and plans for career, you will stay in the game and allow them to take in all the other themes and stories you present in your essays. One of which should be...

3. Showcasing maturity. The best thing you can do about your low GPA is show how irrelevant it is to your life and abilities now. There's no excuse the schools haven't heard a thousand times, so the best bet is to just focus on making sure that maturity, discipline, and focus are front and center in your application narratives. You already have some distance from college, you've succeeded at work, you are taking classes to prove your chops, you got a good GMAT score that shows you have intelligence ... all that is left is to hammer that home by saying "look, the light bulb went on for me during X (class, job, project, trip, whatever), and ever since, I've been on fire. I'm a shooting star with huge things ahead of me. Who cares what my GPA was." That's not how you word it, obviously, but that is the sentiment.

We help a lot of people through consulting and I believe that our services are ideal for literally anyone - from so called "hopeless" cases to perfect applicants who just want to make sure they don't screw it up - but your profile is pretty much where we can help the most. We are experts at picking the right schools and then forwarding a narrative that showcases fit, articulates goals, and puts the proper themes front and center. It's what we do every day. You should definitely PM me or hit us up at to get a free consultation. Read my other responses and you will see that I don't often throw the hard sell out there like this, but I know we can help you get in.

Paul Lanzillotti

Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | | 877.866.9251

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Profile Evaluation. Thank you very much!

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