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Profile Review- Military Officer

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Affiliations: Google, Facebook
Joined: 01 Jun 2006
Posts: 197
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q50 V40
Profile Review- Military Officer [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2009, 06:44
Alex, I posted this in the peer review section, but I also wanted to get your opinion. I've read your posts on BW and WSO and find them to be very insightful.

GMAT: 750
GPA: 3.15 in electrical engineering from Top 10 school
Current Occupation: military officer (deployed to Afghanistan)
Applying to: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Northwestern, and UCLA
Post Grad: Fundraising and Community Service Chair for a 600 member junior officer organization. Garnered a community service award and title of Top Junior Officer Council in the Western U.S. for my organization. Also, I'm my base representative in a two-year community leadership development program. I'm also an alumni interviewer for undergrad admissions for my school.
During College: Heavily involved in ROTC (10-15 hours per week). Ultimately, served as Cadet Commander of my ROTC detachment. Responsible for training junior cadets to become military officers. Also, very involved (~10 hour per week) with a student-run company. Served on the executive board as the Assistant CFO and then the CFO. Company had annual sales of around $1M.
Career Goal: Couple my experience managing defense aerospace programs and overseeing contracts with my interest in finance to pursue an investment banking career focused on M&A in the aerospace/defense sector.
Why Now/Why MBA: I'm coming towards the end of my military service commitment (Jul 2010) and would like to transition to civilian life. Since my career goals involve working in finance and I have no formal finance training, I plan to use the MBA to address this gap in my skillset.
Primary Concerns:
Low GPA- I've built an alternate transcript of 2 accounting classes and an econ class (All A's). I've also won numerous military training awards for academics. Lastly, I've won several awards for my job performance and have increasingly been given more responsibility. I plan to address my GPA in the optional essay.
Career Switcher- Being a career switcher into I-banking might raise a red flag, so I plan to present a "Plan B" in the career goals essay. My plan B will probably be to seek an internal compliance/government affairs in an I-bank or perhaps a regulatory position with a government agency (SEC, Fed Reserve, etc.).

Are the schools I'm targeting realistic? Are my career goals feasible? Have I properly addressed my weaknesses? Are there any other weaknesses in my application that I haven't mentioned? Thanks!
MBA Admissions Consultant
Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2453
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Profile Review- Military Officer [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2009, 20:10
You should be competitive for the schools you mentioned. More guys like you get in than not.

Your GPA isn't great, but it isn't a huge concern (and if you get dinged, it won't be because of your GPA) because it's engineering (they're more forgiving of lower GPAs from engineers given that they know the grading curve is steeper) and also because you're military (for some reason the military applicants historically have lower GPAs). Also, you have an exceptional GMAT.

Everything else looks good. Don't worry about "career switch" -- by leaving the military for civilian life, you are by definition career switching. Whether it's i-banking or something else isn't the issue. The key issue is whether you're prepared for that transition to civilian life, and how b-school fits into that transition. As you may or may not know, lots of military guys transition to banking, consulting and industry all the time. Not to mention that you have a very loyal network of military vets with top MBAs that are known to help each other out. If you're interviewing with an MBA recruiter (whether it's banking, consulting, or industry) and the person interviewing you happens to be a vet (which isn't that uncommon), your military background will be a huge asset.

The biggest hurdle with military applicants is being able to show their readiness for transitioning to civilian life - and that they understand and appreciate the challenges they face. And part of this comes with how you write your essays - it's not just writing your war stories, but showing that you understand which aspects of your experience translate to civilian life, and which aspects don't (even if some of your examples you showcase in your essays are "war stories").

Military guys are probably the most highly coveted applicants amongst top b-schools, but the flipside of that is post 9/11, the applicant numbers from the military have also increased -- not to mention many of them with leadership in wartime (unlike my time in b-school where quite a number didn't have the chance to serve in any conflict) means that the competition is stiffer than before. But nonetheless, your odds are still pretty good so long as you don't completely screw up your applications.

Alex Chu

Re: Profile Review- Military Officer   [#permalink] 27 Jul 2009, 20:10
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Profile Review- Military Officer

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