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Profile Review - New Zealander, lived/worked in 3 countries, 31M

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Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 7
Profile Review - New Zealander, lived/worked in 3 countries, 31M  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2019, 17:54
Hi team,

I'd be grateful for any ideas you may have in relation to my profile and what schools you think I might be a fit for. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

GMAT 720 (Q46, V44)
GPA B+ equivalent (~3.25) double degree engineering/finance major. Non-target (top NZ) university
CFA charterholder

Nationality: New Zealand (Chinese ethnicity)
Applying at 31 years old, male

Worked in 3 countries - NZ, Canada, United States
Worked in 3 industries with 8 years exp - Civil Engineering, Commercial Banking, currently working in investment management in New York

Post MBA goal is to transition into Real Estate Investment Management

Extracurriculars are not so strong. President of sports club in university, spent a couple of years mentoring high school students through class visits. More recently, I have only been involved in networking groups (eg. CFA society and school alumni, etc) engaging as a regular member.

Considering: Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, INSEAD

Thank you!
Avanti Prep Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 08 Aug 2017
Posts: 349
Re: Profile Review - New Zealander, lived/worked in 3 countries, 31M  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Oct 2019, 06:40
Hi dsam12,

Thank you for your post. Your international experience and CFA are nice profile elements, and your overall GMAT score is solid -- more or less what I'd think about as a threshold score when applying from a not-super-underrepresented or not-super-overrepresented applicant pool. I also imagine that there's plenty of value to unpack within your diverse work experiences and personal perspective.

Some potential considerations I see are the lower Quant sub-score (the CFA and presumably quant-ish experience help, but there's not much room for "error" here), three different industries and now a fourth post-MBA (you will need to be proactive about explaining those transitions and stitching them together into a narrative that accrues toward the MBA and then your goals), and semi-outlier status from a work experience perspective for the U.S. schools (i.e., you will be a year or two above the 90th percentile from a work experience perspective at enrollment). Each of these factors puts more pressure on the other, and thus puts more pressure on you to address / explain / counteract them where you can. (Also, a 3.25 GPA would be low for Columbia and Berkeley and somewhat low for Stern, but I tend not to trust most back-of-the-envelope international GPA conversions. Were you graded on a 4.0 scale?)

All together, I'd say that you have a competitive base and can put up a good fight, but definitely keep your antenna up about the aforementioned factors. Work experience-wise, INSEAD offers the best alignment, and applying with eight years of experience to enroll with nine is pretty neutral there (whereas at the U.S. programs it's something to "explain" or "overcome"). Berkeley trends a little older than Columbia and Stern, but it's also the smallest and toughest to get into of the bunch. If you live in New York and want to strategize / hedge a bit around the work experience factor, then you might consider looking at Columbia's J-Term MBA or Cornell's One-Year MBA (both accelerated full-time programs) or the likes of Columbia's Executive MBA or Stern's Part-Time MBA (if you're open to those), as they will all align better work experience-wise and give you more leeway on some other factors.

As a country of ~5 million so far away, being a New Zealander with experience in three different countries can be a nice differentiator too! Your 'why MBA' and goals are going to need to be super clear, well researched, and specific, so definitely be sure to focus on that. You can read more in this blog post: ... on-process. If you would like to chat, please sign up for a Free Consultation here: Hope this helps and hope we have the opportunity to connect!

Best Regards,
Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Re: Profile Review - New Zealander, lived/worked in 3 countries, 31M   [#permalink] 12 Oct 2019, 06:40

Profile Review - New Zealander, lived/worked in 3 countries, 31M

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