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Joined: 02 May 2020
Posts: 5
Location: United States (GA)
Schools: Berkeley Haas
GPA: 3.88
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New post 21 Jun 2020, 14:18
Demographics (nationality, gender): Vietnamese/Pacific Islander American Immigrant, Female, LGBTQ, first-gen college grad, lived in 6 different countries/3 continents, applying R1 2021

· Education (undergraduate institution, GPA, major - high school/entrance exams not needed):
- The University of Georgia, 3.90, Management Information Systems
- I know high school is not needed but I was given a full-ride high school scholarship by Singaporean Ministry of Education
- Top 10% scholarship of my major

· Other coursework or post-undergraduate education:
- Certified Information System Auditor

· GMAT or GRE (include section breakdown):
Expected 740 (Q49, V43-44)

· Work experience (highlight amount of work experience, industries, roles, promotions, special accomplishments, international exposure):
- 3 years 8 months (by matriculation): Sr IT Risk Advisor at a non-big 4, international Public Accounting firm
-Early Senior promotions
-Lead several multi-million projects
-Trained 10 employees/ interns
-Led teams of 5
- Focused on recruiting to ensure that the team is balanced and diverse (% of women increased by 200%)
- Financial advisor of a social enterprise during college

· Extracurricular activities (highlight notable undergraduate and post-undergraduate ones):
- Took a gap year after high school to lead an international team to India and Thailand to build schools and teach English to slum children
- Finance Chair of Women in Tech College chapter where I started an annual coding workshop for low-income minority high school students, the first one had 200 attendants
- Active mentor of Big Brothers, Big Sisters since after college
- Logistic head of my neighborhood delivery team: We deliver groceries to seniors/ at-risk people in our neighborhood during COVID time

· Post-MBA goals:
- I want to build a technical enterprise focusing on helping LGBTQ Minorities. I have this in detailed but for the sake of confidentiality, I will not share too much :)

· Target schools: Stanford, Haas, Harvard, MIT, Booth, Kellogg, USC, UCLA in this order

My questions are: do you think it's feasible for me to target those schools? Can you help me identify which ones are "reaches" and which ones are true targets? My main concern is probably my lower than average work experience and not having a big brand name. What should I do from now to next year besides preparing for the gmat to ensure that I have my best shot?
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6760
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
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New post 29 Jun 2020, 20:52
HI Dracomom,

Thanks for sharing your profile with us!

You definitely represent a demographic profile that's underrepresented at top-ranked business schools, so you can certainly use that to your advantage to stand out in the applicant pool. Your undergrad track record is very strong, although as you said, your GMAT score does remain to be seen.

I agree that your work experience is on the shorter side for many of the programs that you listed. More than the absence of a big brand name employer on your resume, however, I think the challenge that you face is that your work has been in IT risk advisory, which isn't commonly a path that dovetails with an MBA. The key for you will be to ensure that the AdCom doesn't pigeonhole you as overly technical -- you want to paint a compelling picture of yourself as a future business leader, not as a future supervisor of IT risk. The best way to do this is to have an arsenal of anecdotes (the more specific, the better) about your hard skills (quantitative skills, analytical skills, critical thinking, and business acumen) and soft skills (people management, leadership skills, communication skills, teamwork).

You'll also want to make sure you can articulate what your post-MBA career goal is. It's totally understandable that you want to guard the confidentiality of your ideas, but you also want to make sure that AdComs can understand what your specific ambition is (I'm not sure what you mean by a "technical enterprise focusing on helping LGBTQ minorities"?) and why YOU are uniquely qualified to achieve it.

Stanford, Haas, HBS, Booth, and Kellogg are reach schools for almost all applicants nowadays, including applicants from Ivy League schools and brand-name employers -- they're simply that competitive. The other schools on your list could be more "target" schools depending on your GMAT and depending on how convincing you can be about how you're not just a technical IT risk specialist, but rather how you're a budding future business leader!

I hope that helps -- feel free to reach out to us at if we can be of further help!



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