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Profile review request - MBA in Europe

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Profile review request - MBA in Europe  [#permalink]

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New post 16 May 2020, 03:51
Hello mbaMission!

A little about myself then:

Overview
Age: 34
Nationality: Latvian
Sex: Male
Languages: English, Russian and Latvian language. Studied German in school and with some work, I can remember and improve my German.

Education
Masters degree in Financial economics. Graduated with distinction, average grade 9.8 (scored from 1 to 10).
Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and Management. Average grade of 7.5 (scored from 1 to 10).
First level of professional higher education - licensed Accountant.

GMAT
Overall score: A dismal 540 on my first attempt of the official practice test, with no preparation. For the sake of evaluation, I suppose we can substitute this score with 600-650, which is something that I believe is well within my reach, with a couple of months of study.
Quant: 39/51
Verbal: 25/51

Work experience
Financial controller at an international >1000 people company - Various financial reports and being involved in annual budgeting process during first year. Added monitoring and overseeing of capital expenditure in my 2nd year, which is when I also became a member of procurement committee - 3 years and 10 months.
Audit assistant at Grant Thornton - 1 year and 9 months
Assistant accountant at a manufacturing company- 1 year and 8 months

Postgraduate work experience: 4 years and 4 months. If you count work experience while studying - 6.5 years.

Extracurricular activities
I am in love with sports. Currently my regime includes 3 gym sessions and 3 rowing sessions per week. I also enjoy reading a lot, listening to and discovering new music and movies/tv shows when possible.
Sadly I do not have any volunteering experience, nor have I been a part of a ''high school/university student club'' or worked in some type of non profit org. At the same time I have to say that I love spending time with my friends, and I try to interact with other people by keeping in mind this principle ''treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself''.

Education
Masters degree in Financial economics. Graduated with distinction, average grade 9.8 (scored from 1 to 10).
Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and Management. Average grade of 7.5 (scored from 1 to 10).
First level of professional higher education - licensed Accountant.

Post-MBA goals
I feel like I am at a point in my life, where I feel confident taking responsibility, providing guidance and leading by example. In the foreseeable future I could perhaps work as a senior financial officer or leading a section of other finance professionals. It could also be a project management type of job. Its not something I have done specifically, but I feel like I can manage things responsibly and like to approach life in a structured way. Not looking at entrepreneurship currently - would prefer to work in an established company. I am absolutely not against changing country/sector/position. In other words - I am ready to continue my journey, wherever it leads. Looking to work in an international company, would enjoy learning a new language or improving either my German or English.

Possible work sector
Finance would probably be the most natural fit, given its where I am now. I have always followed and been around various tech, so thats one that would feel natural as well. On the other hand, it could also be something completely different - Luxury, Sports or Entertainment are some other sectors that are appealing to me.

Target schools
HEC Paris
SDA Bocconi
Mannheim Business school
ESMT Berlin
Alliance Manchester.

Timeline
I am probably late for September 2020 (with the exception of Mannheim perhaps), so I am thinking January 2021 or September 2021, also depending on the program of course.

Other information
I see a few problems when trying to look at my profile objectively. Here is my take on how to address them and maybe focus on something else instead?

* Low GMAT score. I will of course improve my initial attempt of 540, but even 600-650 will be low for some of the schools I have mentioned.
- Focus instead on the fact that in the span of less than 8 years, I have graduated from 3 different higher education institutions, 2 of them being University level and finishing my major with distinction and 98% weighted average grade.
- Also highlight that during my bachelor a major I was working full time while studying - successfully combining the two.

* No promotions in the classic sense
- Focus instead on showing added duties and responsibilities

Specific questions
1) Will schools be put off by my age? A few people have mentioned that it is not and should not be an issue, provided you can articulate why MBA and why now? Bear in mind that if I decide to go for September 2021, I will be 35 then.

2) Suppose I add a 650 GMAT to my resume - would that be enough to target any of the suggested schools?

3) I have no volunteer or internship experience to put on my resume at the moment. I have nothing against volunteering and I hope to be able to help people in the future, but if I start doing something like that now, isnt that going to look a little ''suspicious'' on my resume? I mean some schools might think: how convenient - he started volunteering 6 months before applying to a business school. And how important is this?

4) Do you perhaps see any other good schools that could be a good match for me?

5) If I do go the longer route and aim for 2021 September - what would be the 3 things, you would suggest I work on - or my 3 biggest weaknesses currently.

Thank you for your time and have a nice weekend!
P.S. I am willing to share my work place and other information that might be relevant in PM
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 1164
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Re: Profile review request - MBA in Europe  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2020, 13:24
1
Hi Darrow! Thanks for reaching out to us.

I agree about the need to focus on your GMAT. Your past transcripts will be viewed in combination with your GMAT, so it's great that you have a strong performance especially in your Master's program, but the GMAT is still quite important as it's an easier way for schools to compare applicants.

Otherwise I think your work experience sounds quite strong and it seems like you have had progression in your duties and been selected for new roles, despite not having a formal promotion. I would try to have your recommenders address this in their letters.

To answer your specific questions....

1) Will schools be put off by my age? A few people have mentioned that it is not and should not be an issue, provided you can articulate why MBA and why now? Bear in mind that if I decide to go for September 2021, I will be 35 then. It can be an issue at some programs, as they may view you as a better fit for an Executive level program. But they should be more focused on your years of experience, not just your age, so I think for you, it is less of a concern. Especially if you can articulate why MBA and why now in a compelling way.

2) Suppose I add a 650 GMAT to my resume - would that be enough to target any of the suggested schools? Yes, I think that should put you in range, as those schools have average GMATs ranging from 640 to 690. HEC Paris is at the top of that list, so that could be the biggest stretch, depending on how the test goes.

3) I have no volunteer or internship experience to put on my resume at the moment. I have nothing against volunteering and I hope to be able to help people in the future, but if I start doing something like that now, isnt that going to look a little ''suspicious'' on my resume? I mean some schools might think: how convenient - he started volunteering 6 months before applying to a business school. And how important is this? Yes, I hear that a lot too, but something is better than nothing! I would focus on formalizing activities you already do, or giving back to organizations you've already had a relationship with or shown interest in. It could be a way to show initiative, like forming a book club amongst your friends, starting a regular workout group, etc. It doesn't have to be traditional volunteer work and that way it shouldn't look as manufactured.


4) Do you perhaps see any other good schools that could be a good match for me? Considering your interests and schools already on your list, I think you could also consider a few more schools in the UK. Warwick, Imperial College, Cass -- possibly Cambridge/Oxford if the GMAT goes very well!

5) If I do go the longer route and aim for 2021 September - what would be the 3 things, you would suggest I work on - or my 3 biggest weaknesses currently. GMAT for sure. Then adding some sort of activity outside of work. Then I would focus on school research/networking to demonstrate your interest early and get to know your target programs well so you can tailor your applications when it comes time. (I am assuming it's outside your control to secure a promotion, but that could help too!)


Hope that helps, and good luck!
Kate


Darrow wrote:
Hello mbaMission!

A little about myself then:

Overview
Age: 34
Nationality: Latvian
Sex: Male
Languages: English, Russian and Latvian language. Studied German in school and with some work, I can remember and improve my German.

Education
Masters degree in Financial economics. Graduated with distinction, average grade 9.8 (scored from 1 to 10).
Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and Management. Average grade of 7.5 (scored from 1 to 10).
First level of professional higher education - licensed Accountant.

GMAT
Overall score: A dismal 540 on my first attempt of the official practice test, with no preparation. For the sake of evaluation, I suppose we can substitute this score with 600-650, which is something that I believe is well within my reach, with a couple of months of study.
Quant: 39/51
Verbal: 25/51

Work experience
Financial controller at an international >1000 people company - Various financial reports and being involved in annual budgeting process during first year. Added monitoring and overseeing of capital expenditure in my 2nd year, which is when I also became a member of procurement committee - 3 years and 10 months.
Audit assistant at Grant Thornton - 1 year and 9 months
Assistant accountant at a manufacturing company- 1 year and 8 months

Postgraduate work experience: 4 years and 4 months. If you count work experience while studying - 6.5 years.

Extracurricular activities
I am in love with sports. Currently my regime includes 3 gym sessions and 3 rowing sessions per week. I also enjoy reading a lot, listening to and discovering new music and movies/tv shows when possible.
Sadly I do not have any volunteering experience, nor have I been a part of a ''high school/university student club'' or worked in some type of non profit org. At the same time I have to say that I love spending time with my friends, and I try to interact with other people by keeping in mind this principle ''treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself''.

Education
Masters degree in Financial economics. Graduated with distinction, average grade 9.8 (scored from 1 to 10).
Bachelors degree in Entrepreneurship and Management. Average grade of 7.5 (scored from 1 to 10).
First level of professional higher education - licensed Accountant.

Post-MBA goals
I feel like I am at a point in my life, where I feel confident taking responsibility, providing guidance and leading by example. In the foreseeable future I could perhaps work as a senior financial officer or leading a section of other finance professionals. It could also be a project management type of job. Its not something I have done specifically, but I feel like I can manage things responsibly and like to approach life in a structured way. Not looking at entrepreneurship currently - would prefer to work in an established company. I am absolutely not against changing country/sector/position. In other words - I am ready to continue my journey, wherever it leads. Looking to work in an international company, would enjoy learning a new language or improving either my German or English.

Possible work sector
Finance would probably be the most natural fit, given its where I am now. I have always followed and been around various tech, so thats one that would feel natural as well. On the other hand, it could also be something completely different - Luxury, Sports or Entertainment are some other sectors that are appealing to me.

Target schools
HEC Paris
SDA Bocconi
Mannheim Business school
ESMT Berlin
Alliance Manchester.

Timeline
I am probably late for September 2020 (with the exception of Mannheim perhaps), so I am thinking January 2021 or September 2021, also depending on the program of course.

Other information
I see a few problems when trying to look at my profile objectively. Here is my take on how to address them and maybe focus on something else instead?

* Low GMAT score. I will of course improve my initial attempt of 540, but even 600-650 will be low for some of the schools I have mentioned.
- Focus instead on the fact that in the span of less than 8 years, I have graduated from 3 different higher education institutions, 2 of them being University level and finishing my major with distinction and 98% weighted average grade.
- Also highlight that during my bachelor a major I was working full time while studying - successfully combining the two.

* No promotions in the classic sense
- Focus instead on showing added duties and responsibilities

Specific questions
1) Will schools be put off by my age? A few people have mentioned that it is not and should not be an issue, provided you can articulate why MBA and why now? Bear in mind that if I decide to go for September 2021, I will be 35 then.

2) Suppose I add a 650 GMAT to my resume - would that be enough to target any of the suggested schools?

3) I have no volunteer or internship experience to put on my resume at the moment. I have nothing against volunteering and I hope to be able to help people in the future, but if I start doing something like that now, isnt that going to look a little ''suspicious'' on my resume? I mean some schools might think: how convenient - he started volunteering 6 months before applying to a business school. And how important is this?

4) Do you perhaps see any other good schools that could be a good match for me?

5) If I do go the longer route and aim for 2021 September - what would be the 3 things, you would suggest I work on - or my 3 biggest weaknesses currently.

Thank you for your time and have a nice weekend!
P.S. I am willing to share my work place and other information that might be relevant in PM

_________________
Kate Richardson
mbaMission Senior Consultant and Chicago Booth Alum
http://www.mbamission.com
Read our school insider's guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Sign up for a free phone consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 19 Apr 2020
Posts: 6
Profile review request - MBA in Europe  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2020, 22:09
Thank you, Kate for the feedback!

A couple of points from me:

1) Broadly speaking, would you say my profile is fine apart from current GMAT score? Or in other words, depending on my GMAT score, more schools can become viable?

2) I didnt manage to ask about MBA application timeline the way I wanted to, but I will try now. From what I understand, your odds of getting in a good business school go down with each application round. So for example, going for HEC January 2021 might be tough, given I probably need 2-3 months in order to improve my GMAT, translate everything, prepare application, get recommendations etc.?

I have made a little table of schools mentioned before. From this list, I consider 4 of them ''Tier 1'' - highlighted in light green. One is a very unlikely option in 2021 JAN (HEC), and the other three are all 2021 SEP. I think applying to say 5 in one window would be optimal, and of those 5 schools, 1-2 should be in the ''reach'' category, right?

Image

What I am trying to say that given my current predicament, it appears I have 2 choices:

Option #1 - Try and put together the best application I can now, and apply for 2020 SEP / 2021 JAN where I can. If and when I get accepted - I can decide if that feels like the right direction to go.

Option #2 - Work on my application, GMAT and everything else and target 2021 SEP to have a possibly better chance at getting in to a school like HEC/Oxford/SDA Bocconi/Cambridge.

I realise that this is probably an impossible question for someone else to answer, but which way would you lean? You have probably seen quite a few applicants in similar positions. Perhaps I change jobs (go from financial controller to a more senior position) sometime soon and have 0.5-1 year experience in another role by the time adcoms get to my application - would that strengthen my application and would that tilt the scales towards option #2.

mbaMissionKate wrote:
Hi Darrow! Thanks for reaching out to us.

I agree about the need to focus on your GMAT. Your past transcripts will be viewed in combination with your GMAT, so it's great that you have a strong performance especially in your Master's program, but the GMAT is still quite important as it's an easier way for schools to compare applicants.

Otherwise I think your work experience sounds quite strong and it seems like you have had progression in your duties and been selected for new roles, despite not having a formal promotion. I would try to have your recommenders address this in their letters.

To answer your specific questions....

1) Will schools be put off by my age? A few people have mentioned that it is not and should not be an issue, provided you can articulate why MBA and why now? Bear in mind that if I decide to go for September 2021, I will be 35 then. It can be an issue at some programs, as they may view you as a better fit for an Executive level program. But they should be more focused on your years of experience, not just your age, so I think for you, it is less of a concern. Especially if you can articulate why MBA and why now in a compelling way.

2) Suppose I add a 650 GMAT to my resume - would that be enough to target any of the suggested schools? Yes, I think that should put you in range, as those schools have average GMATs ranging from 640 to 690. HEC Paris is at the top of that list, so that could be the biggest stretch, depending on how the test goes.

3) I have no volunteer or internship experience to put on my resume at the moment. I have nothing against volunteering and I hope to be able to help people in the future, but if I start doing something like that now, isnt that going to look a little ''suspicious'' on my resume? I mean some schools might think: how convenient - he started volunteering 6 months before applying to a business school. And how important is this? Yes, I hear that a lot too, but something is better than nothing! I would focus on formalizing activities you already do, or giving back to organizations you've already had a relationship with or shown interest in. It could be a way to show initiative, like forming a book club amongst your friends, starting a regular workout group, etc. It doesn't have to be traditional volunteer work and that way it shouldn't look as manufactured.


4) Do you perhaps see any other good schools that could be a good match for me? Considering your interests and schools already on your list, I think you could also consider a few more schools in the UK. Warwick, Imperial College, Cass -- possibly Cambridge/Oxford if the GMAT goes very well!

5) If I do go the longer route and aim for 2021 September - what would be the 3 things, you would suggest I work on - or my 3 biggest weaknesses currently. GMAT for sure. Then adding some sort of activity outside of work. Then I would focus on school research/networking to demonstrate your interest early and get to know your target programs well so you can tailor your applications when it comes time. (I am assuming it's outside your control to secure a promotion, but that could help too!)


Hope that helps, and good luck!
Kate
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
User avatar
P
Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 1164
Reviews Badge
Re: Profile review request - MBA in Europe  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2020, 04:32
Hi again, Darrow.

GMAT does seem like the biggest opportunity for improvement and yes I think more schools are possible if you meaningfully improve your score. But don't neglect the other parts of your profile, like showing more on the job leadership, formalizing activities, and solidifying your career goals/reasons for MBA. Those will help strengthen your candidacy too.

Based on how you outlined things, I would lean towards Option 2. Take the time you need to to improve your profile and apply when it is strongest. More work experience cannot hurt so you could consider switching jobs (though be cautious of switching right before applying as that can create trouble for selecting your recommender writers). I also think if you apply now (Option 1) you should be prepared to start on time, as schools may not allow for deferrals unless there are exceptional circumstances. Typically yes, it is best to apply in the earliest round, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apply in the second round. In the US, the third round is when we see the biggest drop in chances.

Hope that answers your questions and if you would like to discuss in more detail, feel free to sign up for a free phone consult with us (link in my signature).
Thanks!
Kate

Darrow wrote:
Thank you, Kate for the feedback!

A couple of points from me:

1) Broadly speaking, would you say my profile is fine apart from current GMAT score? Or in other words, depending on my GMAT score, more schools can become viable?

2) I didnt manage to ask about MBA application timeline the way I wanted to, but I will try now. From what I understand, your odds of getting in a good business school go down with each application round. So for example, going for HEC January 2021 might be tough, given I probably need 2-3 months in order to improve my GMAT, translate everything, prepare application, get recommendations etc.?

I have made a little table of schools mentioned before. From this list, I consider 4 of them ''Tier 1'' - highlighted in light green. One is a very unlikely option in 2021 JAN (HEC), and the other three are all 2021 SEP. I think applying to say 5 in one window would be optimal, and of those 5 schools, 1-2 should be in the ''reach'' category, right?

Image

What I am trying to say that given my current predicament, it appears I have 2 choices:

Option #1 - Try and put together the best application I can now, and apply for 2020 SEP / 2021 JAN where I can. If and when I get accepted - I can decide if that feels like the right direction to go.

Option #2 - Work on my application, GMAT and everything else and target 2021 SEP to have a possibly better chance at getting in to a school like HEC/Oxford/SDA Bocconi/Cambridge.

I realise that this is probably an impossible question for someone else to answer, but which way would you lean? You have probably seen quite a few applicants in similar positions. Perhaps I change jobs (go from financial controller to a more senior position) sometime soon and have 0.5-1 year experience in another role by the time adcoms get to my application - would that strengthen my application and would that tilt the scales towards option #2.

mbaMissionKate wrote:
Hi Darrow! Thanks for reaching out to us.

I agree about the need to focus on your GMAT. Your past transcripts will be viewed in combination with your GMAT, so it's great that you have a strong performance especially in your Master's program, but the GMAT is still quite important as it's an easier way for schools to compare applicants.

Otherwise I think your work experience sounds quite strong and it seems like you have had progression in your duties and been selected for new roles, despite not having a formal promotion. I would try to have your recommenders address this in their letters.

To answer your specific questions....

1) Will schools be put off by my age? A few people have mentioned that it is not and should not be an issue, provided you can articulate why MBA and why now? Bear in mind that if I decide to go for September 2021, I will be 35 then. It can be an issue at some programs, as they may view you as a better fit for an Executive level program. But they should be more focused on your years of experience, not just your age, so I think for you, it is less of a concern. Especially if you can articulate why MBA and why now in a compelling way.

2) Suppose I add a 650 GMAT to my resume - would that be enough to target any of the suggested schools? Yes, I think that should put you in range, as those schools have average GMATs ranging from 640 to 690. HEC Paris is at the top of that list, so that could be the biggest stretch, depending on how the test goes.

3) I have no volunteer or internship experience to put on my resume at the moment. I have nothing against volunteering and I hope to be able to help people in the future, but if I start doing something like that now, isnt that going to look a little ''suspicious'' on my resume? I mean some schools might think: how convenient - he started volunteering 6 months before applying to a business school. And how important is this? Yes, I hear that a lot too, but something is better than nothing! I would focus on formalizing activities you already do, or giving back to organizations you've already had a relationship with or shown interest in. It could be a way to show initiative, like forming a book club amongst your friends, starting a regular workout group, etc. It doesn't have to be traditional volunteer work and that way it shouldn't look as manufactured.


4) Do you perhaps see any other good schools that could be a good match for me? Considering your interests and schools already on your list, I think you could also consider a few more schools in the UK. Warwick, Imperial College, Cass -- possibly Cambridge/Oxford if the GMAT goes very well!

5) If I do go the longer route and aim for 2021 September - what would be the 3 things, you would suggest I work on - or my 3 biggest weaknesses currently. GMAT for sure. Then adding some sort of activity outside of work. Then I would focus on school research/networking to demonstrate your interest early and get to know your target programs well so you can tailor your applications when it comes time. (I am assuming it's outside your control to secure a promotion, but that could help too!)


Hope that helps, and good luck!
Kate

_________________
Kate Richardson
mbaMission Senior Consultant and Chicago Booth Alum
http://www.mbamission.com
Read our school insider's guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Sign up for a free phone consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Posts: 6
Re: Profile review request - MBA in Europe  [#permalink]

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New post 22 May 2020, 05:19
Hello, mbaMissionKate!

Thank you for your time and insight!

I am a little unclear on ''formalizing activities''. Could you elaborate on that a little?

And yes, a phone call would be great! We only need to work out a time that works for us both then.

Have a nice weekend,
Darrow

mbaMissionKate wrote:
Hi again, Darrow.

GMAT does seem like the biggest opportunity for improvement and yes I think more schools are possible if you meaningfully improve your score. But don't neglect the other parts of your profile, like showing more on the job leadership, formalizing activities, and solidifying your career goals/reasons for MBA. Those will help strengthen your candidacy too.

Based on how you outlined things, I would lean towards Option 2. Take the time you need to to improve your profile and apply when it is strongest. More work experience cannot hurt so you could consider switching jobs (though be cautious of switching right before applying as that can create trouble for selecting your recommender writers). I also think if you apply now (Option 1) you should be prepared to start on time, as schools may not allow for deferrals unless there are exceptional circumstances. Typically yes, it is best to apply in the earliest round, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apply in the second round. In the US, the third round is when we see the biggest drop in chances.

Hope that answers your questions and if you would like to discuss in more detail, feel free to sign up for a free phone consult with us (link in my signature).
Thanks!
Kate
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
User avatar
P
Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 1164
Reviews Badge
Re: Profile review request - MBA in Europe  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 25 May 2020, 19:05
Hi again!
By 'formalizing activities' I was referring to volunteer work / extracurricular activities and trying to have something you could list there.
You can sign up for a phone consultation here: https://www.mbamission.com/consult/mba-admissions/
If you can't find a convenient time with me directly, you're welcome to sign up for a slot with one of my colleagues.
Thanks!
Kate

Darrow wrote:
Hello, mbaMissionKate!

Thank you for your time and insight!

I am a little unclear on ''formalizing activities''. Could you elaborate on that a little?

And yes, a phone call would be great! We only need to work out a time that works for us both then.

Have a nice weekend,
Darrow

mbaMissionKate wrote:
Hi again, Darrow.

GMAT does seem like the biggest opportunity for improvement and yes I think more schools are possible if you meaningfully improve your score. But don't neglect the other parts of your profile, like showing more on the job leadership, formalizing activities, and solidifying your career goals/reasons for MBA. Those will help strengthen your candidacy too.

Based on how you outlined things, I would lean towards Option 2. Take the time you need to to improve your profile and apply when it is strongest. More work experience cannot hurt so you could consider switching jobs (though be cautious of switching right before applying as that can create trouble for selecting your recommender writers). I also think if you apply now (Option 1) you should be prepared to start on time, as schools may not allow for deferrals unless there are exceptional circumstances. Typically yes, it is best to apply in the earliest round, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apply in the second round. In the US, the third round is when we see the biggest drop in chances.

Hope that answers your questions and if you would like to discuss in more detail, feel free to sign up for a free phone consult with us (link in my signature).
Thanks!
Kate

_________________
Kate Richardson
mbaMission Senior Consultant and Chicago Booth Alum
http://www.mbamission.com
Read our school insider's guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Sign up for a free phone consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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