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Request for Profile Review and Advice

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New post 30 Sep 2018, 19:22
Hello everyone!

First post here and I am glad I found this forum. I am interesting in applying to business analytics / OR / Management Information Systems programs. First, below is my profile:

Test Scores:
GMAT
2018: 670 (V: 37/82% Q: 45/55% AW: 5/53% IR: 5/54%
2015: 620 with lower quant and everything else similar
IELTS: got an 8 in 2015, don't plan to take again as I think most universities will waive this requirement.

Undegrad GPA:
2009: 2.04/4.00 (engineering from Pakistans top engineering university, translates to roughly 2.5 in US GPA calculations)

Graduate GPA:
2018: Expected 4.00 (MBA from a mid-tier US business school, will complete in December)

Research Experience:
Publications: 1 paper about a machine learning application to a business problem in Industrial Management and Data Systems
Submissions: 2 data mining / machine learning business application papers (1 in EJOR and 1 will be sent out within a week or 2 to something like Information and Management, Information Systems Journal or MIS Quarterly Executive)
Working Papers: 1 which is more theoretical and will not be an application paper

I am the first author in all the above papers. Other authors are all professors from US business schools (none are in top-50 schools, some are fairly young but at least one is quite well-known with a very high (~13000) citation count).

I am also presenting two of the above works at one of the two main IS/DS/OR conferences soon.

Teaching Experience:
I have been working as a graduate research assistant. Although none of my work has been related to teaching/grading etc, I have stood in for a professor for an entrepreneurship class twice.

Work Experience:
9 years total
3 years working on engineering/production management jobs
4 years running my own small manufacturing business
2 years as a GA working on entrepreneurial activities with startups in the state

Concentration Applying to:
Business analytics
Operations Research / Management Information Systems programs (only if they have a data mining or analytics focus; most do)

Number of programs planned to apply to:
10

Dream Schools:
Well, I am realistic, my GMAT isn't very good, and I don't want to take it again. I am not good at taking standardized tests. But if had to name some:
UT Dallas
Wharton
Columbia Business School
Scheller
Tepper

What made you want to pursue a PhD:
I am very interested in machine learning / data mining as applied to managerial or business decision making processes. Right now I am very interested in social media or other unstructured data analytics.

Concerns you have about your profile:
Low undergrad GPA, low GMAT score.

My undergrad GPA's low because frankly I didn't care and was not interested in the program. My GMAT's not good because rote learning is not really my forte. The first one I took without any prep, and I practiced on quant problems for about 4 weeks (manhattan prep questions) before the second one. I believe practicing for another month or two can help improve my score but I don't have the time or patience for that.

I have compiled a list of ~70 universities with info on their avg GMAT scores or requirements (at least for the ones I could find) from their own websites and MBA(dot)com. I tried attaching it here but apparently I can't yet, so a screenshot can be seen here: imgur(dot)com/a/5nWksl8

I have sorted the schools according to their number of publications in the 8 IS/OR journals that are in the UT Dallas search tool. My current strategy is to apply to 4-5 among the top 35, and 4-5 in the middle and bottom. Some of the ones in the middle and bottom do appear to have an average of 670-680 for the accepted GMAT score. I've highlighted some potential choices.

I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions on what you think about my application's strengths/weaknesses and whether I am on the right track with these. Should I forget about the top-30 schools? Should I look at some other schools? Do I absolutely have to retake the GMAT?

Thanks
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New post 01 Oct 2018, 12:29
3
nihilisticanalyst wrote:
Hello everyone!

First post here and I am glad I found this forum. I am interesting in applying to business analytics / OR / Management Information Systems programs. First, below is my profile:

Test Scores:
GMAT
2018: 670 (V: 37/82% Q: 45/55% AW: 5/53% IR: 5/54%
2015: 620 with lower quant and everything else similar
IELTS: got an 8 in 2015, don't plan to take again as I think most universities will waive this requirement.

Undegrad GPA:
2009: 2.04/4.00 (engineering from Pakistans top engineering university, translates to roughly 2.5 in US GPA calculations)

Graduate GPA:
2018: Expected 4.00 (MBA from a mid-tier US business school, will complete in December)

Research Experience:
Publications: 1 paper about a machine learning application to a business problem in Industrial Management and Data Systems
Submissions: 2 data mining / machine learning business application papers (1 in EJOR and 1 will be sent out within a week or 2 to something like Information and Management, Information Systems Journal or MIS Quarterly Executive)
Working Papers: 1 which is more theoretical and will not be an application paper

I am the first author in all the above papers. Other authors are all professors from US business schools (none are in top-50 schools, some are fairly young but at least one is quite well-known with a very high (~13000) citation count).

I am also presenting two of the above works at one of the two main IS/DS/OR conferences soon.

Teaching Experience:
I have been working as a graduate research assistant. Although none of my work has been related to teaching/grading etc, I have stood in for a professor for an entrepreneurship class twice.

Work Experience:
9 years total
3 years working on engineering/production management jobs
4 years running my own small manufacturing business
2 years as a GA working on entrepreneurial activities with startups in the state

Concentration Applying to:
Business analytics
Operations Research / Management Information Systems programs (only if they have a data mining or analytics focus; most do)

Number of programs planned to apply to:
10

Dream Schools:
Well, I am realistic, my GMAT isn't very good, and I don't want to take it again. I am not good at taking standardized tests. But if had to name some:
UT Dallas
Wharton
Columbia Business School
Scheller
Tepper

What made you want to pursue a PhD:
I am very interested in machine learning / data mining as applied to managerial or business decision making processes. Right now I am very interested in social media or other unstructured data analytics.

Concerns you have about your profile:
Low undergrad GPA, low GMAT score.

My undergrad GPA's low because frankly I didn't care and was not interested in the program. My GMAT's not good because rote learning is not really my forte. The first one I took without any prep, and I practiced on quant problems for about 4 weeks (manhattan prep questions) before the second one. I believe practicing for another month or two can help improve my score but I don't have the time or patience for that.

I have compiled a list of ~70 universities with info on their avg GMAT scores or requirements (at least for the ones I could find) from their own websites and MBA(dot)com. I tried attaching it here but apparently I can't yet, so a screenshot can be seen here: imgur(dot)com/a/5nWksl8

I have sorted the schools according to their number of publications in the 8 IS/OR journals that are in the UT Dallas search tool. My current strategy is to apply to 4-5 among the top 35, and 4-5 in the middle and bottom. Some of the ones in the middle and bottom do appear to have an average of 670-680 for the accepted GMAT score. I've highlighted some potential choices.

I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions on what you think about my application's strengths/weaknesses and whether I am on the right track with these. Should I forget about the top-30 schools? Should I look at some other schools? Do I absolutely have to retake the GMAT?

Thanks



Hello nihilisticanalyst


Interesting username :)

First forget about your undergrad GPA, they will look into your latest graduate GPA which is awesome.

I love your research experience and love areas covered....machine learning is something I am interesting to apply in finance...data mining also....your research will make all the difference, that is your strength in application :thumbup: , play on that card in SOP.

I can see Cambridge Analytica made some impact :)


"My undergrad GPA's low because frankly I didn't care and was not interested in the program. My GMAT's not good because rote learning is not really my forte."- that is something you will address in your SOP, just the way you put it, just maybe little bit more elaborate.

Okay regarding your list you should definitively apply to green ones....those are great schools and in your GMAT range.

I didn't investigate which ones are particularly strong in your research area Business Analytics/ Operations Research / Management Information Systems /Data Mining...but that would be something you already know...and you should attribute that aspect in your final list.

From your dream list UT Dallas and Scheller are only in reach...you should add them.

I am not saying rest of dream are impossible, just keeping things realistic.


Teaching experience is a plus, working experience adds value, however they may or not care about that.


You don't need to retake GMAT if you follow my advice below about recommendation list, if you still want to take chance with Wharton/Columbia/Tepper then that would be necessary, however that still does not guarantee you anything.

In your case, keeping in mind your reluctance and mind set it would be best to apply to great schools below that are your profile fit. ;)



In dream category you should shoot for UT Dallas, Scheller and Maryland.

Reach category would be Olin, Mays, Warrington, Eller, Merage, Leeds.

From safety category Walton and Bauer are good choice.




Good Luck, see you soon in industry or academia ! :cool:
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New post 01 Oct 2018, 21:01
1
Hello billionaire,

Thank you for your helpful comments and suggestions. I'd say the same about your username. An interest in data mining and analytics with that username reminds me of Jim Simons. He definitely isn't the only quant billionaire with a background in academia, but he is still someone I'd like to be like. Like him, applying these things in finance is also a medium term goal of mine.

Regarding your suggestions, I have a few more questions.

Do you think being kind of blunt about GPA and GMAT scores like I was here would have a positive effect in the SOP? I was blunt in my MBA admissions SOPs, but I feel PhD is a different ball game and my target schools are also different.

When you say reach schools, are these the ones within reach or just out of reach? In other words are these risky choices or relatively safe?

For example, your recommended reach schools were:

Olin: Their website says their last intakes avg GMAT was 735, and GMACs website MBA(dot)com says they've had 710 in recent years.
Mays: no info on their website, but GMAC says 699 for the past few years. This seems relatively safer.
Warrington: 680, relatively safe.
Eller: GMAC says 705.
Merage: GMAC says 686.
Leeds: Their website says avg GMAT for submitted was 677, admitted was 711.

So those seem to be a wide range of low to high risk, and without knowing the spreads (i.e. SD) of these GMAT numbers for each school, its hard to say what the risk is. I mean, UT Dallas and Scheller have lower mean admitted GMAT scores than Olin.

Just trying to understand how you're processing these.

Also, do you think my 55th percentile quant score would be a big problem or can it be forgiven given other considerations? I am hoping that my research background would make up a little bit for my lower quant score.

One limitation of my list is that I'm focusing more on schools for which I have GMAT data, which I gathered from either each schools own website or from GMACs website. Are their any other places where I can find data that's missing?

Thanks for your suggestions and advice. I am working with my professors on this, but I also want to get input from people like you who have gone through this process or have been involved in these decisions in high ranked schools in the recent past.

billionaire wrote:
Hello nihilisticanalyst


Interesting username :)

First forget about your undergrad GPA, they will look into your latest graduate GPA which is awesome.

I love your research experience and love areas covered....machine learning is something I am interesting to apply in finance...data mining also....your research will make all the difference, that is your strength in application :thumbup: , play on that card in SOP.

I can see Cambridge Analytica made some impact :)


"My undergrad GPA's low because frankly I didn't care and was not interested in the program. My GMAT's not good because rote learning is not really my forte."- that is something you will address in your SOP, just the way you put it, just maybe little bit more elaborate.

Okay regarding your list you should definitively apply to green ones....those are great schools and in your GMAT range.

I didn't investigate which ones are particularly strong in your research area Business Analytics/ Operations Research / Management Information Systems /Data Mining...but that would be something you already know...and you should attribute that aspect in your final list.

From your dream list UT Dallas and Scheller are only in reach...you should add them.

I am not saying rest of dream are impossible, just keeping things realistic.


Teaching experience is a plus, working experience adds value, however they may or not care about that.


You don't need to retake GMAT if you follow my advice below about recommendation list, if you still want to take chance with Wharton/Columbia/Tepper then that would be necessary, however that still does not guarantee you anything.

In your case, keeping in mind your reluctance and mind set it would be best to apply to great schools below that are your profile fit. ;)



In dream category you should shoot for UT Dallas, Scheller and Maryland.

Reach category would be Olin, Mays, Warrington, Eller, Merage, Leeds.

From safety category Walton and Bauer are good choice.




Good Luck, see you soon in industry or academia ! :cool:
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New post 02 Oct 2018, 11:34
1
Hi nihilisticanalyst

Congrats on mentioning Jim Simons, not many people would know him and yet he is the best money manager in the world, based on rate of return, contrary to the popular belief that would not be Warren Buffett. :clap:

And you would be right in connecting the dots about my username and research/career interest. :thumbup:

Just based on that observation I can see we are alike and we should connect, I will pm you regarding that.

About being blunt, it is not uncommon to have lower undergraduate GPA and then have higher on master studies, after all people are immature on bachelor studies, don't have ambitious goals, don't really know themselves or what they want to do in life.

Therefore, your situation is somewhat desirable in sense that there is clear progress, once you got serious about pursuing PhD you knew that master GPA would be important and you acted accordingly.

Offering explanation that you were not interested in subject area of your bachelor studies is not only true but perfect explanation and believe me something they encounter many times in evaluation of candidates.

In same way, that you are not fan of rote learning, that you find GMAT dull and boring and that you are not good at standardized testing, which is only one size fits all attempt for comparison is okay and understandable, you just need to find how to spin your story in SOP, how to sell it.

I would go with approach that where you are motivated and genuinely interested you excel like on MBA studies vs. bachelor/GMAT where you just did what was expected from you, to complete the task.

Since PhD is all about research, that approach would be okay in my book.

My intention was within reach, however I based that mostly on your target of green schools, assuming you knew why you picked them overall, not only on test score category.

Regarding your quant score...on MBA studies how many exams were quant based ?

What is your MBA specialization ?

Of course your research background will remedy quant score, moreover that is your strongest characteristic in application and card "we" play on.

Regarding Olin and other schools, what you are referring is average score across all disciplines...which is not what is your prime interest... yeah it is some guidance...but you need average score of admitted students in your area of specialization where you want to pursue PhD, aka Business Analytics/ Operations Research / Management Information Systems /Data Mining.

If you want to play more safe, then add to the list Rutgers, U of Miami, Price Oklahoma....instead of first above mentioned dream category.

I can see you did gather info from Professors and PhD program coordinators, that is the way to go, if it is not already stated on website.

Beware Professors will always offer you higher score as average :) in their reply, which is rather something they would like to see, than real accurate data, that's little trick that should not afraid you....but at the end of the day you will compete with other applicants for spot, so past data are just guidance and ballpark, any given year those figures may fluctuate more or less.

I can see what is your intention, you want to base your list on 670 score +- 20-30 points, where + would be dream, approximately exact score would be fit and - would be safety ones.

It is pretty easy for me to tell you which ones that fall in those categories are good schools, what I am trying to say to you, is that you should pick them, I cannot know your preference toward location, geography, climate, big city vs. more quite environment, professors you would like to work with (although I do happen to know somewhat about strength of relevant departments) and million other things that can influence your decision...you should look for hidden gems that are strong in your area of expertise and research, but may not be known as top business school overall necessarily. :idea:


I will attach your research.
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New post 02 Oct 2018, 18:49
Thanks for the suggestions! PM incoming. That is exactly my thought process. I'm not focusing on FT/Forbes/USnews rankings, but on UTD rankings based on publications only in IS/OR/computing journals. As you can see there isn't a direct correlation between the Forbes top 70 and the UTD scores.

I would recommend others going through this process to do the same. Many people focus on rankings based on MBA programs, which are mostly the only ones out there. But these don't exactly correlate with good PhD programs.

My MBA specialization is in business analytics, so yeah hopefully that should help. As you have observed I am optimistic but cautious and trying to gather as much data as I can to best optimize the outcome.
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New post 27 Oct 2018, 15:11
Hi nihilisticanalyst, billionaire

I'm interested to apply for PHD in Business Analytics this year. since you are somehow discuss about this major, may I ask you some question?

I have a list of universities ranking based on Master in Business Analytics according to "topuniversities" , or UTDallas ranking. But I couldn't find any list ranking university based on PHD in Business Analytics.

I want to know if there is an easy way to know that if a university which has a master degree in Business Analytics, has a PHD in Business Analytics or not? or should I search all the universities websites one by one?

also,

I searched and found out that some prominent schools on this track are: Chicago, Kellogg, NYU, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, Texas A&M, Texas Dallas, Maryland, Houston. But I think some of them are highly ranked and are not a good choice for me.

would you please suggest me the universities which are good to apply according to my resume:



My Resume:

- Undergrad: Computer engineering, university rank 5 in my country, GPA: 3.2/4

- Graduate: MBA, university rank 2 in my country, GPA: 3.5/4

- 3 years of work experience in Marketing, in well-known companies.

- GRE score: 155 V, 168 Q ( equals to 690 according to ETS comparison tools)

- an article in the simulation field.

- good at: programming, math, simulation, ...
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New post 28 Oct 2018, 11:20
afrouououz wrote:
Hi nihilisticanalyst, billionaire

I'm interested to apply for PHD in Business Analytics this year. since you are somehow discuss about this major, may I ask you some question?

I have a list of universities ranking based on Master in Business Analytics according to "topuniversities" , or UTDallas ranking. But I couldn't find any list ranking university based on PHD in Business Analytics.

I want to know if there is an easy way to know that if a university which has a master degree in Business Analytics, has a PHD in Business Analytics or not? or should I search all the universities websites one by one?

You will have to look at the universities one by one. And you should also keep in mind the level/type of analytics at each place will be different. Also the names of the programs are also different (business analytics/management science/decision science/operations research/information systems). Plus OR and IS programs may or may not include analytics. So finding the right match for you can be quite challenging.

For the rankings, I just created my own ranking based on UT Dallas's ranking tool by only selecting IS/OR journals for the ranking.

afrouououz wrote:
also,

I searched and found out that some prominent schools on this track are: Chicago, Kellogg, NYU, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, Texas A&M, Texas Dallas, Maryland, Houston. But I think some of them are highly ranked and are not a good choice for me.

would you please suggest me the universities which are good to apply according to my resume:



My Resume:

- Undergrad: Computer engineering, university rank 5 in my country, GPA: 3.2/4

- Graduate: MBA, university rank 2 in my country, GPA: 3.5/4

- 3 years of work experience in Marketing, in well-known companies.

- GRE score: 155 V, 168 Q ( equals to 690 according to ETS comparison tools)

- an article in the simulation field.

- good at: programming, math, simulation, ...

I'm afraid I don't have a good answer for this. You should have good chances for most of the universities we talked about in the above posts, as your GRE equivalent is similar to my GMAT.
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New post 29 Oct 2018, 17:40
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afrouououz wrote:
Hi nihilisticanalyst, billionaire

I'm interested to apply for PHD in Business Analytics this year. since you are somehow discuss about this major, may I ask you some question?

I have a list of universities ranking based on Master in Business Analytics according to "topuniversities" , or UTDallas ranking. But I couldn't find any list ranking university based on PHD in Business Analytics.

I want to know if there is an easy way to know that if a university which has a master degree in Business Analytics, has a PHD in Business Analytics or not? or should I search all the universities websites one by one?

also,

I searched and found out that some prominent schools on this track are: Chicago, Kellogg, NYU, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, Texas A&M, Texas Dallas, Maryland, Houston. But I think some of them are highly ranked and are not a good choice for me.

would you please suggest me the universities which are good to apply according to my resume:



My Resume:

- Undergrad: Computer engineering, university rank 5 in my country, GPA: 3.2/4

- Graduate: MBA, university rank 2 in my country, GPA: 3.5/4

- 3 years of work experience in Marketing, in well-known companies.

- GRE score: 155 V, 168 Q ( equals to 690 according to ETS comparison tools)

- an article in the simulation field.

- good at: programming, math, simulation, ...



Hello afrouououz


Yeah you will not find probably any list that will rank PhD in Business programs from usual suspects such as Economist, FT, Forbes, Bloomberg etc.

What you can do, you can rank or find schools based on strength of departments, their research or searching by individual professors in relevant journals.


UT Dallas rankings of business schools is one way to go.

I am familiar with some other, but they are relevant to Finance field only so that will not apply here.


If we apply rankings by journals, I used here Information Systems Research, Management Science and Operations Research only as filter ( feel free to add more, if you feel like) we will get result attached below.

Since you mentioned some really good schools already as to be avoided and actually want less competitive but still good schools, I can recommend from this list:

Olin
GTech Scheller
Purdue
Carlson
Smeal
Questrom
Rochester Simon
Pittsburgh Katz
W.P. Carey
Fisher
Kelley
U of Houston (included here, as your good choice, but in same range )

You will notice that I left this list to be worldwide in scope, assuming you might be interested not only in US schools...you can make your own US only school rankings list if you prefer.

Yes, you will need to recheck all those business schools individually to make sure that they do offer PhD program that you are interested.... actual name of the program is less important, judge them by their curriculum and research options to find what suits you.

To answer your related question also, yes having Master in Business Analytics program on particular university does not guarantee existence of the same or similar enough PhD program, again you will need to double check them, one by one.

We don't know where your country would be :) but your profile is fine in general.


If not noticed, I agree with my friend nihilisticanalyst :cool:


Good Luck with your individual research and application ! :cool:
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