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Top School with Prior Expulsion?

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Top School with Prior Expulsion? [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2017, 00:03
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I posted my profile into Vertias's profile review thread but I wanted to also put it up here as I'm wondering if anyone with a prior expulsion has had success in attending a top tier school.

I'm currently doing a lot of prep work and soul searching in anticipation of applying for a wave of schools in sept/oct 2018 which would (hopefully) allow me to begin B-school in the fall of 2019. The reason I'm beginning early is my goal is squarely to enter Top ~20 MBA program and I have an unflattering detail in my background that makes this difficult. Let me explain,

Demographic and Academics
24 Y/o Persian American (will apply just before my 26th birthday)

Goal Schools: UCLA / Yale / HBS (reach) / USC / MIT
Post MBA Goal: Augment my blend of engineering prowess, personality, and leadership with strong business fundamentals to achieve leadership roles in a technology company.

GMAT CAT 1 - 710 (Q47,V40) - Initial CAT done under test conditions, moderate preparation.
GMAT Goal - 740 (Q48, V42) - I have no doubt I'll obtain this score or at least a 730. My prep post CAT is targeted heavily at my weak area and I will improve to at least this position.

May 2013- Dec 2015 (Full courses every semester including all summers)
Bachelors of Science in Security and Risk Analysis, option in Information and Cyber security from Penn State World Campus.
Penn State GPA: 3.71 ,
5x Recipient of Dean's List.
Certificate of Achievement from National Security Agency recognizing graduates of programs meeting NSA/DHS standard for cyber security professionals.

Fall 2010- Early 2013
Studied Computer Science at Cal Poly Pomona. GPA ~3.4
Expelled from all Cal State Universities during the first quarter of 2013 due to behavior incidents (minor drug offenses - no criminal charges or academic dishonesty) .

Big Issue...
2013 was a turning point in my life. I was forced to accept that my poor decisions had permanently damaged by life goals and I came close to giving up on education. After a lot of painful self reflection, I realized I had to go back to school and not be defined by mistakes but learn from them. I opted for online because I had to get back into school as fast as possible (UC deadlines were very far out) and work outside of school to support myself. My family couldn't help me heavily at this time so I privately tutored SAT/ACT Math and Calculus along with performed Computer Repair as my job while in school full time. These were self launched and advertised services and not via outside companies. Everything I've done from this point on has been with full force and a deep humility that I've been lucky to even be given the chance to make it where I am today.

Work and Accomplishments
Jun 2012 - Aug 2012: Robotics Research Apprentice at Cal Poly Pomona. Presented at Summer Synopsis my work with Robotics Operating System to control an Roomba Create
Aug 2012 - Dec 2014: Private Tutor for essentially all subjects grades 7-12 Math Pre-Algebra to Calculus 1, SAT/ACT prep, physics, and English.
Jan 2015 - June 2015: Solution Engineering Intern (hired full time in June) - I was one of 9 interns nationwide with over 1000 applicants total
July 2015 - Present : Solutions Engineer 1 (Support Team)
~Sept 2017 - Future: Solutions Engineer 2 (Promotion Imminent - moving from support team to field team)

Certified as a Cisco Certificate Network Associate in Routing and Switching (CCNA R/S) and a Fortinet Network Security Expert level 3 (NSE 3)

As shown above, I'm currently a solutions engineer in a fortune 100 telecommunications company. I started as an intern where I worked 40 hours a week for 6 months while simultaneously going to school full time. After the 6 month internship, I was promoted and brought on full time but still was in school for 6 additional months until I graduated. During that time, I've excelled in my job in all areas. I've obtained industry-relevant certifications, and was rewarded by being the only member of my team invited to attend a conference in Las Vegas alongside senior engineers. I've built amazing relationships and am viewed as a consultant by the teammates I work with. This year, I've been spearheading a project that I suggested to drastically improve our companies social media presence on a key platform with the purpose of driving targeted leads and improving the industry perception of our business unit. This project required me to build a compelling case to present and gain the support of my Manager, then my Director, and finally the VP of my business unit. This will have lasting impact on our organizations marketing strategy moving forward. Due to this project, I have no problem requesting that both my Manager of Solutions Engineers, and the regional director of wireline sales to act as recommendations for my application and I know they will vouch for my hard work, dedication, and leadership above and beyond my role.

Sorry to make this so long, but the expulsion is a tough topic to bring up and I wanted to provide context of what was achieved after the fact to illustrate how drastic of a shift my life took after that point. I personally feel that I have a moderately strong profile, but the expulsion gives me chills every time when I realize that every school I apply to will see and judge me on that one I answer that inevitable question.

Do I have a chance here? Am I too hopeful in my school choices given what the school admission boards will see on my transcript?
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GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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New post 06 May 2017, 21:17
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Thanks for posting a very interesting and detailed question. Veritas Prep may have run into a situation like this and may advise.

However in a "sick" competitive MBA world, an experience and a turn around story like that may give you a boost in your essays and interviews.

Few people achieve as much after gettin so low and this creates quite a contrast and progression that other struggle to demonstrate.

I think you will be a bit of a gamble for an adcom but I still think you have a great chance taking your GPA into consideration and your work accomplishments.

Get a solid GMAT score to ease any further doubts and I feel it will be very much worth a shot and effort of applying. This country needs more forgiveness and rehabilitation success stories.

PS. Curious what VP thinks....

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Joined: 04 Jan 2016
Posts: 165
Location: United States (NY)
GMAT 1: 620 Q44 V32
GMAT 2: 600 Q48 V25
GMAT 3: 660 Q42 V39
GPA: 3.48
GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member
Re: Top School with Prior Expulsion? [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2017, 07:04
Thanks for sharing.

Disclaimer: compared to many experts on this forum, i am, perhaps, nobody from nowhere to comment on your profile but i can, at least, say that compared to me and many others, you have a much stronger profile.

Many people have had problems such as yours and not many could overcome them as you did.
You experienced some down points and difficult days that, i hope, have taught you some life-long lasting lessons. As long as you cherish your mistakes and reflect on lessons learned, i personally believe, you will not have much problems, not at least problems that you can not overcome. All in All, you got nothing to loose, Do you?
Re: Top School with Prior Expulsion?   [#permalink] 07 May 2017, 07:04
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