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Veteran/unique applicant, but do I even have a chance?

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Joined: 19 Dec 2017
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Veteran/unique applicant, but do I even have a chance?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2018, 12:11
If you actually read through all of this and take the time to reply, I would be incredibly grateful. As an MBA hopeful for the 2018 intake, I am in the process of preparing my applications to submit in Round 3. I believe I do have somewhat of a unique profile/story, but I am not sure if I even have a chance of being admitted to a top-20 business school, let alone a top-10. I know the likes of HBS/Kellogg/any M7 would be beyond a hope and a prayer, but would you please be so kind as to tell me what schools I have a chance of getting into?

- 30 year old Asian (Korean) male

Veteran (USMC), Graduated from UCLA, Psychology major, 2.9 GPA (more on that below)
- After high school, I served in the United States Marine Corps, with one combat deployment to Iraq. Immediately afterward, I matriculated at UCLA. I did not transition well from the Marine Corps to UCLA... I really suffered from intense PTSD and anxiety during my first two years of undergrad, without any support, and I was dismissed after two years for poor academic performance (< 2.0 GPA). I worked various jobs for two years (see below), while reflecting on my various passions and strengths, and reapplied to UCLA with newfound determination. I excelled academically my last two years (~ 3.75 GPA, switched major from Biology to Psychology, completed all major requirements, even took on and completed two minors in that time); however, my cumulative GPA is low, a 2.89 to be exact.

Test Scores:
- I took both the GRE and the GMAT once (only studied 4 days for GRE and 2 days for GMAT, as I was working 80-100 hours/week at the time) and scored relatively well on each of them, but I am worried that the admissions committee will ding me for my GMAT Quant score, though I did do better on the GRE Quant section.
- GMAT: 730 (96th percentile)
Verbal 44 (98th percentile)
Quant 47 (63rd percentile)
AWA: 5.5
- GRE
Verbal 730 (93rd percentile)
Quant 760 (91st percentile)
AWA: 4.5

Work experience:
- 3 years as a high school science teacher at a private school, mixed student population (half international, half underserved/marginalized students). As the only science teacher at the school, I teach six different science classes every day (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Environmental Science). Even with no credential or formal training, I have raised the standard of instruction and education here during the past three years.
- I have also tutored for the past 9 years.
- I currently work as the Assistant Director/Head Tutor at a for-profit academy.
- (Regarding the above-mentioned odd-jobs: I was a nanny, owned a liquor store, worked at a dental lab as a technician and in sales, and managed a medical marijuana dispensary. Excelled at all of these, and I could write about for any one of them, but I can really talk about what I did at the dispensary, from front desk to partner in less than a year, etc. Would adcoms just throw my application away, or might they be just a little intrigued?)

Extra-Curriculars:
- Every Friday for the past 6 years, I have served in the Awana Children's Ministry at my church. Started as a normal Leader (in charge of 5-10 students), then became Game Director (led games for 400+ students), and I am now the Club Commander (oversee the entire ministry, including 5 pastors, 4 Directors, 80+ Leaders, and 400+ students; in charge of training, events, discipline).
- I have started two non-profit tutoring centers that bring access to services to students that otherwise would not be able to afford them. After teaching full-time, I tutor 4-7 hours/day Monday-Saturday, and I have personally helped hundreds of students achieve things that they never could have dreamed of, from significantly improving their SAT/ACT scores to going to Ivy League schools.
- Head Coach of a junior high boys' basketball team.

Post-MBA:
- Management Consulting at MBB, in any sector/industry. Eventually, I would like to work in the Social Sector, specifically working on Education projects.

Targets:
- Reach: Harvard, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Sloan, Tuck, Fuqua, Ross
- More likely? UCLA Anderson, other 15-20.
- Have been in contact with USC Marshall, Vanderbilt Owen, and Wisconsin.
- I request your help and advice here... I want to be realistic; I don't want to apply (and throw hundreds/thousands of dollars away) if I am dead in the water, but I know the value of a top-MBA and I know I have the wherewithal to succeed in any program.

Questions:
- What are my chances at those top schools/programs?
- If your answer to the first question is "slim to none," which programs should I apply to?
- How worrisome is my GPA?
- Should I be concerned about the GMAT Quant score? Should I submit only my GRE, GMAT, or both? Should I retake the GMAT?
- Is applying in Round 3 detrimental to one's chances of admission, compared to Round 1 and Round 2 submissions, as all of the online material seems to indicate?

Thank you so much!
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 928
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Re: Veteran/unique applicant, but do I even have a chance?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2018, 13:30
Hi bobojohn1001 -- thanks for reaching out. I agree you have a unique profile and story. Round 3 can be really tough, but less so for unique applicants like you.

There are a few concerns in your profile as you know -- the GPA, the academic dismissal, the jumpiness in your jobs -- none of these are deal breakers but together they are challenging. On the plus side, your test scores are great, your work experience is impactful and full of leadership, and your community involvement is impressive. You really need to rock your essays! Your story needs to be consistent, powerful, and concise.

And you also need to be smart about your school choice and apply to a range of options. Harvard and the M7s will be really tough, so limit your choices there and apply to just 2 or maybe 3 as reach options. The drop in acceptance rates in Round 3 tends to be most prevalent among the top 10-15 schools. So I would mostly focus on schools in the UCLA/Fuqua range, and I would also apply to at least one school like USC (or Owen, Kenan-Flagler, etc.) as a safer option. Also, I think you will do best with schools that have essay questions that give you the opportunity (and space) to tell your story. Fuqua's 25 Random Things essay is a great one for unique applicants like you. Or a school like Kellogg which offers all applicants the chance to interview.

To answer some of your other questions... a 47 Quant is not worrisome, especially with your science teaching background. But I think I would submit just your GRE score, as it converts slightly higher and has the higher quant. The dispensary job is not a deal breaker, but do tread carefully in explaining that plus your other jobs during that time. I certainly wouldn't hide it, as you need to account for what you were doing in that time, plus it sounds like you demonstrated some intriguing leadership there.

Hope this helps, and good luck! Feel free to reach out to us if you need further help with your applications.
Kate

bobojohn1001 wrote:
If you actually read through all of this and take the time to reply, I would be incredibly grateful. As an MBA hopeful for the 2018 intake, I am in the process of preparing my applications to submit in Round 3. I believe I do have somewhat of a unique profile/story, but I am not sure if I even have a chance of being admitted to a top-20 business school, let alone a top-10. I know the likes of HBS/Kellogg/any M7 would be beyond a hope and a prayer, but would you please be so kind as to tell me what schools I have a chance of getting into?

- 30 year old Asian (Korean) male

Veteran (USMC), Graduated from UCLA, Psychology major, 2.9 GPA (more on that below)
- After high school, I served in the United States Marine Corps, with one combat deployment to Iraq. Immediately afterward, I matriculated at UCLA. I did not transition well from the Marine Corps to UCLA... I really suffered from intense PTSD and anxiety during my first two years of undergrad, without any support, and I was dismissed after two years for poor academic performance (< 2.0 GPA). I worked various jobs for two years (see below), while reflecting on my various passions and strengths, and reapplied to UCLA with newfound determination. I excelled academically my last two years (~ 3.75 GPA, switched major from Biology to Psychology, completed all major requirements, even took on and completed two minors in that time); however, my cumulative GPA is low, a 2.89 to be exact.

Test Scores:
- I took both the GRE and the GMAT once (only studied 4 days for GRE and 2 days for GMAT, as I was working 80-100 hours/week at the time) and scored relatively well on each of them, but I am worried that the admissions committee will ding me for my GMAT Quant score, though I did do better on the GRE Quant section.
- GMAT: 730 (96th percentile)
Verbal 44 (98th percentile)
Quant 47 (63rd percentile)
AWA: 5.5
- GRE
Verbal 730 (93rd percentile)
Quant 760 (91st percentile)
AWA: 4.5

Work experience:
- 3 years as a high school science teacher at a private school, mixed student population (half international, half underserved/marginalized students). As the only science teacher at the school, I teach six different science classes every day (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Environmental Science). Even with no credential or formal training, I have raised the standard of instruction and education here during the past three years.
- I have also tutored for the past 9 years.
- I currently work as the Assistant Director/Head Tutor at a for-profit academy.
- (Regarding the above-mentioned odd-jobs: I was a nanny, owned a liquor store, worked at a dental lab as a technician and in sales, and managed a medical marijuana dispensary. Excelled at all of these, and I could write about for any one of them, but I can really talk about what I did at the dispensary, from front desk to partner in less than a year, etc. Would adcoms just throw my application away, or might they be just a little intrigued?)

Extra-Curriculars:
- Every Friday for the past 6 years, I have served in the Awana Children's Ministry at my church. Started as a normal Leader (in charge of 5-10 students), then became Game Director (led games for 400+ students), and I am now the Club Commander (oversee the entire ministry, including 5 pastors, 4 Directors, 80+ Leaders, and 400+ students; in charge of training, events, discipline).
- I have started two non-profit tutoring centers that bring access to services to students that otherwise would not be able to afford them. After teaching full-time, I tutor 4-7 hours/day Monday-Saturday, and I have personally helped hundreds of students achieve things that they never could have dreamed of, from significantly improving their SAT/ACT scores to going to Ivy League schools.
- Head Coach of a junior high boys' basketball team.

Post-MBA:
- Management Consulting at MBB, in any sector/industry. Eventually, I would like to work in the Social Sector, specifically working on Education projects.

Targets:
- Reach: Harvard, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Sloan, Tuck, Fuqua, Ross
- More likely? UCLA Anderson, other 15-20.
- Have been in contact with USC Marshall, Vanderbilt Owen, and Wisconsin.
- I request your help and advice here... I want to be realistic; I don't want to apply (and throw hundreds/thousands of dollars away) if I am dead in the water, but I know the value of a top-MBA and I know I have the wherewithal to succeed in any program.

Questions:
- What are my chances at those top schools/programs?
- If your answer to the first question is "slim to none," which programs should I apply to?
- How worrisome is my GPA?
- Should I be concerned about the GMAT Quant score? Should I submit only my GRE, GMAT, or both? Should I retake the GMAT?
- Is applying in Round 3 detrimental to one's chances of admission, compared to Round 1 and Round 2 submissions, as all of the online material seems to indicate?

Thank you so much!

_________________

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

Image

Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 19 Dec 2017
Posts: 8
Re: Veteran/unique applicant, but do I even have a chance?  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 05 Feb 2018, 17:31
Thank you so much for your reply and insightful advice, Kate! It was extremely helpful, and I sincerely appreciate it. I really want to take a shot at the M7 schools...but everyone is telling me that Round 3 will be really difficult, and I have one too many red flags. I'm applying R3 because I legitimately couldn't apply R1 or R2, and I need to start school this Fall. I will take your advice and just choose a couple of M7 schools to apply to; any advice as to which two I should choose? Where might I have the best chance? Which schools are more willing to take chances on outliers? I was planning on applying to Harvard and Kellogg, maybe Columbia for the MBA/M.Ed. dual degree, but I will definitely aim more for the schools ranked 10-15, maybe 10-20. Per your suggestion, Ross, Fuqua, Darden, UCLA? Or still reach?
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
User avatar
G
Joined: 01 Apr 2015
Posts: 928
Reviews Badge
Re: Veteran/unique applicant, but do I even have a chance?  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 06 Feb 2018, 10:26
Totally agree you should aim high (while also being realistic :-) ). I think Kellogg is a really good choice for an M7 school, given your interest in consulting and the point I mentioned earlier about their interview process. I think Booth is a good choice too, and their essay question is so open-ended that you would have a good chance to tell your story. Harvard would be the hardest (lowest acceptance rate) but since they have such a large class, sometimes they are willing to take a chance on someone with a unique story, so you could give it a shot if you want. I think Columbia will be tough too, due to rolling admissions there, the MBA class will be really full by the time you apply. I like Ross/Fuqua/Darden/UCLA too. If it were me, I would add one more safer option, like USC, if you want to try to go this coming year.

If you're interested in getting some more targeted help with your applications to any of these schools, feel free to PM me or sign up on our website (https://www.mbamission.com/consult/) for a free phone consult.

Thanks!
Kate


bobojohn1001 wrote:
Thank you so much for your reply and insightful advice, Kate! It was extremely helpful, and I sincerely appreciate it. I really want to take a shot at the M7 schools...but everyone is telling me that Round 3 will be really difficult, and I have one too many red flags. I'm applying R3 because I legitimately couldn't apply R1 or R2, and I need to start school this Fall. I will take your advice and just choose a couple of M7 schools to apply to; any advice as to which two I should choose? Where might I have the best chance? Which schools are more willing to take chances on outliers? I was planning on applying to Harvard and Kellogg, maybe Columbia for the MBA/M.Ed. dual degree, but I will definitely aim more for the schools ranked 10-15, maybe 10-20. Per your suggestion, Ross, Fuqua, Darden, UCLA? Or still reach?

_________________

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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