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

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Veteran/unique applicant, but do I even have a chance?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2018, 12:16
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!
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New post 02 Feb 2018, 15:37
1
Thanks for sharing your profile. Really intriguing background and personal narrative that will certainly stand out if you are able to craft your story appropriately. It might be worth your time and money to seek out a consultant.

Strong GMAT, schools obviously would like a higher quant but with your 730 I think they could be fine with your performance here. Your GPA is obviously a major red flag, I think your explanation will be key and should resonate especially with your upward trajectory. Also, your strong GMAT will help as well. Another thing that may be somewhat of a red flag is your work experience, at a quick glance may come across as a little all over the place so it will be up to you to show a clear progression and explain your path. I don't think on the surface your time at the dispensary is bad just need to show the impact you made and results you drove.

I think you might have one too many red flags for the top schools especially in R3, there are just not that many spots available. I think if you slide down the scale a bit on the rankings it might be worth a shot. Take a look at schools like UCLA, USC, Ross, and Cornell as some potential options. You are 30 but R1 next year could also be a good option if you feel your story is not coming together
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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, 17:12
Thank you so much for your advice, VeritasPrepDozie! I sincerely appreciate it. I'm applying R3 because I legitimately couldn't apply R1 or R2, and I need to start school this Fall. I will take a shot at no more than a couple M7 schools...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 aim more for the schools ranked 10-15, maybe 10-20. Ross, Fuqua, Darden, UCLA sound a bit more plausible? Or still reach?
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New post 11 Feb 2018, 18:25
I think Kellogg and HBS make sense if you are set on at least taking a stab at some M7 schools, both schools are top feeders for mgmt consulting and still care about an individual applicants unique story. As far as lower ranked schools i think you have a solid list working, I would also take a look at Yale
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