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# Ask Alex @ MBA Apply

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24 Mar 2011, 22:56
funny! def turned me off from Harvard and on to Northwestern. This is a good one. Thanks!
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25 Mar 2011, 07:34
Thank you for the excellent analogy! It definitely makes me reconsider schools that I had previously crossed off the list because of their "specs"
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25 Mar 2011, 11:07
^^^

Yeah, what's up with the electrical gremlins in German cars? Seems to be a recurring problem.

I started off very much like your wife - treating cars like a purely utilitarian thing for the longest time, until I started test driving and getting into different kinds of cars over the years (and having friends who were car enthusiasts), and I was won over. Living in LA also helps, seeing car porn everywhere (i.e. BMW 3-series is like the Honda Accord of LA; 911s are everywhere, and I see at least one Italian/British exotic everyday just in traffic).

You probably already know this but some great website forums for p-car freaks: Rennlist and Pelican Parts. And yes, the 993TT is absolutely sick. Not as fast or comfy as the 996 or 997 turbos, but the lines/curves on that car and the sound.

Now, if money were no object:

I've always had a soft spot for the Shelby Cobras. Classic American.
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25 Mar 2011, 14:12
Nice!! Very accurate.

Any chance to have you add Carnegie Mellon, Indiana, Vanderbilt, and USC. Oxford and University of Cambridge.

edit: Oh and IMD
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26 Mar 2011, 10:56
730i wrote:
Nice!! Very accurate.

Any chance to have you add Carnegie Mellon, Indiana, Vanderbilt, and USC. Oxford and University of Cambridge.

edit: Oh and IMD

Running out of car brands. Or getting into territory where the schools have way more redeeming qualities than the car brands themselves (Yugo, Lada, Fiat, Vauxhall, SEAT, Kia, Daewoo, Proton).
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Alex Chu
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07 Apr 2011, 17:33
Hi Alex,

Here's my profile:

Bio: 27 y.o. female, minority

Undergrad: Business Major, 75% cumulative average from a Canadian university on the east coast, (I think 75% is similar to an American GPA of 3.3 according to online research, but I think this is dependent on the scale/calculation used)

GMAT: In progress, aiming to take it this summer

Work Experience: Worked at a large consulting firm straight from undergrad for past 5 years; promoted twice, currently at a Manager level, extensive list of clients/projects across North America, strong performance assessments

Extra-Curriculars: Extensive community involvement across a number of charities in key leadership roles, managed sponsorship budgets and led efforts that raised tens of thousands of dollars, recipient of awards, extensive volunteering

Why MBA: Want an advanced degree to help land positions working in the non-for-profit/environmental sector, want to expand networks

Target schools: Stanford, Berkeley, Northwestern, Harvard (Are these within reach?)

Self-assessed challenges: Undergrad GPA is mediocre; upcoming GMAT, very comfortable with Verbal, not so comfortable with Quant, finding the time to do my GMAT/Application with very demanding work

Your honest opinion here would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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07 Apr 2011, 23:00
Focus on the GMAT, as that is what will dictate what your chances are (i.e. a high score won't be an asset, but a low score can be a liability). GPA won't really be an issue if you went to college outside the US (pedigree of school matters more, which is why so many internationals at top b-schools went to the top schools in their respective countries).

Having said that, shoot for 700+ no matter what. With a score like that, I'd say H/S/W will be stretches, and schools outside of that will be within reach. That is assuming you're not at McKinsey, Bain or BCG. If you're at one of those 3 firms, you won't be a shoe-in at H/S/W, but it won't be a stretch either. Historically, the M/B/B consultants have been the bread and butter of the H/S/W student body (i.e. they're not the majority of the class, but they certainly make up a healthy minority to the point where you feel like a large number of the M/B/B alums that apply are at one of these three schools). If you're not at M/B/B, you still have a shot, but it'll be a stretch, and you'll see more non-M/B/B folks ending up at schools like Kellogg, Booth, Sloan, Columbia, Tuck, Haas, etc.
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08 Apr 2011, 00:48
Thank you for the fast response Alex, I am truly grateful.

I read a whole bunch of your blogs posts tonight and found them to be very insightful and to the point. One of the posts regarding the age bias at H/S/W, left me slightly unnerved.

As I had indicated, I'm currently 27, so would be 28 (and almost 29) at matriculation, which is 2 years older than I guess the 'ideal' age. Would be I placed in the 'fat chance' group for H/S/W?

I also read a Stanford Admissions Blog archived post from 2007 where they claim that they have no age bias whatsoever and that it is a 'myth'. Are they feeding us some politically correct BS here or do you think there could be an inkling of truth to that?

I hope so Personally, I believe in this quote from Mark Twain:

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Thanks!
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08 Apr 2011, 02:08
Hi, Honestly, GPA 3.3 is too low for the schools you mentioned
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08 Apr 2011, 08:56
I appreciate your honesty. I can't change my GPA now, but with some persistence and determination on my GMAT, I still believe I have a chance. If I can't get into a top school, I see little value in me attending b-school given where I am at in my career.
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08 Apr 2011, 10:52
lath2011 wrote:
I appreciate your honesty. I can't change my GPA now, but with some persistence and determination on my GMAT, I still believe I have a chance. If I can't get into a top school, I see little value in me attending b-school given where I am at in my career.

As I said before your GPA won't really matter because it's not from a US school (adcoms will look at your raw scores on your transcript, and most b-school forms will ask for your grades in the format that your school uses i.e. A-F, 0-100%, 1-9, 1.0-5.0, 1.0-4.0, etc.).

Again, the pedigree of your undergrad will matter more than your GPA if you went to a non-US school. That's why it's no accident that at the top schools, you'll see a lot of IITs, BeijingU/Tsinghua, Oxford/Cambridge, MoscowU, etc. Amongst Canadian undergrads, you'll see the overwhelming majority went to McGill, Queen's, Toronto, Waterloo, UBC or Ivey. Doesn't mean you can't get into a top b-school if you didn't go to these schools, but it's a bit of a self-selecting thing as well, since those who went to these Canadian schools tended to get the strongest job offers after undergrad anyhow.

As for age, yes it matters for b-school admissions - but even more so for men than women. In any case, there's nothing you can do about your age, so all you can do is if you really want to go to H/S/W, just give it your best shot, and you never know. The thing is, adcoms won't ever openly admit an age bias (at least explicitly), because it will open up a can of worms for them. That's why HBS publishes the distribution of their incoming students by grad year -- seeing that distribution is a strong enough hint about the sweet spot they are really looking for (between 24-27, or those who are 2-5 years out of undergrad) without having to actually say it explicitly. Although Stanford doesn't publish stats like this in such detail, if you look at their resume books or visit campus, you'll get a sense that the students do fall into a pretty narrow range in terms of age.

All you can do is just do the best you can, and have realistic expectations -- and know that while getting into H/S/W is great, it's not necessary at all to get where you want. Over the medium- to long-term, you're not necessarily going these H/S/W alums to be that much more successful than those who went to say Booth, Kellogg, Sloan, etc. And if they are more successful, it has little to do with the school and more to do with who they are individually.
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08 Apr 2011, 11:19
I think you're spot on Alex, I have to remind myself to be realistic, but still try my best.

I was glad to see that I went to one of those Canadian schools you listed. I normally didn't think of my school as one with a lot of 'pedigree' but I suppose by Canadian standards, there are only a few.

Thanks again for your generosity in helping strangers, like me. You're an amazing resource.
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08 Apr 2011, 11:57
It's good to be realistic. However, Please don't take my words wrong. Your GPA is not bad. I just was talking about Stanford, Harvard and Wharton with several hundred applicants each year, 2-8% acceptance and a mean GMAT of 720+. Still you have significant chances for the top 20, which is still great, even better than Harvard and Stanford in some ways.
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08 Apr 2011, 12:07
saeedt wrote:
It's good to be realistic. However, Please don't take my words wrong. Your GPA is not bad. I just was talking about Stanford, Harvard and Wharton with several hundred applicants each year, 2-8% acceptance and a mean GMAT of 720+. Still you have significant chances for the top 20, which is still great, even better than Harvard and Stanford in some ways.

saeedt,

As I've said before, the GPA issue your brought up is relevant if she went to a US school. She did not.
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09 Apr 2011, 07:05
hi AlexMBAApply,

It is true that GPA in its form of x/4 may best apply to US schools but there are many ways Bschools can convert the scoring system of other countries to their more convenient form, x/4. For example, one of my friends had converted his scores in a way I don't know. Later on applying, Pennsylvania state asked him to use WES (World Education System) for the conversion. WES produces a x/4 GPA.
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Ambition, Motivation and Determination: the three "tion"s that lead to PERFECTION.

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Re: What Can I Do To Improve My Chances? [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2011, 20:28
Hi Alex,

There has been a noticable trend of increasing average GMAT scores over time and with it the upward movement in 80% or 50% groupings at the top schools. I took the GMAT back in 2007 and scored ok at 700 (92%) - balanced breakdown in the mid 80% for each section. Today a 92% would be in the 710-720 range. If business schools see that you took the GMAT several years before the time of application, do they tend to factor in the score inflation over time and therefore give you a slight benefit of the doubt? For the top few schools a 700 several years ago used to be within the middle 50% grouping (on the low end). Now it is likely below that 50% grouping and close to the bottom of the 80% grouping. Maybe this is getting too technical but I have been waxing about re-taking it, but would be short of time to study significantly to up my score by 50+ points.

Thanks
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Re: What Can I Do To Improve My Chances? [#permalink]

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28 Apr 2011, 10:07
coreyl58 wrote:
Hi Alex,

There has been a noticable trend of increasing average GMAT scores over time and with it the upward movement in 80% or 50% groupings at the top schools. I took the GMAT back in 2007 and scored ok at 700 (92%) - balanced breakdown in the mid 80% for each section. Today a 92% would be in the 710-720 range. If business schools see that you took the GMAT several years before the time of application, do they tend to factor in the score inflation over time and therefore give you a slight benefit of the doubt? For the top few schools a 700 several years ago used to be within the middle 50% grouping (on the low end). Now it is likely below that 50% grouping and close to the bottom of the 80% grouping. Maybe this is getting too technical but I have been waxing about re-taking it, but would be short of time to study significantly to up my score by 50+ points.

Thanks

You're overanalyzing it.
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Re: New Web Series: INTERVIEW DON'Ts [#permalink]

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22 May 2011, 18:40
Dude Alex! These videos are hilarious!!!!!
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Re: New Web Series: INTERVIEW DON'Ts [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2011, 13:41
I keep watching these videos again and again, they are just fantastic! So fresh approach to a dusty MBA admission process...

My Top-3 are
- a chinese
- gordon gekko
- a backstabber
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Re: What Can I Do To Improve My Chances? [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2011, 14:08
Alex, you are amazing! Your advice a few months back on my profile really helped me hone my focus. Just wanted to say thanks again!
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Re: What Can I Do To Improve My Chances?   [#permalink] 13 Jun 2011, 14:08

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