MBA or MS..Can you help with my dilemma ?

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Hi Team,

I am having this small dilemma in choosing an MBA or Masters program in data science, primarily becauseI feel that my age and career growth may not be particularly suitable for an MBA at the moment. Although, these are my feelings alone, hence I am open to second opinions. Could you help evaluate my profile and suggest me what colleges I could target and if I am being reasonable in thinking about an MBA ?

Let me give you an idea about my profile so far. Kindly note that this may be a bit detailed.

AGE : 30 now will be 33 by the time I apply

U GPA 1 ( NIT Calicut, Production Engineering--->6.95/10)(2009-2013)---> This would be blemish in my profile because I had backlogs in my first year which led to a lower final GPA<i class="em em-pensive"></i>
U GPA 2 ( Technological University of Dublin, Mathematical Sciences---->9.2/10, Class Rank 1)(2018-2020)---> Got a chance to redeem myself of my previous score. This was a 2 year advanced entry bachelors program---I took this since I wanted to move into a data analytics field, plus brush up my mathematics/statistics foundation before settling in for such roles in Ireland.

GRE: 328 ( 168 quant and 160 Verbal)-->Equivalent to 730 GMAT

3.5 years ( I know its kinda low..I had taken up NGO work and volunteering for a year plus the second bachelors in Ireland) . If all goes right, I should be returning to work at SAP Dublin where I had interned in my last semester, so by the time I apply I could be 33 years of age with some career progression here in Dublin as well. My overall background would show two distinct kind of roles I have taken up since I have worked both in financial analyst and software engineering roles.


"¢ Selected as Member of Leader's Excellence at Harvard Square, Massachusetts, USA
Selected by invitation to be a part of a networking community of top business managers
and executives around the world.
"¢ Approved as Campus Ambassador for WWF
Help the firm in raising funds for its campaigns by promoting social awareness among common public.
"¢ Direct Dialogue Recruiter & also approved as lead campus fundraiser for Green Peace International.
Raised funds for the firm by creating awareness among common public on Green Peace environment protection campaigns.
"¢ Fundraising proposal writer at Bhumi, Chennai.
Helped in the construction of the fund raiser proposal, conceptualization and implementation of BaLA (Building as Learning Aid) project which was being enabled at a school in Chennai.
"¢Child Rights Campaigner at CRY, Chennai
Collecting support votes from citizens through campaigns at malls and colleges, to help conduct the Click Rights campaign of CRY (child labor eradication).

"¢ Working on submission of two journal papers of which one was submitted (Annals of Management Science) and returned for further editing.


01-2019 - 06-2019 ( 6 months)
Student Intern - Software Support Engineer SAP, Dublin

As a part of Center of Expertise Financials team, collaborated with the team to
enable remote & onsite service delivery to SAP customers, providing specific
technical services on the Financial and Accounting module of SAP (FICO).

Key Accomplishments:
"¢ Implemented and improved customers' business processes requirement through
code optimization and development in ABAP & SQL and relevant functional
enhancement through configurational amendments in FICO.
"¢ Successfully helped formulate and create a working prototype model of a survey
tool application, in the capacity of a business analyst, using SAP's proprietary
'BUILD' software.
"¢ Received training in SAP FICO Module Configurations, SAP HANA Database
Modeling, SAP Predictive analytics, SAP Analytics with cloud platform, ABAP
Performance Analysis, Workload Analysis Application Server and NetWeaver
Application Server - Basics 1.0

Awards :
"¢ Mentor's Appreciation Token : For intellectual curiosity, introspective analysis as well as technical skills displayed during my time at SAP.


02-2017 - 02-2018 (1 year)

Assistant Manager - Operational Risk Consultant 3
Wells Fargo India Pvt Ltd

As a part of the Governance, Oversight & Enablement team, we represent the
Second line of defense - corporate risk, to help create and implement various
operational risk frameworks & policies for offshore and onshore operations.

Key Accomplishments :

"¢ Successfully developed and implemented a risk-based program to identify, assess
and mitigate any operational risk within the Treasury, Securities & Technology
Operations division of Wells Fargo, Bangalore centre.
"¢ Instrumental in maintaining the optimal operational risk ratings of assigned
divisions by evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of policies, procedures,
processes, systems and internal controls in place.
"¢ Formulated a business plan to help automate the current operational risk
reporting procedures.
"¢ Materialized a visualization report to identify the common areas of recurring
operational risk within the past years of operation in my assigned divisions.
"¢ Coordinated with production of periodic operational risk performance reports for
senior management, including trend analysis and recommended strategies.

11-2015 - 01-2017 (1 year and 2 months)

Credit Suisse ( Under payroll of On Demand Agility Pvt Ltd)

Collaborated with Market Risk feeds division of Risk and Finance Data analytics and
Reporting (RFDAR) team to implement various regulatory projects requirements

Key Accomplishments :

"¢ Liaisoned with senior stakeholders to understand methodology, functional
requirements and thus accomplish complete analysis, impact testing (UAT and
regression) and final go live implementation of regulatory project
recommendations (BASEL) across Q1 2016.
"¢ Implemented enhancement roll outs in risk systems, processes and data feeds
across FY 2016.
"¢ Documented the Daily and Monthly Review of Stressed and Unstressed
exposures of the bank, while recommending on exposure moves and
adjusted/regressed numbers (where strategic calculations are incorrect) to
stakeholders who are reporting these numbers both for FINMA and PRA
(erstwhile FSA).
"¢ Configured model inputs & market data for the new VaR/IRC models of the 2016
quarters, and subsequently calculated & reviewed VaR/IRC impacts resulting from
methodology changes.

Awards :
Performance Appraisal : Recognized with great feedback & rating in annual
performance appraisals for delivery of service of FY 2016.

03-2015 - 11-2015 ( 8 months)


Moody's Analytics Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd ( Previously Copal Amba Pvt Ltd)
As a part of the client servicing team for an bulge bracket firm headquartered in the
UK, helped support a large bulge bracket investment bank's clients, in usage and
data quality checks of a Portfolio and Index analytics platform

Key accomplishments:

"¢ Addressed potential issues & enhancement requests from clients, reducing ticket
backlogs and average resolution time of issues over the FY 2015.
"¢ Handled first level inquiries including, client questions on product usage, client
challenges on data or analytics, and client operational issues with connectivity,
distribution & performance.
"¢ Created and maintained a client tracking process and system that allowed
tracking, routing and management of all client issues and maintain high client
service levels.
"¢ Advised firm clients in the use of the client's analytic tools for their portfolios, to
better understand sources of portfolio risk and return, along with testing and
validation of application functionality.

"¢ Financial Risk Manager (FRM ®)
"¢ Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA ®) Level 2 Candidate


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by MargaretStrother » Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:03 pm
Well, I'm an MBA advocate, so my first thought is MBA, for sure! You've got some great stuff in your profile, especially the volunteering experiences, which are strongly differentiating.
But there are two things to consider:
1) Your age -- why aren't you applying for the MBA now? You could make a great case for it. You're right, applying at 33 really lowers your chances (depending on which schools you're considering). Not because you wouldn't be a good addition to the school's community, but simply because if you look at the age spread, they accept fewer applicants at that age.
2) Your goals -- what do you want to be doing post-MBA? If your goals are a strong fit with the schools you're applying to, you may be able to win them over regardless of your age. It's tricky, because 33 is really in that gray area between FT MBA and E-MBA, and you need to work extra hard to convince the schools that you're barking up the right tree.
That said, I think you should apply for the MBA, and apply in fall 2020.
Hope this helps! I think you look like a super candidate, and I'd love to see you in a top MBA program.

Best wishes,
Margaret Strother
Margaret Strother
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Stacy Blackman Consulting

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Hey Margaret,

Thanks much for the reply and wishes. Much happy to hear from you!

Yes, I agree with the age factor and having said that, I am considering applying for the 2021 intake. My issue was understanding the range/ type of schools I can target since I feel that my work experience ( 3-4 years) is lower than those of usual candidates applying for the program at this time. Could you help share your thoughts on this?

My post-MBA goals are as below :

1. (Short Term Goal) I have been working in the finance domain (risk roles) for the past couple of years, and my recent stint as an assistant manager was exciting and stimulating. As I am moving into applied analytics, a new field, it may be challenging to fit into a managerial role. Also, since I am crossing my 30's, I feel that it would be more appropriate for me to accelerate into senior positions than having to start over again. An MBA could help alleviate this concern.

2. (Long Term Goal): Leading a company to perpetuate organizational growth, innovation & efficiency has been a real passion. It is something that I strived to do amongst smaller teams/departments that I used to manage. Scaling that to a company level would be a long term endeavor.

Best regards,



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by MargaretStrother » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:48 am
I understand your concerns! But 3 - 4 years of experience is pretty standard for MBA applicants, albeit many who are under 30. I do think, however, that your international/Greenpeace experience is a strong enough differentiating factor that if you target your post-MBA goals well and spend the spring doing deep, in-person campus research, you could make an effective case for yourself in the fall. It's good to be different!

Good luck,
Margaret Strother
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by jayaramgokul » Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:35 am
Thanks Margaret...This helps much..<i class="em em-smiley"></i>