MBA profile evaluation - weird background, high GMAT

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hello there! thank you so much for reading this, I would be extremely grateful if someone could evaluate my chances for applying to schools R2 this cycle.

undergraduate: Ivy, English major, cum laude, 3.6
*In addition to my English classes I took a lot of graduate economics classes (basically completed the major except econometrics) and a lot of physics classes. Spent almost everyday from 5pm to 2pm my sophomore and junior years editing the school paper, and had an internship at Vogue in NYC one semester where I only had classes Mondays and Fridays so I can leave town 3 days a week. Crazy, I know, and my grades suffered a bit because of all that.

GMAT: 770

Career so far: 1.5 years at Sotheby/Christie's as client liaison and auction administrator, then a year as an associate at a top international contemporary art gallery, and now am director at another top international art gallery.
I also am a published writer and routinely contributes reviews and critical essays for art magazines, sold a screenplay recently to Netflix, wrapping up a novel, and also have been running a public relations consultancy for the art world since 2012 (I considered starting my own firm full-time but realised I need something a bit more intellectually rigorous than PR...)

Why MBA: No one in my field has an MBA, there might be a reason for that but I honestly think the world of art business/museums needs a lot of reorganisation. Many companies fail because they are managed by curators and artists, and there are an incredible number of exciting-sounding start-ups that cannot gather momentum because their business models were dreamed up by people who don't have experience in the industry. I want to start a wealth management company that specializes in collection management and artist management - it's very untraditional and totally outside the scope of a regular gallery, but I think it's something we desperately need. "Arts management" programs will not give me the knowledge/prestige/network/intensity I seek from a graduate programme.

I am of course also eager to go into my MBA with an open mind and consider switching careers to entertainment (closely related) or consulting

Schools to try this year: Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Sloan, Yale (?)

I'm concerned about articulating the strength of my professional experience to adcoms who know nothing about the art world...

thank you for your time! :)
Last edited by llucygoose on Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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by CriticalSquareMBA » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:26 am
Hi there,

First off - we are so sorry for the delayed response - we didn't get the notificaiton! Thanks for the all the juicy details though - love that! So let's see what we've got here...

Academically, you are solid. A 770 is a wonderful sore and your undergrad GPA is strong from a great school. I also like how your liberal arts major is joined by a very different, but useful, set of coursework. For the one semester where your grades dipped due to the Vogue internship...who cares?! It was VOGUE! That's pretty cool! And you were also clearly involved. All around strong here.

Professionally, there are a few things that really catch our attention. For one, the brand names. Secondly, the clear progression. Thirdly, the entrepreneurial component of the PR firm. That's a trifecta. All the writing stuff you do (and the Netflix component is awesome!) is just the numerous cherries on top! We know you're a bit concerned about the unorthodox nature of your work experience, but we promise you - adcoms will view it as adding diversity to the class.

Involvement wise, you're involved in a leadership and impact positions with initiatives and organizations close to your heart and passion. That's all you can ask for. Good job here!

Personally, your international upbringing and language fluency is downright impressive!

From an MBA perspective - you're not alone. We've had clients come from art to get their MBA. Whether it's to shift their careers, or take certain business-esque roles within the community, an MBA can make a lot of sense. Your goal is definitely interesting but it might be a bit hard to sell IF you haven't done anything with it. At the very least, having a business plan would make this more tangible. Short term entrepreneurship goals are always difficult. But not impossible! And it definitely seems like a good mix of your background + an MBA! This is something you'd really have to focus on.

From a school perspective - your list seems rather random. Clearly you're focused on brand, but beyond that it's impossible tell why you chose those schools. Chance wise - you have a great shot at those programs. But the question is more around if that is the right R2 list for you?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Cheers,
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by llucygoose » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:09 pm
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Last edited by llucygoose on Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by llucygoose » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:09 pm
Hi! Thank you SO much for your thoughtful and detailed response, this is extremely helpful and encouraging, thank you thank you!

RE: post MBA short/long term goals, I'm actually hoping to spend some time in asset management or wealth management right out of school whilst getting all my start-up ducks in a row. I've already started talking to artists/collectors about the idea and have already curated a few selling exhibitions here and there - I think I have enough materials to fill out an essay, but my main worry is most people outside the art world don't know much about or care for its inner workings, my plan is pretty detailed and the innovations it brings are context-specific.... it'll be challenging to package it into language that's energising and interesting for adcoms.

RE: R2 list, I've actually given it a lot more thought/research last week...

current list:
HBS: I like the general management curriculum and the case method, and also how during the first year everyone takes the same classes - it'll be a great bonding experience and as someone who doesn't have a strong business background the breadth would be helpful for me. The class/network is large and also I'll be in good company with friends from undergrad.

Sloan: It's a great school and from what I've seen it values individuals with unique ideas, also the class size is small which means I'll get to know everyone better. I almost went there for undergrad but got spooked by the freshman foundation curriculum when I visited - it seems like a challenging, genuinely innovative institution. I find it's immersion in technology extremely exciting, and also the media lab sounds really cool.

Booth: I want to work in asset management for a bit and then start an art investments company, so Booth's focus on quant and economics sounds really great. Also I've been subscribing to The Economist since grade 9 and am secretly a little obsessed with academic economics and UChicago, plus the essay topic for class of 2018 is right up my alley, I chose my photo already and am actually stoked to write it.

I deleted these:
Yale/Wharton: I looked into the applications and met with a few friends who have attended, these just don't feel right. Obviously grossly generalising here, but Yale doesn't feel intense enough and got a strong "2 more years of college" vibe from Wharton.

Stanford: I saw the application and it's a handful - I don't think I'll have the time to execute it well. I was considering it mainly because my parents live nearby.


Thank you again! and looking forward to your thoughts - I'm of course open to suggestions about other schools too, not considering much besides curriculum and alumni network.

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by llucygoose » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:09 pm
Hi! Thank you SO much for your thoughtful and detailed response, this is extremely helpful and encouraging, thank you thank you!

RE: post MBA short/long term goals, I'm actually hoping to spend some time in asset management or wealth management right out of school whilst getting all my start-up ducks in a row. I've already started talking to artists/collectors about the idea and have already curated a few selling exhibitions here and there - I think I have enough materials to fill out an essay, but my main worry is most people outside the art world don't know much about or care for its inner workings, my plan is pretty detailed and the innovations it brings are context-specific.... it'll be challenging to package it into language that's energising and interesting for adcoms.

RE: R2 list, I've actually given it a lot more thought/research last week...

current list:
HBS: I like the general management curriculum and the case method, and also how during the first year everyone takes the same classes - it'll be a great bonding experience and as someone who doesn't have a strong business background the breadth would be helpful for me. The class/network is large and also I'll be in good company with friends from undergrad.

Sloan: It's a great school and from what I've seen it values individuals with unique ideas, also the class size is small which means I'll get to know everyone better. I almost went there for undergrad but got spooked by the freshman foundation curriculum when I visited - it seems like a challenging, genuinely innovative institution. I find it's immersion in technology extremely exciting, and also the media lab sounds really cool.

Booth: I want to work in asset management for a bit and then start an art investments company, so Booth's focus on quant and economics sounds really great. Also I've been subscribing to The Economist since grade 9 and am secretly a little obsessed with academic economics and UChicago, plus the essay topic for class of 2018 is right up my alley, I chose my photo already and am actually stoked to write it.

I deleted these:
Yale/Wharton: I looked into the applications and met with a few friends who have attended, these just don't feel right. Obviously grossly generalising here, but Yale doesn't feel intense enough and got a strong "2 more years of college" vibe from Wharton.

Stanford: I saw the application and it's a handful - I don't think I'll have the time to execute it well. I was considering it mainly because my parents live nearby.


Thank you again! and looking forward to your thoughts - I'm of course open to suggestions about other schools too, not considering much besides curriculum and alumni network.

Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Posts: 8
Joined: 05 Aug 2015

by llucygoose » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:09 pm
Hi! Thank you SO much for your thoughtful and detailed response, this is extremely helpful and encouraging, thank you thank you!

RE: post MBA short/long term goals, I'm actually hoping to spend some time in asset management or wealth management right out of school whilst getting all my start-up ducks in a row. I've already started talking to artists/collectors about the idea and have already curated a few selling exhibitions here and there - I think I have enough materials to fill out an essay, but my main worry is most people outside the art world don't know much about or care for its inner workings, my plan is pretty detailed and the innovations it brings are context-specific.... it'll be challenging to package it into language that's energising and interesting for adcoms.

RE: R2 list, I've actually given it a lot more thought/research last week...

current list:
HBS: I like the general management curriculum and the case method, and also how during the first year everyone takes the same classes - it'll be a great bonding experience and as someone who doesn't have a strong business background the breadth would be helpful for me. The class/network is large and also I'll be in good company with friends from undergrad.

Sloan: It's a great school and from what I've seen it values individuals with unique ideas, also the class size is small which means I'll get to know everyone better. I almost went there for undergrad but got spooked by the freshman foundation curriculum when I visited - it seems like a challenging, genuinely innovative institution. I find it's immersion in technology extremely exciting, and also the media lab sounds really cool.

Booth: I want to work in asset management for a bit and then start an art investments company, so Booth's focus on quant and economics sounds really great. Also I've been subscribing to The Economist since grade 9 and am secretly a little obsessed with academic economics and UChicago, plus the essay topic for class of 2018 is right up my alley, I chose my photo already and am actually stoked to write it.

I deleted these:
Yale/Wharton: I looked into the applications and met with a few friends who have attended, these just don't feel right. Obviously grossly generalising here, but Yale doesn't feel intense enough and got a strong "2 more years of college" vibe from Wharton.

Stanford: I saw the application and it's a handful - I don't think I'll have the time to execute it well. I was considering it mainly because my parents live nearby.


Thank you again! and looking forward to your thoughts - I'm of course open to suggestions about other schools too, not considering much besides curriculum and alumni network.

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Posts: 8
Joined: 05 Aug 2015

by llucygoose » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:12 pm
Oops not sure why my reply got posted so many times...please just read one and ignore the rest, ahh!

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by CriticalSquareMBA » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:02 pm
No worries at all - better too many times than not at all! You're very welcome and we're happy you found our analysis useful and encouraging :). We don't always get to deliver truly positive profile evaluations so it's encouraging for us too!

From a story perspective, the short term path into asset management to then merge with your professional experience makes sense. And you definitely do need those skills and networks! Communicating something niche like what you do is always a hard thing to do - but it also gives you the advantage of standing out. The fact that you've done a bit of work in that direction already is only going to help - but more so in the later phases (i.e. interview).

As for schools, the 3 schools you've picked make a lot of sense. We'd suggest reconsidering Wharton (finance, eh?) as well as maybe Columbia. Not as highly ranked as the others, but still an M7, still Ivy, and located in the heart of NYC. The removal of Yale is fine. If you're hitting these schools in R1, then you can play it by ear for R2. If you're only doing R2, maybe consider a safety just to diversify.

Does that help?
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by llucygoose » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:28 am
Hello there!
it's been a while, but I was wondering if it would be possible to revisit this topic for a little bit. A lot of things happened the past few months and long story short I wasn't able to get my application together for R2 - my profile hasn't changed except now I'm doing a big curatorial project with NASA on top of everything else.
I am still very set on applying to business school and was wondering if I should apply for R3 or wait until R1 next cycle. I don't know if my profile would improve much in a year honestly and I'm pretty eager to go back to school. thank you so much !!

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by CriticalSquareMBA » Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:18 pm
Great to hear from you. I think R3 is worth a shot this season! So long as you have the bandwidth to put together a solid application for the schools you decide to apply to, you don't have much to lose! Yes, R3 is tougher for your target schools, but we think you have a decent shot at it. And if things don't go as planned, you'll be in a great position to reapply for R1 next year. Let us know if we can help! Best of luck! Hope this information helps. Free to check out our free resources to get you started for your R3 preparation.
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by Ronaldpal » Fri May 14, 2021 11:41 am
Hi,
maybe this question has been asked in the past but with a quick google search I couldnt find an answer and its been bugging me for some time.
The logo in the background shows some kind of writing, taken from some kind of old script maybe? I was wondering where it was taken from and what language it was, because I tried to decipher it and failed.

Any help in clerifying this would be greatly appreciated