Profile evaluation 740 M Indian 6+ WE

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Profile evaluation 740 M Indian 6+ WE

by geronimoshere » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:10 am
Hi,

Here's my profile, I'm seeking some expert advice as I get into applications process. I'm looking to catch Round 2 deadlines and intend to go to school (for MBA) next year.

I apologize in advance as this is a really long post and I have written pretty much everything I had on my mind- including all possible information on myself that I can think of! I know it seems like information overload and I really apologize if it's too much information, but I'm depending on the wisdom of experts to be able to plan my next steps better and presenting a 100% clear picture is important for an appropriate evaluation hence this long monologue.

1) Basic Details:

Age: 28
Nationality: Indian
GMAT score: 740 (Q49, V 42 Percentile 97) - AWA/ IR awaited
GPA: (unsure of how to calculate but education history mentioned below)
Degrees completed: Bachelors of Business Studies, Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Both Grad and Post Grad specializations in Marketing)
Work Experience: Will complete 7 years in June 2013. 6.5 years at the time of applying.


2) My academic record is average, nothing extraordinary
School: 87.4% in Standard 10th (Top scholarship in Math)
School: 86.4% in Standard 12th (Science)
Grad: 69% Specialization - Marketing (2nd position in Marketing, College from Delhi university)
Post Grad: CGPA: 6.1/10 Specialization - Marketing (top 10, top 5 MBA schools in India- PGDM degree)

Question - Is this good enough, I'm unsure. Also, I'm unsure of how to calculate GPA - the 69% translates to a very low GPA but it doesn't show that I was actually ranked 2nd in my college in Marketing. Plus scoring 70% during business college is considered very tough in India - should I be worried?


3) Work experience:
6+ years with a leading Investment Management firm (the world's largest Investment Management firm's presence in India) in Marketing as Assistant Vice President and Head of Advertising, Branding, Relationship Marketing and Digital Marketing (Reporting to Executive Vice President and Head- Marketing and Corporate Strategy).
Role: I independently handle annual budgets of over 3-4 million USD and have created, planned and implemented marketing programs from scratch worth over 1 million USD on multiple occasions; responsible for development of overall marketing strategy, media planning and buying, mainline advertising & product and corporate branding; driving brand evolution and global brand guideline compliance, liasioning with global marketing teams; developing and implementing multi-media communication strategy in close association with the advertising, media & PR agencies; key member of parent company's India Integration Team, a core team of hand-picked individuals across the entire organization, that drove a large scale rebranding exercise in 2008 - was responsible for all external and internal rebranding/ marketing initiative.
Other details: Great exposure to global teams, working with vendors from across the world, travel to various Asia and Europe offices on work. At the age of 28, one the most well exposed and experienced guys in the system with a good work experience record, youngest in my organization at my designation. Started in 2006 with no management experience, have grown to take up a good leadership position where I now have 5 people reporting to me- 3 of them elder to me by over 6 years. I am actually involved in the hiring process as well for my team and develop roles, responsibilities and career progression paths for each of my team members, while mentoring them. Also I am the youngest of 10 handpicked people (only non Department Head among all other Business/Department heads) in the organization who actually inducts trainees and all new employees into the system - have been given the responsibility to do this since past 4 years.

Question - From a work experience point of view, is this good enough or should I be looking add / showcase anything specific, other than what mentioned.


4) Extra-curriculars:
General:
- Represented my school/ college/ post grad college in various sports team- Cricket/ football -also, played school level football at a zonal level (below state/ national)

- Had been part of multiple organizational committees during college festivals and also participated in quizzes, debates, dramatics etc.

- I was one of the founders of the music club while back in post grad-college, today it's a full-fledged club that holds multiple recitals every year and represents the college in various competitions.

- I was also a member of my post grad college's International Relations Committee- a group that worked solely to induct the international exchange program students coming in from around the world for a period of 3-4 months (one semester) and engage them in events and activities on campus.

- Represent my organization in its cricket team as Captain, play an active role in annual team selection and some basic coaching for the 20 squad members, planning the sport calendar, organizing friendly matches and representing the team in various amateur corporate tournaments.

- I had been running an internal quiz competition for 3 years (2007-2009) for my office employees and had been particularly commended for my organizational skills for this.

- Play a musical instrument at an amateur level as a keyboardist and have represented school/ college bands at various competitions/ recitals. Still play the keyboard although I don't play in a band due to lack of available time. Always ready to showcase this. Also- I had taught myself to play the instrument since I started when I was a 10 year old, had never taken lessons. I'm still not an expert player of course but pretty good for an amateur level.

- Had been teaching my neighbourhood kids to play the keyboard at an amateur level, purely out of interest to teach- not really entrepreneurial in any way as it didn't involve finances, and not even CSR so don't know if it adds anything to my profile

CSR:
- Worked closely with a slum dwellers-benefit, under-provided students and spastic society upliftment program while back in school, undertook voluntary social work while in my last year of school, teaching underprivileged kids.

- Running an investor education program meant specifically for women (as part of my organization's CSR initiative)- Which includes Research, Events, Financial clinics, mass media advertising and a web-page/ blog. Handling a budget of close to USD 250,000 for the same.

- Member of my organization's CSR committee, actively involved in working with NGOs and associating with them- including work with a for-profit group that helps and educates NGOs to manage their finances and understand resources optimization, while streamlining their business model appropriately.

- Informally mentored my team's office runner (office-boy as we call them - seriously underprivileged and not highly educated but are the sole earners in their family) on the basics of savings and investments as he has worked with me over the past 6 odd years, running a lot of office errands - have encouraged him to start saving and investing really smalls amounts appropriately.


Entrepreneurial
- I am also a part of an entrepreneurial set up which was a one man unit since 2004 till 2006, when I joined it. We are a two man unit now, which works as a simple brand design consultancy firm. We look at designing brand identities/ creative campaigns/ marketing brochures and other collaterals etc. We moonlight since cannot really have a legal second job but this is something I'm using as part of gaining additional, relevant design and branding experience from other industries (we work with mostly smaller firms as there is more scope to be creative/ try out ideas). This is a small time operation with me playing the role of business development and getting the business in, and also helping my partner (the actual designing/ software brain) design the collateral/ strategies better.

Is this something that I should add in my application considering its really moonlighting? I'm unsure as to some it may generate a feeling of it being an unethical operation but we really work hard only to make some extra dough on the side, and make it a point to not work with any financial services brand to maintain some semblance of a Chinese wall.

Question - Which of the above should I be highlighting and what is completely un-important to the Adcom? Also- I hate the idea that I keep reading: that having a real world social experience (CSR) is almost a necessity in your application which may result in a lot of applicants faking this on their applications. Its only after reading these opinions that I decided to go after the last entry in my CSR section (just above the bold text) but if I don't get it, I'm definitely not just going to cook up something to write. Will that result in a negative, or am I over-thinking this?


5) Why MBA now and what after?
I'm settled well at work with an MBA equivalent degree from back in 2004-2006 (Post Graduate Diploma in Management) but need to propel myself to the next level. I don't think that will happen by continuing to work where I do and I want to push myself hard to get myself to the US where I truly believe the most radical education opportunities are available. I'm willing to take a 2 year break from job and then I will ideally like to figure out a global level role for myself. I may not want to return to India post MBA as I envision myself to become a global corporate leader of some kind (sounds like a stretch at this time but that's the life goal).
Post MBA, I do not have grand plans of setting up my own firm/ becoming an entrepreneur or that of starting a social-service organization- A lot of very impressive profiles have been talking about this, but my goal is very simple. To polish my profile and fill in the gaps that I can identify in my work role/ personality today and position myself at a much higher place than I can right now, re-entering the corporate world with a dynamic experience behind me and a great B-school on my resume. I want to eventually move towards my long term goal- That of starting my own brand consultancy firm. I want to be in demand for being one of the foremost, leading brand strategy consultants.
One big disadvantage that I realize in my career flow is that all my education happened in a straight sequence and hence I could never get in some real world experience and orient myself to learning the specifics of what I thought I needed to add to my personality. I think I now have a clear idea of what's missing and what I need to propel myself to the big league. The kind of people I've interacted during my education years was fairly one dimensional, primarily Indians and I very rarely got the chance to work with/ engage with other cultures from around the world, which I think I realized I wanted a lot more of once I started working and started getting exposed to the world outside. Also, I don't belong to a financially well to do environment and currently make only about USD 50K per annum (and from what I hear from my friends/ colleagues who have returned from abroad- they think its a pittance considering my role/ profile/ personality/ potential and hence are strongly encouraging me to apply to rise higher). Marketing is my cup of tea and I would like to polish my overall managerial/ consulting skills while at school. All the schools I'm thinking of are stellar in this area so I'm confident that I'm moving in the right direction.

Question: Is my reasoning behind why MBA too simplistic and completely useless?


6) Schools I want to apply to?
I'm a Marketing guy in general so I'm going to apply to only the top Marketing schools and that also only in the US as my agenda is to eventually shift base in some manner to the US. I'm probably going to apply to only Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg and Chicago-Booth. I'm basically aiming for the absolute top tier.
I'm from India and I have never been to the US and hence I'd have to base my judgement on the locations I will be best suited to, on the recommendations of those in the know and especially those who can advise me after understanding my requirement. In terms of the school environment itself, I seek an atmosphere of competitiveness but camaraderie where I can get to interact with the next gen of business thinkers - from all possible cultures and diverse backgrounds. My own personal preference is a 'grand, visionary' schools with the reputation of it producing some of the brightest talents. (I've lived my entire life dreaming of HBS/ Stanford but I'm aware that the chances of them accepting me are really low. In fact I gave up on my dream a couple of years ago but realized that I just could not stop myself this year from giving it one shot to change the course of the rest of my life.) Marketing being my interest area, from a cultural point of view I'd love to be at a place that encourages and perhaps even incubates creativity/ fresh thinking/ out of the box thinking and where the interest of every student is not just to achieve the highest grade or the top-10 rank, but to contribute to the world in some manner- whether social or otherwise. I welcome competition and can navigate my way through such an environment, but realize that the essence of being in a great environment is to be able to soak in all that you can while you're there and not only concentrate on academics but enjoy the team work, camaraderie and learning from different cultures/ people with different exposures. My music and sports experience also means I'd love a school that offers a lot of extra-curriculars in these domains.
While the 5 schools I mention in my list are my top choices, I'm also someone who wants to concentrate and stick to these schools only. I'm doing fairly well in my professional career at this stage and an MBA is not an absolute necessity for me (I already have an MBA-equivalent diploma from a top-5 B school in India). Hence, I want to take a shot at only the cream of the crop. It may sound a bit pompous and I know the potential to burn is significantly high, but considering the opportunity costs (at many different levels) I would want to apply only to these schools.

Question: Am I missing out on any other great marketing schools? And of course- do I even have a remote chance at any of the schools I'm considering right now?



7) Recommendations
My current supervisor is a Wharton (undergrad) and Harvard (MBA) produce herself and if I speak to her, I should be (hopefully) able to get a recommendation out of her. However, the peculiar position I'm in - I'm due for (hopefully) a promotion and a significant pay hike in January next year and in case the 5 schools I'm applying to end up dinging me, I'd like my bets to be hedged appropriately. This is making me unsure of whether I should ask her for a recommendation or not.
Also, my last education experience was back in 2006 and since then I've been out of the game. I think it may seem odd if I get a recommendation from one of my professors back from then (However, the guy I'm going to ask for is also a Harvard Grad with a lot of great experience and an amazing profile so that is coloring my opinion).

Question: While all forums I have been reading and all people I've spoken to mention that its best to get a couple of professional/ supervisor recommendations and one from your school/ college - Is that an absolute necessity to balance the application up or is it something that can be circumvented? Additionally, Does it make a big difference if the recommendation is from really senior/ well-networked professional whom you may not have direct affiliation with on a daily basis but have regular working experience with/ known in the past, or is it better to get them from someone who you interact on a daily basis such as your immediate supervisor at work (which I want to avoid as I may not like to inform them that this is something I'm planning for)


8) Others:
I'm married with no kids; financially average - Even if the 0.01% chance that someone may accept me comes true, I will have to really stretch to see where the funds will come from; No family business background or network or connections to call upon.

If you have survived reading this piece till now, you deserve a Nobel Prize for your patience! Thank you.
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by geronimoshere » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:52 pm
Some help please :(
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by 99Colleges: MBA Admission » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:06 am
Almost fainted reading this. The longest ever post I have come across. Pl don't be disappointed with the number of words in my response.

You have a mix of most of the ingredients required. You should focus, focus, and focus on your essays. Good essays can probably take you to one of the schools in your list. But, these are extremely tough schools to crack. If you are 100% sure of doing an MBA from only these schools, go ahead with this list . But, if you want to do an MBA for sure, you should probably have some safe schools as well.
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by geronimoshere » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:57 pm
Thanks for your reply Anil :mrgreen:

I don't have too much time (the statement can be read at many different levels) and that's why I'm trying to figure out my honest chances. Thanks for going through the loooong post but I guess this was for my own self as well (I tried to think of whatever could help me in my application process) and will serve me in my career and ambition narratives scripting as well.

I am 100% sure of going through my list of schools only and not diluting the list, but was put in a quandary when I spoke to a consultant from Stacy Blackman on a free consultation, who recommended that I drop WHU and Chicago Booth from my list as these are finance oriented institutions and look to add Michigan Ross and Haas instead on my list. Is this something you would second?

As you can see, my problem is not being able to highlight specifics in my narratives and hence i end up being verbose. I fear that I will go through the same problem while writing my essays and will end up not being able to showcase myself in the best manner possible. Any advice? are MBA admissions consultants the best way to go? I can't really afford the costs I read about and at best will be able to conjure up the dough for a single school application!
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by 99Colleges: MBA Admission » Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:50 pm
Wharton and Booth have a reputation of being finance schools but almost all the top schools (at least the ones you have mentioned) are good in general management as well. A W/H/S degree will be valuable whichever industry you choose post MBA. They might have advised Haas and Ross seeing the viability of your selection to the list you have mentioned. You may contact me through our website for further questions.
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by [email protected] » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:22 am
Wow! What an amazingly long post. Let's try and do you some justice.


First of all you have a GREAT profile. And thanks for writing in so much detail about your work experience. Lots of folks (well not that many, but enough anyhow) have a 740 on the GMAT, but very very few are "the youngest, the most-exposed, flying around the world, doing hiring and team-building" and you have a lot of very very strong stuff in your profile, which makes you think you should and could go for your dream.

And I don't think you are dreaming too high, nor that your "Top or Bust"goals are either pompous or unreasonable. On the country, you seem to know what you want, so this is very good. Yes, there may be a few more schools you should consider, although all top programs: Haas, Sloan, Columbia... (the numbers can also help when you are applying for the top of the top.

As for your recommender, I'm afraid you are just gonna have to bite the bullet here. Although maybe you are taking somewhat of a risk for your raise, let's hope that your recommender, having done an MBA herself will be understanding, and anyhow, if you are absolute about your desire here, it's time to make the leap of faith and put something on the line here so that you can get your Top MBA.

The goals you propose make absolute sense, although you may find that when it comes to ACTUALLY presenting your goals in the essays, you may want to take a more precise angle, and come up with specifics around what you want to do (and perhaps reconsider presenting them your entrepreneurial goals). Becuase as you yourself pointed out, they hear this LOTS! So unless you can PROVE you are different, you may be unnecessarily putting yourself at a disadvantage...


Sooo, reading back through your bible, ;), it seems to me like we addressed all your questions. If I didn't just post again here, and I'll get right back at ya.

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by geronimoshere » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:30 am
Thanks for the response Jon, it certainly does its job to boost my confidence but the next few months seem super daunting with a 14 hour a day full time job completely rear ending me from all sides. I just don't know where I'm going to find the time to craft a strong application, especially if I follow all the great advice here and expand the list of schools I should be applying to!

I have indeed decided to go and speak the truth to my supervisor and ask her to get on my side as in a certain way, I would also feel better about being completely truthful and honest about this with her. Do you think it would be an additional advantage to be able to get a strong recommendation from my Human Resources Head who has seen my transition from real close quarters over the past 6+ years? I would then have to substitute my President & Chief Investment Officer's recommendation with this one.

On the entrepreneurial point, how would you suggest I make my case? I have written down another quarter of a bible :mrgreen: :mrgreen: for you to cast a glance and seek your comments on this as well, which integrates my moonlighting job since the past 6 years along with my life goals. Some of this is from the original post, but this way I can articulate it a lot better:

Why (2nd) MBA:
My education happened in a straight sequence as I wanted to start earning quickly (I come from a middle class family without deep pockets, lost my father in 2002, when I was 17, and hence had to complete studies without getting any work experience). Hence I could never get in some real world experience and orient myself to learning the specifics of what I thought I needed to add to my professional and personal 'personality'. I think I now have a clear idea of what's missing and what I need to propel myself to the big league. The kind of people I've interacted during my education years was fairly one dimensional, primarily Indians and I very rarely got the chance to work with/ engage with other cultures from around the world, which I think I realized I wanted a lot more of once I started working and started getting exposed to the world outside. Also, I don't belong to a financially well to do environment and currently make only about USD 50K per annum (and from what I hear from my friends/ colleagues who have returned from abroad- they think its a pittance considering my role/ profile/ personality/ potential and hence are strongly encouraging me to apply to my dream B-schools to rise higher). While working in my current job, I have also developed a keen interest in the new paradigms of marketing such as the digital world and how it seems to be taking over. Marketing is my cup of tea and I would like to learn more on consumer behaviour and human psychology while learning from real world digital marketing experiences of my classmates from around the world, while polishing my overall managerial/ consulting skills which would help me gain deeper understanding when I think of starting my own business.

Short Term goal:
Transition into a brand consultancy firm and start working on creating brand identities and strategies from scratch for both large and small firms from around the world.

Long term goal:
Want to start my own brand consultancy firm, both creative as well as strategy oriented and hopefully find myself on the boards of some of the largest consumer facing firms in the world within the next 10 years.

Strengths:
Leadership/ mentoring and people skills- I really like to help people deal with their problems; creative thinking based on both analytical as well as common sense/ heuristic thinking; communication skills; ability to take decisions and run after success, ability and willingness to take greater responsibility at any time, ability to deal with pressure well, real world marketing experience.
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by geronimoshere » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:32 am
Also- just got my AWA and IR scores: 6 (90 percentile) and 8 (92 percentile). Does that help in any way?
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by [email protected] » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:39 am
Apparently, you're good at bible writing, which should help you with your essays :D
(although it may mess you up when it comes to paring those essays down to the right word count)

For your recommender, it's hard to say from this distance. Actually all your options seem good, and to really figure out who would be better I would probably have no know your case more intimately. I would say: Go with your instinct for who will write you a better (more excited) recommendation, while having a REAL vantage point from which to evaluate you.

Your logic for why you want a second MBA is a very good basis. There may be some other points you can think of , for example the lack of international experience, and how VITAL it is for your goals. Also if there is any other significant are that is not covered in your first MBA you can mention this. also, knowing Indian MBAs a bit, another good argument you might use is the lack of "special programs"/ resources as another argument.
The KEY is to link all this argumentation to your goals, to show that you really NEED this second MBA.

hope all this helps, and if you are working 14-hour days, you better get started, like NOW!!!
:)
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