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Profile Evaluation

This topic has 2 expert replies and 2 member replies

Profile Evaluation

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Hi,

I'm applying for the Sept. 2010 class and here's my background:

- 24 yr old Asian Canadian male

1. Undergrad - University of Toronto (considered the best school in Canada, and extremely stringent on the gpa with no bell curves...not sure if adcoms are all aware of this fact). Major in Economics.

2. I have 2.0 gpa which is absolute garbage (reason - I was accepted on full scholarship at age 15 after finishing high school with a 97 avg and I never cared to study while in undergrad. By that I mean literally skipping whole semesters of class and only studying a week before the final exam. - immaturity at its finest)

3. GMAT - 760 90 Quant, 98 Verbal (I think that's the break out but I don't remember exactly). I took the test after taking 3 practice tests and getting 750/770/760.

4. Work experience - total - 5 yrs now, will be 6 yrs by matriculation. 1.5 yrs as a treasury analyst in a foreign exchange company, 1 yr in the middle office in a large bank which I hated, then 1 yr in Asia as a financial advisor in a wealth managment company, 1 yr as a business analyst and 0.5 yr recently promoted to business manager in a large advertising firm (our clients include a slew of the top fortune 500 companies)...will have a total of 1.5 yrs of pretty solid intermediate to senior management responsibilities by fall of 2010.

5. Life experiences - born in China, grew up in the US from 7-14, since then lived in Canada except for 1 yr where I worked in China. I'm fluent in Mandarin Chinese (speaking, reading, and writing). In the long run I'd like to work in Chinese related businesses...so I'm hoping my international background will help this cause.

6. Addressing some of my weaknesses - I started university at a very young age and due to my immaturity never cared much about the school work. I've done extremely well in some of the courses I was interested in but just kinda dragged along in most of the other courses that I found boring. My transcript has a number of A's and F's (I had a yr of severe depression and got like 4 F's after not attending any of my finals) and shows a pretty wide variance. I really believe my gpa has no reflection on my academic abilities. I went from being one of the top of my class at an uber-competitive private high school to not studying at all during university to working really hard post-graduation again and having a successful career.

Upon graduation, because of my low gpa, youth, and lack of knowledge of the working world, I had to bounce around a bit to find something suitable for myself. In the process I got some decent international exposure, but also found out that I didn't enjoy finance/investments as much as I thought I would. Also really hated working in a large bank. Now I'm finally settled into a good career in marketing/advertising with a huge global employer, so I'm looking for an MBA to push me further in my career.

In terms of strengths, I'm still only 24 now (graduated university at 19) and I'm easily the youngest manager in my office (probably in all the global offices across my company). I'm responsible for all the financial and business aspects on the piece of business I work on, which generates revenue of almost $10 million annually and has 30-40 people on the team. Basically I'm working in a position now that most ppl get POST MBA. The problem is that if I stay in this role then the next promotion will take a long time (they're not gonna make me a 26-28 yr old VP or whatever in the company). However I think if I have an MBA that can change...especially if I'm willing to go to the Asian offices and deal with the Chinese clients. Then my MBA + solid experiences + language skills should make me a pretty attractive package. Heck in Asia I can even run my own agency with the right contacts.

Right now I'm hoping to get into the top tier schools - LBS/INSEAD/Wharton (especially the Lauder program with Chinese as a 2nd language). Others I'm interested in are Columbia (possibly early decision...how much easier is this than the regular admissions?)/Chicago/Oxford/Yale - Ox/Y being backups. Basically I know my gpa is weak but I also have a pretty legitimate reason for it...I'm hoping at least some adcoms will accept that it was more of a measurement of my youth rather than my real aptitude or drive. In terms of work, I have a broader background and more yrs than almost all applicants my age(finance and marketing/advertising). At the same time I have a solid yr of international experience and a fluent second language. I'll also have a pretty unique perspective and experience on management due to my age.

So in the end, what do you think? My gpa is squarely in the bottom 1% of the application pool but my GMAT is in the top 1%. My experiences are solid and while my age is young I'm in a fairly senior position with lots of responsibilities in one of the biggest advertising agencies globally. My problem has always been effort/maturity in school and I think I've addressed those pretty thoroughly with my work ethic and career progression.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my chances of getting into these top schools. I don't think I have the typical B-school applicant profile so I'm hoping at least one of the top schools can give me some consideration...

Thanks!

Also extracurriculars - I co-founded www.tiffreviews.com which is one of the largest forums/sites for the Toronto International Film Festival.

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Dear DrSatisfaction,

I think you are probably right in your initial assessment of your profile for your target schools. There will definitely be concern about your undergraduate transcript, so you will want to address it explicitly in your applications. I caution you on your explanation, however; you want to spend the bulk of the explanation on how you are different now and will perform better in business school versus giving excuses for your performance in college. Finally, your decision will come down to how strong your essays, recommendations, and interviews are in making a case for your admission. It will be critical for you to present a compelling case to the admissions committees.

Good luck,
Lisa

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Hope DrSatisfaction wouldn't mind if we all can share this thread for getting some evaluation.


Dear Lisa,

I have just started preparing for the GMAT and plan to take my GMAT in about 3 months. Aiming at 2010 admission. I am focusing on Business schools in my area, since I need to work full-time to be able to fund myself. Needless to say, I am looking at Exec MBA programs. I am in a big city (Houston); got McComb (UT Austin's Houston program) and Jesse Jones (Rice Univ). We also have Mays (A&M's) but they need you to have like 5~7 years of work exp and some has to be at the managerial level (so most probably A&M is out, though I will try). Rice univ is nice to have two different exec MBA - for professional and for executives. Anyhow, my background -

I am an Indian, 29 years old. I got a degree in marine engineering from Singapore ( which is equivalent to an Associate's degree in the US since it was a 3.5 years program) and worked with a Singapore/American Shipping company for 4 years as an engineer on-board their super-size container carriers, during which time I was promoted to a senior engineer. I moved to the US in 2004, got a Bach degree in 2006 ( got 40 hours credit for previous studies and averaged 21 course credits during the 2 years of my bachelor's in the US). Started at the graduated program and completed in 2008. GPA - Undergrad 3.90 and Grad 4.0. Got accepted at Stanford Graduate school in the Aeronautics program, but I rejected their admission acceptance. They wanted me to fund myself for the first year, and said that they could come up with something in the later years. I didn't have that kind of money, since I had put in everything in my earlier schooling (plus, had huge expenses during a natural disaster. You will read later). A major reason for them to not fund me was that funding in Aeronautics is extremely limited for international students.

I have been working in the off-shore industry as a Naval Architect with a global organization. Looking to get an MBA for career advancement, PERIOD. As an engineer, I don't see myself achieving much, at least not up to my true potential.

Have some challenges to tie-up to my essay - lost everything and got displaced during Hurricane Katrina (my place had 7 feet of water). This happened a semester before I was suppose to graduate with a Bachelors. With an unusual major and tight on cash, I had to stick to my school and after my lectures, use to hide in the classrooms to spend the night . Laughing It was not allowed, but then - you got to do what you got to do. I have always believed in pursuing my dreams. I was not eligible for any assistance from any organization. In fact, FEMA gave me 20k for my losses, and then called me and told me that if I don't return every single penny in the next 1 month, they will cancel my visa status. Wonder if the adcom would care about this stuff, don't want to put unnecessary material in my application. However, this experience was a life-changer for me.

I would appreciate your comments on my case, and any suggestions that you might have for me. The negatives you see, and if you see any positives. I am kind of unsure about the work-experience I have compared to what the schools look for.

Thanks a lot.

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Dear adishail,

Based on the amount of work experience you have, you are eligible for the McCombs Houston program and the Rice MBA for Professionals programs. You do not have enough experience for the executive MBA programs at Rice or A&M. Since you want to continue in your current industry, then the McCombs and Rice MBA for Professionals programs are great options for you. As for your hardship after the hurricane, I don't think it is worth mentioning just to mention. If you choose to write about the experience for an essay on overcoming an obstacle or how you handled a challenge, then I can see that having some potential for a good essay. Just be careful not to divulge too many details that are extraneous--stick to stating the facts on what the obstacle/challenge was and the bulk of the essay on how you overcame the obstacle/challenge.

Good luck,
Lisa

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Lisa Anderson
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Stacy Blackman Consulting

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Dear Lisa,

I really appreciate your response. This is the first time I have got my credentials evaluated. I had been nervous if my academic background and work experience is in-line with what makes a strong application for a good school.

Thanks again.

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