Top 10 International MBA programs - Chances?

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Hi Stacy!

I have been following your forum for quite some time and figured I'd chime in and see what my chances are for acceptance into a top 10 European MBA program. I am aiming for HEC or ESSEC, since I speak fluent French and already live here, but I also have interest in a couple of UK programs. Generally, I want to make sure my background is strong enough for a top ranked European program.

- Age/GMAT: 29 year old female from the United States, interested primarily in marketing, though I've been told to look into project management (not sure about that)
- GPA: 3.4. I was an English education major, with a French minor.
- GMAT: 670 (Q:49 V:31)
- Work experience: 6.5 years of full-time work experience. 2012 to late 2015, I was a full time teacher. Late 2015 to late 2018, I was a sales rep and an underwriting processor at a business finance startup. Currently, I am an English assistant in France, which is contracted until April. I have also accepted a contract job as a summer English teacher from May to August. I have always had a second job, either as a reading instructor, a tutor, or a hostess at a restaurant. I never stop working, and I prefer it that way. I've also never been let go from a job, which has always been a weird point of pride lol
- Extracurricular involvements: I am a member of Chi Omega sorority. I was the Vice President of Education on the Panhellenic council (I planned all the activities for new sorority members). I started two different committees at the business finance startup, a volunteer committee and a social committee. I have an extensive background in theatre (I went to a theatre conservatory in New York for a year prior to attending college).
- Awards: I received a scholarship for theatre excellence in high school and I was awarded monthly for having the highest processing numbers at my business finance company. Honestly really lacking in this area :(
- Interesting personal facts: I've been living in France since September. I speak French. I've travelled extensively, though primarily in Europe (coming for the other continents soon!). I have a good network built in from my work in finance (working with business owners on a daily basis).

My biggest concern is that my strong points will be overshadowed by my weaker points.

Let me know your thoughts! Thank you very much!


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by MargaretStrother » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:26 pm
Very interesting profile, Holly! These top business schools will like your international vision, your fluent French (that's pretty rare for an American), and your professional experience with its balance of teaching and business. A strong set of goals, with target companies in Europe, will be vital for you -- top MBA programs like to see themselves reflected in your proposed career trajectory.

Now, let's talk GMAT: 670 is a tad low for HEC, a tad above the median for ESSEC. Since you're an English teacher, that Verbal score might raise some eyebrows; if you think you can do better, I strongly recommend retaking it. Nobody's going to doubt your capabilities, but it doesn't present you in your best light, and you always want to be giving your absolute best to an MBA application.

Since you asked about stronger and weaker points, I'd say that your professional background could be quite strong, but you seem to be unsure where to go at this point. Your target schools will want to see a strong career plan to balance that out: who is going to hire you, where, doing what? Do some research, have a very clear (albeit hypothetical) short/long career vision laid out for them, one that requires an MBA from the schools you're applying to. If you can do these two things -- improve your GMAT and map out a solid, well-researched post-MBA career vision -- you should be very competitive for the schools you're targeting!

Good luck,
Margaret Strother
Margaret Strother
Senior Consultant
Stacy Blackman Consulting

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