This blog post is part of a series of MBA profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?” by Michelle Stockman. Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, will provide selected applicants with school recommendation as well as an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.
If you would like Michelle to evaluate your profile at no charge and as part of this series, please provide the information requested here.
PROFILE #12: Pramod, 24-year-old Indian investment research analyst seeking U.S. MBA
– BACKGROUND: Graduated in 2012 from IIT Madras with B.Tech in Electrical Engineering. Worked from 2012 to Dec. 2014 as an engineer in oil refinery. Now working for an early-stage fund (seeking investors, trading founder’s capital) as research analyst. Role is to identify and evaluate investment opportunities.
Looks like you’ve always been interested in finance, and made the leap to a job in that field. Good for you. That plays well to making a connection to your future goals.
– GOALS: Roles in asset management or investment banking.
Now, rather than a leap, you’ve got to start building a bridge toward your goal. That bridge will be made up of concrete achievements in your current job, expanding your network, and demonstrating nuanced, mature thought.
In your essays, you’ll want to show that you are a major asset to your firm–meaning your actions bring returns. You’ll be even more under the microscope, as it looks like you work for a small enterprise. Therefore your actions can have a greater impact.
Next, you need to show the adcom that you have the networking ability to make an impression on finance recruiters. How did you make the leap from the oil refinery to the investment firm? Was that through networking? What are you currently doing to know the movers and shakers of investment in India? Has your networking led to any deals for your current firm?
Finally, you need to show the adcom that you are flexible. Are you willing to return to India, or say, a Gulf State, and work for a bulge bracket investment bank there? Or do you have your heart set on Wall Street and nothing else? Coming from a strongly represented background in the international MBA applicant pool (Indian, male, engineering background), AND wanting to work in the U.S. post-MBA–you need to show you are flexible.
– GMAT: 740
Very strong score. If you apply to a school, and show a good fit where this is an outlier GMAT score–you may have a better chance at admission.
– GPA: 7.22/10, Bachelors in Technology, Electrical Engineering
This is a solid GPA. No worries here.
– EXTRACURRICULAR: Scuba diver. Advanced open water diver certification.
Interesting. I would want to know more about your training. Beyond having this as a hobby, have you done anything to advance environmental protection of aquatic life? Like fundraising, or advocacy on a non-profit or government level? That’s a way to show you care for the world around you. Adcoms like to see that in applicants.
– YOUR TARGET SCHOOLS: Columbia, Stern, Sloan
Itching to get to Wall Street? Or take a scientific approach to investing? I can see why these are attractive schools for you. But let me tell you why right now, they may be long shots with your profile.
First, you haven’t demonstrated international experience or a strong New York connection (for Columbia and Stern). Most successful applicants have one or both of these. To make them notice you, you would have to do something that would be an out-of-the-ordinary achievement in your industry or country. Remember you’re competing against at least hundreds of other folks with similar profiles for a few spots.
The picks above would be dream schools for you.
-TAKE A LOOK AT:
These schools still will give you access to finance jobs, and your GMAT score would be a welcome boost. In the meantime, keep racking up those quantifiable achievements at work. Keep developing an extracurricular interest so that you have an impact on the world around you. Keep networking and develop contacts at the firms and MBA programs where you’d like to end up.
That’s what is going to set you apart.
Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.
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