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 at http://reports.accepted.com/what_are_my_chances.
PROFILE #7: Lakshya, the Indian architect with designs on a real estate (or energy) career
Note: This profile request arrived with very little information. In my evaluation, I’m going to mention “ideal” details that would make him stand out.
-BACKGROUND: 24-year-old Indian male who graduated in 2013 from Dehradun Institute of Technology in India. Six months full-time training at renowned architecture firm. Two years of work experience as a chief designer and team leader for various projects.
Lakshya, you’re on the younger side of the MBA applicant pool. I’m not sure how you could have 24 months of full-time work experience having graduated in 2013. Perhaps you wrapped your class schedule around your job or you’re counting months to matriculation? You need to clarify this.
My advice? Wait.
Unless you have some significant leadership or design accomplishments–you need another year or two of work experience to accrue noteworthy leadership stories for your application. This would also give you time to research and network your target schools.
What leadership stories might stand out? First, be careful about how you word your experience. You must come across as talented, yet humble. A “renowned” architecture firm won’t mean much to an ad comm member. They are going to be impressed by YOUR extraordinary accomplishments in an ordinary job.
So give some context. Seeking an MBA with an architecture background is distinctive. You’re going to be one of the few, if admitted, in a global MBA program. You must be exceptional.
Are you a wunderkind in India’s “green design” field? Did you introduce a socially conscious kind of design to a building project at your company that saves resources or energy in a country where conservation is a necessity? What was your impact on the job? Or have you come up with an ingenious method using cheap materials at hand to help the disadvantaged build cheap, sturdy shelters as a humanitarian project? Have you shared your experience at architecture conferences around the country?
If not, start now.
-GOALS: Work in the real estate and energy sector.
You obviously know the guts of building. I assume now you want to understand the business side of decision-making–that impacts your design. You must communicate three things with your goals.
1. Make them ambitious: Show the admissions committee that it’s not just about making money, but responsibly developing an overcrowded nation. Inspire them with your ideas for India’s future development.
2. Focus: Real estate and energy are two vast markets. Choose one. Then choose a specific part you want to be involved with. Make it relate to your past.
3. Experience: You must show the admissions committee that you do have some experience working on business deals. This piqued your interest and now you need an MBA to fill in the gaps in your knowledge to achieve your goals.
No breakdown was given, but this is a decent score. You don’t necessarily need to retake the test, especially if you can match yourself well to a program.
Your GPA comes a bit out of left field because you graduated from an Indian university. Do not feel that you need to translate your percentage score to the 4.0 scale. US and UK MBA programs understand the Indian system well enough to understand your GPA.
Overall it’s a solid GPA.
-EXTRACURRICULAR: Arranging cancer check up camps in my city and giving presentations on cancer awareness.
This is great. I want to know more. Did you come up with this idea? Why? How did you identify the need? How involved were you? For how long? What kind of difference has it made in your community?
Perhaps, you came up with this idea after you or someone close to you was stricken by cancer. You decided to create an awareness campaign that you funded through donations and fundraisers. You are involved in the administration of this program on a weekly basis. You used technology as much as possible to advertise and streamline administration of the program. For example, you convinced a mobile phone service provider to run free text msg. based ads to remind people to get their cancer screenings.
Thanks to this program, “x” number of people have been evaluated, and “x” number of cases were caught in preliminary stages. You’ve shared your plan with, perhaps, a regional hospital system, and they intend to copy the program in several villages.
If you haven’t, begin to think on this scale!
Safety matches: Warwick, Rice – Jones, Aberdeen Business School, University of Calgary (Haskayne School of Business)
Overall, I write this with the caveat that ALL THESE SCHOOLS ARE STRETCH MATCHES unless you start networking now to get to know alumni, students and the admissions committee. You also need to tailor your application specifically to your target schools. Think of your application as you would any building you are designing. Build it for its intended use, and users.
Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.