This blog post is one in a series of MBA applicant profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?” authored 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 recommendations as well as an evaluation of their qualifications.
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 4: “Matt” the do-gooder Midwestern sales guy, with start up ambition
-Background: 28-year-old white male from Midwest. Business major with 3.7 GPA from state university in Indiana. Scholarship cross-country runner and team captain.
Matt, you’re like a lot of biz grads in the U.S., perhaps a bit bored after a few years in the workforce. You see a long, slow road ahead if you settle for climbing the corporate ladder. You seem to want to test yourself and follow your dreams. What you’ll need to prove to the admissions committee is your unique worth—what you have to offer to the rest of the student body in terms of skill, knowledge, and drive.
What does set apart your undergrad experience is your strong extra-curricular as a scholarship cross-country runner while managing a very decent GPA. I’m sure your tenure as a team captain gives you several stories of leadership and teamwork. But college was a long time ago. Keep your application as much in the present as possible.
-Work Experience: Four years as account manager at rapidly-expanding B2B technology firm in Chicago. Managed a sales team of 20 people.
CFA level II candidate.
You’ve got solid work experience on an upward trajectory at a, likely, regional firm that’s respected within the industry, but not a Blue Chip brand on the national or international stage. It’s fantastic that you’ve managed a sales team of so many people—shows you’ve got to know how to motivate and delegate. Can you quantify the impact of your leadership?
On the other hand, I do wonder why you are pursuing your CFA. It doesn’t seem to mesh with your career path in sales, and I’m not sure a sales background would qualify you to become a charterholder. Perhaps it’s a side interest?
-Short-term goal: Found a tech startup in the software industry.
As an ad comm. member, I would have lots of questions about this goal. What is your idea, exactly? What kind of research have you done to show demand? As a sales guy, do you have the technical expertise needed, or do you already have partners in mind? Do you have any prior experience in start ups, or fundraising? You would need to connect the dots in the application.
-Long-term goal: Eventually move into private equity investing.
Ah, this is where the interest in the CFA likely comes in. If I were you, I would not reach so far with your long-term goal. If you’ve got a reasonable story to support entrepreneurship, stick with the long-term goal of growing your start up into a larger firm. Delving beyond that into private equity investing could be confusing to the ad comm.
-GMAT: 700 45 Q/40 V.
This is a pretty good GMAT, but the quant is a little low for the top echelon of schools. You may want to consider retaking if that’s your first try. A higher score would increase your competitiveness.
-Extracurriculars: 5x volunteer for Christian summer service group building schools and water projects in Ghana. Run twice-weekly youth program at church.
Wow, you’re a busy, faithful guy. These activities show long-term dedication and international reach. The ad comm. will want to see that you’ve moved up into leadership positions, and perhaps introduced some innovations to the projects.
It’s important to show you have values, but don’t get too preachy. The ad comm. may hold a different belief system from you. Focus on how you may have helped communities, and even better, individuals to improve not so much by the transformative force of a higher power, but by smart, innovative leadership on your part.
Final Note: Don’t forget your hometown advantage. You’ve done well in the Midwest, likely building up lots of respect and connections locally. You’d do well to tap into those by staying in the Midwest for b-school, and then through the connections you make, build out.
Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.