Applying to top 10 MBAs... how should I prepare


Hi all, I am looking for some advice. I want to get into a top 10 MBA (Stanford/Harvard/Wharton/Columbia/Sloan/Booth/Berkeley) in 2016.

I'm a 27 year old male who, at intake, will have about 5 years of experience, mainly as a marketing/comms associate for a large wealth management firm. I am from the U.S. but have worked internationally for the past two years. My undergrad is in communications, my GPA was 3.3 but I didn't do many extracurriculars.

I've taken some practice GMAT scores and I'm hitting the 720 range.

I would like to get my GMAT score up, that's the number one assignment on my list. But is there anything else I should be doing to more effectively position myself for the top schools? I'm worried that since I don't have many extracurriculars or volunteer experience, then I would not be as well-rounded as the b-schools would like. I'm thinking I should start volunteering at a soup kitchen or something like that but I feel like it would be strange to do so within half a year of applying to the MBAs.

Hi all, I am looking for some advice. I want to get into a top 10 MBA (Stanford/Harvard/Wharton/Columbia/Sloan/Booth/Berkeley) in 2016.

I'm a 27 year old male who, at intake, will have about 5 years of experience, mainly as a marketing/comms associate for a large wealth management firm. I am from the U.S. but have worked internationally for the past two years. My undergrad is in communications, my GPA was 3.3 but I didn't do many extracurriculars.

I've taken some practice GMAT scores and I'm hitting the 720 range.

I would like to get my GMAT score up, that's the number one assignment on my list. But is there anything else I should be doing to more effectively position myself for the top schools? I'm worried that since I don't have many extracurriculars or volunteer experience, then I would not be as well-rounded as the b-schools would like. I'm thinking I should start volunteering at a soup kitchen or something like that but I feel like it would be strange to do so within half a year of applying to the MBAs.
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Duncan

I'm not sure what your career goals are, but I think a leadership or organisational role in a voluntary project where you could make an impact would be worthwhile. Does your company do some socially responsible work that you could take part in? How about the alumni association of your alma mater? Those look more authentic and you can hit the ground running.

I'm not sure what your career goals are, but I think a leadership or organisational role in a voluntary project where you could make an impact would be worthwhile. Does your company do some socially responsible work that you could take part in? How about the alumni association of your alma mater? Those look more authentic and you can hit the ground running.
quote
ezra

Even if you don't have many extracurriculars or what have you, try to find a way to connect whatever it is that you start doing now to what you've done in the past. So if you start working at a soup kitchen, and you did similar work in the past, you can tell a decent narrative about how these motivations are connected. I don't think that it's ever too late to start with volunteer experience, etc., but you will need to demonstrate that you are doing it for more than just the admit.

Even if you don't have many extracurriculars or what have you, try to find a way to connect whatever it is that you start doing now to what you've done in the past. So if you start working at a soup kitchen, and you did similar work in the past, you can tell a decent narrative about how these motivations are connected. I don't think that it's ever too late to start with volunteer experience, etc., but you will need to demonstrate that you are doing it for more than just the admit.
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Thanks for the advice. So I'm pretty much right in thinking that my lack of volunteer experience, etc, would be considered a weak point as I apply to MBAs?

Thanks for the advice. So I'm pretty much right in thinking that my lack of volunteer experience, etc, would be considered a weak point as I apply to MBAs?
quote
Duncan

I'd think of it not simply as a lack of volunteer experience, but also as a way than many people gather experience in non-hierarchical leadership, develop self-awareness and have to deal with unexpected problems.

I'd think of it not simply as a lack of volunteer experience, but also as a way than many people gather experience in non-hierarchical leadership, develop self-awareness and have to deal with unexpected problems.
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Based on the above suggestions, I suggest you go climb Mount Everest. Think about it: you'd definitely be developing self-awareness, deal with unexpected problems, and even maybe get some leadership skills out of it.

Based on the above suggestions, I suggest you go climb Mount Everest. Think about it: you'd definitely be developing self-awareness, deal with unexpected problems, and even maybe get some leadership skills out of it.
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Duncan

It's on the trek already... both physcially http://poetsandquants.com/2013/07/13/a-b-school-prof-climbs-mount-everest/ and virtually http://www.avt.dk/news/avt-students-climb-mount-everest-with-professor-scott-derue/

[Edited by Duncan on May 28, 2015]

It's on the trek already... both physcially http://poetsandquants.com/2013/07/13/a-b-school-prof-climbs-mount-everest/ and virtually http://www.avt.dk/news/avt-students-climb-mount-everest-with-professor-scott-derue/
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Ha, right! With the kind of money it costs to do Everest I could easily do a whole MBA program...

Ha, right! With the kind of money it costs to do Everest I could easily do a whole MBA program...
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