Assessing Your Odds Of B-School Success

Ms. Design MBA

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in industrial design from a top private university in the Middle East; graduated as valedictorian
  • Work experience includes one year teaching at alma mater and three years at a top FMCG (P&G, Unilever) in a marketing/brand management role
  • Extracurricular involvement as a tutor for orphan schoolchildren in science and art projects, a tutor for undergraduates in writing and several other courses; helped to organize a university TEDx event, chair of a media committee in a human development NGO, Model United Nations, started a college-based design community promoting design as a tool for social impact locally, by holding seminars, organizing workshops and other collaborative projects involving the community.
  • “Launched two startup businesses, a design consultancy/social enterprise and a 3d printing service, International traveler/avid travel planner, Tech Geek, Cellist”
  • Fluent in five languages
  • Goal: To leverage design background in brand management or design management (think GE, Target, P&G) in the U.S.
  • “Raised in non-native country, overcoming adversity, religious discrimination, worked part time/freelancing to be able to afford private school tuition, using design/marketing background for social impact through starting a design consultancy”
  • 25-year-old Middle Eastern female

Odds of Success:

Dartmouth: 50+%
Northwestern: 50+%
Virginia: 60+%
Duke: 60+%
MIT: 50+%
Cornell: 50+%
Yale: 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Jeepers, quite the roll call of accomplishments! And charming notes (in orginal post about how great I am and how much she enjoyed reading this column, which somehow the editor did not think relevant to include here, but I remember). Dunno your personal situation but I’m sure many of our age-appropriate readers might like to find out even more . . .leave a message in the Comments section with desired quals, if interested.

Getting back to earth, what we got here is a 3.9 in industrial engineering from a Middle East University, a 720 GMAT, a totally solid brand management job at a FMCG major (Google FMCG if you are reading this  and baffled) like Kraft, which is always a real solid gig—FMCG companies place  kids at all top B-schools—AND  a long list of some exciting extras,  drum roll please . . . . . . .  “Tutoring orphan schoolchildren in science and art projects !!! tutoring undergraduates at Alma mater in writing and several other courses, organizing a university TEDx event!!, chair of media committee in a human development NGO!!!, Model United Nations, started a college-based design community promoting design as a tool for social impact !!!” –and more!!! Victim !!!! Minority !!!! (exclamation points were added by me, which now makes 8x the total number of times I have )!

And more, indeed,  including five languages, overcoming adversity and Tech Geek.

The Design part of this is impressive—including your two start-ups, but is not central to how schools will view this. You are a real solid candidate without, to wit, an international at Kraft-type company with solid stats and great extras.  You target Tuck, Kellogg, Darden, Fuqua, MIT, Cornell, Yale—all solid schools but you should also think about H/S/W. They take poly-lingual, charming, accomplished brand manager females from the Middle East.

You just got a tight, strong story about brand management and design, and I would go light on the start-ups and present yourself as someone who wants to be conventionally impactful as a leader of the new wave of female, forward-thinking executives in the Middle East.  You said, “to leverage design background by going into Brand Management/Design Management (think GE, Target, P&G) in the U.S.” which is OK as a short-to-medium goal,  but I would think bigger and lead companies like GE, Target and Euro versions of same (have design drop out of the picture replaced by executive leadership and general management ).

Saying you want to go back to Middle East in some form is a plus,  app wise, and you have the volunteer cred to make it stick.  No one is going to check.

Anyway, this is a real solid story, on many counts. Just keep it simple, which, in fact, it is. It’s about business and impact and less so about design.