Ms. Woman In Tech
- 700 GMAT (not taken but â€œshooting for cracking 700â€ )
- 3.7 GPA
- Undergraduate degree in humanities from a public ivy (thinking of taking 3-4 econ classes this summer/fall)
- Work experience includes four years in tech where I am currently a programmer at a VC- and major studio-backed entertainment startup; also one year in Americorps
- Goal: To transition to product and business development in the digital media/entertainment space
- “I am thinking of taking another year to work on GMAT (‘big test’ math is not my strong point), solidifying ECs (hackathons, women in tech, etc), and Econ classes, but worried I would be pushing 30 on graduation and that is not ideal? Just hear everything about how round two is so competitive and I wouldn’t have my application ready until then since I am trying to shore up my bonafides”
- 25-year-old white female
Odds of Success:
Sandy’s Analysis: Lots to like and lots to be concerned about.
Woman in tech, as you advertise yourself, is a good beginning, but since you are a humanities major who seems to have picked up tech along the way, a lot will depend on how you describe your jobs, how recommenders describe you and your jobs, and what B-schools think of the companies you work for and what you do.
You say, “four years in tech, currently programmer at VC/major studio-backed entertainment startups.” That is both glam sounding (well in the world of business school admissions) and concerning.
When you say ‘currently’ what do you mean, have you had a series of pick-up jobs at tech start-ups and small companies? You need to make that seem NOT THE CASE as much as possible. I’d really stress your current job in resume, recs, and as a platform for what you want to do.
You say your goals are “product and business development in digital media/entertainment space . . . .” That is a pretty good wrap up of your sorta dog’s breakfast of a resume. To the extent you can already describe what you are doing as part of that, versus straight programming, do that. I’m pretty sure your bosses over there in the digital, entertainment, start-up world are not stingy with job titles. Cook-up something credible and non-annoying.
You seem to be aware that the GMAT is a big deal, especially given some sketchiness in the rest of your story (small companies, many jobs). If going to business school is important to you, plan to take the GMAT as many times as possible to get near 700-720.
As to your other proposals and worries:
First, you desire to “solidify ECs (hackathons, women in tech, etc).” That is a secondary concern compared to GMAT. It is too late to make a real difference in the EC realm, it is over-rated to begin with (dirty little secret), but sure, women in tech is a serviceable concept and you seem to come by it honestly. I am not sure how “hackathons” get scored or credited by adcoms, and my guess is, neither do many adcoms.
Second, your concern to build out liberal arts background by taking “Econ classes.” My hunch here is that no adcom is going to care. If you get a low Q score on GMAT after two, three or four tries, well take statistics or if that is going to be hard, Intro Econ, to show that you are not number phobic, but this is a secondary issue to a good, basic, combined GMAT score.
Third, you are “worried [about] pushing 30 on graduation and that is not ideal?”It’s not ideal but it’s no big deal either. But if you can apply this upcoming year and feel ready, do so. The only reason you should put off applying ASAP is the GMAT.
Stanford is going to be a real reach given lack of seeming employment glitter and zig-zag career; Wharton does not respond to your kinds of confusion; HBS is always open for a moon shot; Berk and UCLA with your 700+ GMAT could happen.