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I have been working as an industry mentor for the past 2 years. I have been a speaker at international and national conferences on Data Science. Working with data and developing predictive models has given me insight into how it can be used for societal benefits. Empowering myself with the interdisciplinary and management skills at Stanford will be a dream come true.
Target School: Stanford GSB
Considering: Berkeley Haas
See More Profiles For: Stanford GSB
Application Status: Open
Undergrad School: St. Stephens College, Delhi University.
Undergrad Major: Physics
Ethnicity: Asian or Indian
Other Degree/Certification: M.Sc.
School Name: University of Edinburgh
Mentoring students & professionals aspiring to be Data Scientist
Title: Data Scientist
Industry: Banking & Finance
Length of Employment: 2 yrs, 2 mos
Authoring a technical book has been my greatest personal achievement as it served to help students.
Aspiring to be a leader to help build organizations working towards sustainable economic development of third world countries.
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You absolutely have the analytical chops and intellectual horsepower to thrive at the GSB. The problem with your strategic positioning as it is laid out here is that it doesn’t demonstrate leadership, charisma or precedence in managing large, scalable impacts. Authoring a textbook would be a valuable signal to send to an AdCom for a STEM-y graduate program, but for GSB, where leadership, global vision and impact are more important, it almost pigeonholes you into an unfortunate stereotype (super hard-working Indian data scientist who toils away all by herself on an increasingly complex and academic subjects / unable to lead & hasn’t been trusted with that responsibility yet). This isn’t a stereotype that we believe at Admissionado or one that is even true most of …
You absolutely have the analytical chops and intellectual horsepower to thrive at the GSB. The problem with your strategic positioning as it is laid out here is that it doesn’t demonstrate leadership, charisma or precedence in managing large, scalable impacts. Authoring a textbook would be a valuable signal to send to an AdCom for a STEM-y graduate program, but for GSB, where leadership, global vision and impact are more important, it almost pigeonholes you into an unfortunate stereotype (super hard-working Indian data scientist who toils away all by herself on an increasingly complex and academic subjects / unable to lead & hasn’t been trusted with that responsibility yet). This isn’t a stereotype that we believe at Admissionado or one that is even true most of the time, but it’s a well-documented prejudice of U.S. higher education admissions that you want to be careful that you don’t play into and from what I can read here, it’s the way you appear on (abbreviated) paper now.
The good news is that the GSB applications is one of the most touchy-feely ones for top global business schools and offers ample opportunities to dispel this stereotypical narrative. Written responses for the GSB, INSEAD, and Kellogg offer lots of different angles to showcase your leadership style and paradigm. The AdCom is looking to understand you as a person and a leader beyond your resume. Authoring a textbook is great – you should definitely keep in on your resume and put it somewhere in your essays (“effective communication is important for any leader but it’s especially important where the material is highly technical and potentially difficult for the business audience to understand…[show rather than tell your efficacy as a technical communicator of data science-derived conclusions here]”). Just make sure to couple this academic prowess with real world leadership, especially to the extent that that professional leadership is across function/geography. Leading across job functions in startups is often more prevalent than at large corporations because their size makes them less departmentalized.
International applicants, especially Indian and Chinese applicants for whom excellent academic achievement is a big part of their identity and academic achievement culture is baked into their brain, need to understand that being super pointy and smart isn’t going to get you into business school. If anything, for a very analytically profiled candidate, emphasizing academic and intellectual accolades over everything else can actually HURT their candidacy because it signals that they value intellectual potential over leadership impact.
Coming from a start-up is a mixed-bag. If it’s a small start-up without prominent investors that the AdCom hasn’t heard of, this employment likely won’t help your candidacy in the same way as if you were at an emerging market’s largest unicorn as the 45th employee and liaise directly with its Sequoia investors. If you are coming from a relatively low-profile start-up, you’ll want to signal that the size of the operation gives you leadership opportunities that your peers from larger companies won’t have (e.g., people management responsibilities, P&L ownership, opportunity to work in multiple departments rather than one silo).
You can counteract the stereotype by leaning into what you state motivates your interest in data science: working with data and developing predictive models for societal benefits, such as sustainable economic development of emerging markets. Show rather than tell how you have used data to benefit humanity (and create shareholder value – this is a business school essay, after all!). You want to make sure you use the STAR framework (google it) in these essays so that you demonstrate what the tangible impact is of your work AND what YOU did specifically to lead a team to achieve greatness. If you do this well, you’ll be able to signal an ability to dream bigger about real world impacts (than than STEM classroom theoreticals).
The other big problem I see in your profile is the lack of a concrete proposed career arc. Business schools want alums who are EMPLOYABLE. They want their alums to have a job lined up before they graduate. This matters for stats and metrics (both % employed 3 months post graduation AND average comp are important criteria for rankings organizations). Especially for an international applicant who will require work authorization to continue to live/work in the U.S. post graduation, you need to have a watertight career plan outlined for the short term, medium term, and long-term. Only you know your passions and what you’ll light up talking about in an interview, but something such as “In the near-term, I’d like to contribute my data science skills, combined with my newly-honed commercial MBA skills as a [Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager] at [venture-backed EdTech] firm, work my way up to increasing levels of P&L responsibility in the medium term, aiming to reach [Director or other role] of [Division] within 3-5 years post-graduation, and long-term, I’d like [to return to India and lead XYZ effort in XYZ role with public sector benefit reflective of the sustainable economic development interest you espouse in your profile]” is an example of an effective narrative. The highest yield way that you can signal a successful professional future is to have a clear outline of what you want to achieve. That outline needs to be simultaneously very ambitious AND imminently achievable based on demonstrated prior achievements.
Your profile appears light on recent extracurricular activities, but that may just be a reflection of the abbreviated nature of these kinds of profiles. If you don’t yet have demonstrated civic engagement or volunteer efforts outside of work, along with passions and hobbies that you nurture, you’ll want to develop those before you apply. Despite coming from an incredibly competitive demographic, you have a shot at admission into top schools if you do the work on strategic positioning and get the right guidance for interviews. The more schools to which you apply the better the odds that you’ll have a top 10 acceptance. We are rooting for you!
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