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Profile Eval. Needed - PhD in OB
Hey all, I'm new to the forum. I was hoping to get some feedback on my PhD applicant profile, where I should apply, what my chances are, etc.
I have a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University in Philly (very reputable engineering school). Got a business minor in UG as well. GPA was a 3.56. Worked for a little while as a a design engineer in a consulting firm until realizing that I really wanted to study business. (I'm hoping this screams "problem-solver" to admissions committees though)
I'm currently finishing up an MBA from the University of Tampa (small but pretty good program, it's reputation has been steadily increasing over the past 5-10 years). Current GPA is a 3.87.
When I first took the GMAT to apply to MBA programs, I didn't take the prep seriously enough and scored a 660. I just recently re-took the exam and scored a 760.
I have 3 LORs lined up. One is from the Dean of the college of business, which I know will be somewhat standardized but I figured the credentials wouldn't hurt. Another is from a Finance professor who publishes in A-level journals, albeit finance ones, but I have a good relationship with him. He's been sort of a coach/mentor for me during this process. The last is from a OB PhD, a professor who I've really gotten to know and vice versa, both in the classroom and out. It was her class and guidance that led me to decide to apply.
My research experience is limited. I have two live-client projects I've done in my MBA classes. I've just started working on a longitudinal case study with a Management professor and hoping to present it at the Academy of Management conference in August 2013, meaning nothing will be written or published before applications are due.
I was going to stick with my math/analytic background and look at accounting/finance programs, but I've realized that my true passion lies in the study of the people within an organization, what drives their decisions, motivates them, and how companies can use that knowledge to their advantage. So my question is how strong of an applicant am I at top schools? Does the fact that I don't have a Harvard MBA or a recommendation from a Stanford PhD or any publications automatically put me in the rejection pile at top 10 schools? top 20?
Thanks in advance for the feedback!
Okay, here's my take.
Your profile is clearly competitive and I think you would have a fair shot at most schools. I am not sure, however, that it's good enough for top 10 schools and for one main reason: there's nothing in your application that screams OB. At least not to me. You have little or no background in psychology or sociology, from what I understand, and limited research experience. Your quantitative background is an asset, but you should really focus on giving the admission committee an idea of why you want to study OB, and possibly of a specific research interest, too. If you have time, do your homework: read a few articles in academic journals in order to identify a broad area of interest, then check whether there are people doing it at the institutions you're applying to.
Remember to cast your net wide when applying: include Top 50 schools that you think would be a good fit for you, don't just stick to the Top 10. Nobody gets in everywhere, but a lot of people get nowhere.
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I, too, am considering a Ph.D. in OB while coming from a more "quant" background (i.e. statistics BS, industrial engineering MS with some grad level math & econ courses). I am in a grad econ course now that has made me realize I wouldn't want to do such quant heavy research. In IE, we study decision-making from a mathematical point-of-view, usually most of our methods are prescriptive in nature (i.e. prescribe the optimal decision). Often, however, our methods are easily frustrated by people acting in unexpected ways, as virtually every system involves people at some level. Personally, I think it would be fascinating to research individual and group decision-making from the other side of the spectrum, that is, a more psychological and descriptive approach.
Anyway, like Syous said, it seems having those good quant skills will give us a major advantage in our profiles; but in our SOPs we have to demonstrate that we know what we're getting ourselves into by going the OB route and discuss our research interests in a knowledgeable manner. So my advice, for you and for myself, is to nail down our research interests and apply widely across the T50 where our interests align well with the faculty interests.
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