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Thread: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

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    Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

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    Hello !

    I am new at this forum and have been browsing around for a while. It has been very helpful in understanding the complexity of phd applications, thank you very much !!

    I am currently enrolled in an MBA program from the Welch College of Business (Sacred Heart University), based in the Luxembourg campus. Accordingly, I am working here for a major steel company in purchasing, and have been doing so for the past 6 years. Going back to school has been rather exciting and thought provoking, so I am investigating the possibility of furthering my education with a PhD in Organizational Behavior (macro) or Political Economics.

    My academic profile is to my opinion very average, especially in undergrad ...

    I am hereby kindly requesting your advice on what should I expect and how I should supplemment my current profile to be hopeful for a top 20 offer.

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    John Molson School of Business, Concordia University (Top 15 in Canada)
    Major in Finance, Undeclared Minor in Political Science

    Undergrad GPA:
    overall 2.6 (very weak)
    major GPA 3


    Type of Grad: MBA
    Current GPA: 3.8 (16 credits completed, expect same for graduation in Dec 2017)
    GMAT: will take this coming summer, previous score in 2011 : 590.


    Took all the required algebra and calculus classes need for undergrad so got waived all calculus classes for MBA.
    Before my Business degre, studied Economical Sciences for one semester to get proper Math and Econ skills for Bachelor.


    Letters of Recommendation: None as of yet. Plan ask my current professors at MBA.

    Research Experience: None

    Teaching Experience: None

    Research Interests:
    Interested in Organizational behavior (macro) and Political Economics. I understand they are very diverse, as I said I am still investigating various fields. Plan to browse different journal articles in the next few weeks.

    Concerns & Questions:


    1. I lack research experience
    2. I didnít write an undergrad thesis. Is this going to be a significant minus on my app ?
    3. What schools can I realistically aim for in the current state?
    4. Are there any other ways to improve my profile and schools I might be able to aim for after doing so?
    5. Should I just forget about a PhD ?



    I would appreciate an objective evaluation of my profile, harsh comments very welcome ? as I said, I am investigating...


    Thanks so much Urch Community!

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    To be honest, I think your undergraduate GPA might be a big problem. Even an incredibly high GMAT score (above 700) might not be able to make up for this "weakness" of your application. The graduate GPA of 3.8 is pretty much "average" for applicants I would say.

    I think very few people write an undergraduate thesis so don't worry about that, but you should try to get your hands on some research experience.

    If I were you I would not aim at Top 20 programs. I don't think that's a realistic goal with your profile right now. Unfortunately you can't improve your undergraduate GPA, but you can definitely work on other parts of your application.
    Applied: 14, Interviews: 11, Accepted: 6, Waitlisted: 1, Rejected: 7

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    By the way, I would never advise anyone to just "forget about a PhD" without having tried to get into a program somewhere, but you definitely have to lower your expectations.
    Applied: 14, Interviews: 11, Accepted: 6, Waitlisted: 1, Rejected: 7

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    Quote Originally Posted by Silviatx View Post
    By the way, I would never advise anyone to just "forget about a PhD" without having tried to get into a program somewhere, but you definitely have to lower your expectations.
    Silviatx,

    Thanks a lot for your genuine insight ! Very much appreciated !
    Follow up question : would a master's degree with research in relevant field (say Economy) provide additional forte to cover for the undergrad GPA ?

    The reason I am aiming for Top 20 is I think that my current career is going as planned, and hopefully better when I get my MBA, so I would not want to leave it and do a PhD for 5 yrs at an average program, thereby losing key experience years (I'm 30).. I hope my reasoning makes sense...

    Thanks again !!

    Joe

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    From my experience, research interests matter a lot in this process. Going by rankings alone is not advisable.

    You will find many people who have left behind a very successful corporate career in management, investment banking and consulting to pursue a PhD. Age shouldn't be a concern, I will be almost 38 when I start this year at a leading UK school. While it is in top 20 in the world for my field, it is no way remotely as competitive as the top 20 worldwide overall across subjects. There are many others in this forum with successful corporate careers starting their PhDs in late thirties and forties.

    Competition is extremely high for top programmes such as Harvard, MIT, Wharton to Toronto, Maryland and Penn State. Improving your GMAT score would help. I would assume those top programmes have a cutoff around 700. You will be competing with applicants from Ivy League universities, Stanford, Berkeley and other great universities (for example Georgia Tech, UCLA and Indiana) looking to move up.

    I would suggest apply in top 20, as everyone should try at their dream schools. But, apply widely in other ranges as well. Provided the research output is good, you would still do well from a top 50 programme.

    Quote Originally Posted by joe View Post
    The reason I am aiming for Top 20 is I think that my current career is going as planned, and hopefully better when I get my MBA, so I would not want to leave it and do a PhD for 5 yrs at an average program, thereby losing key experience years (I'm 30).. I hope my reasoning makes sense...

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    Quote Originally Posted by PobleNou View Post
    From my experience, research interests matter a lot in this process. Going by rankings alone is not advisable.

    You will find many people who have left behind a very successful corporate career in management, investment banking and consulting to pursue a PhD. Age shouldn't be a concern, I will be almost 38 when I start this year at a leading UK school. While it is in top 20 in the world for my field, it is no way remotely as competitive as the top 20 worldwide overall across subjects. There are many others in this forum with successful corporate careers starting their PhDs in late thirties and forties.

    Competition is extremely high for top programmes such as Harvard, MIT, Wharton to Toronto, Maryland and Penn State. Improving your GMAT score would help. I would assume those top programmes have a cutoff around 700. You will be competing with applicants from Ivy League universities, Stanford, Berkeley and other great universities (for example Georgia Tech, UCLA and Indiana) looking to move up.

    I would suggest apply in top 20, as everyone should try at their dream schools. But, apply widely in other ranges as well. Provided the research output is good, you would still do well from a top 50 programme.
    Thanks a lot for your insight ! Indeed, it seems that my profile is not good enough for an immediate start of PhD.
    How about a Master's degree in Management, get some research experience and insight in how academia works, and a good GPA ? It is a further 2 years of study, but if successful, it might lead to a career in academia..?

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    I wouldn't say not good enough for an immediate start. In fact, no one can categorically say that about any profile. It is just that the top schools are so incredibly competitive, but until you apply you won't know. There could be something unique about your profile or research interest that can click at a top school.

    I suggest talk to professors in your MBA programme. Do they publish in top journals, where did they do their PhD, do they have connections that could put you in front of the professors in your target schools.

    I am not sure about another management Master's, probably other experienced folks can comment. I suggest part-time volunteer
    research work with some professors from your business school, especially ones who publish. Try some European schools (likes of HEC Paris, Erasmus, Bocconi, IESE) as well, they seem more open to profiles with work experience. But even here, your GMAT scores matter, unless you have rock solid grades.

    Quote Originally Posted by joe View Post
    Thanks a lot for your insight ! Indeed, it seems that my profile is not good enough for an immediate start of PhD.
    How about a Master's degree in Management, get some research experience and insight in how academia works, and a good GPA ? It is a further 2 years of study, but if successful, it might lead to a career in academia..?

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    Re: Profile Evaluation - PhD in Management

    Well, you wrote you welcome harsh comments. That, at least, is a good characteristic for someone who wants to do a PhD.

    In short, a PhD application should prove that you have great potential to become a researcher in the chosen field. And I really don't see signs of that the way your profile is now:
    - your GPA is very low
    - your GMAt score is very low
    - your letters of recommendation are expected to be from MBA professors (even if they like you a lot, they probably have not seen much academic research from you since that's not the goal of an MBA)
    - no research experience
    - no clear explanation about what are your research interests and why you are interested in them.

    So, even if you improve a lot, top 20 are really a stretch.

    But if you think programs below top 20 are just average, you really need to change your views. Only in the US, there are 115 universities classified as R1, which is the rank of highest research activity. And rankings in general are very problematic for PhD, much more than MBA, for example.

    Take a look at what I wrote here:
    My PhD Tales: Are You a Competitive Applicant for a PhD in Business?

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