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Thread: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

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    2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    Sponsored Ad:
    Test Scores (GMAT): 710 (91%), Verbal 39 (89%), Quant 48 (69%)
    Undergrad GPA: 3.476 (Business Administration major at UC Berkeley)
    Work Experience: 2 years working at Accenture as a strategy analyst (typical strategy consulting work involving heavy research and analysis)
    Research Experience: No actual academic research experience. However, I've worked on providing research/support in writing a whitepaper in my consulting job. My other consulting projects also involved doing a heavy amount of research and analysis.
    Teaching Experience: No specific teaching experience. However, within my my consulting job, I've led trainings around different business material. I've also led business classes at a summer camp for middle school students.

    Concentration Applying To: Either Entrepreneurship, Strategy, or Pure business management
    Dream Schools: Harvard, INSEAD, London Business School, UCLA, among others

    Thank you!
    Last edited by anneflys; 12-06-2017 at 09:18 PM.

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    Re: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    So your profile is good, but for the schools you are listing you really need something that makes you really stand out. Do you have professors that have agreed to do LOR's for you? If Haas is a target school, have you talked to your professors from there about doing a PhD -- did they indicate you should apply there? Do you have professors that know you / could speak to your research potential even though you didn't work as an RA?

    Overall GMAT score is good (basically identical to mine and I placed OK), but I can tell you from my own experience some schools will ask you why there is an imbalance between your quant and verbal scores (basically: can you handle the statistics/econ at a PhD level even in strategy/entrepreneurship). And honestly for some of those schools a 710 will probably be on the low side of qualified applicants - it won't take you out of contention but no one will be blown away by it.

    Also note that research in the consulting world is very different than academic research. Strategy researchers are all about theoretical contribution.

    Your keys I think are to secure really good LORs talking to your potential as a researcher, and an SOP that shows the same potential. A lot of these schools have deadlines coming up soon so you need to make sure you reach out to professors now if you haven't already about LORs (consider they have finals, winter break, life to attend to ...)

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    Re: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    If anyone could help me out here, that would be great! Thanks!

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    Re: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    Are you applying for 2018 admissions? If so some of the schools you mentioned are past deadline already. If not, moving on.
    I know very little on Strategy/Entrepreneurship. Most top schools claim not to have a GMAT/GRE desk reject policy, yet most say that successful applicants score in the top-10 percentile, with more emphasis given to the quant score. That being the case, unless there is a mistake in my understanding (I know GREs, not GMATs), you may want to redo the GMAT and score higher on the Q part, or go for the GRE - most departments accept or prefer it now and it's quant part is easier than that of the GMAT.

    Try to be specific on what you want forum members to help with: School fit? try providing information on what you want to study. What you should concentrate on for the next year to better your profile? say so. If you are only applying to top schools, I would take a year to get some academic research experience. This will give you several important things: (1) knowledge in how academic research works; (2) good academic LORs (super-important. Schools allow for one industry LOR usually, no more); (3) a better understanding of whether this path is really what you want - some people do this and decide it is not - saving a bunch of time, money and frustration.

    To get into a good school (mind you - I'm now applying so take my ramblings with a grain of salt) one needs good grades (done-deal), good test scores (above the threshold it matters little), great LOR's (from professors who know you from research and can attest to your potential to complete a rigorous 5 year program, and a good SOP (hopefully showing the ad-com your development as a researcher, how you arrived to your current interests and why you fit the school).

    Good luck!

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    Re: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    I'm not from Entrepreneurship or Strategy. But it seems you are aiming very high, and I don't see anything so outstanding in your profile. Your profile should have some good reason for a top program to accept you. What is that reason?

    GMAT is ok, but not amazing. No actual research or teaching experience. You would have to convince them you really want to change your career, and you didn't talk about that. You also didn't mention anything about your Letters of Recommendation. Did you do a good research about the PhD programs of each university to make your list of dream schools?

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    Re: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    Hi, I should have clarified. I'm right now just considering applying and haven't yet made any decisions. If I do decide to apply, it'll be in September 2019. I selected those schools based on how their program offerings and strengths in entrepreneurship/strategy research.

    In regards to no actual research/teaching experience, I was considering reaching out to some old professors of mine at Berkeley to help out with research outside of work. I would also talk about my experience/passion for research that I did during consulting. Do you feel that this could be the baseline for a strong enough case for a career change?

    For LOR's, I was considering asking a professor that I took a hands-on entrepreneurship course for, an old managing director who I did a research heavy project for at my work, and the professor that I would do research for in the coming future. I'd love to get your opinion on the strength of that.

    Thank you!

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    Re: 2018 Profile Evaluation: Entrepreneurship/Strategy

    All right, the title says 2018 profile evaluation. Let me try to help you, since you have time.

    You said you selected schools based on their offerings and strengths. What exactly do you mean by that? How do you know they are strong, for example? Just because they are famous? It does't work like that for PhD. Usually one of the biggest challenges is to make a list of schools. I have no doubt that Harvard has strong research in strategy, for example. But is Harvard strong at the exact kind of research you are trying to do?

    Let me give you my example. I'm a Marketing PhD student. So, I was looking for Marketing programs, right? And, for Marketing, maybe the biggest name is Northwestern. Does that mean that I should aim for Northwestern? Not really. I tried, of course, but it was not the best for me. Why? Because of my research interests. I'm interested in the interface between Marketing and Finance, so I must find the schools with great researchers interested in things like customer lifetime value, or stock market reaction to marketing events. And Northwestern is not one of them.

    So, to show me that a school is a strong one for you, you gotta tell me what are your research interests, what schools are the strongest at those specific interests, how those schools can help you and how you can help those schools.

    We expect you to be able to answer something like this: I am interested in doing research about X, because (some story). And school Y is one of the schools with highest productivity of papers about X. More specifically, professors Z, T, and U. Professor Z, for example, recently published a paper at the Strategic Management Journal with a great insight about X, and I think I can expand on that because (some explanation, like your amazing knowledge of econometrics).

    You don't need to tell me. But are you able to do something like that for the dream schools you listed? It is very common to see that some dream schools are no dream at all, and find some schools which are your dream and you didn't expect to be.

    This is a link to very good advice for school selection:
    http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-busin...-rankings.html

    It will be great if you can get some research experience. That will make a huge difference, specially if you are able to get concrete results (your name in a paper under revision, a paper presentation etc.) and the professors you meet like you.

    Be very careful when talking about research in a corporate environment, like consulting. Academic research is often very different. You must show you understand the differences. If you show that you are passionate about the research you did during consulting, the school may just think: Well, then you should keep doing that, because we don't do that kind of thing here. If someone asks you what is research in an interview, are you able to explain? Consulting companies usually don't do scientific research.

    The way things are now, they can just ask you: if you are so passionate about research in consulting, why do you want to follow a career where you will not be able to do that kind of research anymore for several years at least? It may be less of a problem if you are choosing a school which is strong in empirical research, but it can be the demise of your application if the professor who is interviewing you is a theoretical one.

    For a PhD in business, schools expect you to become a researcher at a top research university after you get your PhD. They don't want someone who will get the PhD and become a consultant. If you say you love research during consultancy, it is a risk many are not willing to take.

    About LoR. Ideally they should be from professors who can attest to you potential as a researcher. The professor you will work with in the future is a great one (if the professor really thinks you are great, of course). The entrepreneurship professor doesn't not sound so strong. If you were a great student, but there was no academic research for the course, probably the professor can say you are a great student, but can't really say much about you as a researcher. About the managing director, unless he has a PhD, publish academic papers, or something like that, many schools will not take his recommendations so seriously. The strongest letters are from well-known academic researchers who think highly of you as a potential researcher. Your qualities as a student or an employee may be good, but that's not really what schools are looking for.

    I don't want to scare you. But you want to get into places like Harvard. Think about how many applications Harvard receives each year for its Strategy PhD program from people all around the world. And how many are accepted? I don't know, but I guess 2 or 3. Do you really think you are among the 2 or 3 best applicants Harvard can get?

    Use the time you have to get as strong as you can. A GMAT score of 710, for example, is extremely good in most situations. For a Harvard PhD? They probably get dozens of applications with scores higher than that.

    And don't get too fixed on the top schools. A PhD is very different from undergrad or MBA. A top 30 school is still extremely competitive and highly respected.

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