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Thread: Profile Eval [Engineering Undergrad, MBA]

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    Profile Eval [Engineering Undergrad, MBA]

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    Iím entering my 4th year of a 5-year accelerated masterís program. Iíll earn a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering in the Spring. Also, I will be concurrently enrolled in 6 hours of MBA classes for both semesters. Then, after my 5th year Iíll earn my MBA. I am at the University of Oklahoma (mid-tier big state school).
    Undergrad GPA: 3.4-5 -Engineering- Oklahoma
    Graduate GPA: 3.8-4.0 -MBA-Oklahoma (As of right now, counting my dual credit courses, I have a 4.0 and I am willing to do what it takes to be at the top of my class and expect to see myself in the range of 3.8-4.0)

    GMAT: 600 (spent a few weeks cramming for my MBA program but feel I could improve to 650. 700 may be somewhat lofty as I am not the most proficient standardized test taker)
    Research Experience: None (but with two years left maybe I would have opportunities)
    Teaching Experience: None
    Work Experience: Engineering Internship with a Fortune 500 (Telecommunications) and can puff it up tosound like business experience


    Concentration Applying to: Strategy or Management (subject and willing to change to something like Supply Chain)
    Number of programs planned to apply to: 15-20
    Dream Schools: Boston University, Yale, University of Georgia, Rice University, University of Arkansas, Southern Methodist, Texas A&M


    Other Questions:

    What made you want to pursue a PhD?


    I have never been enamored by my undergraduate degree. For the most part I entered because of the practicality and prospects. I do appreciate Industrial Engineering and could see myself making a career out of it; however, the lackluster reviews my older peers have given me are making me have second thoughts. Recently, I have become enchanted by the world of management consulting and have been introduced to the world of business strategy and theory. Considering my background and profile, I most likely would not be qualified for the top firms and from my understanding there is a considerable drop off between tier 1 and 2. Moreover, the lifestyle and work balance leads me into much trepidation.

    At this point it probably sounds like the PhD professor route is a plan B. And, Ill admit, it was at first. Yet, the more I look into the career, the more enthusiastic I become. Irrespective of my major choice, I do enjoy writing, especially on topics I am interested in. So, at this point I donít know if I am ready to commit completely to a life of research, but I can very easily see myself immersing my life into a deep subject. Personally, I donít find myself all that smart per se, but highly intellectually motivated. I love to learn. It fuels me and I am motivated by knowledge. I would grant many of my peers in engineering are ďbookĒ smarter than me, but I keep up because of my intellectual drive. I certainly am confident in my abilities and feel more than competent but have strengths different than peers. I want to know things. And, in my estimation, this would give me a solid foundation for being a professor.

    Questions or concerns you have about your profile?



    • I havenít seen too many undergrad engineering profiles on here or other places like LinkedIn, so I was wondering if anyone has? Or any thoughts related to this (maybe like a field of study you could introduce me to).
    • Considering nothing in my profile is outstanding. Low undergrad GPA, (estimated) GMAT ceiling is 650, mid-tier school, are my dream school aspirations too high?
    • Would you recommend in the summers I pursue an internship within the field of consulting? Say, Deloitte S&O. I have a few friends within this role and definitely would be experience within the field. Furthermore, would it be better if I ended up working for a tier 2 consulting firm after graduating from my MBA and then applying for my PhD?

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    Re: Profile Eval [Engineering Undergrad, MBA]

    Regarding your 3 questions about your profile, in order:
    - I think people with undergrad in engineering is quite common in business. I'm in Marketing and I think at least 4 of my professors here have an undergrad in engineering. I don't think this would be a problem in management either.
    - Yeah, right now your profile seems very weak. Like, there are people with low GMAT scores that are accepted by great schools, but usually they are very strong in other ways. You're talking about low GPA, very low GMAT, no research experience at all, probably not great letters of recommendation. Even your reasons to do a PhD don't look good to me. Someone "enchanted by the world of management consulting" does not sound good to me for a PhD. The same goes for your "trepidation" with lifestyle and work balance issues. And you wrote that you love to learn and want to know things, but a PhD is something different. Yeah, you need to learn and know things, but the big challenge and purpose of a PhD is not that. It is discovering new things, not learning and knowing things. This all makes me feel like you still don't know enough about what you are going after.
    - Going into consulting now seems like going in the wrong direction. After all, if you really want to go for a PhD, I would expect you to do something related to academia, not industry. Getting research experience would be great, getting teaching experience might be still good, but getting consulting experience? I don't think it would make such a big difference, it could actually make things worse.

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    Re: Profile Eval [Engineering Undergrad, MBA]

    I did engineering undergrad (but never used it because I joined the military after graduation). Then I did an MBA and worked in marketing for three years before joining a PhD program. Take this with a grain of salt, but your profile doesn't look particularly competitive to me at this point.

    I appreciate your point about not being the most "book smart" person but making up for it with intellectual drive, but admissions committees are going to point out that it's not really reflected in your grades. If you're going to make up for it (which is totally possible, but a stretch with a 650 GMAT) you've got to have a super compelling statement of purpose and research question. What do you want to research, and why? Why is that question interesting, important, and why don't we know the answer already? You don't have to have a dissertation topic nailed down but you have to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity. Faculty are looking for students who will be good students but will also be productive research partners both during the PhD program (i.e. an assistant professor who is going to mentor you is going to want to get some publications to help their numbers for tenure) and hopefully for a little while beyond.

    I don't think Supply Chain will be less competitive than strategy (my spouse is a supply chain/operations PhD candidate). The program is math-heavy and they're going to want top grades for someone coming out of industrial engineering.

    I totally get not being thrilled with your undergrad degree. Before you commit to doing a PhD, spend some time in the real world to see if what you really want. It will also give you a chance to find out what you're passionate about and what unsolved problems you want to research. In the hard sciences, I totally get going right from undergrad to the PhD (especially if you're already in a lab or doing research). In your case, as in mine, there's not a compelling reason to do the PhD right away. I'm a MUCH better candidate as a result of my work experience.

    You mentioned that you're interested in Strategy. What about strategy is fascinating to you? Corporate social responsibility? Outsourcing? Lobbying efforts?

    My recommendation is to spend some time thinking about what really interests you, and consider pursuing a job there for at least a couple years. By all means, spend time improving your profile (study for the GMAT, try to get a position as a research assistant, etc). I'd also echo other commentators who have mentioned that management consulting is probably not the way I'd go as a first job out the gate. I think you'd not get an appreciation for the minutiae of corporate operations that often dictate the pace of progress; and to me it feels a little presumptuous for someone who has never worked anywhere to come in as a consultant to tell other businesses how to run things.

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    Re: Profile Eval [Engineering Undergrad, MBA]

    While your profile is not top-tier, I think you do have a decent shot at some of the schools you've listed. To address your points:

    I haven’t seen too many undergrad engineering profiles on here or other places like LinkedIn, so I was wondering if anyone has? Or any thoughts related to this (maybe like a field of study you could introduce me to).
    No concerns here. I know of many people with management PhDs who have undergraduate degrees in engineering. It may even give you a bit of an edge at some schools.

    Considering nothing in my profile is outstanding. Low undergrad GPA, (estimated) GMAT ceiling is 650, mid-tier school, are my dream school aspirations too high?
    Yes, for some of those schools you would have a very difficult time. However, I think you would get some attention at a few of the ones you have listed if you can crack 650. Also, a 4.0 masters GPA will do a lot for your profile. Another thing to note here is that competitiveness can vary by quite a bit at mid-tier schools year over year. At my school (one of those you've listed), a 650 is probably a borderline score most years. But we have also had years where a 650 would get you serious consideration.

    Would you recommend in the summers I pursue an internship within the field of consulting? Say, Deloitte S&O. I have a few friends within this role and definitely would be experience within the field. Furthermore, would it be better if I ended up working for a tier 2 consulting firm after graduating from my MBA and then applying for my PhD?
    I don't think consulting internships are a bad idea. It would probably help your profile more than other jobs. The best thing you can do is try to get research experience. You have two full years before entering a PhD program which is perfect opportunity for your to gain some research experience. OU has some great researchers in their management program too. I would suggest emailing a few of the professors who are doing research in an area you are interested in and telling them that you are interested in pursuing a PhD in management and asking them if there are any research opportunities available for undergraduates to participate in.
    If you decide to go the consulting route before getting your PhD, make it clear in your application that you are interested in a career in academia and emphasize this in your interviews. Management PhD programs definitely try to prepare you for a career in research in academia and mentioning an interest in going into consulting after the PhD would probably hurt your chances at some of the schools you've listed.

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    Re: Profile Eval [Engineering Undergrad, MBA]

    I think you've got potential, especially if you're an American, but you need to polish it up a bit. GMAT/GRE absolutely needs to come up for starters. I wouldn't freak out about GPA, 3.5 is good enough for any school. You also have a good range of schools, which is important. The biggest problem you have is your essay. Don't dis your engineering degree and don't make it seem like you're "settling" for being a professor, I wouldn't bring up the lifestyle either. Saying something like "I liked the research part of engineering..." is a good way to go, talk about it in a positive light and how that background can bring an interesting perspective to the table for you in management research. You really want to hit hard on RESEARCH with the essay. Mention specific professors by name and why you want to work with them, do some digging.

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