To be honest, the profile is bit short relative to the programs you are targeting, would recommend you to work on research experience or change the target schoolsTest Scores (GMAT/GRE): (Note: It often helps a lot more if you list the percentiles each of your raw/composite scores are associated with): QA 168 (97 percentile) VA 165 (98 percentile)
Undegrad GPA: 8.5/10, Top 20% of class, Bachelors in Chemical Engineering (Top 10 Engineering College India)
Graduate GPA: 7.1/10, Top 20% of class, MBA in Marketing and Operations (Top 5 B school from IndIa)
Research Experience: Not much research experience from an academic standpoint, just general MBA assignments which involved secondary research. During my professional career I have been working with think tanks like the World Resources Institute and the UN Environment Programme on projects which required heavy primary and secondary research.
Teaching Experience: None
Work Experience: I have been working in strategy consulting with a Tier 2 consulting firm for the past two years in the Sustainability Services practice. My work has revolved around supporting non profit organisations (WWF, Red Cross Society, World Resources Institute) and multilateral institutions (UN agencies, EBRD) in various strategy projects. For example, one of my previous projects involved developing science based targets for business to reduce their impact on the ocean. The project that I am currently working on involves the largest assessment of palm oil buying companies and their impact on nature. These involve qualitative research and interviews, surveys etc. I am also proficient in data analysis and data visualization, at least at a level required for strategy projects- perhaps not at handling big data.
Concentration Applying to: Strategy
Number of programs planned to apply to: At least 8
Dream Schools: Yale, Michigan Ross, Duke Fuqua, USC Marshall, University of Minnesota- Carlson School of Business, University of North Carolina (Kenan Flagler), University of Washington (Foster), (still a WIP list)
Letters of recommendation: Almost all from my MBA courses- will mostly be from professors and associate professors. Having little research experience, I'm expecting the letters of recommendations to be of a moderate strength. I will only be asking those professors for a recommendation in whose courses I have ranked among the top 5 scorers.
Note: I have attached a one pager resume for more info.
What made you want to pursue a PhD?
I am deeply interested in how businesses can operate responsibly and partner with other stakeholders in the ecosystem like governments and communities to drive impact. I believe that businesses who are doing this at the moment will have a major first movers advantage going forward when regulations become more strict very rapidly and consumers become more aware of their environment. What businesses lack in this space is established research which proves this hypothesis and gives guidance on how to go about operating responsibly. Academia will have a big role to play here going forward and having worked with non profits for the past two years and being deeply aware of the situation around us, I want to be a part of that journey.
Questions or concerns you have about your profile?
1. My major concerns are around graduate GPA which is not extraordinary- it might come to 3.4/3.5 after conversion to a 4 point scale using the conversion chart on the Columbia business school site. Given my overall profile and experience do I have a shot at any of the top 30 B schools for a PhD?
2. I am a complete novice to this- am I even targeting the right schools based on my profile?
3. I've been hearing that I should be applying as early as possible as early admissions are the only ones that are considered. Is this true? What is the optimum date by which I should be applying (given that deadlines are generally in December and I've been hearing people say that I should complete my applications in October)
Any additional specific questions you may have:
4. Are there opportunities to undertake any remote part time research with professors in the US? I can't quit my job due to financial constraints. Given the COVID situation in India, it is extremely difficult to do that with professors here. I know this is a big ask but if anyone can share any input, I would be extremely grateful