MBA - Applying R2 - Need Some Perspective

Hi all - interested in how my profile, especially my career switch and lowish GPA, will be perceived by Adcoms. Any other advice or perspective is greatly appreciated

Background

  • Work experience:
    • 5 years at a T2-3 consulting firm in the Strategy group (group hires from top 5-15 MBA programs)
    • ~ 1 year full time real estate salesperson, past 15 months have been working in project management for a general contractor focused on multi-family, current project is ~$120M
  • Extra curriculars and other experience: In college I was part of a group that competed on a nationally televised talent show (~20M viewers watched the season finale). We ended up going all the way to the season finale, getting 3rd overall on the show. After the show I took a year off school between my sophomore and junior year to travel the country as a part of the nationwide tour with the other top 10 acts of the show. After the tour we performed the show full time, performing at corporate events and traveling to make guest appearances on similar TV shows in both the UK and Germany. After the year off I returned to school but was still involved with performance group until ~3 years after I graduated. Post college I have been involved in pretty basic stuff - intramural sports, community service events a few times a year
  • Undergrad school/major: Chemical Engineering from a large public school, T-15 engineering
  • Race/nationality: White
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: 31 at matriculation

Stats

  • GMAT Score: 730 (V45 Q46)
  • Undergrad GPA: 3.34
    • Coming back to junior year Chemical Engineering classes after traveling the country for a year was a tough transition, this impacted my GPA.

MBA Info

  • Why I want an MBA: After my 5 years in consulting I didn't really see myself becoming a manager (which would indicate becoming a career consultant), which I was about to get promoted to. I have always been passionate about real estate (did my own home renovation, own land in another country with plans to develop on it), so decided to jump in as a full time realtor. This was good experience to learn about what the end consumer is looking for, but I wanted to learn more about the entire lifecycle of the development process. A year later I started in project management at a general contractor. In my current role I interact with the developers, design team, and sub-contractors. This has given me great exposure to the build process, but my long term goal is to work in real estate finance on the owner side, working in acquisitions or capital raising for a developer. Post-MBA my target jobs would be either a real estate group for an investment bank, which would give me great exposure to the industry as whole and how real estate companies think about their capital needs, or for a large vertically integrated real estate investor.
  • Target schools: Georgetown McDonough, UVA, UNC, Cornell
  • Reach schools: NYU and maybe Columbia or Wharton, although I am not sure I would be a very competitive applicant at these two programs.

Any feedback on any part of my profile is greatly appreciated. I am concerned on how my career switch from consulting to real estate will be perceived. Any other east coast schools you would recommend?

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Comments (6)

Sep 19, 2020 - 7:48pm

You have a good profile! A few suggestions:

ECs - since college was several years ago, your college ECs hold much less weight (some would even say zero unless you were on a school sports team) compared to your post-college ECs. So your ECs in college sound cool, but I suggest enhancing your post-college ECs.

Target list - I would ditch Georgetown and UNC, your profile is above avg for them & they're not exactly real estate focused programs. I would keep UVA / Cornell. I suggest focusing on the schools w/ strong real estate programs and using that as a "why this school" reason to go there. On your list, Cornell and Columbia have fairly strong real estate programs, W does too but that's a bit of a reach. Not sure which other T15 programs are strong in RE, but would focus searching those out. 

Good luck!!!  

Sep 21, 2020 - 7:12am

Thanks a lot for your perspective!

ECs - I agree with you, there are a few more things that I can add here, part of the purpose of me going so in depth on this specific one is 1). It is pretty unique and 2). it was a huge commitment during college

Target list - the reason why I had Georgetown on my list is because I would like to end up in the DC area long term, and I was hoping with my profile I may be able to swing some scholarship money. I have also heard that Georgetown places well in IB, if REIB is the route I decide to go. For UNC - I may be mistaken but I was under the impression that they have one of the stronger RE MBA programs, with top developers like Trammel Crow, Tishman Speyer, and Hines recruiting there. I will take a second look though and validate. I am hoping that UVA and Stern are attainable, and from what I have heard both would have significant on campus recruiting and network advantages compared to Georgetown/UNC(?).

Thanks again for your feedback!

Sep 21, 2020 - 9:28pm

You've assessed your competitiveness fairly well and chosen your schools well. Unless you really want to stay in the East, you may want to look into USC or UCLA., but if you do want to stay in the East, you've made good choices. 

Your GMAT is competitive at all your schools. Your GPA is below average for  Wharton and Columbia, and yes for NYU too. However you're close with the other programs. The career switch won't be a problem because it brings you closer to your long-term goal. The consulting is a solid foundation for a career in business and the work you did later prepares you for the career that you want.

It makes sense.

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