Can our job-hopping Bob get into business school? We think so! This MBA profile assessment focuses on the perfect MBA resume and how to make sure the MBA adcom knows how successful and value-driven you’ve been, even if you may have had a couple more jobs than they expect.
This is the second in a series where Angela Guido looks at YOUR profile (why are you all called Bob?) to help you get into business school. Over the last 3 years we’re released SO MUCH free MBA content that it’s high time we started showing how to apply the Career Protocol approach!
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Angela: Welcome to MBA Monday! Today we’re talking to none other than Bob. Say hi, Bob.
Bob: Hello, everyone.
Angela: Our goal today is to get Bob into business school. Let's get to know Bob a little bit through her statistics. So here we have Bob's basic statistics. She went to Universidad de los Andes. She graduated in 2019 with a degree in industrial engineering with an impressive 3.5 GPA. She's had a lot of different jobs (we're going to dig into that today) and she's still waiting on her GMAT. But what made me most excited when Bob applied for this call is that her dream school is Chicago Booth, which is of course, not my entirely unbiased favorite program. I'm really excited to talk to you today, Bob! Why don't you start by just introducing yourself and letting us know a little bit about you and why you're pursuing an MBA, and then we'll get right to it.
Bob: Absolutely! It is nice to meet you all. As you mentioned, I studied in Columbia in Universidad of los Andes, Industrial Engineering. I'm not from a big city here in Columbia, I'm from a small city called Villaviscencio, and why would I like to pursue an MBA? As you mentioned, I changed a lot of jobs and I have been working in two different industries. In those changes, I realized that I actually wanted to make more of an impact and that do good work, that can actually do something for people. So I think the MBA is the best way to actually change industries and realize how you can actually impact on people.
Angela: Great! I love that. I think as you move forward in the MBA application process, you'll want to get that aspect of your story really clear. You'll want to be very vivid and detailed in terms of your vision. That's a vague vision, which is a great starting point. I appreciate the values underlying that. It's like, I figured out I'm a tool for getting stuff done, and now I want to get stuff done that helps people. Fantastic motivation for MBA, really common actually. But as you move forward, you want that vision to become more vivid and specific for schools. That'll be part of the process of developing your career game plan. And you're in the Forte program, so you're going to hear me talk about that in the very near future. It's also all over our YouTube channel. Our career game plan videos do terribly on the channel, but it's one of the most important pieces of content that we put out there because nobody really thinks about how important it is to showcase a robust and vivid vision. Even though we all know that your goals are going to change, that's okay, you still need to show schools that you've thought all this through and you have tactics, you have concrete plans for yourself. They love to see that because it engenders confidence in your leadership in the future, even if plans change. So that'll be an important step for you. When you requested and signed up for this call, I asked you, what are the things that would be most useful to talk about? And I love what you chose. You said you wanted to talk about some of your unique strengths and how you can leverage them in the process. I think that's a really great question. Before we get into that though, I do want to chat really briefly about all the aspects of your profile that are going to be important. You're still working on some of them and I just want to give you my two cents as you go forward. So this is our model for the five dimensions of your candidacy that schools are evaluating, and they're evaluating these five things across all aspects of the application. So we can't neatly divide this into like, this goes in the resume, this goes in the essays, because it's all showing up everywhere. But the first category we call brain power, and this is really based on your grades, your scores, and in your case your certifications. It's all the ways in which the school is able to gauge if you're ready for the academics. And so you're still working on the GMAT, which is appropriate. You're still at the early stages of this process and we'll talk about that in just a second. Your career progress, we're also going to talk about today because I have a lot of questions about it. But then the rest of this, your school fit, your passion, your character, that's all going to come across in the application itself, and it's really all about how you communicate in the process. So that's like a long journey, and you're just at the beginning of that journey. So we won't dig too much into that today, I just want to set you up with the basic pieces that you need to be aware of as you're building out your profile before you apply. So the brain power profile, I just want to talk about, since you're still studying the GMAT. So tell me how that's going and what are your plans? How are you studying?
Bob: I actually joined the GMAT Manhattan Prep course. I recently joined it because I did the second exam and I didn't do quite well. But I actually talked to Whitney, who is also at Forte —
Angela: Whitney is an old friend of mine. Please tell her I said hello. I taught at Manhattan for seven years and she and I collaborated on several different projects in our day. So tell her I said hello.
Bob: Absolutely. So I mailed her. I was really worried and she said, that's fine, that's actually normal. So just keep going and you'll do it a lot better. So my plans are to do the exam in May and if I don't get what I want, over 700 or 730, I will keep going until I get it.
Angela: Okay, good. So I've been having this conversation with people a lot lately, which is, before you abandon your test score entirely, consider taking the GRE at some point if you're not able to get the score that you want. Schools care about your test score as a measure of your ability level, but they're going to take one look at your profile and everything else about you, and they're going to say, we don't have to worry about this girl. Industrial engineering, you went to the best school in your country in the most challenging major, and you got a 3.5. They know what that means. We've worked with a ton of people who went to your university, and you all tend to do well because it's hard to get in and it's hard to survive. You did both of those things, and a 3.5 is actually a strong GPA for that school and that major, and schools will know that. So they're not going to be so worried. Then you also have these financial certifications, your work is very quantitative. They're not going to actually be worried about your intelligence level at all.
Bob: That's good to know.
Angela: What they do have to keep an eye on, though, is their average test scores. It's always a little bit better — if you're going to have a weak score — it's always a little bit better to have a GRE instead of a GMAT.
Angela: So just see how it goes. You've already committed to the GMAT, that's perfectly fine. Follow that road where it takes you, but if you're netting out below a 680, okay? So if your final GMAT score is below a 680, consider doing the GRE instead. And all this content work that Manhattan is teaching you will be relevant to the GRE as well, because both tests cover a lot of the similar content. So it's not like you have to start from scratch if you use twitch tests. So that's just worst-case scenario. If it doesn't go your way, the GRE is a little bit of a backstop that's a bit safer if you're going to be below the average. But so now the rest of your profile is going to be much more important in the end because test scores never got anybody into school. They did keep people out, but they really never got anybody in. Nobody gets in just because they have a good test score. It's all about the rest of those four profiles that I talked about. So the one I want to dig into next with you is your career progress profile, and I'm going to put your resume on the screen here because this brought up a lot of questions for me. This is your career progress so far. Now, there's a lot I could say about how you want to improve this resume for the MBA application process (you're also going to hear me talk about this in the future) and there's just a lot of work to do to showcase your achievements and your impact in each of your jobs, but I'm left with multiple questions as an admissions committee reader. So you always want to put yourself in the shoes of your audience when you're communicating, which is what you're doing. All you're doing in the application process is communication. So think about your reader. At most schools, ad comm readers don't even have MBAs. In some cases they do, but on average, they're people who specialize their career in education, not in business. So they're probably not going to know what any of these companies are. They're not going to even know what industry they're in. And they're certainly not going to know anything about the work that you were supposed to be doing at these firms. So a really simple tactical thing is when you have companies that aren't like McKinsey or Goldman Sachs, companies that you can't take for granted that people know, add a little description of the company. What's the industry? What does it do? What's the size and scale? Is it 200 employees or 20,000? What's the annual revenue? Just give us some context so that when we go in and we read your bullets, they have meaning because we know what the job basically is. So that's one thing to do. But I'm going to have you walk me through this because the first thing I looked at, and this caused concern for me thinking about you representing yourself to the admissions committee, is that you've moved around quite a lot. You were here, then you went somewhere else, then you went back to the original place, then you went somewhere else, then you went somewhere else. I think you probably know that on average, schools prefer to see you with a trajectory. So talk to me about, tell me the story. What happened here? Why did you make all these moves? And then just give me a sense of what you've done. What are the industries and functions you've been working in?
Bob: Absolutely. So I started my internship at the financial risk team in Porvenir, which is the largest pension fund here in Colombia, the biggest institutional investor in Colombia. So it's quite a place to be in the investor segment. I started there on the financial risk team as an intern. I was there for six months and then I had to go back to university, but I actually needed to have a job because some things happened in my personal life. So I actually I needed to work and study for that time and they offered me a temporary job for a year because they wanted me to stay there and I said okay, fine, I'll do it. I'll work and study. I think it's quite good because it's quite difficult in Colombia to find a job before you have graduated. So I stayed and I really liked the place and the culture and everything but you know, there was no career in that organization. The spots are limited to what actually exists. So after a year, it was like eleven months, my manager told me, there's no vacancy here yet. I don't want you to go, but I'm not sure when one is going to open for you. So while I was there, I was working with three different teams because I was doing a very transversal job in the whole area, and I was working with the alternative investment teams as well. So in that spectrum, like the private equity spectrum, I got to meet this fund Harbourvest Partners, which is quite recognized in the private equity sphere in the States. They had this analyst position open and I applied. Actually it was the only job which I applied to and I really liked it. They accepted me so I decided to go there because I didn't have any options at Porvenir because of the structure in the organization. So I went there and after eight months away from Porvenir — which is the pension fund — this vacancy opened and I really liked it. It was on the alternative investments team. Knowing the financial risk team, I wanted to be on the investment team. At Harbourvest, I was doing more like a portfolio analyst job, and here I was going to see all the investment side, which I liked a lot. So they offered me the job and it was this good pay and I was having some economic issues in my life because of the thing I told you before. So I decided to go there because I liked the culture. I actually liked and loved the company because it was my first job and I liked the people there. I realized that culture in the organization is very important for me and I went back. It was a pretty good job. I actually moved up from analyst to specialist because you have analysts, senior analysts, and then I jumped two steps in just one movement so I was really okay with that. I felt like I was progressing and growing and learning a lot more than I would have if I had stayed at Harbourvest.
Angela: So let me just recap. Let me just see if I'm following you correctly. So you were at Porvenir and they said, we love you, but we can't hire you because we don't have any jobs, and then Harbourvest opened up in connection with Porvenir, right? Because they're in cahoots, they're working together. And so then you got this job. Now, this was still in Bogota, right?
Bob: In Bogota, yeah.
Angela: Okay. And then the job opened back up at Porvenir and they said, come back and you said okay. So this is more continuous than it looks like. So in a way, this is actually three years, sort of, at the same place because these three are connected. So that's something you're going to want to communicate very clearly in your resume because the story you just told me sounds much better than this does because this looks like… Well, first of all, I have to read between the lines to even understand that these companies are in the same field, and then on top of that, there's no indication that there's a continuum here or that there's a relationship. So this is all part of how you frame it on the resume. Okay, so far are still good. And so good. Then during COVID, you made a change. So talk me through these last two changes.
Bob: Yes so I spent almost a year and a half at Porvenir again. And I'm very curious, I like to learn a lot. I can’t stay still for a lot of time, I have to move, I have to learn more. I started feeling like I already knew how to do my job and it wasn't going anywhere. Again, because of these jobs that are set and you don't move that quickly, I started to think, okay, should I move? Should I move somewhere where I can do a lot more, learn a lot more? I actually started thinking about moving to consulting because that's the culture in consulting. You are working on different projects. You are learning a lot in different moments. And while I was trying to change the consulting, this really good job appeared on the investment side again and I said, okay, why not? This is pretty good. This sounds really good. And I went there and it was something about the company culture that I didn't like at all. So I said, I have to go back to what I actually wanted, which is consulting. And then eight months after, after different things and everything, I moved into consulting, which is my current job, British Partners. It's been everything I hoped for. It's been really dynamic. The culture of the company is amazing. They talk about family, we are family. We are not a company, we are family. I like to feel that in my job. It's been the job of my dreams. I actually like a lot that in consulting, you feel like you are doing something. On the investment side, you are looking from the top and saying, okay, you're doing good, you are not doing that good, what should I do in my portfolio? But in consulting, you are hands on. You are doing something about the company. That's where I realized I want to do something like have an impact and influence things and people, and do something that you can actually see and touch.
Angela: Yes, amazing. So I just want to point out to everybody how irresistible Bob is as she's talking about her future. You're showing so much passion and charisma. Just don't ever not do that. When you get invited to interview, when you can gesture and show them that you really care about the culture and we are like a family, this is irresistible because then we really get to see what's important to you. And it also touches the audience because passion is a bit contagious. I may or may not care about the same things you care about, but I love when I see that people care about something. So that was a really great story. And this just really illustrates the importance of communication through the entire process. Because if I look at just your resume, I'm worried. I think this is the girl who doesn't know how to hold down a job. But now that I hear the story, this is a very different picture. This is someone who's continually seeking new learning experiences, challenging herself out of her comfort zone and winning favor with superiors every step of the way so that they want to hold on to her. They make exceptions so she can stick around even when there's a hiring freeze and then when she maxes out her learning curve, she just says, that's it. I'm out of here. I'm not learning enough. I'm going to go do something else. And then you care enough, you're so passionate about the culture and the surroundings of your work life that you have the confidence and the courage to leave when something doesn't match you and go after what you really want. This is really the person that belongs in business school because you have a clear passion, you have clear values, you're standing up for what you believe in, you're not taking any crap. You're doing what you want to do because you believe that you have something to offer. So you're going to have to revamp your resume so that it reflects more of that, but that's part of the process. And then the story that you just told me, that would have been a great way for you to introduce yourself at the beginning of this conversation. So when you get into the interview stage and you're doing the walk me through your resume, showcasing this element. Now, you gave me a very long version of it, so you'll condense it a lot more when you get into the interview, but showing them, it's like I've been constantly seeking ways to drive more impact and to climb steeper and steeper learning curves and that's why now I am applying to Chicago Booth and Chicago Booth will absolutely love that story. You absolutely are showing the kind of values that Booth loves to see in its students. So if we just go back to our model here, I mean, look, you pretty much showed all five of these in that discussion. I can see your character, I see what you value, I see what your deal breakers are, I see the things that are important to you in company culture, and how you treat people and how other people treat people. I also see your passion in terms of the impact that you're trying to create. I see natural school fit just in the values, but also in what's driving you to pursue an MBA. It's like you want to have more impact. And then I also see a career progression that makes much more sense and is much more inspiring than what I could just see on your resume. But for sure, having made those changes, you've heard that schools want like longevity, right? So just on the surface, your resume is a problem. But once we dig under the surface and we understand why, and we get to know the real reasons for moves that you've made, this is actually a very strong resume now. It changes the picture based on how you communicate it and whether or not you make these things clear to schools in the process. That's why communication is really everything. This is all we're here to talk about. Really great! The one thing I want to challenge, now you said as a consultant, I felt like I was doing something real. I was having a real impact. That's not what people typically say in consulting. What most people say in consulting is, oh, I'm not having enough impact. I'm not close enough to the outcome of my work. I'm not following through on our recommendations. I'm so frustrated because I'm doing all this analysis and then the company just puts the PowerPoint in the drawer. So talk to me about where you see yourself headed in the future.
Bob: So I think I see myself somewhere in an industry where you can actually have impact in the whole. So I think about the climate change industry or maybe something in social impact where I can put all my consulting abilities and investment abilities into something that actually can see. More focus on the things that I value. So, I'm vegetarian because of the climate change, not because I don't like meat. I actually like it but I feel like I have to do something for the world, even if it's just one grain of sand. I want to do more from somewhere that I actually feel like I'm doing it. I know I have to think a lot more about it because it's a little vague right now, but I think it's where I would like to go.
Angela: What do you see yourself doing immediately post MBA?
Bob: Immediately post MBA, I think that's something I would like a lot is those impact consulting firms. So for example, BCG has an area which is focusing on climate change. I see something like that.
Angela: That makes perfect sense. So I was about to say, I think given your passion for consulting currently, to say that you want to do Bain, BCG, McKinsey, or boutique environmental sustainability consulting in your immediate post-MBA role makes a ton of sense. I think that, as someone who used to recruit at BCG, once you update your resume and I can tell exactly what you've been doing at Virtus Partners, you would immediately make the short list for cocktail parties for BCG recruiting because you've already been trained in consulting and your financial analytical skill set is also going to be hugely valuable. So to me, that makes a lot of sense. And then working your way up to be a leader within a sustainability-focused company also makes a ton of sense. And I love this, like, I'm a vegetarian, even though I love meat because I want to do something. It's very clear what your passions are and this is great because passion is you have it for the things you have it for, and you have it in the quantity that you have it. And it's not something that you could fake. It's you got it or you don't and so you really do clearly care about the things that you care about, and you can speak about them with a great deal of passion. So make sure that that comes across in your application because it will really benefit you. And here's the idea of your passion profile. So it doesn't have to be community service. It should be contributions outside your role at work. I have no doubt that you've done things at work. Like are you on the sustainability committee?
Bob: We don't have one, but…
Angela: You might want to start one! That would actually be a really good thing for you to do in the next six months to just up your game consistent with your passions. But any hobbies or obsessions? I'm guessing you're trying to figure out vegan versions of famous Colombian recipes. That can be something. It's like anywhere you can showcase that you are pursuing things for your own because you love them.
Bob: I actually have fostered kittens from the street in order to find them a permanent home because I actually have two cats, so I can't have any more. But I fostered them in order to find permanent homes for them.
Angela: I've worked with several people over the years who are foster cat parents, and it's a very touching detail. So add that to the bottom of your resume and showcase all the little ways in which you're just doing your part to improve life on this planet for everybody, including the little kitties. And then let's see, what else do I want to showcase here? So with character, for you, the next big horizon is going to be bringing all that you are together into your essays because you're way too big to fit onto a piece of paper. Your personality, your passions, the way you express yourself, there's just a lot to appreciate about you. It's always a challenge to capture yourself on paper, but that's part of, of course, what you're going to have to do in this journey. Now, you've demonstrated all of these things already in this conversation, self-knowledge, I want to have an impact, I have to climb a learning curve, I get bored if I don't keep learning. You're showing compassion. I mean, even the kitten example shows compassion and emotional intelligence. Values shaped by experience. Your experience at your last company is a perfect example. It's like, I learned I really care about company culture and if I'm not in a place that I feel like everyone is helping each other, it's just not going to work and I gotta go. So that's value shaped by experience. A drive for impact beyond yourself, this is the most basic, but it's obvious in everything that you've said. And so we started this conversation by talking about your inspiring vision for your place in the world. Right now, it's still quite high level. We took it a little bit further in this discussion, imagining what does your post-MBA job look like? What’s your pathway to eventual leadership? But this is the one place for sure you’re going to want to develop more as you go through this process, and really thinking about your career game plan and then how you present that to the admissions committee as part of your story will allow you to take full advantage of your strengths. Your question was, what are some of my strengths and how can I leverage them? This has been a really great session because I feel like everyone watching can see what your strengths are. It's so obvious. You have a clear point of view about your place in this world, and you are a passionate advocate for the causes that you care about, and you've taken brave risks consistent with those passions. That's just written all over you, it's just so obvious. So the challenge is not figuring out what they are, the challenge is getting them into the small little space of those essays and also the resume and then earning the interview, in which case then they can really appreciate the full greatness of all of your passions that will naturally come across in the interview. But I think you've got a fantastic candidacy. As a Booth alum, I'd be very proud to have you as a member of my alumni community. I think you would do great at school and beyond, and I think your classmates would be really excited to have you on their team in a case discussion because you've had interesting experiences and you've got a really strong perspective. So I think you're in great shape. Just keep working on that GMAT and then when essay time comes, you know what to do.
Bob: Oh, wow. This is amazing. I have never thought about that. I was really worried about all my changes because I was thinking people won't understand if I actually don't explain it how it was. I think this has been really great for me, really useful. Hearing you saying all those things makes me realize that I actually have these things where I can leverage. I didn't think about them because it's something that has been in my life for a lot of time, for my whole life. So I don't think that those are big things. Those are normal to me.
Angela: This is the part of this process. We have all these videos on YouTube. We have all this stuff on our website. I'm delivering all these webinars across all these different time zones. We're trying to give away all the information that we can give away, but the one thing that I can't do in a generic video that you can watch and understand is help you see yourself clearly. You need someone else to do that for you. You need someone to look at you and say, hey, this is unique. This is special. This is how you need to communicate it. This is really how our process works. Hopefully, you started working with the discovery document that's getting you into all of the different aspects of your experiences. But this is why when people work with Career Protocol, they come out feeling like much better versions of themselves because you see, you get to really appreciate and take ownership of who you are and what's great about you. And then you build your application based on that. So when you get into school, you know that you earned it, that it was based on who you really are. And then you can carry that forward into your program and beyond and feel really secure that you know who you are and you know how to help anyone else understand that. So this is why I show the 5 Dimensions slide in every one of these sessions because the most important parts of who you are do not speak for themselves. You have to communicate it. Your GMAT and your GPA score will speak for themselves, but none of this will. All of the rest of your career, your school fit, your passion, and your character, no one will ever know unless you first know and then are able to communicate it in a way that they can understand. You see just in this short conversation how we figured out that actually your story is a really inspiring one, but on the surface, it's not. That's the challenge. It's really to embrace this process as an opportunity to learn who you are and to communicate it in an inspiring way, and you're going to do great. If you do that well, you're going to do great in this process because you have a lot of value to bring to the class.
Bob: Thank you, Angela. Really, I really appreciate this session. I think it's been great, amazing.
Angela: Awesome. You're very welcome. If those of you watching want to see Bob get into Chicago Booth, please leave us a comment. There better be just a ton of comments down there, I'm going to be really mad if there aren't a lot of comments. Wishing Bob all the best on her quest to get into Chicago Booth. If you'd like to participate in one of these sessions, you can also request, you can sign up. We can't talk to everybody, but we will look at everyone's application.
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