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Ivy League Doctoral Program: Do I have a chance?


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Ivy League Doctoral Program: Do I have a chance?


Please excuse yet another “do I have a chance” thread.  I realize the inherent difficulties in answering these threads, and I have already scoured various forums and editorials about the topic.  I realize the PC answer will be “with a killer essay, you might have shot”, but the realistic answer is almost certainly “no”.  Even so, I’m hoping that people “in-the-know” may be able to provide some insight.


When I first attended college, at a Tier 2 university in 1990, I didn’t take it seriously.  I dropped out after two semesters with a 2.5-ish GPA.


I returned to college, at a different Tier 2 university, in 2000.  Perhaps the smart thing to do would have been to not list my initial college experience and apply as a new (but older) freshman, in order to keep those first two semesters off my transcript.  But I was honest, got accepted along with the other 85% of applicants, and graduated in 2002 with a 4.0 GPA (since transfer credits were not used to calculate GPA).


My undergraduate degree is in life sciences.  I got a job as a lab technician at a small (14 employees) environmental consulting firm, got several promotions over the next few years, and by 2007 was the Development Director for my company.  As development director I prepared proposals for both government and private projects.  From 2007 to 2012 about 75% of my proposals were funded, generating roughly $15 million in revenue for my firm.


I also networked with corporate executives (primarily with petroleum and utility companies) and government officials, played a key role in developing my firm’s annual and long-term workplan and budget, and was our primary point of contact for talking to the media.


I found that I really enjoy the business development and management end of things, and am apparently pretty good at it.


Unfortunately, my wife and I were not happy with where we lived (geographically).  But I felt that with a less-than-stellar academic record and an undergraduate degree that did not match my career interests, I was unlikely to get the type of job I wanted anywhere else.  In January 2013 we finally decided to take the plunge – we moved and I went back to school.  I will graduate with an MBA from an AACSB accredited regional (ranked #2 in my region by US News) in December, and wish to pursue my PhD or DBA.


I feel I have a decent reason for wanting to get a doctorate.  Over the course of developing proposals, I grew to hate the traditional metrics used to justify projects.  There is obviously some existing research on the economic value of various environmental resources – but is almost exclusively by scientists evaluating their particular field of interest, has so many holes, almost always fails to take into account interactions with other resources (natural and anthropogenic), and generally sucks.  There needs to be a more generalized, economic-based approach to evaluating these resources.  While there certainly needs to be input from scientists, I question if they should really be the ones developing these economic valuation models.  I want to make advancements in this area.  This is a very simplified explanation that doesn't really do justice to what I want to do, but it should suffice for this post.


I want to pursue a doctorate at the best school possible, to give my work as much credibility as possible.  Especially if my results go against the norm (maybe an acre of a particular resource isn’t worth the $50 gabillion its researching scientist claims), a more prestigious and selective university will likely carry more weight.


I took the GMAT in 2012, after being out of school for 12 years, with no preparation whatsoever.

Total Score: 710 (92nd percentile)

IR Score: 8 (92nd percentile)

Verbal Score: 42 (96th percentile)

Quantitative Score: 44 (58th percentile)

AWA: 5 (strong essay)


Because I took the exam with no idea what to expect and no preparation, I have no doubt I can improve on these scores (especially the quantitative).


I have no publications, but over the course of my career I managed contracts and approved final deliverables (reports) for dozens of research projects in coordination with academic researchers and government agencies.  In hindsight, I wish I had the foresight to get my name put on some of those reports.


I can get absolutely stellar references from current MBA professors, my employer, and various corporate executives and local government officials I worked with.


So that’s it…..  If we ever meet, I’ll buy you a beer for reading this far.


Do I have a chance at getting into an Ivy League doctoral business program? Any suggestions as to which program would be the most suitable?  Any specific thoughts, advice, or criticism would be greatly appreciated.



Edited by LonesomeRoad
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