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I feel ready for an MBA and know what I want to do with it (nonprofit/social enterprise). However, I'm not sure if my experience/scores will get the attention of the schools I'd like to attend (Ross, HBS, Fuqua, Booth or Kellogg).
I'd appreciate any advice. I'd like to go into nonprofit/social enterprise. My experience in that field is currently all volunteer.
I have a strong GPA from a top state school, 690 GMAT. My work experience: short stint reporting for a newspaper and as an editor for a small trade magazine publisher. I was recently promoted to manager, running a small division that creates magazines and marketing material for corporate/nonprofit clients. I'm quite bored at the job, but would it make sense to continue working there for another year because of the management experience? I'm also worried the company is small and won't pull much weight.
In my free time, I volunteer (so far for 2 years) for a couple international development nonprofits. I'd like to go into this field, so I dedicate a good amount of time to this.
Is this too nontraditional? Am I better off finding a nonprofit job, working a few more years and then applying? Any feedback would greatly help!
With this profile, it's going to be all about how you sell it.
You also want to make sure you're applying for the right reasons. Are you applying because you're bored at work? They'll see right through that. You need to clearly describe exactly what you want to do after graduation and how the degree is necessary for that. You also need to explicitly connect the dots between what you've done, what you're doing, and what you will do. And it all has to be believable. It sounds like you're pretty well on your way to doing that. Your work and EC experience can all be used to point an arrow toward where you want to go. You'll just have to convince admissions that an MBA from their school is the only/best way to do that.
With a nontraditional background, you may think about trying to improve your GMAT score as well. It's really good, but it's not incredible, and you'll need to show that you can handle the course load (good GPA helps too).
I've also heard that nonprofit-minded people can benefit from applying to school less known for nonprofit programs. For example, if Yale has a million nonprofit applicants, and Booth has 10 (BIG exaggeration!), it'll be easier to differentiate yourself at Booth.
Don't worry that your company isn't well-known - it's way more about your personal experience within that company than about a name people recognize. That's a sentiment that rings true throughout the application process. The more honest, reflective, personal, and goal-oriented you can be, the more successful you'll be not just at getting accepted, but at getting accepted at the right school.
I appreciate the reply and the awesome feedback. I'll take the GMAT again since I have some time before R1 but I'll really focus on the essays.
I'm applying because I truly am interested in that sector, and my extensive volunteer experience, from high school to present, has shown me that.
Boredom stems from no longer being interested in the field, but I think I should look at it from the perspective of getting management experience. After all, some jobs are boring because we make them that way.
Great comments above. The only thing I'd add is that you should show how what you learned in your field translates to helping the student body at the school -- e.g., journalism breeds a critical thinking/dogged pursuit of answers that is lacking now, just look at all the horde mentality with the mortgage meltdown, etc.
Schools like the idea of a student body being advanced by the lessons from a non-traditional field.