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Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience?

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Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2009, 23:30
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Hi all -

I've been a long-term lurker but frequent reader. Recently I got a 720 on my second attempt on the GMAT (up from 690), and so I'm putting that part of the application process behind me for good. Woooohoo!

Now I'm debating if I should apply to school in 2010 instead of this year. A little background - I am a woman who graduated from a top liberal arts college with a good GPA, have a fairly quantitative job, and have currently 2 years of experience.

If I apply for Fall 2010 entrance, I'll have 3 years of experience at matriculation. If I apply for Fall 2011 entrance, I'll have 4 years. I've read on a GMATClub post that a lot of companies who recruit require 4 years of experience - no point in going to school if I can't find a job, right? My concerns are that (1) 4 years is better than 3 years for recruiting, and (1) graduating in 2013 will be better than graduating in 2012, because of the economy.

I am currently working in professional services in a fairly specialized, niche, area that I don't see my future in it. I want to make a big career transition into brand management / marketing. Ideally, I'd be able to get a job with a big CPG company such as SC Johnson, Nestle, or P&G after graduation. Ultimately, I'd like to end up on the West Coast (SF or LA).

My prospective school list are:
UCLA
UT Texas McCombs
USC
Indiana Kelley
Duke
Kellogg (super reach school)
Darden

I really respect all the advice I've read on this forum, so I'm hoping you will chime in on this post. I realy appreciate it.

Thanks all!
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Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 05:18
I'm no expert on this, I would also like to know for my own information. I first applied to business school when upon entrance I would have had 2.5 years work experience. I applied to top 25 schools and was rejected at all except Mccombs and then dumped off the waitlist in August.

I'm going to reapply this fall and I'll enter fall 2010 with 4.5 years WE.

I wanted to add a question, at what point in quantity is WE no longer considered a liability, something I have to defend?
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Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 05:31
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Pre777 wrote:
I'm no expert on this, I would also like to know for my own information. I first applied to business school when upon entrance I would have had 2.5 years work experience. I applied to top 25 schools and was rejected at all except Mccombs and then dumped off the waitlist in August.

I'm going to reapply this fall and I'll enter fall 2010 with 4.5 years WE.

I wanted to add a question, at what point in quantity is WE no longer considered a liability, something I have to defend?


In all honesty - # of years of work experience plays less of a factor vs. the question of can you explain clearly the "why now" question. If you have 2-3 years of quality work experience, can get that across in your application, and can answer the "why now" question effectively, then you'll be fine.

I never believe that you should try to game the system by choosing whether it'd be better to apply one year or another. Now the point on the economy might be a legitimate concern, but there is a lot of chance between now and 2012, let alone 2013 - and who knows which year will be "better" to graduate in.

You really need to think internally why you want to apply now and is this a good time? Sure - different schools have different mantras in terms of age of the people at the school. But even at a place like Kellogg where the median age is somewhere around 27-28 w/ 4-5 years WE, you find a heavy dose of people like me who came out at ~25 w/ 3 years work experience.

If you can get across your quality work experience, your vision of moving into brand management, and why this is the time to do it, then applying now is totally appropriate.
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Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 08:12
gettinggoing,

I was in a very similar situation last year when I applied (would have had 3 yrs at matriculation, same GMAT, high GPA, coming from a niche professional services firm, wanting to make a career switch, didn't know if I should wait another year). I might have aimed too high with the schools I applied to, but I got dinged at all 4 of them. I received feedback from one school which, in part, told me they would have liked to have seen more work experience... that my essays didn't give a clear vision of my future career goals and they believed more work experience would help me to better clarify those goals.

I don't want to discourage you from applying if you think now is really the right time to go, because like Steel said, if you can put together a good story about why now is the right time, then I think you've got a shot. But if you're on the fence, there's a chance that fact may come through in your essays (as I think it did in my case last year).
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Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 12:33
Hello!

A good friend of mine went to Kelley with 2-3 years of WE. She particularly went for brand management and landed a summer internship and eventual FT job (that she loves) with Nestle.

Hope that helps :)
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Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 13:52
Just so you know there are very very few CPG jobs on the west coast. If you want marketing and west coast go into tech marketing. CPG is very heavy in the northeast and midwest.

3 years is borderline for many companies. As steel mentioned another year unless you are going to get a big promotion wont have a direct impact on whether you get in or not. However, it might be harder to get a job. How much harder is tough to tell, I got the sense that people with 2 or 3 years of work experience had a tougher time getting internships this year. I can't say how much harder but I think if you arent right in that sweet spot 4-7 years it definitely is more difficult in many areas. If you want banking or consulting 3 years is fine...but a lot of corporate jobs seem to trend towards more experienced people.
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Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience? [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2009, 09:38
Thanks for the advice... that's the sense I get too, that 3 years will make it harder to get an internship / job.

But I've known people who have done it (including a girl from Kelley who got a job at P&G), so it's do-able, just... harder.

It's a lot to consider. :)

River ripper - Thanks for the heads-up. I think I'm going to target consumer/media companies in the California area. Nestle, Kashi, Neutrogena, Disney, Sony, NBC, etc. For the studios I probably want to concentrate on product marketing or trade licensing. I also definitely want to learn more about online marketing.
Re: Apply this year or get 1 more year of experience?   [#permalink] 30 Jun 2009, 09:38
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