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So I am in a tricky situation. I have been living and working abroad since I graduated from UW-Madison in 2008. I had a decent gpa (3.24), and just did well on my GMATs (720 47/42 QV split).
For work, I lived in China for three years, got fluent in mandarin, and opened a poker club in Shenzhen. Sold it 9 months later for a tidy profit. Then started a cheese manufacturing project in the Philippines, for which I wrote a full B-plan, projected financials, raised some private equity, and got a $1 million dollar commitment letter from the US government. The project went sideways in January when we had a construction budget overrun that was going to eat into our working capital, and long story short, the project is on hold.
I took a GMAT with no real time to study in January, but got a 620, so I couldn't apply to schools with late r2 deadlines. I just got my 720 on 2/28, so it's only r3 or next fall.
I want to apply to schools that have strong entrepreneurial programs, with good access to VC firms and solid start-up competitions etc. International ties are great too, but not necessary.
With all this in mind, a couple of questions:
(1) How much more difficult is it to get into the top level schools this late in the process? (I am looking at Fuqua, Darden, Ross, and a flyer on HBS - have legacy, but feel like more realistically George Washington, Georgetown, maybe Tepper are the schools to aim at)
(2) If it is going to be more difficult, should I wait until fall to apply, or will the 6 month gap in working look really bad on an app?
(3) Anyone have any dark horse schools that are less well known but have solid entrepreneurial programs?
Last edited by davidsemo on 04 Mar 2014, 00:12, edited 1 time in total.
It is pretty hard to get into top 20 schools in R3... and your stats are not stellar, though I think your experience is pretty cool and interesting. I think tricky issue will be explaining why you need to take 2 years off, get 200K of debt, in order to get into startup mode again.
Emplyment gaps never look good. Nobody likes someone who is unemployed and is a "burden" on the program.... sorry.
You can try for R3 if you are desperate. Chances are you will get into a safety school and will be able to go and perhaps that's what you need right now. That's kind of what happened to me -I hated my job and could not wait, so I applied in R3 and settled for a lower-ranked school. _________________
Appreciate the reply bb. I think I should clarify that I am still technically employed. I'm currently working to find a board-approved replacement for myself. I suspended my salary, but am leading the transition team. I'll stay out in Asia with my replacement until school starts in the fall. You reckon that changes things at all, or not really?
I agree with what BB has said so I'll jump in on your follow up question. That's an interesting position to be in. On one hand, leading the transition can be great. On the other, suspending your salary isn't. Coupled with what seems a shakier than average story, and you put yourself in a slightly tough position. The direct answer is does leading the transition help? Yes. How much? Well, that's harder to say.
Now - the other thing you haven't really mentioned is...then what? If you apply R1 next fall, the transition will take you through fall. If you get in at that point, you'll still have another year. What's the plan then?
Also, when you say you want a school that has entrepreneurial resources and VC access - why? What are you trying to acccomplish with your MBA?
You seem to have a lot of moving pieces and it's a little difficult to figure out exactly which is moving where. If you'd like to chat about the process, your profile, and what lies ahead, don't hesitate to reach out. We're happy to help!
Specific need would be a lot of the core cirriculum at most schools. Accounting, Human capital management, organizational structures and strategies. I have experience, and raw talent, but what I want out of an MBA is more polish and structure. The idea of going through the start up process under professorial supervision or advice, while developing my fundamental business knowledge seems like a useful way of spending the next few years. If I set out to start a new business now, I may make some of the mistakes or inefficient decisions that I have made (knowingly or not) in the past.
I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread - totally on me! I think what you've listed as your "why MBA" is both a) logical and b) probably a little too...structured. I agree that a strong foundation is great and core curriculum can be a great way to do that BUT...a lot of that can be learned outside of the classroom too. So I'd recommend a little more introspection and caution using this part of your reasoning. Figure out exactly what you're trying to say here.
The far more valuable components are the resources on the periphery. The mentorship, networking, and guidance will be invaluable. Also, just having a couple of years to focus on your venture will be a mini-accelerator in and of itself. However, keep in mind, you're still going to make mistakes. They might not be the same mistakes as you would have made on your own, but they'll be just as frequent and just as significant. It's important you're honest with yourself and the adcom about that. Think about it this way - if getting an MBA meant you didn't make start up mistakes, well, then you'd have the top programs just churning out new companies, right?
So far in my essays, I have hit on everything you have said. Core curriculum/foundation, networking, mentors, inspiration from cohorts etc. All of which is true. I also mention that if I had to apply in the fall, in the interim I would start another business, but would rather get the MBA first to eliminate the foundation-type mistakes. Of course mistakes will happen, but eliminating the basic ones is still important.
So far I got invited to interview at Ross and Kenan-Flagler. Though UNC is open interview, so that isn't too indicative! VERY happy about Ross though.
That's fantastic and congrats on the Ross interview!! Let us know how the Ross interview goes and, if you need help with the prep, let us know. Communicating your reasoning will be pretty important and we're happy to help you with that!