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Civilian Government to MBA

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Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2012, 19:46
Hello Everyone,

I need advise about where to go next in my life because I am stuck!
First to preface this with a little background:

Major: Aerospace Engineer

Now while I was in undergrad, my father had cancer and had to go through a lot of treatments and I was having financial trouble getting enough money for school. I took a "scholarship" of sorts, called the SMART Scholarship. This program had paid for the last two years of my UG and my 1 year of Graduate studies, the only stipulation being I would have to serve with a US government entity for 3 years. I will be starting the position with the government this summer, however thinking forward 3 years I want an MBA from a top 15 school, preferably top 10. I am currently thinking about trying to pay back all of the money the government has given me, i.e. tuition, monthly stipends, etc. or should I stick it out with the government and apply after 2 years of working as a civilian engineer for the government. From my previous two summer internships, working with the government has almost nothing to do with business and it is very hard to cut through red-tape to push projects which may help improve efficiency. Also I would like to mention that my salary is comparably MUCH LOWER than that of a similarly suited student as in 20% lower.

Basically it comes down to this should I stick it out with the government, should I try to apply for other job prospects even though it is not really job hiring season have a $170k debt on my hands for five years, or should I work with them for 1.5 years and then try and find a job? Any help would be appreciated!

Last edited by penguinman on 29 Jul 2013, 01:42, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2012, 22:43
What does flying an F-18 have to do with business? What does teach for america have to do with business? What does being a Navy SEAL have to do with business?

Probably not much at first glance, but business schools accept 100's of applicants each year with this type of WE. Just because what you will be doing for the next three years isn't in the business field doesn't mean you can't get in to a top ten program. Business schools are looking for leaders, and you can define yourself as a leader working for the government just as easily as you can doing anything else. If anything, I would argue that your unique experiences will be an advantage to you as long as you tell your story intelligently.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2012, 03:40
I agree with you have said but wouldn't being part of a larger organization give me a better chance of being recognized at a top 10 MBA program?
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2012, 07:01
Does anyone else have any opinions on this subject?
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2012, 07:30
kishenr wrote:
Does anyone else have any opinions on this subject?


I agree with thk. There are plenty of people in business school who do not have a business background. Try to find as selective and prestigious a job as you can within the government. At top 10 programs that really matters. Other than that I don't think it's worth it to go into that much debt before even considering MBA debt just to work in the private sector.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2012, 07:34
Well the job I am going to be doing is purely engineering, there is not much room to move up until I am there fore three years at which point my debt would be "paid off" and I would want to leave anyway. I guess I will have to find out how I can be more useful and try and take up leadership positions once I get there.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2012, 10:59
I tend to agree with what everybody else has said. You have a solid GPA, a dynamic story, and will (presumably) have a strong GMAT. I think you're perfectly fine staying in the government job and finding leadership positions therein.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2012, 12:03
So I am about 5 months into my government service, and things are not looking too good. I have not gotten a lot of work/responsibility or had much in the way of trying to cultivate or show my leadership skills in this environment. The main leadership experience I have gotten was creating a social organization for engineers in which I have started a peer mentoring program.

cheetarah1980 said I should try and find as selective job within the government as possible, but I was pretty much shoveled into my current job. The only thing selective about my situation is the program which I was in, it was very selective, only about 11% of the applicants got admission. At this point I am not thinking of quitting and paying back, but I am still looking for other jobs within the government but I do not feel that anything will be as "prestigious" as an industry or commercial job. However, until that point when/if I do get a new job which is hopefully more competitive and challenging I need advice in trying to "boost" my application. I am planning on applying for admission for Fall 2015, so applying Fall 2014, by which time my debt will be paid off.

Any suggestions/help would be appreciated.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2012, 16:19
If your job is not turning out as expected and you have a time commitment there, stop focusing on what you can't control and start focusing on what you can. The first step that I would do (to enhance your chances of getting into a premier business school) is to start taking leadership positions in community organizations. Next, within work I would start to look for activities and responsibilities that are not part of your direct position; for instance join the diversity counsel or some other group where you can network and have an impact. Other activities you might want to consider is volunteering for a political organization, helping a group starting a business or not for profit, etc. You can be creative and create a work profile that is compelling and interesting. Last thing -- do not waste time and start acting ASAP.

Good luck.

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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 29 Oct 2012, 19:11
Thanks for the advice, this is what I have been trying to do in the community through a different clubs and organizations. Should I be targeting name brand organizations to volunteer in such as Red Cross, American Cancer Society, etc?

Anyway this has at least given me some confidence and reassurance. Thanks again.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2012, 02:27
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If you want to give back to the community in some way, do something that's meaningful to you. You don't have to be involved in something that's internationally or nationally known - you should be involved in whatever organization where you can make an impact in something that interests you. Don't do this just to pad your resume; Adcoms will read through that in 2 seconds.

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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 11:53
Ok, thanks everyone for their opinions. After being in my government job for a while now I am trying to move on to a private sector job and having them pay back my loan. I feel that I will have a better chance of getting into a Top 10 B-School by first being in a city, I am in a rural area right now, secondly I am afraid that my supervisor does not have the willingness or competence to provide me with a good recommendation. Just an example of his unwillingness to help, I tried to get an honest performance review for my half year review and he still has not responded to my request, its been almost 2 months! I am frustrated with the lack of work, lack of incentive, and lack of motivation especially with the people around me. Another major factor is that my girlfriend of 5 years resides in TX, and I want to move there and especially work in the energy industry. My current plan is to apply for jobs and see if anyone is willing to take up my debt or help at least, and take the GMAT by June.

This might sound like a rant/bitching but I am really fed up with this area and work, and don't think the work experience will be very helpful in trying to push myself into the top 10 schools. To address another suggestion that I try volunteering, I am currently volunteering at the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and I am a member at my local Toastmaster's club. Let me know what you guys think.

Thanks...
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 12:42
kishenr wrote:
After being in my government job for a while now I am trying to move on to a private sector job and having them pay back my loan. I feel that I will have a better chance of getting into a Top 10 B-School by first being in a city, I am in a rural area right now, secondly I am afraid that my supervisor does not have the willingness or competence to provide me with a good recommendation. Just an example of his unwillingness to help, I tried to get an honest performance review for my half year review and he still has not responded to my request, its been almost 2 months! I am frustrated with the lack of work, lack of incentive, and lack of motivation especially with the people around me.


I feel your pain, man. However, in case no companies are willing to pay off your debt (and if they do, you can bet they'll want "X" years of service), have you considered switching jobs within the government? I'm not sure what you're doing now, but with all the Army bases in TX, there have got to be some DoD civilian jobs you're qualified for. It won't be a dream job, but at least you'll keep tracking towards your scholarship committment.

Yes it sucks right now, but you've already conceded that you're not going to do it forever...and if you're hell bent on a private sector job, do you still have access to Georgia Tech's career services? That might be a better lead than online postings and the such.

Good luck!
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 12:51
Yep that's my next move (GT Career Services), I am starting to pull in my network and try and find positions through that avenue first. If nothing works through that channel as well as online postings (by June-July), I am going to go the career fair and apply for entry level jobs this fall. I am just trying to look for options, but yea I have been trying to look for jobs within the DoD so at least I can be close to my gf in TX but I have no leads after 5 months of applying...I have applied to more than 30 government jobs within the last 5 months. Especially now with sequestration the budget around here has gotten really tight so I am not banking on landing a job there. Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 15:42
kishenr wrote:
I am just trying to look for options, but yea I have been trying to look for jobs within the DoD so at least I can be close to my gf in TX but I have no leads after 5 months of applying...I have applied to more than 30 government jobs within the last 5 months.


Yeah, the problem with gov't jobs on sites like usajobs is that they're posted because they legally have to, but in reality someone's already been pegged for the job. A lot of dead-ends.

Keep your chin up.
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 15:46
kishenr wrote:
Hello Everyone,

I need advise about where to go next in my life because I am stuck!
First to preface this with a little background:

Major: Aerospace Engineer
Minor: Georgia Tech Technology/Management Program
Georgia Tech
Undergrad: 3.60
Grad: 4.00

I did a combined BS/MS program at Georgia Tech in 5 years. Now while I was in undergrad, my father had cancer and had to go through a lot of treatments and I was having financial trouble getting enough money for school. I took a "scholarship" of sorts, called the SMART Scholarship. This program had paid for the last two years of my UG and my 1 year of Graduate studies, the only stipulation being I would have to serve with a US government entity for 3 years. I will be starting the position with the government this summer, however thinking forward 3 years I want an MBA from a top 15 school, preferably top 10. I am currently thinking about trying to pay back all of the money the government has given me, i.e. tuition, monthly stipends, etc. or should I stick it out with the government and apply after 2 years of working as a civilian engineer for the government. From my previous two summer internships, working with the government has almost nothing to do with business and it is very hard to cut through red-tape to push projects which may help improve efficiency. Also I would like to mention that my salary is comparably MUCH LOWER than that of a similarly suited student as in 20% lower.

Basically it comes down to this should I stick it out with the government, should I try to apply for other job prospects even though it is not really job hiring season have a $170k debt on my hands for five years, or should I work with them for 1.5 years and then try and find a job? Any help would be appreciated!


What would you like to do post-MBA?
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 17:51
After an MBA I would want to work for a consulting company working which has a energy sector practice or work at an energy company itself. I worked for an energy firm as an internship in college dealing with gas turbines and did a little market segmentation work for another energy firm during my graduate career. I find the whole market interesting and would like to be involved in all aspects of an energy company.

CobraKai, I appreciate the support!
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Re: Civilian Government to MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 18:57
Don't stress yourself out too much kishenr. I have a 3.0 in Mechanical Engineering from Tech and got into Columbia and probably would have into Booth as well if I hadn't withdrawn my app during the interview round. Granted my government experience was as a military officer but I was in acquisitions. So I did program management work not the typical military job. I know they don't manage GS positions very well but just do whatever you can to take the lead even if it is a small portion of the project you can call your own.
Re: Civilian Government to MBA   [#permalink] 28 Jan 2013, 18:57
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