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Considering career track in business

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Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2011, 09:49
First off I'd like to say that, being new to the MBA idea and graduating last year, that I'm trying hard to understand the process and what an MBA actually "is", per say. Up until this month I was dead set on attending law school, but the current collapse of the system and the complete saturation of the market makes it a losing bet for 90% of the potential J.D.'s. Like a lot of recent grad's I am still weighing my options but the clock of life is ticking and I don't want to be 30 years old and still directionless in life. My goal was to acquire a J.D. and work for a firm that dealt mostly with corporate matters, gain some experience under my belt, then move on to be an in-house counsel for a larger corporation (preferably something industrial, like auto/steel/mass transport). I liked the idea of negotiations and contracts, as well as doing business on a large scale in general.

I was the typical college student who was either directionless half of the time or being influenced by illusions of grandeur ($$$ in pharmacy and law), but I think most of us know about the follies of the education system in America. I was in chemistry for two years but absolutely hated my situation (major and school location) and did absolutely poorly, transferred to a community college for two years then transferred to Temple University in 2008 in the History B.A. program with a minor in English, finally graduating in 2010. I was still just "blah" about the idea of college and basically just drudged through it, much to my dismay now, and graduated with a 3.14 GPA (cumulative UGPA from all schools is a 2.84). Took the LSAT last December and did a lot worse than I expected (due to practice test trends) and scored a 161. I suppose it came as a blessing in disguise, if I can call it that. I held off on the idea of law school and now it seems the whole venture is basically trying to board a sinking ship.

Now that I've decided not to go, I have lost a bit of direction in my education but it brought a bit of clarity in what I want from a career. Throughout school I've always paid attention to big ideas and how they interacted with different situations and possible outcomes, but then again it doesn't mean that I ignored small details. I always liked the idea of industry as I am a car enthusiast and was infatuated with literature on industry (Henry Ford, railroads, and even as cliche as Atlas Shrugged). I suppose that what I was really looking for in my law career was to be closer to business, and the idea of learning about business strategy seems very appealing at the moment.


I do have a few questions about the MBA in general as well as work experience:

What main factors are considered in attending a top MBA school?

For a career in industrial strategy, what "experience" (or career choice) would be beneficial to the program as well as future career prospects?

Does the GMAT score "expire"? i.e. would it be more beneficial to take it now when I have more time to study or years down the road?

I had more questions but the rant I just went on threw me off track, so I'll probably be asking a few more as the thread progresses. Thanks very much in advance for any insight and time.
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2011, 11:21
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Here's a first shot at your questions, RefleX:

What main factors are considered in attending a top MBA school?

GPA, GMAT Score, Work Experience, Extracurriculars, Essays (in pretty much that order)

For a career in industrial strategy, what "experience" (or career choice) would be beneficial to the program as well as future career prospects?

Generally, it helps to have been in the industry previously, say as an engineer. Nevertheless, plenty of industral companies have business analysts without a background other than business/MBA. I think devotion and interest in an industry acn go a long way. It might be worth trying to surf the sites of companies you are interested in and looking at/applying to jobs that interest you.

Does the GMAT score "expire"? i.e. would it be more beneficial to take it now when I have more time to study or years down the road?

Generally, 5 years is considered the life span of a GMAT score. So if you took it tomorrow, you could apply to MBA programs as late as ~2016. I myself took my GMAT a year and half before applying now.
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2011, 11:33
Thanks for the response. When you say GPA, does it mean the GPA of the graduating institution or the total cumulative UGPA?
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2011, 11:37
It will be the cumulative undergraduate GPA. Some schools ask you to also list your GPA by year and you major GPA to provide more data points for their decision.
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2011, 11:51
johnnymac wrote:
It will be the cumulative undergraduate GPA. Some schools ask you to also list your GPA by year and you major GPA to provide more data points for their decision.


Yeah that's what I was afraid of. I think my major GPA was around a 3.3 but like I said the cumulative is a 2.84.
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2011, 05:00
Keep in mind that business school is different than law school in that it is a post-work experience degree/experience. You said you graduated last year, what have you done since?

A good GMAT score can HELP your undergrad record in general, although it doesn't replace it.

I don't know much about what you want to do, but a JD/MBA dual-degree could be a good fit. I believe most programs last 4 years, but I could be wrong.
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2011, 06:28
One thing to keep in mind is that for most people who get an MBA the whole process and mindset is different from people who get JDs. A law degree is pretty much a required pre-requisite. Your law career generally doesn't begin until you have that degree. A career in the business side of business is different. For most of us, myself included, the career has been ongoing for years and the MBA is just a springboard to help you further that career (or to help you change the direction of that career).

My point in saying this is that I think it might be premature to start thinking of what you want out of an MBA when you don't really know what you want out of a career. My advice would be to try to build experience in the areas you refer to as soon as possible. See what you like and don't like. See what you're good at and aren't good at. After a couple of years in the workforce you'll have a whole new perspective on whether you want an MBA and what you want to get out of it. Then the whole MBA search/application process will be a lot clearer and more satisfying.

It's good to think ahead, but don't get too ahead of yourself!
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Re: Considering career track in business [#permalink] New post 11 Nov 2011, 12:32
Thank you all for your advice.
Re: Considering career track in business   [#permalink] 11 Nov 2011, 12:32
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