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Decisions... should I wait another year?

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Decisions... should I wait another year? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 12:32
Apologies if this isn't the best forum to post this in, but it seemed like the most appropriate one.

I'm currently a little lost as to what to do in my MBA pursuits. Here's a brief background on myself. I'm 27 and graduated with a math degree in 2005. For the next five and a half years, I worked three different dead-end operations jobs for a financial company in Boston. The last one I worked for almost three and a half years. I decided late last summer to go for an MBA, but didn't really know what I was hoping to do with it. After a lot of research, I was leaning towards brand management, as marketing fascinates me and the work sounds extremely interesting and rewarding. However, I wasn't 100% on this, and had been looking into some other things as well.

I took my GMAT in early December and got a 760, so I was right on track for applying this year. But not two weeks later, things changed - I got a new job. I was hired as a business analyst for the same company. I began working my new position at the beginning of February and quickly realized that I have an actual career now, and not just a job.

The transition to the new position sort of made my application process take a backseat. The fact that I'm standing in the doorway of a potentially great career, where I can clearly see myself working my way up, made me rethink the idea of the full-time MBA, and I started looking into the possibility of going part-time so I can stay on this track. And I really enjoy what I'm doing right now, and will enjoy it more as I continue to grow in my role. But the more I've learned about my new job, the more I realized that 1) I'm actually a project manager (I really don't know why my title is "business analyst", everyone else on my team is called a project manager), 2) I don't know if this is the career I want to stick with, and 3) my tasks and responsibilities as a project manager seem to have a lot in common with a brand manager's.

I started looking into brand management again, and found myself quickly getting as excited about it as I did when I first started researching it. I suddenly see my application "story" taking shape - I want my MBA so I can take my experience as a project manager and learn the marketing and business skills necessary to transition into a brand management role, ideally for a CPG company. Now I'm leaning back towards the full-time idea. But I'm wondering if it would be best for me to wait another year. I really don't want to do that - I'd be 28, close to 29, and would be 31 when I got my MBA. I'm also very anxious to go back to school. At the same time, I know that I have no marketing experience, and I can't help but wonder what adcoms will think of me starting a new job in February and trying to leverage that experience six months later for b-school.

So I guess my questions are:

1) Will schools frown on the fact that I'm applying six months after starting a new job?
2) Would it be in my benefit to wait another year, get more experience in my role, and try to somehow get some marketing experience as well?
3) How should I get that marketing experience? Try to take some classes at a school?

Thanks for reading!
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Re: Decisions... should I wait another year? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 15:10
Hi buddy, schools will not frown on your 6-month experience only because you already have years of experience doing something else. Had you just graduated from college and entered the work force for 6 month, that would be a different story. I think whether or not it'll benefit you is kind of subjective. How bad do you want this? How long can you stand doing your current job? I think a lot has to do with how you perceive your current job and what you expect from your MBA. However, to be honest with you (and I'm going to assume that you're gearing up for top MBA), you're fairly in the game anyway that most round 3 applications are going to be due just around the corner. While it's possible to still submit a well-rounded application, it'll still be tough. If you choose to apply, you can still go for it, but there's just much too much to decide on (i.e. what school to apply to, how to strategically manage your application, how to work around your letter of recommendations) that you're really pushing your luck at this moment. So with that said, you very well might just have to wait another year to start school. You can start applying as soon as application starts in August/September of this year for the class of 2014. But this means that you'll have to stick around your current job for at least another year. Lastly, in terms of "experience", there's really not much you can do right now to showcase your interest in marketing besides taking classes and/or finding a marketing job. Honestly, I don't think this will play too much of a role in the decision AS LONG AS you can convince the AdCom why you think employers may hire you. Once you can convince the committee that you're just as capable to perform well in a marketing position as anyone else with marketing experience already, you're solid. And keep in mind - most full-time MBA students are career changers anyways, which means that there will be people who had no marketing experience wanting to go into marketing post-MBA. Trust me! You won't be the only one who wants to switch job!
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Re: Decisions... should I wait another year? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 16:58
Hey bakfed, thanks for the response! I guess I should clarify that I was planning on applying at the end of this year for the class of 2014 - if I waited a year, I'd be applying in 2012 for the class of 2015. I do want the MBA pretty badly, but my reasoning for it has changed a bit. Before, I just had no real direction, and was looking for something to do. I spent some time trying to become an actuary and passed two exams before I realized I didn't want to be an actuary. I started researching business school and it just felt *right*. But I didn't have a career plan. I feel like I have one now.
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Re: Decisions... should I wait another year? [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2011, 17:31
oOo, my fault; honestly, if I were you, I'd apply for the class of 2014 only because you know this is something you want. And another thing that you should consider: your age is going to be soon working against you. Not saying that older is worse, but you just need to convince an additional factor to the adcom why you think this is the good time now as you wait longer. I would just apply and see how it goes. If it works out, great; if not, you can always reapply. I currently don't see a reason for waiting anymore (and I do not think the "short-time" of your current job will not work against you).
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Re: Decisions... should I wait another year? [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2011, 11:48
Expert's post
Hi TehJay,

Thanks for posting. To answer your questions:

1) Will schools frown on the fact that I'm applying six months after starting a new job?

No, particularly if you explain your story in your personal essays. As long as your answer why you want to pursue an MBA, why now, and why that particular program, this won't be an issue.

2) Would it be in my benefit to wait another year, get more experience in my role, and try to somehow get some marketing experience as well?

What businesses want, even more than a skill such such as marketing, is experience leading and managing others. If you already feel you have this experience, or don't believe you will gain this within the upcoming year, then I don't believe waiting an extra year will make much of a difference.

3) How should I get that marketing experience? Try to take some classes at a school?

Classes at school, as well as your summer internship, will provide great experience.


I hope this was of help! Please let me know if I can answer anything else.

Cheers,

Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team
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Re: Decisions... should I wait another year?   [#permalink] 16 Mar 2011, 11:48
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