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Depressed and Scared

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Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2013, 15:44
I write this post with sadness, and also to prevent myself from having a nervous breakdown.

Back in May, I was terminated. In early 2012, I asked my manager for an MBA recommendation and he gave me a conditional one. "I cannot give you one now. You complete this project for me and I'll give you a positive recommendation." The project was finished this January, past R2 deadlines for all schools. He wanted to write me a recommendation for R3 but I told him that would be crazy. So I pushed back my target applications to this year. This April, my team moved to a new department with a new head who made the decision to let me go. My boss' fund didn't generate enough fees to have two analysts, and since I was planning to leave anyway, I was the odd man out - so he says

On the somewhat positive side, they paid me a small severance and are letting me say that I resigned. I was hesitant about finding a job because I didn't want to burn bridges by joining a firm and leaving for an MBA in 9 months. So I started a company with a friend, but I am not taking a salary, and we have not seen revenues yet. I could care less about money at this point - I have enough saved to last five years. I've talked to a couple of consultants about my work history and they all said that while I had a strong profile in 2012 (strong enough for M7), because of what happened I'm pretty much toast at my target schools. I'd probably have to drop down to schools ranked 20-25, they said.

Anyway I'm not sure what to do. I'm applying this year and would appreciate any advice anyone could give me.

My profile:

  • Undergrad ranked 20-25. 3.46 GPA, double major. Played varsity sports (Division 3)
  • 760 GMAT (50Q / 44V)
  • CFA Charter - Passed all 3 levels
  • Will be 28 at matriculation


    Most of my work experience has been in finance:
  • Graduated with offer from Lehman Brothers, offer rescinded before start date for obvious reasons.
  • 18 Months in the back office as an analyst
  • 6 Months in the back office as an associate. Different firm from above
  • Almost 3 years in the front office as a junior investment analyst. Firm has over $200 Billion under management. Different firm from above.
  • This new company I co-founded
    (While the first 3 were not internal promotions, perhaps I could say they were external promotions - or I don't even know the correct term for this)
  • 12 Month stint as semi-professional gambler (part time work while I worked full time in the front office). Did well enough to do press interviews. I stopped because the platform I used shut down.

    EC's (all since 2011):
  • Toastmasters - Co-Founded, elected president, got funding for chapter. No longer a member since it was a corporate club.
  • Mentor high school student
  • Run eBay side business (Did this in college and started it again in 2010)
  • Wrote and self published a book. (eBook with no ISBN #, not related to Finance)

    Other:
  • ORM (Opposite of URM). Not Indian though
  • US Citizen
  • Will get recommendations from two indirect supervisors. One from my very first job, and one from the job I left. I'm not going to ask my boss anymore. I don't feel I could trust someone who would give me an ultimatum like that

So what do you think? I'm applying this year, but doubtful if I get into any of my schools. I'm targeting MIT, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, NYU. Now I'm also adding Yale, Tuck, UVA, Cornell to that list and I'm even doubtful about those schools.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2013, 01:06
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Expert's post
Somewhat crazy question - have you thought about Peace corps or some kind of a volunteer position?
That has allowed a number of folks to avoid the employment gap while building up their profile. Most consultants should have thought about it though, so I am guessing you had heard about it. You are a big "old" for it but something to consider.

I don't have any better ideas at 2 am 8-)

P.S. great job with formatting the post.

PPS - you still have a strong profile.
I guess the options are Top 20-30 MBA vs a volunteer position for a year or two vs. postponing the MBA. Only you know your position. I don't think a top 20-30 school is a bad choice. Life is mysterious and it works out or does despite the efforts.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2013, 01:24
Wow thanks for the 2AM response!

Doesn't the peace corps require a 2 year commitment? Then I'll be really old! (30 at matriculation!)

I am currently volunteering for my mentoring program, but the school year hasn't really started so I'm not that busy with it yet. Maybe I should pitch myself as someone who wants entrepreneurship? (Because of the starting my own company thing)

I'm almost done with 2 Round 1 apps. I guess the real test is to see if they invite me to interview.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2013, 01:57
Expert's post
I would submit and go for a few safety schools - you are too close to deadlines not to test the waters.
It is a tough story to tell but it could be told well and with pride. Sometimes people (adcoms included) look at the character and not necessarily the product being sold (meaning your skill set). If they see someone proud and motivated, they can catch that feeling. That will be your hardest job is to convey that sense of pride and confidence at this stage in your career.

P.S. Don't come off desperate in your apps - nobody likes desperate people. You probably would not marry a desperate guy/woman but instead pick one that's hard to get... so part of the game is to be hard to get.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 15 Sep 2013, 18:46
Not that what I'm qualified to opine on your circumstances, but it doesnt seem like a pretty decent profile overall. Especially if you spin it the right way (i.e. overcoming obstacles). lehman brothers collapse was difficult but you managed to get through it, as was the recent layoff. also, back office to front office is a pretty difficult jump; also, move to las vegas where online poker is legal :P
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 04:21
You're not that far removed from your last employment that your story has to be a hard sell. From what you say it seems that the timeline between your layoff and R1 deadlines is about 6 months. Starting a business that isn't generating any revenue isn't great, but has this business accomplished anything? Funding (even a friends and family round), partnerships, product beta, trials, anything? It's all in the way you present things which I think is where you're going to struggle. Your career progression seems good, you've shown leadership at work and outside of it. Your company is letting you say you resigned. You say you have enough saved to last you 5 years. I don't know you and I can already see the essay narrative. Will it get you into every school? I doubt that. However, it should get you in to at least one school on your list and I don't see you having to go down to schools ranked 20-30.

Just remember that you should only apply to schools you really want to go to anyways. If you don't think your current profile will get you into them then find something to do for the next year and apply for entry in 2015. Matriculating at 30 is NOT old and plenty of people do it.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 13:14
I think you are severely underestimating your profile....if you consider yourself only good enough for top 30s then I guess I am royally screwed.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 14:55
@cheetarah1980 well yeah we have launched our product but it has no revenues :(

We have been either featured or mentioned in 5 different media articles, but in the world of business, only the $ matters :(

@bb, by safety you mean 20-25 correct?
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 18 Sep 2013, 14:12
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DFENS wrote:
@cheetarah1980 well yeah we have launched our product but it has no revenues :(

We have been either featured or mentioned in 5 different media articles, but in the world of business, only the $ matters :(

@bb, by safety you mean 20-25 correct?

Not necessarily. The 3rd place winner in Booth's 2013 New Venture Challenge didn't even have a product developed yet. Your business is only what? 3-6 months old? Some businesses don't have revenue for 12 months. You're not in the world of business, you're talking about the world business school applications. The two are NOT the same.

I'm going to be honest with you. The only thing holding you back right now is you. You have an excellent GMAT score, solid GPA, work experience with a track record of progression, and have started a business that in just a few short months is already getting media attention. If you can't find a way to turn all of these things into a compelling b-school application then you might want to rethink applying.
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 18 Sep 2013, 14:29
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If I may, I'm going to chime in...

You have a really good profile and I honestly don't think you're in as bad a position as everyone is making it out to be. From a story perspective, if they allowed you to resign, it's as simple as saying you left because you wanted to pursue this venture and you figured it was a great time to do so. There - gap explained. You provided a lot of information in your post (thanks for that!) and none of it was overly concerning to me.

Honestly speaking, mate, you aren't in a bad spot. You have an amazing GMAT, an interesting work history, and a variety of other activities that caught my attention. I don't usually explicitly mention our free consultations, but it seems you would benefit from an honest conversation because you definitely don't have cause to be "posting with sadness"!

If you're interested, sign up here. I handle all of them myself so we can take this conversation offline.

Bhavik
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Re: Depressed and Scared [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2013, 20:17
You have an awesome GMAT score that most of us struggle to achieve.

I think its all about projecting the right things in your essay. Good luck :)

DFENS wrote:
I write this post with sadness, and also to prevent myself from having a nervous breakdown.

Back in May, I was terminated. In early 2012, I asked my manager for an MBA recommendation and he gave me a conditional one. "I cannot give you one now. You complete this project for me and I'll give you a positive recommendation." The project was finished this January, past R2 deadlines for all schools. He wanted to write me a recommendation for R3 but I told him that would be crazy. So I pushed back my target applications to this year. This April, my team moved to a new department with a new head who made the decision to let me go. My boss' fund didn't generate enough fees to have two analysts, and since I was planning to leave anyway, I was the odd man out - so he says

On the somewhat positive side, they paid me a small severance and are letting me say that I resigned. I was hesitant about finding a job because I didn't want to burn bridges by joining a firm and leaving for an MBA in 9 months. So I started a company with a friend, but I am not taking a salary, and we have not seen revenues yet. I could care less about money at this point - I have enough saved to last five years. I've talked to a couple of consultants about my work history and they all said that while I had a strong profile in 2012 (strong enough for M7), because of what happened I'm pretty much toast at my target schools. I'd probably have to drop down to schools ranked 20-25, they said.

Anyway I'm not sure what to do. I'm applying this year and would appreciate any advice anyone could give me.

My profile:

  • Undergrad ranked 20-25. 3.46 GPA, double major. Played varsity sports (Division 3)
  • 760 GMAT (50Q / 44V)
  • CFA Charter - Passed all 3 levels
  • Will be 28 at matriculation


    Most of my work experience has been in finance:
  • Graduated with offer from Lehman Brothers, offer rescinded before start date for obvious reasons.
  • 18 Months in the back office as an analyst
  • 6 Months in the back office as an associate. Different firm from above
  • Almost 3 years in the front office as a junior investment analyst. Firm has over $200 Billion under management. Different firm from above.
  • This new company I co-founded
    (While the first 3 were not internal promotions, perhaps I could say they were external promotions - or I don't even know the correct term for this)
  • 12 Month stint as semi-professional gambler (part time work while I worked full time in the front office). Did well enough to do press interviews. I stopped because the platform I used shut down.

    EC's (all since 2011):
  • Toastmasters - Co-Founded, elected president, got funding for chapter. No longer a member since it was a corporate club.
  • Mentor high school student
  • Run eBay side business (Did this in college and started it again in 2010)
  • Wrote and self published a book. (eBook with no ISBN #, not related to Finance)

    Other:
  • ORM (Opposite of URM). Not Indian though
  • US Citizen
  • Will get recommendations from two indirect supervisors. One from my very first job, and one from the job I left. I'm not going to ask my boss anymore. I don't feel I could trust someone who would give me an ultimatum like that

So what do you think? I'm applying this year, but doubtful if I get into any of my schools. I'm targeting MIT, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, NYU. Now I'm also adding Yale, Tuck, UVA, Cornell to that list and I'm even doubtful about those schools.
Re: Depressed and Scared   [#permalink] 19 Sep 2013, 20:17
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