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How to leverage a unique profile?

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Joined: 21 Feb 2012
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How to leverage a unique profile? [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2012, 04:59
Dear All,

I did my undergraduate studies in Middle East Studies, with a focus in Arabic language and culture. 3.2 accumulative GPA / 3.9 GPA in my major studies. Immediately following graduation, I moved to the Middle East in order to become fluent in Arabic. I've lived here for three years and I'm now fluent and I will come back to the US to apply for MBA programs. I'm 24 by the way.

I taught economics in an American international high school while abroad. I worked as a freelance translator, covering a wide range of industries. I also did corporate English training, often dual bilingual training sessions. I started a small English training company while abroad; however, it was ultimately shut down due to protectionism laws in the country. It was quite successful during its time open.

How can I leverage this experience in order to be competitive at high ranked MBA programs? Do I stand a true chance at the higher end of MBA schools? I took the GRE and don't plan on taking the GMAT. I scored 700V 780Q 5.0W.

I'm targeting international MBA programs like the Wharton MBA/Lauder MA in international affairs.

Thank you for your help!
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Senior Manager
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Joined: 15 Jan 2010
Posts: 258
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2014
GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V44
GPA: 3.54
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Re: How to leverage a unique profile? [#permalink] New post 23 Feb 2012, 10:21
First, I'm not entirely sure that your experiences, though interesting, can necessarily be classified as "unique". I have several friends who have done very similar things but in different countries (taught and did independent consulting in rural areas of Japan, China, etc.).

I think the key things with ALL experiences that adcoms keep in mind (not just "unique" experiences) are:
- how selective is your line of work? Could most undergraduates, if they felt like it, just up and begin to do what you did?
- how substantial is your work from a leadership standpoint? Did you improve the school's operations, improve test scores, get looked to as an established mentor for students, etc.? What kind of impact did you have?

I think if you can convey those two things in your experiences, then the "uniqueness" factor will be a plus. Otherwise it might be a hindrance, since adcoms won't know what to make of your resume.
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Re: How to leverage a unique profile? [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2012, 08:27
Further to what hello212 said, I think you're underestimating how "unique" your profile really is - in the sense that it's not something they've never seen before. But also to be honest the "teach English abroad" profile isn't something adcoms at top b-schools are really interested in. Historically, there's been a negative stigma attached to it - it's the lost Westerner who doesn't know what he/she wants to do with his life, so he/she goes abroad to teach English, tutor and train kids or employees in English, etc. In some cases, it's viewed as a working vacation, and not really a "career track" sort of job. Your situation might be different, but just know that you'll be up against preconceptions about the "teach English abroad" - preconceptions that you alone won't be able to change.

Given that you're young, what I strongly suggest is to come back to the US, and work for at least a year or two before applying. Work in a corporate environment - any sort of job function (marketing, operations, finance/accounting, product management, etc.) that can build a foundation for a business career.

That's also the big reason why adcoms are skeptical - because with your background as it stands today, even with a top MBA, you'll have a significantly harder time finding a post-MBA job when your resume is up against other MBAs with work experience that is more substantive (because they have more of it - they're 1-3 years older) and more suited towards a corporate/business environment.

Again, I would try and work 1-2 more years before applying - not only will it make you more competitive for b-school, it'll put you in a better position post-MBA as well.
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Re: How to leverage a unique profile?   [#permalink] 25 Feb 2012, 08:27
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