Thanks for reaching out to me. To summarize your post appropriately - you are concerned that your current amount of work experience within your oil & gas firm is not significant or enough to satiate a top MBA program's "requirement" - whatever that requirement may be.
First let's take a step back and consider what counts as international work experience. That is, the type of international work experience significant enough to serve as the basis for an essay/leadership example in a b-school essay (or perhaps the answer to an interview question).
So consider the following:
1. How well can you articulate how you lead a team in a multi-national or cross border environment? I would consider more of who you worked with in your case, and underweight geography or multiple locations. I personally work with 2 or 3 oil & gas clients each year and I know that out there in the middle of the India Ocean (for example) your team is going to consist of multi-nationals - not only the engineering and management staff, but also the rig workers. So regardless of where this rig is located, what more important is your leadership/collaboration amongst this motley crew. Remember that leadership stories are human interest stories to the admissions committee. More important to your essay and the adcom is what you learned, how it changed your perspective, how you overcame an obstacle and how you produced a positive team outcome.For example, they want to know how you overcome obstacles that were based upon different cultures/nationalities. Again, that's not based on geography in your case - most likely - as one oil rig can be a mini United Nations.
2. With respect to any extracurricular international experience (start-up, professional volunteerism, etc.), if you can write about it effectively as part of your positioning then it's significant and should be considered for an essay topic. So if your non-profit works with outside/international aid groups, this could fall under international experience as you interacted with others with perhaps different operating norms and even value sets.
3. This is why they have you write the essays - to tell your story - one that goes beyond face value. So if you can articulate what you innately got out of any experiences (even on one oil rig), then what you put down on paper is what will set your experience apart from other applicants - perhaps even those who may work all over the world. This is where I consider the line drawn with respect to whether or not an experience is significant.
Hi, I plan on applying to Wharton, CBS and Chicago Booth (aiming to get into energy practice of a bb post mba) in round 1 this year. Given below are some of the salient points of my profile in brief.
Indian male, 27.
B.Tech, IIT Kanpur. Cgpa 9.2/10
CFA level III cleared
5 years of work experience (at matriculation) at top 2 (schlumberger/halliburton) oil field services company working predominantly as a field engineer on offshore rigs in India. Have been a top performer consistently at work. The reccos and work ex description should be able to reflect that.
Some volunteer work with top ngos. Founded my non profit organisation 3 years ago and have been running it since while still working full time. It essentially makes and uploads videos of rural india depicting the dying traditions and customs of my community with the purpose of its preservation especially among the younger gen. decent extras at university.
My primary concern is that unlike a lot of my peer in the oil and gas business i do not have much international work ex other than some training stints abroad. This is merely a matter of chance, was sort of preordained
and doesn't reflect my performance at work in anyway what so ever. Does this severely impact my chances of getting in at my target schools? If so any suggestions with regard to which schools i may target as my safe school.
P.S. : Having the brightest peer is one of my top priorities (it sort of pushes me to perform to my potential) and thus am inclined towards targeting only the top rated schools.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
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