In my effort to seek out a life less ordinary, I find myself at an unpleasant crossroads and was hoping you might be able to offer a few words of wisdom.
In short: It is the month of August, the beginning of the admissions cycle, and I find that I am unemployed.
A little background: After spending 3 years in IT Operations, I took a sharp left turn by joining the Peace Corps (I wanted to do something internationally). There, I discovered I had some entrepreneurial leanings and came home to help start an early-stage startup (the founding partners hadn't even incorporated when I joined). Fast forward to now... and it seems as though the business has run its course (further cementing my need for b-school). I remain involved at a distance, but the work has gone down from 40 hours per week to less than 5.
While this does give me the luxury of time to visit all of the schools on my list and to (hopefully) prepare strong applications, I'm worried that this might add another wrinkle to my already eclectic work history. To further complicate matters, my short-term plan goal is strategy consulting, an industry notoriously concerned with both brand and career progression. I'm considering a few different options (Peace Corps Response (short-term peace corps assignment, to further globalize my experience), a role at another startup, an analyst-type role at a more established firm). I've also stepped up my involvement with a local non-profit that I currently on the board of. I have several side-projects I'm considering as well (heading to a developing country to pick up a language for several months, trying to potentially start an online business), though these will not come to fruition in time to help with the admissions process.
Ultimately, I know I will need to find something very soon (hopefully prior to application submission)! What advice would you typically give to someone who is in the process of making a job/career transition while they applying to top-MBA programs? Are there any options one might take which could be shooting one's self in the foot (eg. working for a company one had worked with before, positions that do not continue an upward trend, etc.). How can a transition like this be positioned from an application standpoint? (eg. Getting additional experience which might be valuable to longer-term career goals?).
Before I respond, a couple of questions:
1. How long were you in the Peace Corp, where did you serve, and what did you do?
2. How long did you work full-time on the start-up and what did you do? Was there any successes before it got shut down?
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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