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Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience?

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Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2012, 17:14
I'm sure many may come from similar background as me. Let me share my work experience.

The industry I’m involved in, combined with the work culture here in Korea, makes 12 hours a day the de facto standard.

My biggest gripe about the admissions process is that applications ask for number of years, but not number of manhours, or hours per year - which is probably a much more accurate measure of experience.

I know many that work 9 to 5 jobs, and others, like me, may work 9 to 9... sleepless nights, overworked, and often work during the weekends to get projects done.

If the average American worked 8 hours a day x 5 days a week x 50 weeks (minus 2 weeks vacation) a year, that’s 2000 hours. I work 3000 - maybe more counting all the weekends I worked.

If the minimum work experience required is 3 years, applicants such as myself can hit 2 years at similar durations.

Are these factors even looked? Will applicants automatically be screened for having 2 years instead of 3?

Appreciate any insight into this. Thank you.

P.S. On a side note, I had quite a few internships during college, including a full-time 6 months internship (this was a 9 to 5!) with the US Embassy prior to my current job. Does this count towards Work Experience in MBA applications? Or are these considered extra-curricular activities?
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2012, 18:36
Full time work experience only counts as experience after your college graduation, so your internship doesn't count, but you can list this in your resume.

Are you a Korean, or just an American (I presume you're American) working in Korea? If it's the latter, this could be a plus actually, because you are experiencing another country's culture, and Korean culture is different from American culture, which you know first hand now.

That said, there are many jobs in America where a 9-5/40 hour work week is not the norm.

I guess bankers and consultants work more than 40 hrs on average per week, but given that business schools could have as much as over half of their classes with these guys, I don't think working over 40 hrs/week will be enough to convince an adcom that your 3000 hrs/yr should be worth 1.5 years in and of itself.

Just my 2 cents on this.
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2012, 19:34
novanative wrote:
Full time work experience only counts as experience after your college graduation, so your internship doesn't count, but you can list this in your resume.

Are you a Korean, or just an American (I presume you're American) working in Korea? If it's the latter, this could be a plus actually, because you are experiencing another country's culture, and Korean culture is different from American culture, which you know first hand now.

That said, there are many jobs in America where a 9-5/40 hour work week is not the norm.

I guess bankers and consultants work more than 40 hrs on average per week, but given that business schools could have as much as over half of their classes with these guys, I don't think working over 40 hrs/week will be enough to convince an adcom that your 3000 hrs/yr should be worth 1.5 years in and of itself.

Just my 2 cents on this.


Thank you. I appreciate your valuable insight.
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2012, 08:18
I think there are two large flaws in your thinking that your number of hours in the office correlate directly with "more work experience".
1. There is so much more to "work experience" than the hours you spend in the office.
2. Most applicants spend more than the average 40 hour work week in the office.

I would say the average applicant works significantly more than the average 40 hour work week. In fact, I don't know anyone that works less than 60 hours a week that has now chosen to apply to Bschool.

That being said, Bschools aren't necessarily looking for someone that has worked 6000 hours or 10,000 hours, or 2000 hours. The average american full-time work week is 2000 hours, yes, but there is so much more that a Bschool cares about, none of which have to do with the amount of hours you've spent as a spreadsheet monkey. And how many "average" Americans do you know applying to top Bschools?

As banker, I know that there is a lot to learn from 1000s of hours of "working". But there is so much more to learn in the years of work experience; Performance evaluations, promotions, time management, life/work balance, office culture, interworkings of a business/company, new positions, new initiatives, new bosses/coworkers, new teams, etc... All of this learning moves at the same pace. Bschools want you to be able to apply this knowledge to what you're learning. I'd even argue that most schools would care just as much, or MORE about some of these topics than how many hours a week you work.

It's the same old story. Guy works for 1.5 years, works long hours, and suddenly thinks he has 5 years of work experience under his belt. This isn't how it works. Adcoms know industries and typical hours, but they want to see that you've had enough time to grow personally and professionally...

If you need further proof about the "average" 40 hour work week for bschool applicants I would take a look at this poll: how-many-hours-do-you-work-a-week-126914.html It hasn't filled out yet, but I'm confident that the 40 hour work week idea will go out the door...
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2012, 08:23
I think the big flaw is that you're underestimating what others are doing. Most applicants to top b-schools aren't working 9-to-5. For many applicants, their work schedules are dictated by the projects and deadlines they are working on, so it'll vary from one week to the next, one project to the next, and so forth. And quite a number also travel on business. Or they work on weekends from home. Or they do some work in the evenings from home.

"Hours worked" on its own really doesn't tell the adcom a whole lot (and most b-schools do ask for that on the applications forms: how many hours on average per week).

Also, internships don't count, no matter how you slice and dice it.

Not to sound harsh, but there's nothing special about your working hours, nor should you feel you should get any extra credit for it. In any case, it comes down to what you accomplished, and not how many hours you are in the office (because if you really want to get macho about it, all the investment bankers have you beat in terms of working without sleep).
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2012, 16:15
Thank you Alex, GMATLA.

Your responses have allowed me to look back and think outside the little box I live in.

It was a bit self-centered of me.

However, just to share the amazing work culture Korea has, take a look at this exerpt from an article by Forbes.

Quote:
If you thought you worked long hours, consider 39-year-old Lee from South Korea. A civil servant at the ministry of agriculture and fisheries, Lee gets up at 5:30 a.m. every day, gets dressed and makes a two-hour commute into Seoul to start work at 8:30 a.m. After sitting at a computer for most of the day, Lee typically gets out the door at 9 p.m., or even later.

By the time he gets home, it's just a matter of jumping in the shower and collapsing into bed, before starting the whole routine all over again, about four hours later. This happens six days a week, and throughout almost all of the year, as Lee gets just three days of vacation.

That's right. Three days.

Source: (ugh, can't post urls yet... please google)

And this is a government job!

Anyhow, my work schedule is pretty much the same, if not worse... guess I was just getting frustrated and vented. It's completely challenging my mental limits to cope with this stress - and I guess this is somewhat a stepping stone for me in getting into business schools.

Cheers.
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2012, 23:05
I'm currently typing this message at 2 in the morning, and I've been at the office since 7:30 this morning. This occurs 4 days a week (Monday through Thursday). I'm a traveling consultant, so on Friday mornings I take a 3-hour flight back home. I then work 9-7 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, at which point I take another 3 hour flight back to my client site to do it all over again. I don't even have the worst of it at my firm or in the industry. Investment bankers work absolutely brutal hours, but the most grueling part to me is all the travel. Sometimes I find it funny that people apply to b-school dreaming to have a job just like this, but I digress.

A lot of people work hard, but I think the important thing is to take a step back and think about what you've learned from your job, and how your skills have improved over the time you've worked there.
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Re: Logical flaw in evaluating Work Experience?   [#permalink] 01 Feb 2012, 23:05
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