First of all, thank you for taking your time to review this post.
I have been working at a start-up company for the past 5 years and I have just started my own startup this year. We've been in operation for about 4 months now, and both myself and my partners (2) agree that it would be helpful for the company if I get an MBA. Our basic line of reasoning, among others, is that an MBA will expedite the development of necessary business acumen along with credibility for the necessary mergers and aquisitions that'll need to happen for us.
To give an idea of our company structure, the three partners are comprised of a Programmer, a Creative Director, and a Business Developer (me).
- 5 yrs work experience at a small start up as director of operations.
- Currently running my own start-up.
- Graduated w/ 3.5 from a relatively unknown undergrad.
- GMAT = 700/6.0
- 28 yr old asian american male.
With this in mind, I have several questions:
1 - Would the adcom @ B schools look down at someone with my profile given that I have no experience from the typical fortune 500 companies, and that I've just started a business?
2 - Given a certain situation, I wouldn't be able to get a recommendation from my previous employer. However, my 2 partners have worked with me closely for the past 5 years (at the previous company). What would be my best options? And would this situation hurt me alot?
3 - I have relatively minimal "typical" community service experience. But I have provided pro bono services for several start ups which helped them get through the beginning stages. Would this be considered a valuable community service experience?
4 - I don't have any special certifications, extraordinary skills or experiences.
5- My top choices are: Harvard, Columbia, NYU, MIT, Stanford. My second choices are: UNC, Virginia, UC Berkeley. I'm basically looking for a strong General Management program with an entreprenuerial twist. What are my realistic chances? Perhaps you can recommend some programs that you see fit?
Thanks a bunch!
1. No, they won't look down on your career profile, but you will need to give them enough context in your essays to understand your companies/industry and enough evidence to make your accomplishments credible to them.
2. No letter from previous supervisor will be a weakness in your application, though not a deal-breaker. Adcoms will assume the worst (your former supervisor loathes you), unless you explain the factors in an optional essay. It certainly helps that your current partners worked with you at the previous company, but keep in mind that schools do prefer supervisor letters.
3. Pro bono work for other startups would not be viewed as community service in the true sense, though it certainly is a plus. However, if these startups had some social impact dimension then your pro bono work would count as community service.
4. This fact will diminish your ability to stand out from other applicants, affecting your admission chances.
5. It's hard for me to judge the quality of your work experience based on your post, but from what you said I think HBS, CBS, and Stanford would be longshots for you. NYU, Haas, and MIT might be doable (one might come through for you), and you can be optimistic about Darden and UNC. Consider Duke, Michigan, and/or CMU.
Co-Author of: MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools
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