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Military Candidate-2 Years to Prepare for Application

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Military Candidate-2 Years to Prepare for Application [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2012, 01:24
I'd be extremely grateful if you can offer me even a little advice on how to proceed in boosting my B-School candidacy over the next 2 years!

Background:
- Born 1985, graduated high school in 2004. Attended a big high profile university right out of high school to chase a girl, left right after getting there when I realized how stupid I was for doing what I did. Also, it became clear I wasn't going to get the girl. (Did not record a grade so there is no record of my time there)

- Decided to use my free time after leaving school (Late 2004-Late 2005) to try to follow my dream (at the time) of becoming a professional poker player. It was legal to play online then. This didn't work out. I worked part time in sales during this period as well (Electronics).

...Briefly considered enlisting in the Army in late 2005, chose to move to a college town with the intent of enrolling in university the following fall (Fall 2006)...which I did, enrolling at age 20...resulting in...

- B.S. - Political Science and Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Management (Double Major) (3.13 cum GPA counting 3 community college classes) (Graduated: December 2009 at age 24)

- Graduated from a top 100 Midwest small public university. Nothing special here.

-Worked for 5 years in the same part-time sales/customer service job from late 2005-late 2010. This was my "college job" so I never moved up, just made lateral position changes when the company needed me to.

-I also tended bar and was a door man for local bars as a second job. In total I worked 35-60 hours a week throughout school.

Immediately upon graduating with my degree December 2009 I began the process of joining the Army. I chose to enlist in the Army infantry over becoming an officer in the Marines. I wanted to be on the front lines of the wars we had going on and learn leadership from the ground up in some of the most difficult and stressful circumstances.

-I finally shipped out in late 2010 for Infantry training, which brings me to...

-Presently, I've served honorably and with distinction for 2 years in the toughest and most stressful job in the Army. When my applications go out in late 2014, I'll have served for 4 years, having earned prestigious awards, deployed to one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan, and both led and followed decorated and brave soldiers in combat.

Between now (Fall 2012) and then (Fall 2014) I'm intent on boosting my candidacy for B-School in any way I can. Any advice that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I have no relevant work experience other than what I've listed above. I could take on an internship, take extra quantitative classes, etc...but want to know the best course of action for my circumstances.

Also, should I make sure to mention the 2 years off I took after high school as a result of chasing a girl to a college I wasn't right for? Or should I leave that out of try to avoid it. I have two years to enhance my candidacy and formulate a plan. Your input would be greatly appreciated!

On a side note, I think it sets me apart from other candidates because I'll be an enlisted soldier with a degree versus what I suspect is a vast majority of B-School applicants coming from the officer ranks. Is my thinking sound here?
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Re: Military Candidate-2 Years to Prepare for Application [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2012, 01:32
Also, I should add that I have not taken the GMAT as of this writing. However, I anticipate a score that will be competetive for admission to schools ranked 25-50, as those are the schools I am targeting. Please base any advice on the assumption my score will be competetive for those schools. Thanks again!
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Re: Military Candidate-2 Years to Prepare for Application [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2012, 04:02
Expert's post
I think your story is unique and you need to make sure you cast it in a way that is unique "good" and not unique "bad." I would not go into the gap year after high school nor the random and lateral employment because when coupled with your decision to enlist vs. OCS, you will risk coming across as an "under-achiever." Remember, b-schools are full of highly motivated, type-A achievers, so you will need to work on your story to make it sound more intentional rather than random. I understand that you had specific reasons for by-passing the leadership opportunity with the military, but you will need to cast that carefully so it does not appear as if you were avoiding leadership for some reason. I think if you put some color and anecdotes around it you will be fine. B-schools love military experience. GMAT will be important especially with a non-quantitative UG degree. I think you should have an easy time getting admitted to your target range, so pick some schools that seem to really fit with your desired learning style and post-MBA career vision. If you get a good enough GMAT score (say, in the 600's), it's unlikely you would need to take classes, but if you wanted to , you could take some things you may have missed in UG, such as accounting, statistics for business, or calculus for business.
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Military Candidate-2 Years to Prepare for Application

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