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Great job with this useful thread. I would appreciate your input on my non-traditional candidacy. Academic: GPA 3.3, GMAT 690 Professional: Male, international, aged 31, 12 years "work" as professional athlete (unfortunately not in cash rich sports). Strong career/athletic development from junior, reserve to first team and called to national squad ranked top 5 in the world. Competed internationally (in 27 countries) representing my country, won titles and Olympic medals (admittedly not gold). Received recognition awards from federation and national sports media. Commercially, I supplemented earnings from federation stipend and competition with a few sponsorship deals, modelling & teambuilding work.
Extracurriculars: Elected to represent athletes’ interests in Sports Council, volunteered outreach programme to coach children in after school activities, media relations work to promote participation and mentored junior athletes. Mix of teamwork, negotiation, leadership and mentoring skills.
Post MBA career goal: move from brand ambassador to product management with sports apparel/equipment company. Volunteer as business adviser to sports community and evaluate personal investment opportunities. Preferred programmes with strong general management & marketing courses and active sports business student clubs. Michigan, Duke, Cornell, LBS, Kellogg, Wharton. Any other suggestions?
Am I realistic as I am not consultant/banker/Blue Chip engineer. Does the adcom see a sports pro’s experience as valuable to the MBA programme.
1) There is a catch, I turned pro at a young age. Completed BA degree (Econ and Mod. Languages) through distance learning programme and private tutors at an accredited lower ranked university. Training camps and constant travel to competitions did not allow formal full time study. I wonder if adcoms would count my less formal academic background against me. On the other hand, should I spin challenge of earning degree while working full-time? 2) Any idea in which pool I will be allocated: a) non-traditional pool by profession with military and non-profit folks or b) simply all other internationals
Unique story, solid ECs and strong professional accomplishment. But mature age, softish Gmat and total lack of corporate work. I need to make a strong case to adcoms that I am not a dumb jock stereotype. Is my new coach suitable as referee? He knows my athletic abilities, not so much commercial skills and is a weak writer. A sports federation executive and another manager with sponsor offered to be referees.
You have a number of things going for you: solid GPA/GMAT scores, unique background, and defined career goals. Though you do not have corporate experience, you can leverage the leadership, teamwork, and goal-setting aspects of your professional sports career. If conveyed properly, your "story" should be an asset in the application process. Be sure to fully discuss your brand management experience and your vision for your career in marketing.
As far as references go, I would warn against individuals who can only speak to your athletic abilities. Try to get LORs from individuals who have knowledge of your professional experience and goals since this will demonstrate your focus on moving to the next level of your career. Your school choices look good though Wharton and Kellogg may be stretch schools. _________________
Thanks for your prompt and useful reply, much appreciated. To get well rounded LORs beyond athletic skills, hence federation and commercial sponsor more suitable. There is a business acumen element in successfully following leads and acquiring sponsors.