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Nontraditional Applicant Thread

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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 25 Nov 2008, 06:25
Are all of these really "non-traditional?" If by "traditional" paths to business school you mean banking/finance, consulting and IT, perhaps... but reading all of these posts, I can't say I'd be surprised to see many folks here in B-school... Engineers. Project managers in big companies. So forth.

When I think "non-traditional," I think non-profit do-gooders, artists/musicians or something truly off the wall (pro athlete, maybe an astronaut, etc.). Obviously, given my background, that's a self-serving preconception, I know. But am I wrong here?

What advantage do y'all see in being non-tradi? Are we thinking that some schools have loose/de facto quotas for the banking/consulting set, and set aside some spots for folks like us?
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 25 Nov 2008, 10:36
Ntang wrote:
Are all of these really "non-traditional?" If by "traditional" paths to business school you mean banking/finance, consulting and IT, perhaps... but reading all of these posts, I can't say I'd be surprised to see many folks here in B-school... Engineers. Project managers in big companies. So forth.

When I think "non-traditional," I think non-profit do-gooders, artists/musicians or something truly off the wall (pro athlete, maybe an astronaut, etc.). Obviously, given my background, that's a self-serving preconception, I know. But am I wrong here?

What advantage do y'all see in being non-tradi? Are we thinking that some schools have loose/de facto quotas for the banking/consulting set, and set aside some spots for folks like us?


Agreed, if your job in any way involves sitting at a desk/computer, working 9-5, or having to wear something with a collar, I can't see it being *that* different from other MBA applicants. I think non-traditional helps your cause, but only in conjuction with:

1-a good GMAT will really help you out here, will show you aren't just a 1 trick pony in your field of choice.
2-you've still got to show you can fit into the MBA environment. Aka if you're a successful musician/artist, that's nice, but no good if you turn into a drama queen when your fellow group members challenge your ideas/creativity.

It seems that a recurring theme of top Bschool's 'opening weekends' is when, after bragging how their avg gmat / diversity stats went up, to list some specific examples of the types of students they accepted, very often those of 'non traditional' backgrounds. So it's definitely in demand.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 26 Nov 2008, 04:45
xerox wrote:
I am as non-traditional as you can get: language education and applied linguistics (translation and interpretation) and I am already doing an MBA at a top school.


I might have you beat....language education and applied liguistics...

...in Taiwan!

:lol:
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2009, 06:12
I come from an industry that swears me to confidentiality. I suppose that's true whether you're a spook, a regulator or you clean toilets for rich people.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2009, 20:21
I do healthcare research at a top medical center. Only have a BA so far.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 22 Dec 2009, 16:59
During the day, I work on lease contracts for federal agencies. At night, I research and think about spaces repurposed for leisure.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 06:49
International development at a major foundation.
Previously: socially responsible investing.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 07:08
Not sure if this falls under the non-trad. category.

International retail buyer in Asia (from Canada)
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 07:35
To echo Ntang's questions from last year: do people view their non-trad backgrounds as an asset or a liability? Schools are paying a lot of lip service to people like us, but I wonder if they aren't just doing what they always do: highlighting outliers in order to seem different / better than their competitors.

I'm thinking it goes like this: if you take a banker and a non-trad side-by-side and otherwise their stats are very, very similar -- that's where the non-trad gets the edge. But I doubt coming from an atypical background automatically qualifies you as an URM or a "wow" or whatever.

Thoughts?
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 08:08
That's a helpful insight, triple5soul, thanks.

I too I have had experiences where friends or acquaintances in more traditional lines of work have been like, "Oh, you work at [Foundation]? COOL! I would love to do that!" But of course even in interesting jobs it's rare to feel really gung-ho about the unglamorous day-to-day tasks, so I'm usually thinking that what THEY do seems much more impressive. (Probably 'cause they ballin'.)
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 08:51
I definitely share some of the same thoughts. I do admit that I often worry that adcom will automatically discard an application on such premises. It speaks immensely of a school's culture when it is open to interview/admit non-traditional applicants. I know S is extremely open to individuals who are diverse in background and have led meaningful life experiences (hence "What matters to you most"), whereas typical applications are solely about goals/accomplishments.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 09:03
Ah, Stanford. If only there were more seats in that class...

Your comment reminds me, actually, that my recommenders (all non-trad) have totally hated on the business school admission process. They think most of the applications, as you note, focus too much on goals and accomplishments -- especially quantifiable accomplishments concerning money and management, which are almost impossible to ascertain in the work I do -- and not enough on potential and richness of experience. In this respect, they think law school recommendations are much more representative of a person's potential contribution to the field (not to mention they're much less onerous). This is, of course, debatable, but I think they make an interesting point.

I wonder how thoughtful AdComs are about perspectives like this.
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Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2010, 11:34
I kind of worry about how my "non-tradional" background will affect me, because i don't come from the usual industries but also don't do anything that exotic. I work in property management and lease luxury apartments. I would like to make a move into brand management and even though I have 5 years experience in real estate, 3 years working for myself and another 2 working for a national re development and management company, i don't see a future in real estate for me.

Tghis is very much a high pressured sales position -- I make as much in commissions as I do in salary, and i'm good at what I do. I work with a really diverse and very international group of clients.

I also work in the fitness industry on the side, teaching group exercise.

I guess i'll find out soon enough...
Re: Nontraditional Applicant Thread   [#permalink] 06 Mar 2010, 11:34
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