I am a long-time reader of the GMAT Club forums, but a first time poster! I've been thinking about business school for a while - now that the time to apply is getting closer, I would like some of your feedback and advice! Thank you in advance!
1) Basic Demographic Information: 26, male, American
2) Educational Background: BArts in Economics, 2.93 GPA; planning to take the GMAT in late April/May
3) Work Experience: I am currently working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, in the field of small business development. I've been living in Africa since July 2007 and, at the completion of my normal two year contract last September, successfully applied to extend my service to another year (through July 2010). My work has been primarily with small businesses and hotels here - working with them on basic business management, marketing, internet, accounting, hygiene, professionalism, and services offered to tourists (I'm in a very touristy region, so most of the businesses I work with are involved in tourism). Since July 2009, with the sudden departure of our previous accountant, I have also been serving as unofficial finance manager (managing the day to day finances and basic accounting) for the NGO that I am assigned to work with, pending the hiring of a new finance manager. I graduated from university in summer 2006, and between graduation and Peace Corps I worked at odd jobs, not sure what career path to pursue.
4) Extracurriculars: While here I haven't been involved in many ECs; back home and in undergrad I was involved in different campus Christian organizations and helped with anti-poverty and homeless outreach programs with these religious organizations.
5) I'm still trying to frame my goals for after my MBA. After my experience in Africa, I would really like to get into international development and business. It seems to me that it's rare that MBAs are represented in the international development community, both in the public sector and in development NGOs. I feel that the skills acquired through an MBA would be tremendously beneficial for international development work - the same skills and principles that one must use to run an effective, profitable and efficient business also apply to international aid organizations and government projects. An MBA would give me a fresh perspective that is too often lacking in conventional development projects.
6) I'm still trying to put together a list of schools. I know that several schools look especially favorably on Peace Corps service (Michigan and Duke for example), and have more of an international flavor. Since my focus is international development and business, I definitely would want to go to a school that is international in outlook. I've been working in French for my entire Peace Corps service, and minored in Spanish in undergrad; I feel like I would thrive in an international environment. I've heard that European MBA programs tend to skew more in this direction, but I don't think I have enough experience for those programs at present.
Thank you all again for your time! I feel like my biggest issues are my low undergrad GPA (I'm going to put a lot of effort into GMAT preparation to try and make up for that) and my relative lack of work experience. My strengths would be my international experience and languages. I'm looking to apply for fall 2011, so would be sending in applications this coming fall. Again, thank you very much, all comments welcome!