I just wanted to start my analysis by saying that I really like your screen name. it is very warm fuzzy.
First off, this is definitely the year you want to put your best foot forward in applying to business school. You are getting a little long in the tooth and if you have to apply to apply two years from now you may not get as serious a consideration from admissions committee. I point this out first because of your work history -- one that has a number of zigs and zags. You may be viewed as someone who is looking for what I call an "Escape Hatch." I know that you are going to want to point out some of your extracurricular activities and when the admissions committee reader sees that you took the LSAT, they are going to wonder what is going on. The best way to deal with this is to be completely forthright about your experiences -- especially the paralegal experience. The way you described it to me is pretty much on the mark. However, I would tweak it a little bit and make it sound slightly smoother in your transition to the more analytical business related role. Perhaps, there was someone at the new employer who thought you would be a good candidate -- perhaps someone you knew in the past. However you describe this, make sure it looks as if you were deliberately targeting this job or they were deliberately targeting you. Do not make it sound as if it fell into your lap and it just happened to work out. This would not necessarily be a bad way to describe your experience but it is not as optimal as saying that you realized being a paralegal was not for you and you made deliberate steps to correct the course.
Another career switch that is going to require extra attention is your switch to advertising. Of course you do not want to make it sound as a your personal issue was the motivating factor, unless it was something acute like a family health issue. No girlfriend or ex wife stories. Bringing something too personal to the table could make it sound as if you cannot manage your personal relationships. I would start to think about it this way -- again someone that value your skills and abilities pulled you into this new role. You gained the necessary experience -- perhaps it was a fixed duration project -- and then you made the switch back to your old company. Think about this as a possible explanation -- was it that your company allowed you to take off for a few months in order for you to complete this special project? Maybe it was more of a sabbatical? I am not trying to put words in your mouth, I am only offering up more sophisticated and logical ways of explaining this most recent zig.
I think your reasons for wanting an MBA, at a high-level, are very good. However, be careful not to frame it as if it is a rubber stamp that will put you on the same level of a management consultant with an MBA. I would acknowledge that you were up for promotion and this, in and of itself, was a great accomplishment. Why? Because you were the only person being considered seriously without an MBA -- a huge compliment. However, you need to also acknowledge that in fully understanding what the role entailed you knew that you did not necessarily have all the skills to be successful on day one of your new role. This is why you need an MBA -- to ensure success and drive results as a team player.
to be honest, I think you may want to shoot farther into the top 10. I would add MIT to your list as well. I am fairly certain that you will be able to at least get the interview at Columbia and Chicago. I say this because over the past two years I have had an excellent track record at both the schools. I do not want to get ahead of myself here, but your stats are on par with several of the accepted students we helped this past year.
In your specific case goobersmooches, I think that we should talk for an hour over the phone. I really believe that I will be able to offer some insight and of course help you should you choose to become a client.
Please e-mail me at MBA@amerasiaconsulting.com
. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for your insightful posts. Very helpful through this process.
Would like to get your thoughts:
28 years old, will be 29 upon matriculation.
3.3 at UCLA, BS in Math and BS in Philosophy
760 GMAT, 5.0 AWA
1 year as a paralegal. This was a mistake. I was set to apply to law school (took the LSAT and finished applications) but absolutely hated the work. So I was lucky enough to find work elsewhere…
1.5 year as an analyst (“business optimization”) for a Fortune 500. It was essentially a rotational position – I spent the first 9 months working on a reorganization of the marketing department and the next 9 working on a $25MM+ corporate deal. Things were going very well and I was promoted to manager…
1 year as a manager (“business optimization”) at the same company. Unfortunately, just after I was promoted the company was acquired by a PE firm. During this year I worked on acquisition related projects, mostly cost-cutting initiatives. The company moved offices; I decided not to go (personal reasons)…
9 months in advertising (global ad agency) – strange transition, but it was in the middle of the recession! I found I don’t care for the advertising world or the agency life. So when my old company recruited me back…
1 year as a manager (“economics”) at the once Fortune 500 now private company. I’m in a rather specialized role where I help manage an internal fund. I build the business cases for projects financed by the fund.
During college –
Writer/director for an on campus television show.
Worked for a national television network, and even had the opportunity to develop a TV series (that was not picked up).
After college –
I had taken the LSAT and done well, so I volunteered as an LSAT tutor for in-need students (about 1.5 years)
Volunteered as a grant researcher for a national nonprofit (2 years)
Currently volunteer as a small business consultant (1 year)
I’ve now been up for positions on my company's corporate development team three times (in M&A). Each time the position went to either a banker or consultant. If I want to compete with people who come from these backgrounds, I need to improve my background. Thus MBA.
I could go into more detail on why I want to transition to corporate dev, but that's an admissions essay.
Because I want to pursue corporate development, I’m targeting finance focused schools. My list so far:
Stretches – Columbia, Booth
Targets – NYU, Yale SOM
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