Hi! I am new here and would really appreciate any advice I can get. On what programs are good for what, best way to study for gmat, best resources! Everything! But first.....I need help deciding if I even want/can get into a good MBA program.
I am currently trying to decide if I should attempt to get an MBA. I am concerned about the monetary cost and the opportunity cost as well as the return both financially and personally.
So I guess my two main questions are (1) would an MBA be worth it for me? (2) Which schools would be in my "safe", "average" and "stretch" categories?
Here is a short bio - not sure what info is helpful or not but if anything is missing please let me know.
I am a 27 year old female. Originally from Brazil but have been in the USA since I was two. I speak and read Portuguese okay but can not write well. I was brought up in the Virginia suburbs of DC. I am a citizen of the USA too so no worries on visas or anything.
Went to Radford for one semester did awful - 2.7GPA
Then I came home (Northern VA outside DC) and went straight to community college - GPA 3.48
Finally transferred to George Mason declared a major in Economics (BA not BS) with a minor in Business Admin. graduated in 2007 - GPA 3.52
During this time I also did a semester abroad at Oxford University (St. Cats) where I did well As and B+s.
I know schools will just calculate all the classes together from the different schools so I went ahead and did that - my cumulative GPA between the schools is 3.43 with a 3.83 in Economics
I did well in all of my math, econometric, game theory etc except for Statistics which I got Cs in both Stat I and II. This was basically due to a crazy awful teacher but that is beside the point, I know it'll hurt and that "crazy awful teacher" wont really count as an excuse to any admissions officers.
II. Grad. School
Mason offered me admissions to the Economics Masters program waiving the GRE requirement because of my GPA in undergrad. I am only mentioning this because I never took the GREs and haven't taken the GMATs so I have no idea how I'll do on the GMAT. Anyways while working full time I completed my Masters in three years graduating in 2010 with a GPA of 3.07. I know this is low but I was also working full time so with that considered is it still as awful as I think it is? Is having a Masters an advantage? disadvantage? neutral?
III. Work Experience
Directly after graduating from undergrad I went to work for AOL Advertising as a Forecasting Analyst. My daily duties were to forecast traffic for various AOL sites in order to sell advertising space on the pages. I did pretty well there received a promotion to Senior Forecasting Analyst, was selected by the VPs of my department to discuss the move from a horizontally structured department to a vertically structured one and then led the implementation of the plan along with the other 8 or so people chosen. I also received an "AOL Top Talent Award" which essentially represented that I was considered "Top 10% Talent" of the company. Almost directly after the restructuring of the department I graduated from my Masters program and was invited to work at a consulting firm from one of my professors (now manager).
So as I said one of my professors invited me in for an interview and offered me a position as a Senior Consultant where I've been ever since. Specifically we are a regulatory consulting firm who specialize in pipeline regulation. We help pipelines set their highly regulated prices, and defend them in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in addition to other related regulatory issues (like merger guidelines, antitrust policies etc). And I've been here about 2.5 years. Its a very niche market as you can imagine and the firm is pretty small (maybe 15 of us total between a DC office and San Fran Office), which has been great because I get to do a lot of different things from running cost-of-service analysis to writing testimony.
So that is about 3 years experience as an analyst and 2.5 as a regulatory consultant.
I don't really have any that stand out - except the AOL Top Talent Award, Academic Achievement Award from Mason Undergrad Economics department, Deans list, Honors Committee in Undergrad. and the Oxford Study Abroad Program was Mason's Honors Study Abroad. But I feel like these are things that everyone applying to top schools will have.....right?
V. Volunteer/Extra curricular
I always really wanted to get involved in something but between all the transfers in undergrad I was taking heavy loads every semester including the summer semesters so that I would still graduate "on time" i.e. 4 years. Then I swore I would as soon as I graduated but between full time work and the Masters I simply didn't have the time. Since then I've looked for something to get involved in but because of heavy work load haven't really had a chance. I know these are all just "excuses" but there you have it.
So what are your thoughts? Seeing as I have a Masters in Econ. is an MBA going to be worth it? I think my goal would be to end up in general management consulting or some sort of international development gig ideally. When choosing my economics major I really had my hopes set on working in international development but one thing led to another and never got my foot in the door. So I am also open to getting some sort of dual degree like the one from Georgetown's MBA and MSFS. Also open to one year programs from tops schools abroad or an online program from a legit school like UNC's new program assuming that it'll still be respected.
Where are my strengths? Weaknesses? and What chances do I have of getting into a good MBA program? I honestly don't know if I'd want to spend the resources on an MBA from a low ranking school i.e. anything below top 25 or 30. Which schools would be in my "safe", "average" and "stretch" categories?
If I start volunteering now and apply next year will that seem shallow? Will my undergraduate schools count against me? Radford? Community College? Mason? Finally as I said before I am 27 and haven't even started the process if everything goes perfect and I apply next year to matriculate in 2014 I'll be 29 when I start - is this a disadvantage? advantage? neutral?
Thanks so much in advance I really appreciate it as I've been killing myself over this for two years lol