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Profile Evaluation -GMAT740 -Need advise about career goal

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Profile Evaluation -GMAT740 -Need advise about career goal [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2012, 07:11
I have posted my profile for evaluation before. as i worked on the stern essay about the "two distinct career paths", i have established two different career goals. now my question is, for the other schools which only ask applicant to talk about one career goal, which one should i choose?

here is my profile:


Background: 30 year-old male Asian American, married, Born in China and immigrated to US at age 18. Proficient in both English and Chinese.

GMAT score: 740 (50Q / 39V) AWA: 5.5, IR: 6

Undergrad School and GPA: SUNY Binghamton, Computer science major, 2.95 GPA

Work experience (6 years total):
I worked in a small retail business (a chain of two local cellular phone stores). I started as a IT Consultant. In one year, I was promoted as an assistant GM. In two more years, I became the General Manager (my current title). Under my supervision, the company structure was enhanced, new positions and departments were created, the total revenue was significantly increased, and four more new stores were opened in different cities.

Extracurricular:
1. I am a guitarist. Back in college time, I played in a band(one reason for the low GPA, lol), and actively involved with the music worship for the student christian fellowship group.
2. Other interest includes photography (not just one of those amateurs, i have professional skills and equipments), skiing, and snowboarding

Community work: I used to be an interpreter and guitarist of the worship team member in my church for a few years, but I became too busy and didn't continue that role.

Target Schools: McCombs, Cornell, Darden, Stern, Sloan (i know my chance is extremely small for sloan)

The two possible Career Paths:
1.

Short term: Career change - like to change from working in small business to working in big corporation. Interested in general management, like to get into a good rotational leadership program in a fortune 500 after MBA.

Long term: Becoming a operational leader, in Asia-Pacific region, of a US or international company (utilize my multicultural background).

2.
Short term: Join the same company again as a strategic partner. Use the knowledge and experience i get from MBA to further grow the company. I want to add a marketing department, promoting the services and building the company brand image. i want to expand the business, launching more stores covering more cities. Ultimately, i would like to turn the business into a franchise system. I don't have academic background in business administration, that is why i need to knowledge and experience from a top MBA to help me in planning and executing those ideas.

Long term: After the company becomes mature enough, i would like to move onto the emerging markets in china, utilizing my multi-cultural background. I live there for 18 years, i know its culture and how to work with its people. I also have close family member who is a entrepreneur in real estate (big projects), therefore i have good connections to start a business there.

Questions:
1. Between the two different paths, i am still debating which one works the best for me. but before i have to decide what to do in my life, i guess i need to first figure out which one to put in the career goal essay. any suggestion?

2. For both of the goals, are they too general or vague? should I add more details?

3. If i decided to pick the entrepreneurship, is it a good idea to mention my connections in china such as the entrepreneur in the real estate? Also, for the long term goal, do i need to specify i would like to focus in which fields or industry? Or it is ok to say something general? since the long term goal doesn't require as much detail as the short term one?

4. also about the entrepreneurship, does my short-term goal and long-term goal make sense together?

5. many of the entrepreneurship concentration also focus on innovation, for example the entrepreneurship and innovation concentration in Johnson. For such concentration, does the school expect the candidates have both entrepreneurship and technology background? for someone like me, who has some experience of working in a start-up business and like to continue entrepreneurship in retail, is that an disadvantage for me if i want to go with one of those "entrepreneurship & innovation" concentration?

6. I remember reading one of the article talks about "DNAs of the top MBA programs". If i decide to go with my entrepreneurship career goal, does it go well with "DNAs"of Johnson, Darden, Stern, and Sloan?

Thank you for your time!
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Re: Profile Evaluation -GMAT740 -Need advise about career goal [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2012, 19:23
Expert's post
Great questions here!

I'd honestly suggest that you go with story one, because you've kind of already done the entrepreneurial thing and chances are that if you wanted to go start a business in China, you've got the experience you need to do that. Seems you wouldn't really need an MBA to be successful given your past experience and your regional expertise.

If you go with story 1 (corporate track --> corporate track within emerging markets/China), I think it's pretty logical.

If you go with story 2, I think you'd need to rework it a bit. I don't think it's credible to say you need an MBA to partner with your current company and continue to grow it. You could really do that without a 2 year full time MBA program. I think you could reshape the story to say that you want to move from the retail industry to say a tech start-up. You need an MBA to learn tech/innovation, business models, etc. and post graduation, you'd want to gain experience in a tech start-up. Once you've had a couple years understanding how tech start-ups work, you want to go to China and launch one. Perhaps you could tie in something about current Chinese reputation for innovation (often seen as a copycat versus innovator in the technology space), and how you want to start to change that? Just some ideas, but this would make an entrepreneurial story much more valid.

You want to think about your career narrative as an equation: a+b+c = d, where a = all the experience you've gained to date, b = the experience you'll gain in business school, c = the experience you'll gain in your short term career, and d = your long term goal. Everything needs to logically lead up to d, and the story should be so tightly woven that if you were to drop a, b, or c from your equation, you wouldn't be able to achieve d.

If you do pick entrepreneurship story, I do think you should get a little specific about the industry field, and only mention connections if they are relevant to that field.

As for innovation - your prior experience isn't relevant, but if you are applying to their entrepreneurship/innovation program, I think it's important that your career goals line up with that curriculum to some degree.

Finally, it's a little less important that your career goals specifically match the school's DNA, and more important that your DNA matches the school's (if that makes any sense). These schools want to bring students with diverse goals into their classrooms, so they are not evaluating your specific goals as much as they're evaluating whether they make sense given your profile/background, etc. But yes, I do think your story would mesh well with Cornell, Sloan and Stern in particular. I'm not as sure about Darden - not as entrepreneurially-oriented, but that doesn't mean they don't want to be! If you're really interested in emerging markets, I'd strongly suggest you look at Duke's program.

Good luck,
Mili


Mili Mittal
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http://www.mbamission.com

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Re: Profile Evaluation -GMAT740 -Need advise about career goal [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2012, 07:55
mbaMissionMili wrote:
But yes, I do think your story would mesh well with Cornell, Sloan and Stern in particular.


thanks a lot for the fast reply!

i am glad that you mentioned those three schools, those are the ones i am really interested in.

I just want to make sure is the story 1 that goes well with those school? or the story 2 with your suggested modification?

also, if i decided to go with the retail entrepreneurship - the original story TWO, with emphasis that:
1, i need some solid knowledge such as finance and marketing, because i didn't have such academic background;
2, i need the training from a MBA because my current company only has only 12 employee, i would like to get the experience working with more people.
Does it still go well with johnson, stern, sloan?

thanks!!!
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Re: Profile Evaluation -GMAT740 -Need advise about career goal [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2012, 19:34
Expert's post
Remember that you are not building a career story based on what you think an individual school is looking for, but based on what you think is a strong, logical and realistic story for yourself. Each program is looking to build a diverse class of students - UC Berkeley doesn't want 100% entrepreneurs just as much as Columbia doesn't want 100% finance students. Think a lot more about whether your story makes sense for YOU, and how that particular school fits into the story.

Good luck!
Mili


Mili Mittal
Senior Consultant
http://www.mbamission.com

Read the mbaMission Insider's Guides (16 individual school titles)

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