Thanks for the monster post -- I appreciate the extreme detail.
The first thing that we need to understand here is that business schools are not necessarily looking for applicants with business experience. Case in point -- every year they lead in the nontraditional applicant -- think athletes, musicians, lawyers and military officers.
What they are looking for is a demonstrated history of being above and beyond your peer group. To the admissions committee that is far and away the best indicator of leadership. Now of course you have to demonstrate the right type of leadership in getting to the top, but if you can articulate these intangible characteristics you are looking very good in the eyes of the admissions committee reader.
It seems that you have excelled at every stage of your military career. I know that it has been within one "industry." However, if we take a high-level view of what you have done what you continue to do today, you are going to make a very compelling case for schools that focus on a history of demonstrated leadership in their applicants. The school that comes to mind here is Harvard. This is why they ask the "what would you like us to know about your undergraduate experience question?" They are looking for a long history of leadership that extends all the way back to your freshman year of college. This is what I also take younger applicants, by the way. Harvard believes that leadership exists early and often. with you being slightly younger than the average at quite a few schools, I think the type of leadership you have developed is beyond excellent.
With respect to your goals, at face value, they seem to make sense. A business development or consulting role would fit what you have to do. Remember, when articulating your short or longer term goals, you have to make sure that you are viewed as a person who can demonstrate empathy in dealing with others who may not be from the military or perhaps be as organized as you. I would think that your experiences would be extremely valuable to an international strategic consulting firm. I think that they would also be invaluable to a number of research firms that conduct economic analysis as well. You seem to have some very good in country experiences. In Iraq, for example, can turn the page, your on the ground experiences, as well as your MBA training, could be extremely valuable to a number of consulting and security organizations. In my opinion, one of the big opportunities for the US military, as well as private consulting companies, is nationbuilding. The US military is unmatched in its ability to wage war - no one will go toe to toe. However, there is an opportunity for those with the knowledge to assist the military and its capability of that subsequent phase -- the phase where you have to put it all back together. I am not sure what your role is in the reconstruction effort, but you could put that experience to work for an international consulting company. Just something to think about.
One other thing -- I hope you have a name that reflects your ethnic diversity. You are going to want to mark Hispanic and possibly whites as well -- if given the choice. I would recommend that you consider applying to the consortium. However the Consortium has very specific essays on how you have contributed to your community or to the role of diversity. So, that might automatically exclude you since it seems a lot of your experiences have been solely placed within the military. Which is not to say that these military experiences absolutely exclude the possibility of applying to the consortium and correctly answering the diversity questions posed.
I hope I provided some good insight.
Just wanted to thank you for offering your help in this community, here is my profile:
25 y/o male, will be 26 upon matriculation. Currently serving in the military
Cornell University School of Engineering, B.S in Computer Science (GPA: 3.6)
GMAT: Have not taken it yet. Based on practice tests and my prep plan I am confident I will score a 730+)
Work Experience: US Army Infantry Officer
June 2008 - Jan 2009: Recruiting duty at Cornell ROTC (While waiting to start schooling)
Jan 2009 - Sep 2009: Schooling all of them field-based and very leadership intensive including The U.S Army Ranger School
Sep 2009 - Present: Platoon Leader of an Infantry platoon, commander of a 41 one man infantry platoon. I am responsible for executing and completing every mission my platoon recieves. Platoon is divided up into 4 ~10 man squads. Each of the squad leaders and platoon sergeant reports directly to me. I trained up and deployed with my platoon to Iraq for one year. I have excellent garrison and combat evaluations. I also used my technical background/initiative to improve many of the systems we used while deployed (and that will be told in my letters of recc if I request it) I am responsible for ~10 million dollars of equipment while deployed.
Will most likely move to a position with more logistical responsibility (but less leadership) as my time as a PL is coming to an end soon (~18-20 months)
I was chosen to be a Teaching Assistant as a sophomore for a 200 level programming which required me to develop lesson plans and teach two classes a week to ~35 students. Because I excelled I was offered (and accepted) a 400 level programming course TA spot my senior year.
VP of my fraternity during my junior year, responsible for ~100,000 budget (25 members at $4000 a year)
Cadet Battalion Commander of the ROTC Cadet Corp as a senior. This is the highest leadership position a cadet can hold. I was the cadet responsible for running the ROTC program at my school, which consisted of 125 cadets spread out over 5 universities. I recieved a national Douglas Macauthur Cadet Leadership award for my troubles. Also graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate, which essentially meant I was in the top 15% of cadets in the nation.
None really. Training and then deployed to Iraq so there hasn't really been an opportunity to. Military keeps you pretty busy!
Leading men has shown me my passion (which I think I can portray very well in my essays or interview from real life examples). My first impressions are that I am hoping for a general management position in a tech-based company (so I can utilize both degrees) with the eventual long term goal of starting something of my own once I get more business experience.
I am a proven leader, who gets results, and am able to motivate men in the most dire of circumstances. I am going to spend time on my essays and recommendation letters (by talking with my recommenders beforehand about my strategy) explaining my passion for leading men, my leadership philosophy and how I can get results/motivate people. How my skills are transferable to the civilian sec, how I learn from my mistakes. How I have found a passion (which is the truth) and how I think an MBA can help me to bring my passion into the business world where I can make a change and have an effect on people.
I am hoping to apply to the top business schools, I just wanted to know your thoughts. I know my weakness is lack of any real business experience, but I am hoping that my surplus of leadership experience and strong performance in my undergraduate major help to make up for that.
Also, the quick advice question I had was: I am 50% Hispanic (my dad is Puerto Rican). The other half is straight-up "white". I am not sure if I should mark myself as Hispanic on the application. While I did have exposure to my dad's side of the family and have gone to Puerto Rico for weddings I grew up in a white neighborhood and went to school there. I don't speak Spanish fluently either, although that can also be attributed to my dad's lack of involvement at times (parent's divorced at young age and mom was primary custodian). I don't really look Hispanic either. I have red hair but instead of a pale complexion I get tan and have brown eyes.
Thank you again.
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