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Profile evaluation - Underemployed

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Profile evaluation - Underemployed [#permalink] New post 02 Nov 2009, 13:12
Hello,

I appreciate any kind of advice for the following profile:

UNDERGRADUATE:

Age:27
Ethnicity: Turkish

B.S. Industrial Engineering, top school in Turkey
GPA: 3.14, Honors

Exchange Student for 1 semester at UIUC

GMAT:730
Other: ranked in top %0.01 percentile in University Entrance Exam

WORK EXPERIENCE

[*]2 years as an Analyst in a US Consulting Firm in Istanbul, Turkey.
Assigned in Management Consulting Projects for leading banks
Led client teams for Change Management activities
Business & process analysis

[*]1 year as an Options Trader for a multinational trading firm in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Pricing and trading major European market derivatives.

Why did I switch to trading? : No problem in consulting. However, I figured out that financial markets are fascinating after I started working in Management Consulting. Hence I set up a goal, educated myself - no masters, certificates etc. - did some good networking and found a spot in Amsterdam.

Here is the tricky part: The job was contract based - the risk I had to take at the time - At the time of crisis, the contract was not renewed, I was out of job. However, I may get a good recommendation letter from the director.

[*]6 months as a Sergeant in Military. Serving my community was the best choice during financial crisis. I don't know whether it counts as work experience.

[*]Currently working for a small-local FX brokerage firm as trader & investment consultant
Position is home-office, profit-share based.
Developing and executing trading strategies for computerized systems.
Preperation of special research reports for clients.

Why am I underemployed?: I couldn't find a good job right after I completed military service. I thought it is better to be underemployed than unemployed. In this job, my duties are aligned with my future goals & expectations, and it pays my bills. However, I know that a paid consulting or banking job with no relation to financial markets seems to be more prestigious.

EXTRACURRICULAR


Exchange study in US.
Critics & Articles published in several university magazines. - Mainly on cinema and politics.
Joined Business Case Study Contest in a team of four at senior year - we represented Turkey in European Finals.
Former licensed under-16 soccer player - I quitted soccer for full-time education.
Former Member of Economists platform, a popular NGO in Turkey

FUTURE PLANS:

Get a Prestigious MBA, find a well-respected position in fund management, investment consulting or private banking, get experience & good connections to prepare myself for future leadership needed in enhancing Financial Markets Sector in Turkey.

WHY MBA?

MBA has always been one of the steps I want to take, especially after I decided to switch to Financial Markets sector. I thought it was better to get a technical experience first, then combine this experience with MBA education to reach future managerial positions. I believe a solid MBA education will provide necessary soft skills, organizational perspective that I may be lacking of. I also need to know the most enhanced business practices in order to implement or adapt them in my country as a future leader.

SCHOOLS:


Top 10 or 20 Schools, especially in New York or closer areas: Columbia, Cornell, and NYU. Maybe Chicago. I may consider applying lower-ranked schools, however only small number of schools - mostly top 20 - provide loans for international students. That's a big consideration.

WORRIES

I think the job-loss and my current position will look unappealing. I know a supervisory position in a well-known firm will be more competitive, however I think it's a waste of time if this position is not related to my future goals. What should I do?

No managerial positions, only leading client teams in projects.

I can only apply to top schools which provide loans for international students. I am not sure that I am competitive for these schools.


Thank you for your time and suggestions.
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Re: Profile evaluation - Underemployed [#permalink] New post 02 Nov 2009, 17:09
In this kind of environment, losing a job isn't uncommon amongst finance applicants. It's not as big of a negative as you may perceive it to be. They get it - the vast majority of the time, adcoms understand that losing your job was due to circumstances beyond your control (especially since the overwhelming majority of applicants are junior level employees who aren't exactly the ones causing the ship to go down).

Best thing to do is to tell it as it is, rather than trying to spin it. It's not a big deal. And yes, the fact that you're underemployed is better than being unemployed - not just from a b-school applications perspective, but from a very practical perspective as well (you get out of the house, you're doing something productive, which keeps you mentally/emotionally healthy, you pay the bills, etc.).

And yes, you should be competitive for the schools you mentioned, although Columbia is going to be a stretch because you missed the Early Decision deadline (and their Regular Decision round is actually quite difficult to get in because they fill up a good chunk of their class from the Early Decision round). And yes, you should also give Chicago a try - it'll be a stretch, but you should have enough of a chance that it's worth at least a shot.

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Re: Profile evaluation - Underemployed [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2009, 04:48
Alex,

Thank you very much for your reply. It is really helpful and encouraging.

I have one more question if you don't mind. From whom should I get my recommendation letters?

Since my old company is bankrupt, it may be hard, not impossible, to contact with the directors - e-mail adresses aren't useful, phone numbers are changed - Is it really necessary to get recommendation from them, or bankruptcy more or less tell the story? - Though, that happened few months after I had laid off.

And should I get a recommendation from my current employer, although I am underemployed and my current company is small and local? Or should I get a recommendation form managers of well-known US consulting firm for which I worked for 2 years?

I really appreciate your suggestions on this matter.
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Re: Profile evaluation - Underemployed [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2009, 08:46
From a practical standpoint, get the recommendation letters from people you can easily get in touch with and who will spend the time to help you write them. That may very well end up being the consulting firm guys and your current boss. Best thing to do is to contact all of them and their response (or lack thereof) will dictate which ones you should go with.

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Re: Profile evaluation - Underemployed   [#permalink] 03 Nov 2009, 08:46
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