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Recommendation - Entrepreneur

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Joined: 11 Oct 2011
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Concentration: Finance
GMAT 1: Q49 V38
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Recommendation - Entrepreneur [#permalink] New post 29 Oct 2012, 20:05
I am a female self funded entrepreneur. I have never worked for anyone but for myself. Rather than volunteering for an NGO I have created a social venture that goes far beyond the impact that I could have as a volunteer and that is much more hands on. I am a little disappointed about the school application process as I feel that some parts of the application are geared towards people who have a more traditional professional backgrounds such as banking, consulting, fortune 500 jobs etc...For people like me who are self-starters and self-funded, I have major problems with the recommendation process as it requires superiors to be involved. I think that it is very unfair for people like me or those who are in family businesses. I believe that I have accomplished quite a bit as an entrepreneur and made a significant impact on people's life via my social venture. In addition, I have developed three other successful businesses. Many people suggest to get clients involved in the recommendation process, but it is a sensitive subject for some of us. An average entrepreneur does not have deep relationships with clients that can attest to your professional and leadership abilities. In addition I don't think it's appropriate to ask clients to spend hours trying to understand the MBA application process and the requirements that the Adcom is looking for and writing the letter and submitting it.

On a side note, for companies that are paying for their employees to go to school, I think that it poses another level for unfairness, as it would be in the best interest of the company to write a great recommendation as they will re-hire them. I don't think that this is a level playing field because of the recommendation process. Aside from the side note, Haas Business School, mentions that recommendations coming from people other than superiors can have a detrimental effect on your application. Unfortunately I do not have a better solution but to use my direct report and partner as recommenders since they know me best in a professional environment.

Please provide your feedback and opinion on this matter. I am interested in applying in Berekeley, but I feel that my recommendations will disqualify me from the onset.

Round 2 applicant

GMAT:average of top 10 programs
GPA: 3.9
Undergrad merit scholar, top 25 undergrad business program
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Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
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Re: Recommendation - Entrepreneur [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2012, 08:27
Expert's post
Soo first of all, I don't think you are at any disadvantages at all! Not regarding the funding and not regarding the recommenders. You just need to explore other horizons and other ways of approaching the application.

Soo, first of all, having started a non-profit probably puts you in a BETTER position than most of the people who have just moved up through corporate. Of course a lot depends on the non-profit itself, its size, its fundraising, your results, etc. But if those are good you could potentially have an amazingly strong profile.

Regarding the recommenders, there is no disadvantage here, although it can be "tricky". The first thing you need to do is to explain yourself in your optional essay (i.e. write "I have always been self employed...") Your recommenders could be pulled from clients, partners, academic advisors/professors, supervisors in other capacities (in volunteer work, social or religious life) etc. Whatever the case you definitely somewhere in your background have three people who would be great recommenders. Figuring out WHICH to choose is the hard part though!

Finally, regarding the "unfairness" of sponsorship. There's first of all nothing unfair about it at all. Huge companies with huge funds invest in their future. It's only natural. Secondly, outside of EMBA programs this happens much much more rarely than you would think. Thirdly (and most interesting for you) if you are in non-profit there are all sorts of "Tuition forgiveness" schemes and special scholarships (both from the schools and from outside institutions). Look for example at Yale: http://mba.yale.edu/MBA/admissions/fina ... ness.shtml

Your recommendations will NOT disqualify you!! You have potential to be a very strong candidate, you just need to "choose wisely". :)

_________________

Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado

Admissionado.com

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Re: Recommendation - Entrepreneur   [#permalink] 30 Oct 2012, 08:27
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