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Searching for Jobs WHILE Applying...

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Intern
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Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Posts: 36
GMAT 1: 710 Q47 V40
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Searching for Jobs WHILE Applying... [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2013, 08:30
Hi there,

First, let me say that I am a huge fan of your blog. Both the wit and substance have certainly added more than a few smiles to my somewhat protracted b-school application process.

Now, the conundrum:

It is the month of August, the beginning of the admissions cycle, and I find that I am unemployed.

A little background: After spending 3 years in IT Operations, I took a sharp left turn by joining the Peace Corps (I wanted to do something internationally). There, I discovered I had some entrepreneurial leanings and came home to help start an early-stage startup (the founding partners hadn't even incorporated when I joined). Fast forward to now... and it seems as though the business has run its course (further cementing my need for b-school). I remain involved at a distance, but the work has gone down from 40 hours per week to less than 5.

While this does give me the luxury of time to visit all of the schools on my list and to (hopefully) prepare strong applications, I'm worried that this might add another wrinkle to my already eclectic work history. To further complicate matters, my short-term plan goal is strategy consulting, an industry notoriously concerned with both brand and career progression. I'm considering a few different options (Peace Corps Response (short-term peace corps assignment, to further globalize my experience), a role at another startup, an analyst-type role at a more established firm). I've also stepped up my involvement with a local non-profit that I currently on the board of. I have several side-projects I'm considering as well (heading to a developing country to pick up a language for several months, trying to potentially start an online business), though these will not come to fruition in time to help with the admissions process.

Ultimately, I know I will need to find something very soon, hopefully prior to application submission! What advice would you typically give to someone who is in the process of making a job/career transition while applying to top-MBA programs? Would any of these options (eg. working for a company one had worked with before, positions that do not continue an upward trend, etc.) really be shooting myself in the foot? How can a transition like this be positioned from an application standpoint? (eg. Getting additional experience which might be valuable to longer-term career goals?).

Many thanks.
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Re: Searching for Jobs WHILE Applying... [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2013, 15:02
Hey Determined - with that attitude then you're bound to be successful!!! A tricky situation though, for sure.

First up: While you've got the eclectic background, that can also be seen as an advantage - it all depends on how you create the story and present the case for a) why you did what you did, and b) what you want to do in the future - and most especially, c) how the past supports the future. Strategy consulting is indeed competitive and the more traditional "bschool profile" is somewhat easier to sell with that as the goal... but strategy consulting is all about critical thinking and taking risks and breaking down status quo. The consulting firms (and many of the bschools) like the liberal arts majors, for these reasons exactly - and your background, while yes eclectic, could also be seen favorably by many.

Provided, of course, that you're able to take control of the messaging and show the adcom how the past decisions and steps in the career have been the right path to prepare you for this next thing you want to do.

On to your current situation.

Since you're a reader of the blahg (thank you for the kind words, BTW) then maybe you've already seen these posts, but we'll list them out in case anyone in your shoes stumbles across this later on:

* "I want to quit my job and go to bschool"
* "Is it ok to switch jobs while I'm applying to bschool?"
* Part 2 of that post: Other considerations to consider if you're considering switching jobs
* and Part 3

None of these exactly answer the question you've raised - but we actually think that our preamble ramble maybe has.

The ideal scenario is that you find something that helps you prepare for your SHORT-TERM (not long-term) goals, and that you're able to start NOW. It's way better to have a current job on the resume, then there's less complications to explain. It's just like dating: you're always more attractive to the people you want to be attractive to when you've got a boy/girlfriend on your arm.

HOWEVER: You can't exactly go into a new job right now without disclosing to them that you're probably hopefully prayerfully gonna be leaving for bschool. It's borderline not the best in terms of ethics. It's not actually lying if you don't tell them but it's not the nicest thing ever. And does that mean you're screwing yourself out of getting hired in the first place? Tough questions. We understand the challenge.

Not sure we can do more to help out without knowing more but if you want to throw some additional questions at us, or specific options you have on the table, we'll try to address them.

Final thoughts: We have worked with a bunch of BSers in your position and they ALL got into bschool despite this wrinkle. Don't lose hope!! But it will be stressful (more than it already is) and you need to be creative in your solutions.

EssaySnark
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Re: Searching for Jobs WHILE Applying...   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2013, 15:02
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