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I'm just rounding out my first year of TFA. It's pretty clear that teaching is not the direction I want to go, and while the experience is bearable and at times rewarding, I'm not sure that I want to invest another year into going in a direction that's different from my career goals (i.e. business). However, I do understand that completing TFA could increase my chances of getting into a top grad school, so I'm currently weighing the option of going back for my second year vs. finding a job in business. Any advise?
It's always better to honor commitments..but if you are deeply unhappy at TFA leave. If not, stay...it's only another 9 months. I know 9 months can seem like a long time when you are focused on your career direction & eventual MBA application.
TFA is known for being very selective (I hear they only take the top 10% of people who apply) ...they're also known for taking people with 'grit'. Completing your tour of duty will speak to your grit - then again, leaving, if spun the right way, won't necessarily be detrimental to you. In other words, unless you have a plausible excuse, there are no excuses, Noexcuses.
Thank you for the prompt response (it says a lot about fxmbaconsulting). I am not deeply unhappy at TFA. The only reason I would have for leaving is just that it's not the direction that I want to take my career. So rather than spend another year going in a different direction (I'm already two years out of college - spent the first one managing my parents' restaurant), I could find a job that is more aligned with my career goals. That's really the only way I could think to spin it. Do you think that would be detrimental to my application? Thanks!
I'd recommend that you stick it out for another year. If not, it will seem like you're all over the place -- one year at the restaurant, one year teaching, then one year doing something else. Many people use b-school itself as a way to pivot their career. Do you really feel like you need to pivot beforehand?
Also, what type of business position are you seeking? I understand that teaching isn't the right career for you, but are you still planning to stay in the education field? If so, finishing your TFA commitment would be more important.
FYI, I work at the intersection of business and education and will be starting b-school this fall. I didn't do TFA, but I knew that teaching wasn't the right path for me, although its an incredibly admirable pursuit.
Advice, Musings, and Experiences from a member of the HBS Class of 2016 http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/
I was imagining in my head how everything would look on your resume. I listed two possible scenarios below. I'm assuming you are 24 right now.
Scenario 1 1 year of entrepreneurship/family business (22-23) 1 year of TFA (23-24) 2 years in business role (when you apply, nearly 3 years by the time you attend) (24-27) MBA (27-29)
Scenario 2 1 year of entrepreneurship/family business (22-23) 2 years of TFA (23-25) 2 years in business role (when you apply, nearly 3 years by the time you attend) (25-28) MBA (28-30)
My own hunch is that from an HR or Adcom perspective anytime someone does 1 year or less of something, it is seen as interesting but unsubstantial. 1 year isn't seen as enough time to acquire expert knowledge/experience and there is always a question mark surrounding why that person left. Of course when we are talking about internships or a gap year, there is no negative. I think 1 year working in the family business equates to that post-college exploratory phase and is a positive - it says, I started going down a path but had enough self-awareness to realize, it wasn't for me. I shifted gears into something more challenging/fulfilling (fill in the blank).
Ultimately there is no perfect answer to your question, and it is really your call. But, when we look at the two profiles I think most people would feel that the second one belongs to someone who is a little more consistent, someone who will be able to write his essays and confidently reference experiences at TFA as well as in the working world because he has enough experience in both to legitimately do so. By the time you start interviewing for internships and later, jobs you would have 2.5-3 years in your first role post-TFA. Hopefully you will have at least one promotion under your belt in that time. I think the combination of 2 TFA years plus 3 years in business is going to really work for you.
Best, Leah Derus fxmabaconsulting . com
Re: Second year of TFA?
17 Jul 2014, 08:13