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Serious career advice needed

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Manager
Manager
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Status: Dream big, work hard, and drink gallons of beer!
Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 213
Concentration: Finance, General Management
GMAT Date: 10-01-2011
WE: Web Development (Consulting)
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Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 33

Serious career advice needed [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2011, 17:59
I am at a juncture where I need serious advice for my career. I am an IT programmer having 8 years of experience, 1-2 years in India and rest in USA. It has been a long battle to contemplate on which path to choose from career point of view. I used to like doing IT development and design, but lately I started realizing I don't have enough passion for IT. Finance is one of the passion which I developed recently and I would like to make a move to serious finance position and grow from there. To start with and to prove it to myself that it is not really a short lived interest, I registered for CFA level 1, studied for around 4 months, and appeared for the exam in this month. Results are expected in next few months. I am quite certain that I will get through barring those unexpected scantron errors or ill-fate. CFA level 1 exam was just a starting, level 2 and level 3 are going to follow. Now I am planning to target for GMAT, target score being 750+. I am planning for the high score as I feel I don't have very solid profile to be considered for MBA, so planning to get higher score so at least I have something to show on my profile.

That said, starting with WC, I haven't done anything great except writing impressive software code, winning few appreciations from clients and doing impressive design, but really doesn't have quantitative figures to prove that as most of the people applying for MBA do. Since I don't have much management experience even though I have 8 years of experience(Others in the similar situation are likely to have much solid profile than what I have) and I don't have any badges to show in EC either, so I consider my profile as not very competent to be sell-able from MBA point of view.

To build a solid profile before I am ready to apply, I am ready to quit my current job to get some management experience if needed (But to be honest, getting a job which hires me to get me some management experience is going to be pretty hard unless I have degree like MBA or PMP), also ready to do something for NGOs if that helps me build the profile. However, it's not going to be easy either due to the time constraint as CFA requires a lot of hard work. But I can try if I have to. I am also considering to get PMP and learn one language if that helps. Could someone please advice which direction should I follow to build a solid profile before I am ready for the application?
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If I look absent-minded or insane, I am just living a dream of being successful. If you still wonder why I am like this, you have no idea how success tastes like!

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Manager
Manager
User avatar
Status: Dream big, work hard, and drink gallons of beer!
Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 213
Concentration: Finance, General Management
GMAT Date: 10-01-2011
WE: Web Development (Consulting)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 33

Re: Serious career advice needed [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2011, 07:40
No replies so far :( Can someone please reply on this post?
_________________

If I look absent-minded or insane, I am just living a dream of being successful. If you still wonder why I am like this, you have no idea how success tastes like!

Director
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Re: Serious career advice needed [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2011, 11:35
I think it's tough for someone to give you very specific advice on this topic. For one, you seem to be very aware of the different things that are important in building a solid B school application profile. So that is a very first good step that you have accomplished.

However, in my opinion, it is really up to the individual to determine the path that leads to a strong profile. And, also in my opinion, that path should be dictated by your personal interests, desires and objectives rather than just "I want to get into a good B school" (I'm not saying that's what you want, but I think maybe you are a little too outcome focused).

So what motivates you and how much does it motivate you?

If you really love finance, then determine whether it is worth it to maybe take a step back in your career to jump into that field. Or if it's ECs you are interested in, why not use your CFA skills to give pro bono financial planning support in impoverished areas to help others raise up out of poverty? Use that to develop your skills while helping others. See if there's a way at your job to take on more financially-oriented roles. Can you help develop and manage the budget for your next project? Can you think of ways to save money on the project? Get creative and proactive!

And keep in mind that "management experience" is a very nebulous term. It sounds like you've had some successes in managing clients and projects in your IT career. Reflect on those and how they support your career objectives in finance. Also, your successes don't have to be strictly quantitative. Think of how what you worked on enabled others to do their jobs better. I maybe 3 quantitative things on my resume, but plenty of qualitative successes that are usually what interviewers have focused on.

Your "profile" is one aspect of a strong B school application. But the passion you have for the path that you have set out for yourself might be equally as important, so be sure that you choose a path that you really believe in and, in doing so, I have confidence that you will find creative ways to fulfill it.
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Manager
Manager
User avatar
Status: Dream big, work hard, and drink gallons of beer!
Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 213
Concentration: Finance, General Management
GMAT Date: 10-01-2011
WE: Web Development (Consulting)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 33

Re: Serious career advice needed [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2011, 12:44
Thanks for the reply! I like the idea of pro bono financial support but I don't know where to start. I have started contacting some people on Volunteer match etc but I don't get the reply from them most of the time. Also I see most of the opportunities which are full time. Of course, I can't quit my job for the full time support.

The other thing I am not sure of "what really counts?". I mean think about it, say I write on my MBA application that I am very good manager as I have been very good at managing my kitchen and keeping the apartment in good shape. Does it count? No. I know people are going to say, "What crap!". The same argument applies to if I have been helping in my local community library, does that count? I think, No. That's where I need to see where I should spend time optimally with respect to the charitable work which is for good cause and also beneficial for me. Rather than just spending time for no good.

Also, I have plenty of interests, not really limited to one passion, really I was not born with talent, whatever I have is because of sheer hard work, and I know whatever I get into, I simply start loving it, be it building a web site, managing a project, learning a product, planning for an event, learning new language, meeting new people or whatever you can think of including dance, music, social work etc. Question is where should I spend the limited time to get most out of it. At this point of time, yes, the goal is to get into a B school. For that, I can limit my activities and focus on what is required for good B school application. For the rest, I have my whole life to enjoy.
_________________

If I look absent-minded or insane, I am just living a dream of being successful. If you still wonder why I am like this, you have no idea how success tastes like!

Director
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Re: Serious career advice needed [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2011, 10:24
sgupta0827 wrote:
Thanks for the reply! I like the idea of pro bono financial support but I don't know where to start. I have started contacting some people on Volunteer match etc but I don't get the reply from them most of the time. Also I see most of the opportunities which are full time. Of course, I can't quit my job for the full time support.


Sorry, I can't be much help there. Keep scouring the various volunteer websites and maybe do a Google on organizations that do specifically what you want to do.

sgupta0827 wrote:
The other thing I am not sure of "what really counts?". I mean think about it, say I write on my MBA application that I am very good manager as I have been very good at managing my kitchen and keeping the apartment in good shape. Does it count? No. I know people are going to say, "What crap!". The same argument applies to if I have been helping in my local community library, does that count? I think, No. That's where I need to see where I should spend time optimally with respect to the charitable work which is for good cause and also beneficial for me. Rather than just spending time for no good.


It's not necessarily what you do that counts, but the impact that it has. So helping your local community library can be a great EC if you have a good impact on it, such as managing their annual fundraising drive, raising community awareness through grassroots PR, developing a software tool that will help them better track checked out books, etc. I feel that ECs are a great way for you to build the "management" expertise that you desire. The organizations will be more open to it since, well, you'll be doing it for free. That will help with B school but I doubt many employers will see it as super valuable (but it won't hurt).

I think your eagerness to do a meaningful EC activity is great, but I would still really focus on ways to grow at work - to get that financial and/or managerial experience you want. I don't really know your personal employment situation, but see my previous post for some ideas around that.

sgupta0827 wrote:
Also, I have plenty of interests, not really limited to one passion, really I was not born with talent, whatever I have is because of sheer hard work, and I know whatever I get into, I simply start loving it, be it building a web site, managing a project, learning a product, planning for an event, learning new language, meeting new people or whatever you can think of including dance, music, social work etc. Question is where should I spend the limited time to get most out of it. At this point of time, yes, the goal is to get into a B school. For that, I can limit my activities and focus on what is required for good B school application. For the rest, I have my whole life to enjoy.


While I generally feel that quality is better than quantity, maybe your thing is to get involved in a lot of different activities...a bit of a renaissance man. In doing so, though, you have to be sure that you are having on impact (there's that word again) on yourself, the organization/group you are working with, and the other people involved in that organization/group.

However, I would still caution against focusing/limiting for the sake of B school. Unless you are really motivated about an activity, whether it is work or EC, then I don't know if you will be able to make that impact that I keep obsessing over. That's a judgment call on your part.

I'm probably the most untalented guy you'll ever meet, so don't let that get in your way. In fact, one of my best B school essays revolved around my self-proclaimed skill of being a "specialized generalist". It sounds like your talent is great eagerness, open-mindedness, and ability to pick up new things (sounds like pretty solid managerial traits if you ask me).

Good luck!
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Manager
Manager
User avatar
Status: Dream big, work hard, and drink gallons of beer!
Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 213
Concentration: Finance, General Management
GMAT Date: 10-01-2011
WE: Web Development (Consulting)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 33

Re: Serious career advice needed [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2011, 11:45
Thanks again for the feedback! I think that was a great feedback, although I am not sure if the managerial trait you mentioned will be seen in a positive way by B schools, but I will keep in mind while writing my essays. It definitely helps to judge the personality when you get such feedback; I wish I could get more of those kind. By the way, just for your information, I could get in touch with one lady who is interested in working with me for a position in non profit organization. She asked for my volunteer resume. While I was preparing for the resume, I realized I do have lot of ECs which I could mention on my profile, just that I don't have numbers to prove and I felt they were not worth mentioning on resume, so I never mentioned. As per your advice, I mentioned everything whatever I did so far, let's see if I get any response from her.
_________________

If I look absent-minded or insane, I am just living a dream of being successful. If you still wonder why I am like this, you have no idea how success tastes like!

Re: Serious career advice needed   [#permalink] 15 Jun 2011, 11:45
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