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Should I even bother?

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Intern
Intern
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Status: Frustrated
Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 45
Location: San Francisco, CA
Schools: UC Berkeley (Haas), Santa Clara U (Leavey), UC Davis, University of San Francisco
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 6

Should I even bother? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2009, 14:29
I am an older would-be applicant; I'm in my early 40s. I finished my undergraduate degree in 1992.

Initially, I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as an architecture student. It became quickly evident that, both, the school and the major were not a match for me. I decided after only one year as an architecture student that it wasn't for me and left it. The second year I concentrated on taking my general education requirements, and it quickly became evident that I made the right decision in leaving: my grades improved considerably although my GPA was low as a result of my less than spectacular first year. I left Cal Poly after only two years, took a year off to work FT, and then enrolled at San Francisco State University as a film writing major. Once again, this proved to be the right move: my overall grades (major and general requirements) improved considerably. However, the damage was done. Because of that bad first semester at Cal Poly, my GPA is in the 2.0s.

I worked for a couple of years (92-94) and then enrolled in a graduate program in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. My experience there was great. I did well in the program and met lifelong friends. Quite a contrast from my time at Cal Poly. I graduated from SLC in 1996 with an MFA in writing.

I have been working since late 1996 (I mean, post schools). I worked for the local government (a position I had after SFSU and before I enrolled at SLC) as a civil servant (Eligibility Worker), processing applications (accepting/denying them based on the regulations of the program) for medical services. I had this position until 1998. Then I worked as an employment specialist, my responsibilities were similar to my previous position, accepting/denying applicants based on the regulations of the new program, plus adding an employment component to my responsibilities. I had to ensure my clients were employment-ready. I worked with low-income adults. More often than not, my clients had virtually no employment history, barely a high school education, suffered from substance abuse and mental health problems, and a high incidence of problems with the law (in and out of prison/jail). In 2001 I began working as a program specialist. In that position, which I currently hold, I work on projects, assisting one of the three program supervisors in tackling large-scale projects. As part of my responsibilities, these projects end (in about 95% of the time) in my writing a procedure outlining a process. Part of my job is that of "technical writer." I write an online manual of procedures that, in essence, tells our workers how to do their job.

I am an awful test-taker. I have always been. In high school I took all the tests for admission, SATs and a couple of others whose name I can't remember and may not be given anymore; after my undergraduate degree, I took the GRE. In all instances I did poorly. Remember in that movie Idiocracy how the soldier was picked as the guinea pig for the military's experiment based on how average he was? Well, that's me taking tests. I'm perhaps lower than average. I'm bad, and I hate taking this them. However, stadardized tests are a reality and I have to go along with this.

I am one of the lucky out there to still have a job, however, things around here are shaky. I started looking for a job and I've had some progress, but no interviews. Jobs, as you all know, are hard to come by right now. I've been thinking about getting an MBA for a few years now, but I haven't acted on it except for reading about the requirements attached to getting this degree. I am hoping that my past job experience with an MBA will put me in a better position to get a better job, will give me an edge, I will have more options.

To prepare myself for an eventual return to school, I decided to take some classes at the local junior college (San Francisco City College) to get back into student life. It had been 12 years since I last attended school, and I thought it would be a good idea to do this. My first semester back (Fall 2008), I took two classes for fun (Pass/No Pass). I took swiming and photography and I passed both. Second semester, Spring 2009, I only took one. Accounting I (Financial Accounting), and I got a B (well earned, if you ask me. Accounting is, indeed, like learning a new language). In the Summer of 2009, I took a grammar course (you can't go wrong with this one) and I got an A. This coming Spring 2010 semester I'm going to take Accounting II (Managerial Accounting), and Advanced Algebra.

So that's my little tale of woe. To summarize:

Latino/Latin American male (early 40s).
Raised in Latin America, educated in the U.S.
Bilingual Spanish/English
Cal Poly GPA: 2.34
SFSU GPA: 3.12
Overall undergraduate GPA: 2.86
SLC (graduate) GPA: 3.89
CCSF (post undergraduate/graduate) GPA: 3.42

GMAT: not yet taken; date open.

That's me in a nutshell. I don't have extracurricular activities that can be, well, quatified in any way. What can I say? Besides working, I've spent time with family,friends, doing the things I like, cooking, etc. I also write, and I've written a lot (novels, short stories, etc), but I have not been published yet. I take photographs, this is a recent interest I've taken. So, like I said, that's me.

Should I even bother applying for an MBA? What chance do I stand if I do? What schools should I aim for? Is any MBA better than no MBA (given my record, a possibility I was considering)? Since I haven't taken the GMAT, when should I aim for? I was thinking about applying for the Fall 2010, but I think I would be rushing into this. My intention is to apply for a FT program, but I wouldn't say no to other options.

I can't remember anything else to say. I've been writing too long. Now, let me have it. Thank you.

(I also posted this in the Admission Consultants section. I hope double posts are acceptable.)

Last edited by macandal on 15 Dec 2009, 14:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I even bother? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2009, 14:35
Sorry to respond to such a long post with such a short response but....

Q: Should I even apply to school?

A (really a Q): What do you want for a job after?

The response to that question is going to dictate a lot. Is grad school right for you? Do you need an MBA? What kind (part time, executive, full time, etc.)?
Intern
Intern
User avatar
Status: Frustrated
Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 45
Location: San Francisco, CA
Schools: UC Berkeley (Haas), Santa Clara U (Leavey), UC Davis, University of San Francisco
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 6

Re: Should I even bother? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2009, 15:00
DuckPond wrote:
Q: Should I even apply to school?

A (really a Q): What do you want for a job after?

I would like to work in corporate finance, investing, economic development. Working in Latin America would be ideal too.
Current Student
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Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 101
Schools: R1: Kellogg WL, Haas WL, Fuqua, Darden R2: Wharton
WE 1: Biotech Strategy
WE 2: Health Economics
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 11 [0], given: 2

Re: Should I even bother? [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2009, 11:06
Hmm, those fields are pretty far outside my narrow expertise.

If I were you I would try to get a job in the field (at any level), apply to part time programs and try and network/move up. I just don't see a positive return on a full time program.

Now, I often say, "please take XXX with a grain of salt," but I'd really like to emphasize that sentiment this time. I very likely know less than you about your potential transition. I think it would be best to talk to someone your age and in the field.
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Re: Should I even bother? [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2009, 15:10
Hi macandal,

I'm also working in S.F. so i'll give you my advice. Like the person before me, take it with a grain of salt. You can PM me if you have other questions or want my opinion on stuff as I'm also looking at Bay Area MBA programs (although I am much younger than you).

I think you really need to ask yourself a few questions before you apply for an MBA. Getting an MBA is (usually) going to be pretty expensive. You are losing 2 years of salary, paying what is usually a large tuition, and living in the bay area is expensive. Can you really afford it? Going into debt is much different for someone your age than in their 20s. If you do a part-time, you can keep your job, make some money, improve your work experience, and hopefully make some connections.

Secondly, you need to look at what type of job you can get afterwords. An MBA is going to take you at least 2 years to get, 3 or more if you go part-time. You are already in your 40s. I know you want a career change and a great paying job and whatnot, but just getting an MBA isn't going to get you that. Nearly every person going to an MBA program wants go work in finance or banking and honestly, a lot of people aren't going to get that wish. I realize you say you are willing to work your way up and whatnot, but how realistic is that? If you are in your mid-late 40s when you start working, how many more years of working do you think you have left? Also, would an MBA help you in your current career path? I know you want to change industries, but perhaps an MBA would help you salary wise and give you some more responsibilities which, although not ideal, would at least make your job better?

I'd look at some programs in the Bay Area and would call them up or look online to see what their job candidates credentials are and where they are getting plaved and what they are making. In the Bay the larger schools are USF, SF State, Berkeley, Stanford, and Davis. I'm going to be critical and say you have little chance at Berkeley or Stanford. Sorry but it's just my opinion with the low grades and questionable background as I don't see you have much of a quantitative background. Davis is going to require you to get a good GMAT score.

In my humble opinion, if you want to get into corporate finance or banking, you have a long path ahead. 2010 apps aren't going to happen as you know. Heck, I'd even question 2011. Bs from community colleges don't help. Neither does swimming or photography classes. I don't know why you would take a grammar course if you have an MFA in writing and are a writer. Admissions assumes you can write. It's the quant they will worry about. Make sure you get an A in accounting this semester, and you probably want to be comfortable with calculus if you want to get into finance.

If you really want to get an MBA after thinking about all of this, I would seriously look into local programs part-time. SF State is pretty affordable but again, check where their students are getting jobs. UC Davis has a bay area part-time program I'd also look into. USF is another option although it's pretty expensive.

Hope that helps you out a bit. PM me if you have any other questions or what additional advice. Good Luck!!
_________________

"You'd be out of your mind, like, uh, uh, you wouldn't be in your right mind."

Re: Should I even bother?   [#permalink] 20 Dec 2009, 15:10
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