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Teach for America > B-school?

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Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 10:40
I've heard that some people go from a 2-year TFA stint to B-school. I have a few years of non-business work experience, a 3.5 non-business undergrad GPA, and a 760 GMAT. My goal is to break into strategy consulting after b-school. No idea if this is even possible with my admittedly weak resume. Do b-schools like to see candidates do Teach for America? If I do TFA, do I have any chance at a top 7 b-school? Top 3? Thanks. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 10:54
If you already have work experience, I wouldn't join TFA just to get into an MBA program. If you had no work experience because you just finished college, then I would certainly recommend it.

From what I gather, the key is not necessarily that you have a specific background, but that you have a history of leadership. If you can show that, I think you'll be competitive. Plus, schools are always throwing the diversity word around.

With a 3.5/760, I imagine it's all about how you present yourself. Nothing you do will change the work experience you already have.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 11:06
method wrote:
If you already have work experience, I wouldn't join TFA just to get into an MBA program. If you had no work experience because you just finished college, then I would certainly recommend it.

From what I gather, the key is not necessarily that you have a specific background, but that you have a history of leadership. If you can show that, I think you'll be competitive. Plus, schools are always throwing the diversity word around.

With a 3.5/760, I imagine it's all about how you present yourself. Nothing you do will change the work experience you already have.

My experience is pretty ugly, though: I've been a paralegal for ~ 2 years. I thought I wanted to go to law school, and clearly have changed my mind. While I've had some good experience (including trial experience etc.) it's definitely not the IB/VC/PE stuff that most HWS applicants have... I think I could spin it in the right direction, and probably gather some good recommendations, but I'm worried that I have no shot at all at Top 3 or 7 or 10 schools due to experience, and I thought that TFA might be something that would boost my resume (and something I'd actually really like to do as well). Am I totally off on that?

By the way, thanks for your advice. I really don't have a clue what I'm doing with this process.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 11:21
Don't fall into the trap thinking that it's only IB/VC/PE that gets into HWS!

If I had your background I would definitely put some spin control on it. "Coming out of undergrad, I knew I wanted to explore the law. But before sinking a lot of money and time into an expensive law school, I thought I would get some experience as a paralegal to verify my interest and serve as valuable experience if I did go to law school. While taking every opportunity available as a paralegal to learn about law, I actually developed a superior interest in A, B, and C, and I am now convinced that your MBA program is the best route for me."

Tons of MBA applicants are career changers. If you present the paralegal experience as a cost-effective way of testing the waters, I think you could show a tremendous sense of maturity that's respected from a business perspective.

Anyway, interested in seeing the other advice on this! Good luck mate!
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 12:40
you got this! i'd agree with method - it's all about how you write your essays and present yourself to show your career progression.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 14:53
helpabrotherout wrote:
method wrote:
If you already have work experience, I wouldn't join TFA just to get into an MBA program. If you had no work experience because you just finished college, then I would certainly recommend it.

From what I gather, the key is not necessarily that you have a specific background, but that you have a history of leadership. If you can show that, I think you'll be competitive. Plus, schools are always throwing the diversity word around.

With a 3.5/760, I imagine it's all about how you present yourself. Nothing you do will change the work experience you already have.

My experience is pretty ugly, though: I've been a paralegal for ~ 2 years. I thought I wanted to go to law school, and clearly have changed my mind. While I've had some good experience (including trial experience etc.) it's definitely not the IB/VC/PE stuff that most HWS applicants have... I think I could spin it in the right direction, and probably gather some good recommendations, but I'm worried that I have no shot at all at Top 3 or 7 or 10 schools due to experience, and I thought that TFA might be something that would boost my resume (and something I'd actually really like to do as well). Am I totally off on that?

By the way, thanks for your advice. I really don't have a clue what I'm doing with this process.


paralegal is a dead-end job. Paralegal = Secretary. Sorry I don't think you can spin it in anyway to show leadership. You are competing with actual lawyers. My advice is get a real job and do it for a couple of years.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 15:02
lawgonebusiness wrote:
helpabrotherout wrote:
method wrote:
If you already have work experience, I wouldn't join TFA just to get into an MBA program. If you had no work experience because you just finished college, then I would certainly recommend it.

From what I gather, the key is not necessarily that you have a specific background, but that you have a history of leadership. If you can show that, I think you'll be competitive. Plus, schools are always throwing the diversity word around.

With a 3.5/760, I imagine it's all about how you present yourself. Nothing you do will change the work experience you already have.

My experience is pretty ugly, though: I've been a paralegal for ~ 2 years. I thought I wanted to go to law school, and clearly have changed my mind. While I've had some good experience (including trial experience etc.) it's definitely not the IB/VC/PE stuff that most HWS applicants have... I think I could spin it in the right direction, and probably gather some good recommendations, but I'm worried that I have no shot at all at Top 3 or 7 or 10 schools due to experience, and I thought that TFA might be something that would boost my resume (and something I'd actually really like to do as well). Am I totally off on that?

By the way, thanks for your advice. I really don't have a clue what I'm doing with this process.


paralegal is a dead-end job. Paralegal = Secretary. Sorry I don't think you can spin it in anyway to show leadership. You are competing with actual lawyers. My advice is get a real job and do it for a couple of years.

To be fair, associates don't "lead" at all either.

My problem is that I'm unqualified for a "real job."
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 15:10
There's no such thing as leadership in law. Period.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 15:14
True. So did you practice first or go straight to b-school? Obviously different situations, but how did you spin your law experience into a "leadership" story without making it look like you just hated law and wanted a new career?
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 16:56
helpabrotherout wrote:
True. So did you practice first or go straight to b-school? Obviously different situations, but how did you spin your law experience into a "leadership" story without making it look like you just hated law and wanted a new career?


Practiced for about a year and half. Focused on pro-bono stuff.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2010, 18:06
The spin control doesn't have to be about leadership, it just has to turn an "ugly" into something more intelligent. And the fact that aren't going into law proves you made a wise choice by not going to law school. If the job prevents you from leadership opportunities, that's almost a plus for you since you can explain it as the nature of the work.

You'll have to muster up some leadership points elsewhere, but not all is lost. Plus, lets say you take the advice to work a few more years -- there's nothing stopping you from applying now. If you get in, great! If not, you know what you need to work on.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:14
method wrote:
The spin control doesn't have to be about leadership, it just has to turn an "ugly" into something more intelligent. And the fact that aren't going into law proves you made a wise choice by not going to law school. If the job prevents you from leadership opportunities, that's almost a plus for you since you can explain it as the nature of the work.

You'll have to muster up some leadership points elsewhere, but not all is lost. Plus, lets say you take the advice to work a few more years -- there's nothing stopping you from applying now. If you get in, great! If not, you know what you need to work on.


It's just that the OP's chance is kind of slim given that he only worked as a paralegal.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:19
lawgonebusiness wrote:
method wrote:
The spin control doesn't have to be about leadership, it just has to turn an "ugly" into something more intelligent. And the fact that aren't going into law proves you made a wise choice by not going to law school. If the job prevents you from leadership opportunities, that's almost a plus for you since you can explain it as the nature of the work.

You'll have to muster up some leadership points elsewhere, but not all is lost. Plus, lets say you take the advice to work a few more years -- there's nothing stopping you from applying now. If you get in, great! If not, you know what you need to work on.


It's just that the OP's chance is kind of slim given that he only worked as a paralegal.

Might as well give it a shot. Not much to lose. Plus I have other experience I can draw from. Did you go to CLS?
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:30
If you can show real leadership experience outside of work, such as starting an charitable organization and running it, and so forth, then that can help compensate.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:32
helpabrotherout wrote:
lawgonebusiness wrote:
method wrote:
The spin control doesn't have to be about leadership, it just has to turn an "ugly" into something more intelligent. And the fact that aren't going into law proves you made a wise choice by not going to law school. If the job prevents you from leadership opportunities, that's almost a plus for you since you can explain it as the nature of the work.

You'll have to muster up some leadership points elsewhere, but not all is lost. Plus, lets say you take the advice to work a few more years -- there's nothing stopping you from applying now. If you get in, great! If not, you know what you need to work on.


It's just that the OP's chance is kind of slim given that he only worked as a paralegal.

Might as well give it a shot. Not much to lose. Plus I have other experience I can draw from. Did you go to CLS?


Not CLS, but another T6. Yeah, I agree, you should just try it.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:40
lawgonebusiness wrote:
Not CLS, but another T6. Yeah, I agree, you should just try it.

Gotcha. Yea my plan was to go to a T6 last year (N) but that got derailed by the bottom falling out of the legal industry. Plus I really kind of hate law, so hopefully it was a blessing in disguise. Thanks for your help and good luck at CBS.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:49
helpabrotherout wrote:
lawgonebusiness wrote:
Not CLS, but another T6. Yeah, I agree, you should just try it.

Gotcha. Yea my plan was to go to a T6 last year (N) but that got derailed by the bottom falling out of the legal industry. Plus I really kind of hate law, so hopefully it was a blessing in disguise. Thanks for your help and good luck at CBS.


Let me be the first to congratulate you on not going to law school. the legal industry is in a deep sh*thole. I think you may want to switch to a non-profit for a year or two before applying. I went to law school when the whole thing was at the peak of its bubble stage.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 07:52
lawgonebusiness wrote:
helpabrotherout wrote:
lawgonebusiness wrote:
Not CLS, but another T6. Yeah, I agree, you should just try it.

Gotcha. Yea my plan was to go to a T6 last year (N) but that got derailed by the bottom falling out of the legal industry. Plus I really kind of hate law, so hopefully it was a blessing in disguise. Thanks for your help and good luck at CBS.


Let me be the first to congratulate you on not going to law school. the legal industry is in a deep sh*thole. I think you may want to switch to a non-profit for a year or two before applying. I went to law school when the whole thing was at the peak of its bubble stage.

Yea, it's a nightmare. I know people at HYS who struck out at OCI this year... Not to mention, the best case scenario is Biglaw working 80-hr weeks while narrowly avoiding layoffs. No thanks.

Definitely will look into the non-profit idea.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2010, 08:05
Like your clear-headedness. law is dead for the next 10 years. too oversaturated.
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Re: Teach for America > B-school? [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2010, 05:48
How much better would a non-profit/NGO type gig look for a b-school application? Are any of them easy to get? I'm in the DC area so I think there are a bunch of those types of organizations, but not sure how to go about looking.
Re: Teach for America > B-school?   [#permalink] 08 Oct 2010, 05:48
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