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The Best Work Experience?

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The Best Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2010, 22:54
I am currently an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelor's of Arts in Economics from a top 20 (top 10 sometimes) small, liberal arts institution. My school doesn't offer anything more specialized for business, though I am able to take business/finance-focused courses within the economics department. I will have spent a semester abroad in Freiburg with a program focused on the EU, taking classes in international business and finance. I am intent on achieving an MBA and am looking for valuable work experience before applying. That's half my profile! Help me get the other half.

What kind of business experience do you think is the best for later MBA admission? If you could design a hypothetical "slam-dunk" work experience for getting into a top 10 school,
1) Large or small business?
2) Profit or non-profit?
3) What industry? Banking, finance, entrepreneurship...?
4) How long? (Two years? Four years?)
5) International experience: Yea or Nay?
6) What kinds of leadership should one exhibit? What kinds of work behaviors are most valuable to an admissions officer?
7) If one made the decision to forego work experience, what qualities/experiences must one possess for this to be acceptable?

Thanks for your time and patience. I've had a difficult time finding generalized answers to these questions anywhere.
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Re: The Best Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2010, 14:10
Instead of trying to fit the mold of a "perfect applicant", focus on trying to figure out what you enjoy doing and do it. Although, if you're dream is H/S/W, working in consulting/i-banking/or starting the next Facebook doesn't hurt.
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Re: The Best Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2010, 14:24
XPJ wrote:
Instead of trying to fit the mold of a "perfect applicant", focus on trying to figure out what you enjoy doing and do it. Although, if you're dream is H/S/W, working in consulting/i-banking/or starting the next Facebook doesn't hurt.


Not sure I quite agree with the consulting/IB comment. You would end up competing against other consultants/IBs and if that's not your passion you're not going to be able to stand out amongst the others.

I do agree with doing what you really enjoy though. Business schools look for a consistent story and as long as you do well in what you enjoy, you should be in good shape. If your community/extracurricular experience also lines up to that consistent story, even better.

Also - if I knew what business schools were looking for all along, I probably would have done a better job documenting my career successes as they happened. Thinking back 3 years to an exceptional leadership experience can be tough. The details fade. If you keep your material well organized, you should have some really good examples to begin writing your essays. Similarly, either write your GMAT soon (if you think you'll be applying within 5 years) or keep your skills sharp over the years. Pretty sure I could have picked up another 20-30 points if I was still in "school mode."
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Re: The Best Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2010, 14:29
Forgot to mention... Big YAY for international experience. The more international exposure you get, the more opportunities you're likely to get, the more stories you'll have to share, the more it'll broaden your perspectives and make you better candidate for the b-school classroom.
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Re: The Best Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2010, 15:42
Just create the next facebook.

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Re: The Best Work Experience? [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2010, 11:18
You can check on various adcoms interviews. They will reply that it is not only a matter of industries or functions, it is more a matter of impact (=quality) you have made in your career. Show progression and what you have learned professionally and personally.

Add extracurriculars to your list in order to distinguish your interests.
Re: The Best Work Experience?   [#permalink] 17 Dec 2010, 11:18
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