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Toughest decision of my life

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Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2009, 01:12
Hopefully, you guys can provide some insight here.

I did my undergrad and grad at a top 10 and top 3 school respectively (in the US), both in CS. I've been working for a few months now, but...I'm not really enjoying it. That said, I've always wanted to do an MBA at a top-notch school (who doesn't? :P ), so here's my dilemma.

I'm thinking of quitting my job, and start working with non-profits or NGOs in developing regions (most likely in South Asia). I did do research with NGOs while in grad school, and that was something I enjoyed tremendously.

Now...could this move work against me when I start sending in my apps later this year?
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Re: Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2009, 04:12
It would only help you, especially if your rationale for B-School is related to the NGO experience. Plus, you enjoy that kind of work, so do it because you like it! It's great that you know what you enjoy! :)
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Re: Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2009, 04:27
pu2003 wrote:
It would only help you, especially if your rationale for B-School is related to the NGO experience. Plus, you enjoy that kind of work, so do it because you like it! It's great that you know what you enjoy! :)

I agree that you should do it if it is something that excites, not just if you think it will help with business school.

That aside, I think it will certainly help you for B school, except if your stated post-MBA goals related to your pre-NGO experience. If that is the case, the admissions committees might be quite confused about why you made this career change. You can probably work your way around it, but it is something to keep in mind.
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Re: Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2009, 04:44
Tack me up to the "go for it" column. A lot of b-schools love that type of thing to begin with since you will add some diversity to their student body. Plus, if you love doing it and it ties into what you want to do in the future it makes sense!
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Re: Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 08:33
mojo-

2 years ago I was basically in your exact same spot.

I had worked as an IT consultant for 3 years, didn't hate it persay, got to work on some interesting projects and definitely make a lot more $$ that I had before. But I also was really getting into traveling / foreign affairs / social enterprise, which is why I signed up for the peace corps(foreign aid agency of the US govt in case you're international). 2 years later I'm so glad I did it, experience of a lifetime and so many takeaways. My first glance thoughts on your situation are:

1-Just my opinion but if you are really looking to work on a project where you can make a real impact, you should probably commit to something for at least 6 months to a year, especially if the project involves any language-learning on your part. If you just do something for a couple months that will scream 'Im just doing this to build my resume'. Again just my opinion.

2-Do you think you're going to want to concentrate in social enterprise for your MBA?

3-Are you looking to do something entirely different from your background? For example I'm in social enterprise, but I do a lot of IT work as part of my position. You may be able to get more done quicker that way.

All and all I guess my main point is that when it comes to post-college / pre-MBA, a lot of people, especially bright ones like yourself want to say 'alright I want to finish this project by age XX, become a manager by age XX, and have my MBA by age XX', and I assure you that the more you get into social enterprise the more you'll realize that these int'l projects don't move on anything like a US schedule, you can't be in a hurry. But if that's ok by you, I think you are definitely on the right track. After all, there's so much time to work a typical US office job if you ever want to go back to it.

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat more in depth.
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Re: Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 08:40
mojoman wrote:
Hopefully, you guys can provide some insight here.

I did my undergrad and grad at a top 10 and top 3 school respectively (in the US), both in CS. I've been working for a few months now, but...I'm not really enjoying it. That said, I've always wanted to do an MBA at a top-notch school (who doesn't? :P ), so here's my dilemma.

I'm thinking of quitting my job, and start working with non-profits or NGOs in developing regions (most likely in South Asia). I did do research with NGOs while in grad school, and that was something I enjoyed tremendously.

Now...could this move work against me when I start sending in my apps later this year?


Since everyone has already listed the plus, I'll give you something else to concider. I think you need to be careful of switching jobs during a global recession. Right now there is high global unemployment and the money for projects just aren't flowing like it use to.

Secondly, I think you need to address WHY you hate your job. I think with a few months under your belt, I feel it would almost be better if you stayed, know why you dislike it, and if there are any jobs you might like. If you do MBA and get a post-MBA job that you also hate, then I think you've wasted that opportunity.
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Re: Toughest decision of my life [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2009, 08:47
mojoman wrote:
Hopefully, you guys can provide some insight here.

I did my undergrad and grad at a top 10 and top 3 school respectively (in the US), both in CS. I've been working for a few months now, but...I'm not really enjoying it. That said, I've always wanted to do an MBA at a top-notch school (who doesn't? :P ), so here's my dilemma.

I'm thinking of quitting my job, and start working with non-profits or NGOs in developing regions (most likely in South Asia). I did do research with NGOs while in grad school, and that was something I enjoyed tremendously.

Now...could this move work against me when I start sending in my apps later this year?


A good friend of mine did just this and got into Wharton. If this is what you want to do post-MBA, and if you're sincerely passionate about it (not just doing it because it might look good to adcom), then I'd say go for it. Incidently, my friend didn't end up doing this sort of work post-MBA - he's a finance guy today - but nevertheless, he was passionate about this, and it had a major impact on his life. Also, I think it depends on your age. If you're toward the older end of the spectrum, you may want to be more cautious about this. And to reiterate what an earlier post mentioned, if you want to stay in your current industry post-MBA, this wouldn't be a good move. Another consideration: since you've only been working a few months, I'd be concerned that adcoms might view this as evidence of indecisiveness or lack of commitment. You'd probably have to address that, at least during interviews.
Re: Toughest decision of my life   [#permalink] 13 Mar 2009, 08:47
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