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Unique Background. Stand a chance at top 10? Please help!

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Unique Background. Stand a chance at top 10? Please help! [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 17:55
I'm new to this site and I'm grateful I found it. I now spend hours and hours just reading the insights offered by some very knowledgeable individuals. I however, have a question of my own.

Arrived in the US in 1997 from a war torn country in east Africa. I attended High school in the metro area where the drop out rate was one of the highest in the nation. I ended up dropping out! Got a full time job and supported my sick father in Africa. Long story short, I got my GED and enrolled in a community college. I did terrible to the tune of 2.54 GPA in my freshman and half of my sophomore year. I took a break from that and went to visit my father in Africa. I started my own family and got a job as a sales manager at intercontinental hotels in their corporate accounts department. Stayed there for 4 years. Position was eliminated due to the economic meltdown of 2008.

I started a small online retail business selling electronics. I ran that as a part time business and ran it for two years, successfully. Two major suppliers went out of business in 2010, and I was forced to fold. I then remembered how much people in east Africa loved American consumer electronics. I got all my savings together and purchased electronics and took it to Africa. I sold it successfully and made a good profit margin on the deal. I needed more capital to invest in more products to make my trips worthwhile. Unfortunately at this time, no banks would loan me money, at least not for a business venture in Africa. I decided to put this business idea to the side and pursue my education.

I transferred to a "not yet known" four year public college. The newest four year public college since GA state university. Its called Georgia Gwinnett College. It is by the way a four year accredited public school. Its just new, started in 2006. I enrolled as a sophomore and transferred 47 credit hours from my community college. Here is where I did my turn around. My last two years in this school, my junior and senior year, after declaring my major, I maintained a 4.0 GPA and remained on the president's list since my first semester. I will now graduate with an overall GPA of 3.52. Not great by any means, but much better than 2.54. My major is accounting. The accounting program at this school has a good reputation.

I plan on studying my butt off for the GMAT and I'm shooting for a score of 720-740. Does a high school drop out who turned his life around, currently serving his community as a police officer, stand a chance at getting into a top 10 or even top 20 MBA program? Given my family background and history and my plan to go back to Africa and a play a critical role in developing Somalia's financial infrastructure, do you think I have a shot, or will my past finally bite me in the butt?

Thank you all in advance,
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Re: Unique Background. Stand a chance at top 10? Please help! [#permalink] New post 09 Mar 2012, 15:27
You seem to be an entrepreneur at heart. You do have a very unique background and can bring in a lot of valuable experience to your MBA class. Business schools are looking for unique experiences and back-grounds that can bring a new perspective to the table. I think you have a good chance at the top 10 MBA programs if you position your application well.

Good luck with your GMAT! The way you turned things around for yourself is something the ADCOMM will love to read. Keep in touch and let me know if any questions.

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Re: Unique Background. Stand a chance at top 10? Please help! [#permalink] New post 09 Mar 2012, 16:31
Anyone with a story this interesting DEFINTELY has a chance at a top school. With a top GMAT you will be well on your way to a Top 25 in my opinion. Your story is incredibly interesting, and shows true hardship, dedication, and determination. This is what great MBA essays are made of.

I would recommend working long and hard on those essays and GMAT, and you could definitely shoot for the stars.

Good luck!
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Re: Unique Background. Stand a chance at top 10? Please help! [#permalink] New post 10 Mar 2012, 04:18
Thank you all for the kind encouragement, I really appreciate it. Before finding this website, I didn't think I stood a chance at a top MBA program. It now appears to be possible.

I'm working on studying for the GMAT as we speak. I'm a little rusty on math and found that out quick after picking up Kaplan's GMAT 800 book. I'm also practicing some problems on this site. I'm shooting for 700-730 score.

Are there certain schools in the top 20 I should shoot for, given my personal and education background? In other words, do some programs have a reputation of being kind to an applicant like my self in terms of my academic background?

The other point is this. How much hardship and background diversity should I emphasize on my essays? I worked really hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA on my last two years and I'm working really hard on obtaining a good GMAT score. I would rather be admitted into a good school based on my academic prowess instead of inherited characteristics, such as race or national origin. Does that make sense? Or is this counterproductive? I feel like by emphasizing my diverse background in an attempt to get a favorable result, will undermine my hard work in school. I want to get in because I can compete with the best in the school, not because the school has statistics it needs to meet. Please tell me if I'm crazy.
Re: Unique Background. Stand a chance at top 10? Please help!   [#permalink] 10 Mar 2012, 04:18
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