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What can I do in the next 2-4 years to help my chances? MBA

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Joined: 14 Oct 2012
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Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Leadership
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What can I do in the next 2-4 years to help my chances? MBA [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2012, 19:56
Okay, so I have a spotted past that I feel will ultimately determine my chances at getting into an excellent MBA program.

The short story:

The short story is that I screwed up my initial undergrad with a mixture of rebellious rock band touring, health issues, caring for family members and awful financial issues. I then worked at a dumbed-down job (supervisory management position at Canadian Airport equivalent to TSA) for 2 years after hitting my lowest point. I then re-enrolled in a third-tier university BBA program (will be the quickest one to complete as I can do 4 year-program in 2.5 years). I now have a management internship position at a start-up national non-profit. I am easily getting 90s in the program while still working my job for pay and at the unpaid managerial position at the non-profit as well as taking part in business student case study competitions. I have also privately tutored under-priviledged high school students in Calculus, English, and the Sciences either pro-bono or on a sliding-scale for 8 years because I actually give a damn and don't usually mention this.

Anyway, I know I am easily capable of 710+ on the GMAT and my average will likely hover 4.0.

I want to

The long-story (if you want it):

Essentially, I began my undergrad in 2003 in the Life Sciences at the University of Toronto. I went into it with high expectations as I was a science fiend and had developed and led a research project at the Ontario Cancer Institute for a biotechnology challenge while in my senior year of high school.

I did not have success at undergrad for a slew of reasons, including caring for my sick parent, financial turmoil, and rebelling against the pressure to do this program by playing/touring in rock/metal bands.

I was at U of T on and off from 2003-2009, culminating in unaddressed personal health problems finally taking their toll.

I had terrible grades by my standards at U of T, with a 3.33 GPA (mostly boosted by 4.0s in Latin, Greek, and, for some odd reason, Pharmacology courses) since I would usually be able to do only two thirds of any coursework I was given. This does not include 2.5 years of part-time study that was withdrawal (dropping out due to health or band-touring purposes).

During my studies and up until 2010, I toured in metal and rock bands. They were successful in their genres, with one getting US and Canadian national magazine coverage before dying away due to internal conflicts. I did much of the PR,marketing and other logistics for these bands.

Then, in 2010, I had a life-changing experience and I came to my senses. I got back to work (promoted twice in 1.5 years to management) to get enough money to get the quickest BBA I could find. I knew I was interested in business and, since I knew U of T life sciences were immensely more challenging than business or commerce (I've seen and practiced with exams from my peers in Ivey or Rotman commerce programs), I have found smooth sailing in this program and a lot more engagement. I could get promoted to Operations Manager at my work, but I find that such a waste of my potential.

Anyways, I'm looking for some direction. My interests are hardly setfast, but likely include social impact and international positions in for-profits.
Consultancy in international development for a couple of years would also be a stepping stone goal as I love following advances in microfinance. I have no clue what I would even be on the radar for in terms of MBA programs.

Any help would be great, thanks!
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Re: What can I do in the next 2-4 years to help my chances? MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2012, 21:26
Expert's post
Wow - that is quite a background!

It's not impossible to overcome a spotted past, but it's not easy, either. Your application's strength is going to be "comeback kid" story aspect of it, the "I hit rock bottom, but I found my way." That can be a very powerful story if you tell it well.

But I also think you need to show that you really are on track by staying in your role, getting promoted, and showing continuity. Then, perhaps you could try to leverage your nonprofit experience into a position or fellowship at Ashoka? Just a thought... you want to show that you are working towards that goal of yours in the international development/microfinance space, but also really want to show that you are a top performer at a top organization (which it sounds like you have the opportunity to do right now).

Your band leadership/experience should make for some very interesting stories. I would also suggest you pick up some extracurricular leadership activities in the next couple years (whatever you like -- biking, triathlons, teaching music or maybe forming a new band, ... whatever you do, you should try to demonstrate leadership through it).

Academically, you'll need to blow the GMAT out of the water. Id say you should target a 730+ score if possible.

Those are the key things I would focus on improving over the next couple years. Remember that unfortunately, time is not on your side.. by my calculations you are about 31 years old, so if you were to wait 4 years, you'd be rather on the older side for applying to business school. Just keep this in mind.

Also keep in mind that you may not need business school to achieve your goals. Just something to think about.

Best,
Mili

Mili Mittal
Senior Consultant
http://www.mbamission.com

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Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 14 Oct 2012
Posts: 7
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Leadership
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
GPA: 3.9
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 4

Re: What can I do in the next 2-4 years to help my chances? MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2012, 22:47
mbaMissionMili wrote:
Wow - that is quite a background!

It's not impossible to overcome a spotted past, but it's not easy, either. Your application's strength is going to be "comeback kid" story aspect of it, the "I hit rock bottom, but I found my way." That can be a very powerful story if you tell it well.

But I also think you need to show that you really are on track by staying in your role, getting promoted, and showing continuity. Then, perhaps you could try to leverage your nonprofit experience into a position or fellowship at Ashoka? Just a thought... you want to show that you are working towards that goal of yours in the international development/microfinance space, but also really want to show that you are a top performer at a top organization (which it sounds like you have the opportunity to do right now).

Your band leadership/experience should make for some very interesting stories. I would also suggest you pick up some extracurricular leadership activities in the next couple years (whatever you like -- biking, triathlons, teaching music or maybe forming a new band, ... whatever you do, you should try to demonstrate leadership through it).

Academically, you'll need to blow the GMAT out of the water. Id say you should target a 730+ score if possible.

Those are the key things I would focus on improving over the next couple years. Remember that unfortunately, time is not on your side.. by my calculations you are about 31 years old, so if you were to wait 4 years, you'd be rather on the older side for applying to business school. Just keep this in mind.

Also keep in mind that you may not need business school to achieve your goals. Just something to think about.

Best,
Mili

Mili Mittal
Senior Consultant




Thank you, Mili. That is very sound advice. I will definitely try to do everything I can with the position I am fortunate to be holding.

Thankfully, though, your calculations are a little bit off! haha. I am 27 right now. Not necessarily spritely, persay, but not 31 just yet.
I should be done my BBA in August or December 2014.

As for leadership activities, it would be a tough squeeze as I already work two jobs, have many case competitions, am prepping for GMAT (and also LSAT), and I'm single-handedly trying to build up some HR analysis systems for the non-profit and develop sorely-needed training structures as it is growing so quickly. This all with a personal relationship. I could try a marathon maybe, though. I used to run cross-country back in high school.

Anyway, thanks once again for the advice.

Would you have any advice as to a shortlist of schools that might fit my tentative direction?

Thank you,

Colin
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Re: What can I do in the next 2-4 years to help my chances? MBA [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 20:10
Expert's post
Sorry - I messed up my math there! Of course you are 27. That helps :)

You might want to look at programs like Georgetown - they have a pretty decent MBA and a very strong international focus/component. Duke could be another one to look at. Tuck would be a stretch, but worth researching. NYU. On the more ambitious end, Columbia would be very aligned with your interests, as would Chicago, but given your history, those are wild cards.

Good luck,
Mili

Mili Mittal
Senior Consultant
http://www.mbamission.com

Read the mbaMission Insider's Guides (16 individual school titles)

Download mbaMission’s Free Personal Statement Guide

Visit the mbaMission Blog

Follow mbaMission on Twitter
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