I’m currently employed, but I do not work for a brand name company (i.e. McKinsey, IBM, GE, etc.). I’ve heard that this could be a downside in the sense that many business schools operate on the notion that if they admit someone who was previously employed at a company like IBM, that this person will then be able to get a job at another Fortune 500 company post graduation. Obviously, having grads go off to work for big name companies would boost the university’s MBA rankings and overall perception.
The company I work for is a multi-billion dollar real estate developer located in the Persian Gulf. Being an American working in the Middle East for a mega developer that has multi-million dollar projects in the works, I assume that should make me somewhat “extraordinary” when it comes to the applicant pool. Real estate development is also something that I want to do for the rest of my life (i.e. I'm done "finding myself").
However, my company is not well known outside of the Persian Gulf, and I do feel that this fact could hurt my application to a top 10 business school. If this is the case, I’m wondering if my age (23 yrs), GPA (3.69 from USC-Marshall), and my GMAT score (TBD) would have a much heavier weight on my overall application. Lastly, if this all holds true, is there some way I can convey in my essays that my work ex is just as good, if not better, than the Business Analyst from McKinsey?
The information you provided in this post shows that your employer is a major firm and has major deals. If you can educate your application readers about your
role in those deals, you will be well on your way to showing that your job is as good as McK, bulge-bracket, IBM, or whatever. Yes you may need to educate your reader a little about the firm, but it shouldn't be hard. It also should be very easy for you to be distinctive in the applicant pool, and that's a distinct plus.
In a nutshell, I disagree with "what you heard."
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