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Will my work experience count?

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Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 28 May 2012, 17:16
Hello,
I am new to this site and I am considering applying to business school. I was wondering if someone could give me some info on whether my work experience would even be worth applying... I will be graduating college next May and I am currently 22 years old:

2.87 GPA currently (Should be over 3.0 when I apply - I am applying in 2nd RDs)
Large State School
Will be taking GMAT in August
- Student Employment Manager - 3 years managing 150 employees at the 2nd largest campus dining court (terminations, scheduling, discipline, writing policies, financial reports, deposits)
- Senior Assistant of Programming & Staffing - 1 summer Managing 3 campus residence halls (managing a team of 8, responding to emergencies, building issues, key issues, guest complaints for the summer)
- Assistant Residential Coordinator - 1 summer Managing a residential summer camp for kids at Northwestern University (planning activities, managing a staff of 15, responding to emergencies, parental concerns... etc.)
- I have 11 brothers and sisters
- My mother abandoned me when I was 8
- One of my oldest brothers was put up for adoption when he was 6 and 15 years later; found me and my family on Facebook.
- First person EVER in my family to go to college
- Spent a Spring Break in Orlando, Florida working with terminal ill kids
- Spent a Spring Break in New York City volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters
- President of a campus organization at my school that I started to help underprivileged and terminal ill kids (we raise money and have toy drives at hospitals, cook and have large thanksgiving dinners for the poor and do other things with small kids.. we have raised over $5,000 to date.)
- Direct of Programming at my school's Student Government
- Was Student Employee of the Year at my school last year
- Was the 3rd place for the National Student Employee of the Year for United States College & University Food Service
- My family was poor for two years and lived in several shelters and slept pretty much where we could (parks, alleys, seriously - no lying)
- I am an African American Male

Do I even have a shot? My GPA is a large concern and I have been studying for the GMAT for months. I know some of the info may be irrelevant, but I am trying to give you a better idea of my story. I am thinking of applying to some top schools, but I don't even feel like my application will be reviewed with that GPA. I have already seen the low GPA thread. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 10:20
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Success2013 wrote:
Thanks everyone for yor advice. I am still applying because I spoke to a NW rep and she told me that ot'll be competitive, but its definitely possible... they admit students straight from undergrad without any work experience, she stated that a point would be to carefully articulate your post-MBA goals. I don't agree with being "too young" because age is just a number.

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You're right, you're not too young. But you definitely do not have enough experience. I am going to be 100% straight with you. Kellogg is one of the most competitive schools to get into. A rep isn't going to tell you not to apply, but you definitely got the party line. She stressed that it's going to be competitive to nicely say what we are telling you. Yes you can articulate your post MBA goals, but you won't be a viable candidate for those jobs without more work experience. As it stands right now all of your experience is campus related. You've basically wrangled kids and performed job duties that a manager at a fast food restaurant would. The students that get admitted from undergrad do so on the strength of going to top schools, having bomb GPAs (3.7+), and interning with blue chip companies.

I'm not trying to be mean nor discouraging, just realistic. These schools will tell you to go ahead and apply then take your $250 app fee with one hand while rejecting you with the other. And you're going to feel like they misled you into thinking you had a fair shot when you never did. You're coming into this with 2 big strikes against you: no work experience and a low GPA. Yes you definitely have a story behind that, but that story alone will not drive you into these schools. You are not the first nor will you be the last applicant (minority or otherwise) who has gone through poverty and difficult circumstances. There will be other people who will tell similar stories and have more work experience and higher GPAs attached to them. Your candidacy would greatly benefit from some years placed between your GPA and your application. Schools will blink once at a weakness in your profile, unless your recommendation is coming from the president of the university a school isn't going to ignore both weaknesses in yours.

Your current experience should help you get the kind of job that would make you competitive for bschool admissions in several years. The problem with your current experience by itself is that it gives you absolutely zero MBA stock. Not so quietly kept, MBA programs (especially the top programs) use your current employer and role as a filter for admissions. The more selective your employer and role the more stock your candidacy has. The jobs you have held would be viewed as "anyone could get that job," not "wow! he must really be impressive to have been hired there." Also schools use their current students as part of the job placement process. MBA programs are really just one big industry/job swap. You have the consultant who wants to go into banking, the banker who wants to be a brand manager, the engineer who wants to go into investment banking, and so on. Students who have already worked in these roles and at these companies play a key role in helping their classmates make contacts at the very company they're trying to leave. You don't have that going for you at all so that's a major contribution that you can't make to the class.

Overall, right now you just aren't a competitive candidate. I would rather see you apply when you really have a chance than encourage you to move forward for this app cycle knowing that there's a 99.9% chance you won't get in. If you don't want to listen to us (even though we've been through this process already) then you might want to at least get a free review from an admissions consultant (many of whom used to be admissions committee members). I'd bet my bonus they will tell you the same thing. Good luck.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 28 May 2012, 17:57
I'm no expert to comment about B school chances, but after reading your post, I wish you would get into your dream school.

You've seen harsh side of life. Its really great that you are standing tall after all this.

All the best!
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 28 May 2012, 17:59
A few points:

1. APPLY THROUGH THE CONSORTIUM,...look it up, it will be the best decision you make.

2. Any work would be valuable as long as you demonstrated leadership and the adcoms feel that you have experiences worth sharing with your classmates.

3. Don't emphasize the tough upbringing too much,..it will certainly provide uniqueness to your application and speak to your character and resilience, but use it smartly. Make sure to concentrate on your goals and the specific programs you're applying too.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 28 May 2012, 18:22
In all honesty if you are aiming at top 15 US bschools I don't think your work experience will be valued enough for admission. While your acheivements in your job are def commendable, I don't see adcoms viewing it as more than success within campus jobs. It won't be counted as full time work experience. You have to remember that you will be competing for a seat in the class with people who are marketers, bankers, entrprenuers, engineers, product managers, and even some pro athletes. Many of these people will also have managerial experience and job awards, but at a higher level. Also does your current experience even relate to your post MBA goals. I'm not seeing a jump from dining hall management to investment banking or consulting or even band management. The first thing adcoms look for in an applicant is if that person is employable in a post MBA role. In traditional sectors, I'm not seeing it. If your interests lie in restaurant management or hospitality it would be difficult to justify getting an MBA when many restaurant managers don't even have a college degree.
This is not to say that your work experience thus far isn't good. However, I would recommend getting a couple of years of full-time work experience before applying. You can likely speak to your undergrad work experience in an essay (especially the optional essay since you'll need it to explain your GPA) and in the application in the section for undergrad employment and activities.

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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 00:54
At your age you have suffered much and achieved much. However you would be competing with 27-28 years old with 5 years of work experience in Fortune 500 firms. You can try Masters in Management from Duke and some of the other programs. Its not that you can't get into the Top B Schools, just that chances are less than if you had 2-3 years of work experience.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 05:52
mooze wrote:
A few points:

1. APPLY THROUGH THE CONSORTIUM,...look it up, it will be the best decision you make.

2. Any work would be valuable as long as you demonstrated leadership and the adcoms feel that you have experiences worth sharing with your classmates.

3. Don't emphasize the tough upbringing too much,..it will certainly provide uniqueness to your application and speak to your character and resilience, but use it smartly. Make sure to concentrate on your goals and the specific programs you're applying too.


I think that's a flippant assertion to make. You went to Admitted Students Weekend, I'm sure. How many people were coming from campus dining or residential hall backgrounds? All work experience is NOT created equal in MBA application land (regardless of leadership) and I think it's a disservice to tell someone otherwise. If the OP is aiming for 3rd tier schools then maybe the experience as is will fly, but I doubt this would be competitive at even a top 30 school. My recommendation is to work for 2-3 years and then think about applying. Once the OP does that then the advice above is relevant.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 06:41
cheetarah1980 wrote:
mooze wrote:
A few points:

1. APPLY THROUGH THE CONSORTIUM,...look it up, it will be the best decision you make.

2. Any work would be valuable as long as you demonstrated leadership and the adcoms feel that you have experiences worth sharing with your classmates.

3. Don't emphasize the tough upbringing too much,..it will certainly provide uniqueness to your application and speak to your character and resilience, but use it smartly. Make sure to concentrate on your goals and the specific programs you're applying too.


I think that's a flippant assertion to make. You went to Admitted Students Weekend, I'm sure. How many people were coming from campus dining or residential hall backgrounds? All work experience is NOT created equal in MBA application land (regardless of leadership) and I think it's a disservice to tell someone otherwise. If the OP is aiming for 3rd tier schools then maybe the experience as is will fly, but I doubt this would be competitive at even a top 30 school. My recommendation is to work for 2-3 years and then think about applying. Once the OP does that then the advice above is relevant.



I agree that at 22 he's definitely too young and inexperienced to apply,...I honestly missed that part about his age on first reading. Frankly I was annoyed by you calling my statement flippant at first (and responded), but I didn't read the OPs post carefully enough, so I suppose I was flippant.

Success2013,..work for a few years then apply. When you do, consider my 1st and 3rd points above.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 08:38
Thanks everyone for yor advice. I am still applying because I spoke to a NW rep and she told me that ot'll be competitive, but its definitely possible... they admit students straight from undergrad without any work experience, she stated that a point would be to carefully articulate your post-MBA goals. I don't agree with being "too young" because age is just a number.

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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 09:10
Success2013 wrote:
Thanks everyone for yor advice. I am still applying because I spoke to a NW rep and she told me that ot'll be competitive, but its definitely possible... they admit students straight from undergrad without any work experience, she stated that a point would be to carefully articulate your post-MBA goals. I don't agree with being "too young" because age is just a number.

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Honestly, think about this carefully...

I'm 100% sure you'll get in somewhere at this point of your life BUT it wont be anywhere that'll be life changing. If your plan is kellogg, and thats the dream then go for it. Why not? But dont apply to low tier schools, dont settle. If the question is, will your work experience count. No. Not the way a post college career does. You'll be looked at as an overly active college student, which is great, and will really help your case for a lower GPA, but will not replace professional experience. If you crush the gmat, and are set on applying this year, pick 1 or 2 top schools and go for it BUT, make sure you're also looking for a job or atleast applying to other types of masters programs. The last thing you'd want is a ding and no backup plan. You will have a MUCH easier road ahead once you prove how dedicated and special you are in a professional setting. You have an amazing story, but right now its still incomplete.

Take the gmat, if you do well, apply to a dream school or 2, if you get a ding move on and try again in a few years.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 09:11
What's the rush? I think you will get a lot more out of the MBA experience if you work for a couple of years then go back to school. Working for a couple of years before heading to an MBA program will allow you to really figure out what you like and don't like on a professional level. It will give you a much better indication of what career you want to pursue post MBA and what your goals are within that career path. You may think you know now, but ask around see how many people thought they knew at 22 and ended up doing the exact opposite.

Not only that, but you will have a much easier time securing an internship, then full time employment out of the MBA with previous full time work experience. Otherwise, you will be competing with people that have 3-5 years experience in consulting, marketing, finance.

Based on your profile, and if you crush the GMAT, I bet there is a top school out there that will give you a shot. At the same time, there is also a really solid company out there that would hire you and give you great work experience that would be much more valuable (and lucrative) to you at your age than would sitting in a classroom and attending networking events. Business school is not going anywhere.

It sounds like you'll be successful either way though. Good luck.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2012, 10:35
Good luck man, but I think that you're not the high achieving college students top b school look for. Thus, some work experience and demonstrating that you can improve and accelerate despite your disadvantages, would transform your application.

BTW, I've never seen or heard of an adcom turn someone down or discourage them from applying. And remember, if you get rejected, it's harder to apply the 2nd time.
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Re: Will my work experience count? [#permalink] New post 30 May 2012, 14:42
I would also add that your GPA is outside the 80% range for all top-10 schools. If you were in an engineering program at MIT, you'd likely get some slack, however that GPA at a random state school will be a negative on your application. If you were to earn all A's your final year and bump your GPA to a 3.2 (not sure if that's possible at this point), you would have a good story to tell about how you really focused your final year once you set your mind on a goal.

As the other posters have stated, get a couple of years experience under your belt at a good organization, buckle down and get that 700+ GMAT, up that GPA .25 or so, and you'll have a shot at a top-10. Right now your chances of admission are very slim as you have too much going against you.
Re: Will my work experience count?   [#permalink] 30 May 2012, 14:42
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