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Will working at low-profile startup work against me?

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Joined: 28 May 2010
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Will working at low-profile startup work against me? [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 21:15
Hello,

I would like to apply to business school in the next year or two. I have two years of work experience at a low-profile startup. By low-profile, I mean we are not venture-funded. (The seed money came from a government grant.) I fear this could work against me, and if so should I try to get a job at a F500 corporation or consulting firm?

I have a BS in biomedical engineering and an MS in computer engineering, both from Northwestern. The startup does work similar to some research I did in grad school, so taking the job there was a no-brainer as I was engaged in the work. I've enjoyed my time and really grown with the organization, and would like to stay. I am just worried that the admissions committee will see the company name, and think, "I've never heard of that. What's up?"

My company is no slouch; we are very profitable and our clients include some of the top universities and research labs in the world. There is a very definite "story" to my work history, which I think will help. Can passion and commitment to a particular company overcome relative anonymity?
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Schools: Dalhousie School of Business (Corporate Residency MBA)
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Re: Will working at low-profile startup work against me? [#permalink] New post 29 May 2010, 13:22
To be quite frank, if a school's adcom is so horrendously dense so as to dismiss you on the basis of "I've never heard of that" then maybe that school shouldn't be on your list.

IMO, where you worked or who you worked for prior to the b-School app should have minimal impact on your "chances" unless said conditions were actually very HIGH profile. Like, if you you worked at Enron you might have some explaining to do. If you came from Google then you might be regarded in a better light.

Anything in between shouldn't matter so long as you can demonstrate your personal value. You said you had a good growth story etc. along with working in this small startup so lean on that! The Adcom should not be interested in anything (apart from hard grades) but how you as a person are going to benefit from their program (and vice versa, of course).

I think it's very important for your app AND for your future business career to understand that the reputation/value of a company does not necessarily equal the reputation/value of its employees, from the interns right up to the C-suite. Worthy schools and their adcoms already understand this.
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Re: Will working at low-profile startup work against me? [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2010, 12:02
Agree with above -- also, you might have a story that is very applicable to a lot of entrepreneurial-types in business school. Most will launch their own startup, bootstrapped with internal or angel funds. I think you have a very relevant experience to share with the student body, something that schools value in developing a diverse candidate pool.

Good luck!
Aveek Guha, President, www.mbadaycamp.com
Re: Will working at low-profile startup work against me?   [#permalink] 02 Jun 2010, 12:02
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