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Work Experience for an MBA

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Joined: 17 Dec 2010
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Location: Lima, Peru
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Work Experience for an MBA [#permalink] New post 21 Dec 2010, 11:41
Hi Alex,

I would like to know your opinion on whether I should begin applying to MBA programs now or wait to have more experience in the business world.

I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Peru in Community Development and Environmental Management. I have worked as a volunteer in Peru for two years and have recently accepted a new position as a Volunteer Coordinator for the Community-Based Environmental Management Program. I will be responsible for a myriad of activities that center around improving volunteer's ability to serve their communities effectively. I will also work with a local counter-part which will be PromPeru, a division of the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, in promoting rural tourism.

I joined Peace Corps immediately after attending Maryville College, a small liberal arts school in East Tennessee, where I earned a double-major in International Business and Political Science while participating in many extra-curricular activities and study abroad (Japan and Chile). I am fluent in English and Spanish, and have experience studying Japanese and Quechua as well.

I am not sure if this type of experience is sufficient for acceptance to top business schools or if I would need a couple more years of real business experience before applying. I am especially interested in working in emerging markets and micro-finance, although I seek an MBA that would give me the broad tools and skills to be effective in many different environments.

Thank you for your help,

Brian Phelps
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Re: Work Experience for an MBA [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2010, 15:44
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B-school adcoms tend to like Peace Corps folks, so it'll be an asset in your case. Also, quite a number of the Peace Corps folks don't have actual business experience before b-school. In fact, quite a number of incoming MBA students don't have formal business experience -- engineers, researchers, military officers, Peace Corps, other nonprofit, etc. so having biz experience isn't a necessity at all.

Where it can be more of an issue is in the recruiting process for post-MBA jobs, where it'll be a harder sell for some companies/recruiters who will prefer someone who does have some corporate experience.

In any case, what I suggest is to apply with your Peace Corps experience - if you don't get in, then apply years later with some other biz experience under your belt.
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Alex Chu
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Intern
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Joined: 17 Dec 2010
Posts: 10
Location: Lima, Peru
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 3

Re: Work Experience for an MBA [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2010, 11:25
AlexMBAApply wrote:
B-school adcoms tend to like Peace Corps folks, so it'll be an asset in your case. Also, quite a number of the Peace Corps folks don't have actual business experience before b-school. In fact, quite a number of incoming MBA students don't have formal business experience -- engineers, researchers, military officers, Peace Corps, other nonprofit, etc. so having biz experience isn't a necessity at all.

Where it can be more of an issue is in the recruiting process for post-MBA jobs, where it'll be a harder sell for some companies/recruiters who will prefer someone who does have some corporate experience.

In any case, what I suggest is to apply with your Peace Corps experience - if you don't get in, then apply years later with some other biz experience under your belt.


Thanks Alex,

I just finished looking at your website and it has some interesting material. What caliber of school do you think I should be applying to? I do not come from top undergrad but I do have significant experience studying and working internationally as well as a score of extracurricular activities. My gut instinct tells me that I could push myself into one of the Sweet 16 schools, but that it would be bit of a stretch to apply to the Elite Eight (+ Big 2 Intl) and especially the Top 3 unless I went out and did something truly extraordinary for a couple years after the Peace Corps. I think more realistic options would be Thunderbird, the University of South Carolina, GWSB, etc.

So how far of a stretch is it to apply to Elite 8 schools with my experience, what would I have to do to make myself a better candidate for them, and what do you think of the Thunderbird and University of South Carolina business programs as schools where I would get a good education regardless of its 'brand'. I should note that I am especially interested in International MBAs and working in developing economies, especially in sustainable business ventures that contribute to third world countries' development. And I'm not hung up on going to a top school, but I do want to get the best education that I can that is within my reach.

Thank you again for your help, I recognize that you generally charge for your services so I am deeply grateful.

Best,

Brian
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To those who have struggled with them, the mountains reveal beauties that they will not disclose to those who make no effort. That is the reward the mountains give to effort. And it is because they have so much to give and give it so lavishly to those who will wrestle with them that men love the mountains and go back to them again and again. The mountains reserve their choice gifts for those who stand upon their summits. (Sir Francis Younghusband)

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Re: Work Experience for an MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Dec 2010, 10:24
Depends on your GMAT/GPA combo.

If your GMAT is strong (700+), then the top 16 schools are within reach (including the top 8, and you may even want to give H/S/W a shot).

If your GMAT is in the mid 600s, then the top 16 schools will be stretches, and schools like USC, Texas, Georgetown, etc. will be sweet spots.

Again, focus on GMAT prep, as that is the most important thing at this juncture before even thinking about schools.
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Re: Work Experience for an MBA   [#permalink] 28 Dec 2010, 10:24
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