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A couple questions as I plan out my application process

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Joined: 07 Aug 2015
Posts: 73
Location: United States
Concentration: Nonprofit
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V48
GPA: 3.66
A couple questions as I plan out my application process  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2017, 19:37
Hi MAC Approved,

I greatly appreciate the responses I've gotten from admissions consultants to my past questions. I feel pretty good about the list of schools I have in mind, but I'm still trying to figure out my future plans. I apologize for such a long post, but I wanted to present these questions together rather than create separate threads.

An overview of my background/experience:
26 y/o white American male
3.63 GPA (magna cum laude) from a top-5 LAC; graduated in 2013
Currently in a Master of Social Work program--will graduate in May 2018
780 on the GMAT (Q50, V48, AW 6.0, IR 8) (took it in November of last year)
Past work experience: 1.5 years (40 hrs/week and received a stipend to cover living expenses) as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. I researched and gave presentations on unaccompanied child migration from Central America. (Before that, I had been in a religious order for a year, and although I wouldn't really count it as work experience, I figure I should put it on my resume so schools aren't wondering what I did the year after I graduated from college)
Intern/volunteer experience: The MSW program entails about 1,000 hours of field experience. I worked at a mental health center for the first half of those hours, and for the second half, I plan to do a combination of mental health and social services work.

I am looking forward to graduating with an MSW, getting my license, and engaging in clinical social work on the 'micro' (direct practice) level. However, I am ultimately hoping to pursue an MBA and specialize in nonprofit management, as I feel that I can serve more people by being an effective administrator than I can doing one-to-one meetings with clients. Following graduation, I would like to join the administrative team of a regional branch of a social services nonprofit organization (ex. Catholic Charities, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, etc.). I envision myself serving as a department director or vice president of social services.

Target schools: Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Wharton, Cornell, Georgetown, Boston College

With that backdrop, here are a few questions:

1. I'd like to apply my MBA towards social services management. With that in mind, should I select a job out of the MSW program that will be more directly connected to social services, such as working with the homeless? Or could I also work in the mental health field as a counselor/therapist, or in medical social work, perhaps in a hospital? I see mental health care and medical social work as one of many 'social services' (along with emergency assistance, benefits, case management, employment counseling, housing assistance, etc.), so I don't think adcoms would take issue with a mental health/medical social work --> MBA --> social services trajectory . . . or would they?

2. I'm still a little torn between applying in the fall of 2018 (matriculating in 2019) and the fall of 2019 (matriculating in 2020). I'll graduate in May 2018, so if the Americorps year and a half counts as full-time work experience (which I think it would), I would have about 32 months of experience if I matriculate in fall 2019, and 44 months of experience if I matriculate in 2020. That wouldn't include my volunteer/intern experience, or course.

If I could submit an application in 2018 and get accepted at Yale, Columbia, Harvard, or Wharton for 2019, I would prefer matriculating earlier rather than later. I'm wondering how realistic that would be for those four schools, though. For instance, it would seem weird to ask my post-MSW employer for an MBA reference just a few months after I arrive there. (I guess I could get a reference from my spring 2018 internship instead, but it wouldn't really be the same, would it?) I also know that post-MBA employers might prefer that I have more experience when I'm applying for administrative jobs.

With all this in mind, what year would you recommend that I submit my application--2018 or 2019?

3. This is based on question 2, but would it be a bad idea to apply in 2018, then re-apply in 2019 once I have more work experience? Or would being rejected earlier lower my chances?

4. Would it be alright for me to bring up some of these questions with adcoms directly? An associate admissions director for Yale will be in town in the next two weeks, and I'd love to hear his perspectives on when I should apply.

Thank you very much for your help!
MAC Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 22 Jul 2014
Posts: 174
Location: United States
City/State: Chicago, IL
Re: A couple questions as I plan out my application process  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2017, 09:40
Dear U5UWZLP5,

Thanks for your message. I sincerely apologize for the delayed response as we were slightly bombarded the past few months. However, other MAC team members and I want to help every applicant we can and we really appreciate your patience.

Thank you for sharing your background as I enjoyed reading it, similar to other candidates' profiles when I worked as part of a US top tier MBA admissions committee.

I really like that from a career standpoint, you have gained strong exposure to cross-cultural topics (i.e. research and presentation delivery on unaccompanied child migration from Central America). Not to mention, you also gained practical experience (i.e. mental health center), analytical skills, and leadership acumen overall as an AmeriCorps Vista member. These experiences should not be undervalued, regardless of how they relate to your long-term aspiration to attain an MBA.

Based on my experience over the past 9+ years as an Admissions Consultant, I think you have a strong background for the US programs you mentioned (Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Wharton, Cornell, Georgetown, Boston College). Please do not underestimate or undersell your background even if you feel it may not be to the admissions committees’ expectations. The more important question is: Does it meet your personal expectations to share your story with these programs? If not, then wait to apply next year when you are completely ready and not contemplating the decision. Believe in your gut feeling :-) . If you decide to apply this year or next year and are looking at other programs, then I would even encourage you to apply to some additional US based (Columbia, Stanford, Fuqua, Kellogg, Booth) programs that attract you.

Furthermore, based on our experience, your academic background is in the competitive range for these schools and displays your ability to handle the rigorous curriculum. With your GMAT score of 780 and a GPA of 3.63, definitely move forward in your applications with your absolute best foot forward. Please keep in mind that for these competitive schools, it will be imperative that you effectively communicate your personal and professional background, along with your aspirations (i.e. social work non-profit initiatives, etc.) for business school. Most importantly, make sure that the other aspects in your applications are produced with unwavering quality. I have read many online posts from candidates (with similar backgrounds) who were rejected from their dream schools, not due to a gap in their background but due to an inability to effectively share their background and aspirations for an MBA.

Lastly, the MAC team and I commend you for choosing these schools and not settling on "safety schools". I believe these programs will give you a strong overall brand as part of your portfolio. Remember, you will be making a new (brand) investment to further enhance your academic and professional identity. It should be a solid brand that attaches itself to your name and become a part of your professional reputation in future endeavors. These schools will also give you an opportunity to increase your network across a larger diverse pool of students, alums, faculty members and recruiters.

Regardless of the opinions you receive from forums, please apply to the programs which attract you the most and do not underestimate the professional and academic background that you possess. The worst thing that you can do as a candidate is underestimate your background. I feel that this is worse than receiving a rejection from any program. The best thing you can do is take your "best foot forward" and leave the decision to the schools. Please do not "opt-out" of your dream schools because you think you may not stand a chance.

I hope this helps you. If you would like to further speak directly with our consultants who are former admissions committee members or our recent admits at any point, please visit

Best wishes,
Sue and the MAC Team

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Re: A couple questions as I plan out my application process &nbs [#permalink] 26 Oct 2017, 09:40
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