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Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years

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Senior Manager
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Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2008, 18:56
Hello,

I'm pretty early in the game but I'd like to get your thoughts on applying to top b-schools (HSW) with 2 years of WE vs 3 years. Does it really make that much of a difference? I am currently a senior graduating from an ivy and am going to work iin finance/consulting for the next 2 years... however I don't see myself there long term ( I probably want to go into management/entrep.). I had wanted to go to law school earlier and I have the stats to get into a top law school (3.9, 177), but I'm not so sure anymore. Anyway, now I'm considering a JD/MBA, or maybe just an MBA in the future...

If I end up deciding to pursue a JD/MBA, will the 3rd year of work experience make that much of a difference? I'm pretty confident on the JD side, but I hear very few people are admitted to b-school with only 2 years, so I'm a bit hesitant applying with the bare minimum (yes I know some are admitted with 0 years but I'm nothing special). Given that I might want to enter law school, I'd want to enter as earlier as possible (after year 2).

So, is it worth it to stick around for an extra year just to boost ones chances for b-school? Thanks.

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2008, 19:48
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At certain schools, no, but I think the below generalization only applies to finance/consulting with standard 2-3 year analyst tracks. Particularly with schools increasingly focused on targeting younger applicants, 2 vs 3 years doesn't do very much for your profile assuming that what you're working on in your 3rd year is not dramatically different from what you've worked on in your first two years.

Particularly in finance/consulting, the breadth and depth of your work experience will be more determined by the responsibilities afforded to you, and how you maximize your roles on certain deals/projects/cases rather than whether or not you stuck around for your senior analyst year. That said, I think it also depends on the quality of your experiences outside of a work setting. Sometimes, people leverage their third year to do things like transfers or perks otherwise only available to senior analysts-- and it gives them more ammo to write their essays with. But if you already have a substantive amount of outside experience and interesting work experiences to speak about after 2 years, then a 3rd year will likely not add a lot to your application.

I've actually asked your question to one of the HSW admissions directors, and she basically corroborated the above. She said that adcoms know there is not much of a difference between 2-3 years in finance/consulting-- they know how the standard analyst track works at said firms. She said to just apply when you're ready :)

Last edited by Mikus on 23 Dec 2008, 19:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2008, 19:55
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With a 3.9 and a 177 (I assume that's >760 in GMAT), 2 yrs WE won't be a deal-breaker. I think actual years of WE matters most for general management programs and roles, because no one will want a 26-year old hotshot directly managing people.

On another note, I have heard that most people with a JD/MBA go work as lawyers rather than as consultants or bankers. I'd advise you to think deeply about how much added value the JD will give you if your plan is to go on the MBA career path. You could potentially save yourself a year of tuition and lost earnings.

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2008, 20:32
Thanks for the replies guys. I've heard the same- that unless the third year is different, it doesn't make too much of a difference. That said, I do often hear how more work experience = better, but thanks for the clarification.

Yeah... I'd probably go into business law or something. I viewed law school as a backup in case I couldn't find a job. I interned at Goldman this past summer as a summer analyst and thought i was all gun-ho investment banking, switched to the consulting track after graduation, and now I have NO idea what I want to do...

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2008, 20:54
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im currently a third year analyst at a top tier investment banking and personally im glad im applying as a third year. as a second year, i was not prepared to apply to business school at all--did not think about it ahead of time. in your case, you are wayyy ahead of the game so you should be fine in terms of taking the GMAT, getting recommendation letters, writing essays etc.

i think consulting might be a little different but i can offer a little bit of insight on 2 year we vs. 3 year we in investment banking. keep in mind that if you are trying to go after 2 years, you are most likely writing essays based on one full year of full time working experience (and that's not a lot since you will spend first few months just getting up the learning curve). as a third year, you are likely to get an opportunity to manage/train a first year analyst and work without an associate (meaning that your day to day schedule is more flexible because no one is going to micromanage you/your work, you have more responsibilities because you have to rely on your judgement at times and no one checks your work etc etc). some may argue that the extra one year as an analyst doesn't make a huge dent, and that might be true. but just drawing from my personal experience, i think that extra year might help you in terms of collecting more material for work-related essays, leadership opportunities (and probably more time outside of work so that you can go to info sessions/spend time on your apps)!

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2008, 21:21
Blah... just what I didn't want to hear :-D ... makes a lot of sense though. thanks!

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2008, 00:01
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Realistically, I think it boils down to the fact that a 3rd year will absolutely not hurt your chances. It is only incremental gain. However, your decision to apply after 2 or 3 should come down to whether or not you have enough quality experience (both in and out of work) after 2 years. I know plenty of people who have gone to business school 2 years out of finance/consulting, and all of them were very involved outside of work, and have been very successful. I think it's case-by-case, and you just have to see if you have enough experience outside of solely finance/consulting to justify applying "early". This is of course, not to say that people who wait 3 years are not qualified to apply after 2-- they are equally as talented, many have just chosen to work an additional year.

But speaking to the other poster's point, I think she's absolutely right in that there is increased responsibility in your 3rd year. It just depends if those talking points are pivotal to your application.

Additionally, I don't think you should get too hung up on "managing others". Realistically, adcoms will know very well that any analyst, no matter how senior-- is not going to be bringing a tremendous amount of managing experience to the table. There will be people in your classroom who have managed entire departments and divisions-- and that's an expertise that they will readily bring to the table. Informal mentorship and managing others is great, but this is also something that can be replicated through extracurricular activities and leadership positions.

Just my humble opinion.

Good luck! :)

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Re: Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2008, 00:01
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Applying w/ 2 years WE vs 3 years

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