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Non-traditional applicant, recent immigrant- profile evaluation

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Joined: 08 Aug 2018
Posts: 1
Non-traditional applicant, recent immigrant- profile evaluation  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 15:17
Hi mbaMission,

I was hoping you could help me make sense of my prospects if I entered the application process. I would really like to do an MBA, but I'm not a traditional applicant. I can't work out where I stand and if I should give up on an MBA as an option.

I have a B.A., M.A. and a Phd "all but dissertation" in Modern History. The first two are from a UK University (where I'm from), the latter from a very good US Public School, top ranked in History.
My undergrad GPA is difficult because it's from the UK, but it's comparable to a 3.8-4.0
I'm first generation college, and was not educated in English, though I am fluent.
Alongside school I worked part time jobs including teaching positions and communications in these schools.
I also ran my own small but successful retail business between aged 19 and 26, when I left for the U.S. I had 10-12 employees.
Since leaving the PhD program at aged 28 I have worked a temporary operations position on a political campaign and done some freelance work.
I haven't taken the GMAT (the verbal side will be fine since I aced both the GRE verbal and the LSAT. I think my GRE was something like 170 V 161 Q).
I definitely have some quant catching up to do since Math classes stop earlier in UK high schools. I would have to go to get some precalc and stats and study hard for the quant section of the GMAT.

I would like to work in tech in some capacity (could also be the tech arm of a traditional business), in people operations, marketing or perhaps business operations. I'm not particularly interested in big consultancies or finance.

Am I too atypical/old (31)/ humanities an to be considered by T-20 schools?
Should I try to get a year or two work experience in US corporate before applying? I fear that none of my jobs from the UK look impressive or recognizable to an American adcomm.
If I apply now - or if I apply after getting 1/2 years more experience - what kinds of schools should I look at? [I have a fondness for Anderson after attending their open day. I'm also West Coast]
Should I consider a coach since I clearly have to create a compelling narrative?

Thanks in advance! I've been spinning my wheels for months.
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 05 Jun 2018
Posts: 26
Re: Non-traditional applicant, recent immigrant- profile evaluation  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2018, 07:12
Hi, iar68!

My main question is: what are you doing now? It sounds like you left your PhD at age 28 - but you're 31 now. That's a good 3 years of experience you might have had - what is the "temporary operations position" and "freelance work" of which you speak? Without more detail, it's hard to gauge a lot about your candidacy. Does any of it show leadership or impact? Does it relate to the future things you want to do in tech? I'd be trying to get a full time job ASAP if you don't have one, in something related in some way to your future path.

I think the other big hurdle is that you may appear to be a degree collector with both a MA and an almost PhD under your belt. MBA programs are wary of people who are reluctant to join the workforce and just love school - it's a professional program and they want to see you placed in a job.

A career switch would be fine, but you'll have to demonstrate that you're serious (laser focused on your new direction, so not something general like "tech" but what specifically) and building momentum (taking steps to get there, work-wise). You're rather high on the age side for a full time program, but it may be possible if you can demonstrate that you have transferable skills or expertise that makes you attractive to recruiters. The schools will be worried about your job placement prospects, no doubt, so giving them comfort about your ability to get hired into a summer internship or beyond will be very important.

I think your best bet, honestly, might be a part time program. That way you are not delaying your career any further, and it will also help with shouldering the expense of an MBA program after already spending a lot potentially on your MA and almost-PhD. This also removes the concern about employment because you'd already be working alongside your MBA.

It's too early to talk which schools are right for you without more detail and without a GMAT, but hopefully the above was helpful! Feel free to reach out to one of us for a consultation. A consultant may be helpful in helping you pitch your story and in keeping you on track (since you've been spinning) once you decide upon your plan.

Best of luck!
Julie-Anne Heafey
Senior Consultant
mbaMission
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Non-traditional applicant, recent immigrant- profile evaluation

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