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# Nonprofit?

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10 Jan 2008, 10:52
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My apps are out so this probably doesn't matter that much, but I am curious if anyone has any input on whether having a nonprofit background is an advantage or disadvantage in the app process at m7 schools. The general consensus seems to be that it is an advantage, but it seems to me that it could go either way.

-There are less people like you -- easier to stand out.
-Your essays will likely be easier to write and more compelling.
-The schools want to support people who do good in the world (this makes the school look good).
-Allegedly you can get in with lower stats (uncomfirmed).
-Most of the schools have nonprofit tracks, so they clearly want people from this background (they don't create classes they won't be able to fill).

-There are less people like you, but also probably less spots for you as well -- may not be less competitive overall.
-Questionable fit (this is potentially easy to overcome dep. on experience and goals).
-How hirable are these types? Might be a catch-22 for the schools.

Thanks.
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10 Jan 2008, 10:54
oops -- i meant to post this on the b-school app forum. my bad.
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10 Jan 2008, 11:02
Anything that makes you "different" is an advantage...providing you also manage to communicate that you have either some traditional business experience, or the aptitude for the same. B-schools love bright people from varied backgrounds. You will already stand out - just make sure you address the question of whether you can fit in as well.
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10 Jan 2008, 12:07
I think it varies by schools...I think all schools preach diversity but some actively select it more than others. All schools will have people with various backgrounds but even there schools will look for different things. I am sure the M7 schools that have heavy quant focuses, Wharton, Chicago, and MIT, appreciate the liberal arts grad who works for a non-profit but they have to worry if someone with no math background can cut it in their demanding curriculum. So if you have no quant in your background it is an uphill battle there no matter what your background. I think almost everyone I met at MIT was an engineer, in the computer industry, or some sort of heavy math based career.

Places like Stanford and Kellogg seem to place a greater value on the unusual applicants and as long as you have the stats I say Kellogg is probably you greatest chance. I would say stanford likes non-profits but it is insanely difficult, approaching impossible to get an admit, so at best thats like winning the lottery no matter your background. I have heard Ross is very high on nonprofit people and has a great program.
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10 Jan 2008, 12:52
riverripper wrote:
I think it varies by schools...I think all schools preach diversity but some actively select it more than others. All schools will have people with various backgrounds but even there schools will look for different things. I am sure the M7 schools that have heavy quant focuses, Wharton, Chicago, and MIT, appreciate the liberal arts grad who works for a non-profit but they have to worry if someone with no math background can cut it in their demanding curriculum. So if you have no quant in your background it is an uphill battle there no matter what your background. I think almost everyone I met at MIT was an engineer, in the computer industry, or some sort of heavy math based career.

Places like Stanford and Kellogg seem to place a greater value on the unusual applicants and as long as you have the stats I say Kellogg is probably you greatest chance. I would say stanford likes non-profits but it is insanely difficult, approaching impossible to get an admit, so at best thats like winning the lottery no matter your background. I have heard Ross is very high on nonprofit people and has a great program.

To add to river's advice about schools that might value non-profit background, Yale is very strong in non-profit. During my campus visit, I met A TON students who worked in non-profit before their MBA.
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10 Jan 2008, 12:55
Are you planning on returning to non-profit? What are your career goals? I kind of took the hireable statement to be that you were not going back to NP. I hate to say it but I am a fan of writing essays that play to your strengths. If you wrote about returning to NP post MBA that will increase your odds. If you say you want a career change, its not a bad thing...just a harder sell.
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10 Jan 2008, 14:17
Also, although not an M7 school, Haas is really gung-ho about non-profit (we're tree-loving, society helping hippies here in NorCal ) and they're pretty well positioned for it too.
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10 Jan 2008, 15:56
Stanford actually has this student fund which helps people who end up in non-profit post MBA to play off their loans.
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10 Jan 2008, 16:52
the fund also pays to raise the summer internship pay to the average of the class, for non-profit internship seekers.

It's a great program!
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10 Jan 2008, 18:10
yes, river, i am planning to retun to NP -- sort of.

i did a lot of volunteering, grant writing, teaching and that sort of thing in college (liberal arts major, as you guessed) and realized that i wanted to go into non-profit. i ended up overseas for a while doing some development type stuff and teaching, but realized that wasn't where i belonged. after some research and a little soul searching, i decided to take a gamble and aim at nonprofit endowment management -- managing money and evaluating granting proposals to determine where the money should go. that meant that i had to learn about investing, so i got an analyst job in the research department of a brokerage firm and passed two levels of the CFA. simultaneously, i got involved with a small local nonprofit endowment on a volunteer basis--i now manage its $1MM endowment fund (beat S&P 500 two years running), determine where our charitable givings go, and lead a group of ~100 volunteers in service projects around the city. my "why bschool" is that I want to merge the two tracks (volunteer + professional) into a career as an asset manager at a large endowment (think Gates, Ford, etc.). Obviously, this story is quite different from most of those the adcoms will see. i think i will still fit in -- several of the schools have social enterprise electives that are directly related to what i want to do (esp. columbia, wharton and stanford). In terms of fit, i think i checked most of the major boxes: Leadership: check Competitive stats: check 4 years of work ex: check the only part i am a little sketchy on is the quant side of things -- i took 0 quant in college and didn't exactly set the high score on the GMAT quant section. i did pass two levels of the CFA though, which is pretty quantitative and certainly representative of the kind of work that goes on in b-school... i will be a little surprised if that isn't good enough. anyway, thanks all for feedback -- apps are already out so i guess we shall see GMAT Club Legend Status: Um... what do you want to know? Joined: 03 Jun 2007 Posts: 5464 Location: SF, CA, USA Schools: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA 2010 WE 1: Social Gaming Followers: 72 Kudos [?]: 399 [0], given: 14 Re: Nonprofit? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Jan 2008, 18:55 good luck sudden! Let us know how it goes, and meanwhile, put up your profile so you can help us make this site even more useful to everyone! _________________ **************************** GMAT Club Knowledge Vault: http://gmatclub.com/forum/123 Haas Ambassador http://gmatclub.com/forum/128-t62555 Kryzak's Profile: http://gmatclub.com/forum/111-t56286 Member Essays: http://gmatclub.com/forum/103-t50969 Manager Status: Post MBA, working in the area of Development Finance Joined: 09 Oct 2006 Posts: 170 Location: Africa Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 1 Re: Nonprofit? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Jan 2008, 22:29 The road could not be more similar! When I had started on this forum, I didn't find many members with a non-profit background. It's good to see someone having the background and future aims so similar to my background and aims. I have been associated with providing financial assistance to a number of non-profit (the NGOs) organisations for over a decade. This has been in the area of Livelihood programmes, Microfinance programmes and other development programmes. My aim after MBA is to manage the funds of development agencies and set up social ventures after about five years. I am concentrating on European MBAs (because of my age, exp. and the cost of the programme). Wharton was the one US MBA where I had planned to apply, but I guess, it will be a very long shot after completion of the two rounds of app. I think IO-MBA could be of interest to you! Once upon a time (more than 15 years ago!!!!), I had planned for MBA, had got admitted to a top notch programme in India, but didn't take admission due to personal reasons. After that I got involved to the development finance, did my CFA, and recently completed my Ph.D. in microfinance. I decided about a year ago that I was ready to pursue FT MBA again. Only this time my research indicates that the schools are not willing! I think Sep 08 should define my future. My best wishes for your future plans. Do keep us posted. Regards. sudden wrote: yes, river, i am planning to retun to NP -- sort of. i did a lot of volunteering, grant writing, teaching and that sort of thing in college (liberal arts major, as you guessed) and realized that i wanted to go into non-profit. i ended up overseas for a while doing some development type stuff and teaching, but realized that wasn't where i belonged. after some research and a little soul searching, i decided to take a gamble and aim at nonprofit endowment management -- managing money and evaluating granting proposals to determine where the money should go. that meant that i had to learn about investing, so i got an analyst job in the research department of a brokerage firm and passed two levels of the CFA. simultaneously, i got involved with a small local nonprofit endowment on a volunteer basis--i now manage its$1MM endowment fund (beat S&P 500 two years running), determine where our charitable givings go, and lead a group of ~100 volunteers in service projects around the city. my "why bschool" is that I want to merge the two tracks (volunteer + professional) into a career as an asset manager at a large endowment (think Gates, Ford, etc.).

Obviously, this story is quite different from most of those the adcoms will see. i think i will still fit in -- several of the schools have social enterprise electives that are directly related to what i want to do (esp. columbia, wharton and stanford). In terms of fit, i think i checked most of the major boxes:

Competitive stats: check
4 years of work ex: check

the only part i am a little sketchy on is the quant side of things -- i took 0 quant in college and didn't exactly set the high score on the GMAT quant section. i did pass two levels of the CFA though, which is pretty quantitative and certainly representative of the kind of work that goes on in b-school... i will be a little surprised if that isn't good enough.

anyway, thanks all for feedback -- apps are already out so i guess we shall see
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11 Jan 2008, 05:28
"My aim after MBA is to manage the funds of development agencies and set up social ventures after about five years."

That's awesome and definitely a good reason to get an MBA. To succeed at this, you need knowledge of finance, general management and nonprofit dealings -- all of which will be provided by an MBA education. I suspect there will be very few of us in the mix Good luck to you!
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11 Jan 2008, 05:46
Also, I am curious to know how you approached the app process as someone who already has a PhD. How did you address that re: also wanting an MBA?
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11 Jan 2008, 10:44
Hi, all. Just wanted to say that while there aren't tons of NP folks on this board, there are a few of us lurking. I am in my first year at Duke. I would say that both of you will have an easier time with the fit argument -- you both have some pretty business-y aspects in your work experience. This is what I posted about a year ago:

I have an econ development background in a community development credit union (i.e. a crazy liberal who likes finances and poor people). 3.94 gpa, Phi Beta Kappa, but a small tier-2 private liberal arts school in the midwest. 710 GMAT, with great verbal (99%) but ho-hum quant (64% -- but I did get an A in calculus in college). 6 years work experience, much of which is national-level stuff. Kickin' community experience, lots of leadership in the office and out. International experience - 4 languages. Planning to take statistics starting in January - a little late since I am applying now, but I figure it can't hurt and they can always ask to see my mid-terms or something. Cornell, Yale, Duke, UNC with a long-term goal of staying in economic development and taking the credit union field by storm. Short-term: CRA for Block or Citigroup. Gotta know the other side to fight 'em. And it'd be nice to finally make some dough and have some resources to throw at the problems I am working on.

When you're looking at schools, if you think you might want to stay in NP after school, a loan repayment assistance program is a must. I think the entire UE plus much of the E tier schools have such programs. Also, it's easier to go into for-profit and then transition into NP than to go the other way around.

If there's any way that I can help you guys out, let me know. I'm happy to lend my perspective.
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11 Jan 2008, 11:17
[quote="aaudetat"]
I have an econ development background in a community development credit union (i.e. a crazy liberal who likes finances and poor people). 3.94 gpa, Phi Beta Kappa, but a small tier-2 private liberal arts school in the midwest. 710 GMAT, with great verbal (99%) but ho-hum quant (64% -- but I did get an A in calculus in college). 6 years work experience, much of which is national-level stuff. Kickin' community experience, lots of leadership in the office and out. International experience - 4 languages. Planning to take statistics starting in January - a little late since I am applying now, but I figure it can't hurt and they can always ask to see my mid-terms or something. Cornell, Yale, Duke, UNC with a long-term goal of staying in economic development and taking the credit union field by storm. Short-term: CRA for Block or Citigroup. Gotta know the other side to fight 'em. And it'd be nice to finally make some dough and have some resources to throw at the problems I am working on.quote]

congrats on Duke. you have a strong, interesting profile.

a couple of questions:

1) did you get hassled about your low GMAT quant? one math course with an A is better than none, but you hardly qualify as a quant jock. do you find the b school math too challenging? my sense is the focus on one's quant background is a little overblown. accounting? finance? regression? please. i majored in english lit and i don't think any of those subjects are hard.

my GMAT is similar but slightly more balanced. my GPA is lower but average at the schools i am applying to. i went to a state school.

2) the schools you applied to are great schools, but i am wondering why you decided not to take a crack at the UE cluster. it seems like you would have been competitive. (duke is a great school -- please don't get me wrong -- i'm just trying to expand my knowledge of how nonprofits fit in and get in, and you may know something i don't.)

3) can you elaborate on your community experience? i think my community experience is actually better than my workex (which is of average quality) -- i am wondering how this will be perceived. for example, in addition to the stuff listed above, i raised $255,000 for charity --that has to stand out in the app process, but don't know if it will make up for other weaknesses (quant, lack of pedigree, a few black marks on transcript). congrats again and thanks for the feedback. Director Joined: 14 Sep 2007 Posts: 908 Schools: Kellogg '10 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 94 [0], given: 15 Re: Nonprofit? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 11 Jan 2008, 13:59 sudden wrote: yes, river, i am planning to retun to NP -- sort of. i did a lot of volunteering, grant writing, teaching and that sort of thing in college (liberal arts major, as you guessed) and realized that i wanted to go into non-profit. i ended up overseas for a while doing some development type stuff and teaching, but realized that wasn't where i belonged. after some research and a little soul searching, i decided to take a gamble and aim at nonprofit endowment management -- managing money and evaluating granting proposals to determine where the money should go. that meant that i had to learn about investing, so i got an analyst job in the research department of a brokerage firm and passed two levels of the CFA. simultaneously, i got involved with a small local nonprofit endowment on a volunteer basis--i now manage its$1MM endowment fund (beat S&P 500 two years running), determine where our charitable givings go, and lead a group of ~100 volunteers in service projects around the city. my "why bschool" is that I want to merge the two tracks (volunteer + professional) into a career as an asset manager at a large endowment (think Gates, Ford, etc.).

Obviously, this story is quite different from most of those the adcoms will see. i think i will still fit in -- several of the schools have social enterprise electives that are directly related to what i want to do (esp. columbia, wharton and stanford). In terms of fit, i think i checked most of the major boxes:

Competitive stats: check
4 years of work ex: check

the only part i am a little sketchy on is the quant side of things -- i took 0 quant in college and didn't exactly set the high score on the GMAT quant section. i did pass two levels of the CFA though, which is pretty quantitative and certainly representative of the kind of work that goes on in b-school... i will be a little surprised if that isn't good enough.

anyway, thanks all for feedback -- apps are already out so i guess we shall see

Holy crayola.

Apply anywhere you want. With a profile like that you've got as good a chance, or better, than anyone!
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11 Jan 2008, 14:45
sudden wrote:
aaudetat wrote:
I have an econ development background in a community development credit union (i.e. a crazy liberal who likes finances and poor people). 3.94 gpa, Phi Beta Kappa, but a small tier-2 private liberal arts school in the midwest. 710 GMAT, with great verbal (99%) but ho-hum quant (64% -- but I did get an A in calculus in college). 6 years work experience, much of which is national-level stuff. Kickin' community experience, lots of leadership in the office and out. International experience - 4 languages. Planning to take statistics starting in January - a little late since I am applying now, but I figure it can't hurt and they can always ask to see my mid-terms or something. Cornell, Yale, Duke, UNC with a long-term goal of staying in economic development and taking the credit union field by storm. Short-term: CRA for Block or Citigroup. Gotta know the other side to fight 'em. And it'd be nice to finally make some dough and have some resources to throw at the problems I am working on.

congrats on Duke. you have a strong, interesting profile.

a couple of questions:

1) did you get hassled about your low GMAT quant? one math course with an A is better than none, but you hardly qualify as a quant jock. do you find the b school math too challenging? my sense is the focus on one's quant background is a little overblown. accounting? finance? regression? please. i majored in english lit and i don't think any of those subjects are hard.

my GMAT is similar but slightly more balanced. my GPA is lower but average at the schools i am applying to. i went to a state school.

2) the schools you applied to are great schools, but i am wondering why you decided not to take a crack at the UE cluster. it seems like you would have been competitive. (duke is a great school -- please don't get me wrong -- i'm just trying to expand my knowledge of how nonprofits fit in and get in, and you may know something i don't.)

3) can you elaborate on your community experience? i think my community experience is actually better than my workex (which is of average quality) -- i am wondering how this will be perceived. for example, in addition to the stuff listed above, i raised \$255,000 for charity --that has to stand out in the app process, but don't know if it will make up for other weaknesses (quant, lack of pedigree, a few black marks on transcript).

congrats again and thanks for the feedback.

Thanks for the kind words.

1. I didn't get hassled about the quant stuff. Some of my classmates were required to go the summer math camp, but I wasn't. It might be that I did well enough on the GMAT - it's not great, but it's not like I totally bombed it. It could be the econ and calc in college. It could be that I took stats over the summer. It could be that I worked in a credit union. I dunno.

As far as feeling behind the others -- it's ok. When i look at the world, I think of it in terms of words, not numbers. sometimes that puts me behind. While I immediately get stuff that's word-based, the numbers stuff takes a bit more time. But if you look at my grades, I'm obviously keeping up. If you did CFA, you should be fine.

2. When I was choosing my portfolio, I focused on schools that were small (duke was the exception), strong in gen mgmt, but also strong in NP. I didn't worry too much about rankings, provided the schools were at or above the near-elite frontier level. Of the UEs, I considered Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, and Wharton. I ditched Wharton for being to quant-y and ditched H just for being annoying. I really liked Stanford and had planned to make it my 5th school -- had the application 3/4 done -- but my life fell apart on me and it didn't get finished in time. When deciding where to apply, I practically flipped a coin between K and Duke.

I guess I regret not applying to S or K a little bit, especially Kellogg. I think I would have been competitive, and I really like Chicago. I love Duke and am perfectly happy, but there's always that "could I have gotten in?" question in my head. But whatever. I try not to worry too much about the rankings.

3. As someone else mentioned, some schools are way more into the community stuff than others. If your extracurrics are good, then work them into your essays to demonstrate your abilities and values. Besides, you want a balanced package that shows your work and your life.

I sort of consider my work experience also community work -- I mean, I made no money and worked with low-income people for 6 straight years, one of those years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA (think domestic peace corps). But I did other stuff too - founding member of the Ithaca Cooperative Softball League, spent two years as team captain and League Commissioner. Take Back the Night Treasurer. Board Member: Recycle Ithaca's Bicycles & Ithaca Health Alliance. On the steering committee of my trade association. Did foster dog care. Talked about all the work we did on our house in Ithaca. And was super-busy in college with this stuff, so some of that was included.

4. My unsolicited advice: don't worry about the black marks. You seem like a well-rounded person with a good package. Think about what your profile is, and how you want the adcoms to think of you. Socially Minded Finance Guy seems like a good label. Make sure your essays support that, or whatever other themes you have in mind.

Where did you apply?
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13 Jan 2008, 19:51
Hi sudden,
While PhD gives me the indepth theoretical background about one of the areas I would like to work for (Microfinance) and have been associated with providing financial assistance to the NP sector, I still don't have the skills to manage the social ventures - so the MBA
Another aspect, I may be having some of the skills to manage the development funds (debatable!), but how do I convince the world? Perhaps, an MBA could provide a good packaging to market my skills.
What do you feel?
Of the UEs, I thought that only W was 'gettable' for my age, but I am having second thoughts on that also! Thinking about LBS - Sloan.
I have seen many experts on this forum and any feedback would be of great help to me.
Regards.
sudden wrote:
Also, I am curious to know how you approached the app process as someone who already has a PhD. How did you address that re: also wanting an MBA?
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14 Jan 2008, 06:09
Artemov wrote:
Hi sudden,
While PhD gives me the indepth theoretical background about one of the areas I would like to work for (Microfinance) and have been associated with providing financial assistance to the NP sector, I still don't have the skills to manage the social ventures - so the MBA
Another aspect, I may be having some of the skills to manage the development funds (debatable!), but how do I convince the world? Perhaps, an MBA could provide a good packaging to market my skills.
What do you feel?
Of the UEs, I thought that only W was 'gettable' for my age, but I am having second thoughts on that also! Thinking about LBS - Sloan.
I have seen many experts on this forum and any feedback would be of great help to me.
Regards.

i'm hardly an expert, but i think it's a tough sell for someone with a PhD in a related discipline to earn an MBA. i'm sure it's been done, but you start to look like a degree collector, which is something i am sure the schools do not want. that being said, your reason for wanting an MBA from a good school seems legitimate. it's basically the same reason i want an MBA -- do I actually NEED one after finishing the CFA? maybe, maybe not -- but it will help boost me into the job i want and will give me some leverage for the rest of my career, as well give me confidence that i know what i am doing.

your background is unusual and you are trying to navigate into an area where age is less important than some other industries (banking, for instance). for that reason, i think your age might be less of a factor. wharton probably is your best bet since they claim to like older applicants.
Re: Nonprofit?   [#permalink] 14 Jan 2008, 06:09

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