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Profile Evaluation - Am I dreaming?

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Joined: 05 Jun 2006
Posts: 1
Profile Evaluation - Am I dreaming? [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2009, 15:25
Long time lurker, first time poster


3.4 GPA from Indiana University Class of 2004: Finance

JD - Vanderbilt University Class of 2007 (A good school, but not great. On par with schools like Georgetown and UCLA)

Corporate Attorney Second year at a mid-sized firm (400-500 attorneys; somewhere between 100-200 amongst the country's largest firms)
A lot of grunt work, and literally no leadership experience.
The ONLY leadership experience I have is in the form of local civic engagements. Nothing too interesting.

GMAT: 670

Target Schools: Top 12

Ethnicity: African American, Male

Am I kidding myself thinking that I can get into a top 12 with such poor work/leadership experience?

I am currently 28.

Would spending four years in the military and enrolling at 32 be a wise decision to make up for my lack of leadership? In other words, would my chances of getting into a top 12 school rise significantly? I have been giving the military a lot of consideration, and think I would be comfortable walking away from my career as an attorney if that is what it takes.. Document review is killing me, and who knows if my firm will be the next to lay employees off. I understand I would have to retake the GMAT if I did the military thing, but I am confident in my chances of at least matching the 670.

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Joined: 09 Nov 2008
Posts: 216
Location: Evanston, IL
Schools: Kellogg '11 (MMM)
Re: Profile Evaluation - Am I dreaming? [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2009, 04:06
sucram, I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of leadership experience. Joining the military at this stage in your life is certainly not your only option. I would say as long as you have significant extra-carricular leadership roles you'll be fine.

Certainly with your work experience you are a good candidate, I think in your why MBA/why now? essay questions you explain that you have had all this exposure to the business world, but really want to focus on your leadership skills. While all schools will talk about leadership development, some mean it more than others (you can start to tell which ones). Focus on those programs.

Think long and hard about the military. I just got done with six years myself. If the only reason you want to join is to get "leadership experience" there are a ton of other things you can do with your time to get that. The other thing you have to consider is that you will be 32 when you get out (which will make you an "older" applicant at any school you apply to). For more reason why not to join the military please PM me.
MBA Admissions Consultant
Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 2453
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Profile Evaluation - Am I dreaming? [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2009, 11:27
I think you may be underestimating your experience. Most applicants don't have "formal" leadership experience in their jobs.

A lot of your success getting into a top MBA program comes down to how well you execute the applications - how well you are able to articulate why you want a business career in light of your experience to date (i.e. your reasons for wanting to get INTO business have to be much clearer than your reasons for wanting OUT of the law). If you can do that and choose a range of programs that you feel you'll be a great fit for given your career goals (you never mentioned what they are), you may just find yourself with an admit (or two) from a top school.

As for the military, having worked with quite a number of military officers in the past, I would seriously caution you about joining the military as a means to an end (the end being something like getting into b-school). And given the experiences they've shared to some degree about their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's not something you just go into like any other job. In other words, you don't do it because you want leadership experience -- you do it because you believe in serving. That you're willing to put "serving others" ahead of your own self-interest.

Alex Chu

Re: Profile Evaluation - Am I dreaming?   [#permalink] 28 Feb 2009, 11:27
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