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Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company?

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Concentration: Social Entrepreneurship, Healthcare
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Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company? [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 13:25
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How much does the company name help admissions rate?

I have been working for 3 years at my current job doing marketing analytics (would be 50 months by enrollment). I have connections (family) at both American Express and Morgan Stanley that can probably get me interviews. From what I can tell, both AmEx and MStanley are relatively good "feeder" companies to MBA programs, whereas my current company is less well known. I was wondering if my odds would be much better if I did a year at, say, AmEx and then applied next year.

The other benefit of switching jobs (besides admissions) is that I would be making more over the next year. The downside is that my goal for an MBA is to switch industries and my heart isn't in marketing/finance. It would also make the ROI lower... if I started bschool next fall from my current position I'd expect a salary bump around 70-80% post-MBA. Instead, if I switched jobs now and waited a year to apply, that increase might be around only 10-20%, which isn't worth it in pure dollar terms.

This seems to be the paradox of admissions - with the better job, getting an MBA is less valuable, but without the better job, getting into an MBA program is more difficult. Perhaps I'm wrong and working for AmEx would just put me up against tougher competition.

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Re: Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company? [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 15:56
jz4analytics wrote:
How much does the company name help admissions rate?

I have been working for 3 years at my current job doing marketing analytics (would be 50 months by enrollment). I have connections (family) at both American Express and Morgan Stanley that can probably get me interviews. From what I can tell, both AmEx and MStanley are relatively good "feeder" companies to MBA programs, whereas my current company is less well known. I was wondering if my odds would be much better if I did a year at, say, AmEx and then applied next year.

The other benefit of switching jobs (besides admissions) is that I would be making more over the next year. The downside is that my goal for an MBA is to switch industries and my heart isn't in marketing/finance. It would also make the ROI lower... if I started bschool next fall from my current position I'd expect a salary bump around 70-80% post-MBA. Instead, if I switched jobs now and waited a year to apply, that increase might be around only 10-20%, which isn't worth it in pure dollar terms.

This seems to be the paradox of admissions - with the better job, getting an MBA is less valuable, but without the better job, getting into an MBA program is more difficult. Perhaps I'm wrong and working for AmEx would just put me up against tougher competition.



Excellent thought.... We've all pondered about this.. What I've learned from my mistakes, is that its always better to have applied earlier.. In my case, waiting for an additional year hasn't improved my chances at Wharton or for that matter Harvard (it prefers younger candidates, time is not on my side) at all.. Unless the extra year brings in a true differentiating factor, it wouldn't be worth it.. Working with a fund is advantageous if you want to pursue PE etc post MBA... if you want to change course.. RATHER do it now..

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Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company? [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 16:14
tia2112 wrote:
jz4analytics wrote:
How much does the company name help admissions rate?

I have been working for 3 years at my current job doing marketing analytics (would be 50 months by enrollment). I have connections (family) at both American Express and Morgan Stanley that can probably get me interviews. From what I can tell, both AmEx and MStanley are relatively good "feeder" companies to MBA programs, whereas my current company is less well known. I was wondering if my odds would be much better if I did a year at, say, AmEx and then applied next year.

The other benefit of switching jobs (besides admissions) is that I would be making more over the next year. The downside is that my goal for an MBA is to switch industries and my heart isn't in marketing/finance. It would also make the ROI lower... if I started bschool next fall from my current position I'd expect a salary bump around 70-80% post-MBA. Instead, if I switched jobs now and waited a year to apply, that increase might be around only 10-20%, which isn't worth it in pure dollar terms.

This seems to be the paradox of admissions - with the better job, getting an MBA is less valuable, but without the better job, getting into an MBA program is more difficult. Perhaps I'm wrong and working for AmEx would just put me up against tougher competition.



Excellent thought.... We've all pondered about this.. What I've learned from my mistakes, is that its always better to have applied earlier.. In my case, waiting for an additional year hasn't improved my chances at Wharton or for that matter Harvard (it prefers younger candidates, time is not on my side) at all.. Unless the extra year brings in a true differentiating factor, it wouldn't be worth it.. Working with a fund is advantageous if you want to pursue PE etc post MBA... if you want to change course.. RATHER do it now..


Thanks. As I said, I'm not interested in finance (I'm technically in marketing now, but want to switch). The advantage at AmEx is that I could probably land a manager-level position, which is a notch above where I am now. I think that looks better for bschool applications. But if I can apply in R1 this year and get into a top 15 program I'd take it. I'd rather end up in a more socially-meaningful industry such as social enterprise, or even healthcare. Although I'd make more money switching jobs now, I don't know if I would really enjoy it.

As for the age, I'm 26 now and would be 27 at matriculation if I applied this year. Pushing that off a year, I'd still be 28... 27-28 is pretty much the prime age range so I wasn't too concerned about that.

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Re: Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company? [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 19:44
You are certainly thinking about everything in the right way. There is a right time to apply for everyone and I'd love to help you determine that time for you. With the information you provided, I would say that if you got a promotion and a new job you would have a better shot of getting into a good school with another year at Amex / Morgan Stanley.

However, there are many factors that could either solidify my opinion or potentially change it. Feel free to post some answers here or if this info is sensitive you can send a note to scott@personalmbacoach.com

What company are you at now?
How have you performed there relative to peers? Would LORs say top 2-5%, 25% etc?
How materially different would the work be if you got a new job and waited? Substantially different resume bullets?
Undergrad school and GPA? GMAT?
Extra-curriculars?
Is your goal just to get into a top 15 or to get into the best program you can? Or the best ROI in general?

From there, I can advise you more on what is better for you because potentially you would be a great candidate for a top 15 school this year, its just hard to tell without knowing everything about you.
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Re: Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company? [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 22:45
Hi jz4analytics,

First of all, please don't look at the MBA (or any other avenue of education) purely in terms of financial ROI's :) What it does is it puts you in a position where you get to do something that you like. And I'm assuming that is not the case now. So do your MBA now, or a year later - what should matter the most if if you will get to do what you want after.

Having taken that out of the equation, let us now focus on your main question - should you work for Amex for a year? The answer, really, is that it depends. What does your career graph look like so far? Have you worked on some super interesting projects - that a lot of your peers might not have claim to? If so, then apply now. If no, then what does Amex hold for you? What kind of experiences will the job bring with it? Is it going to push you over the edge - meaning, will it still leave you with reason to do an MBA after a year at it?

I know I've not really answered your question. But hopefully, if you think through these points, you will be in a position to answer it yourself.

Best wishes,
Karthik

jz4analytics wrote:
How much does the company name help admissions rate?

I have been working for 3 years at my current job doing marketing analytics (would be 50 months by enrollment). I have connections (family) at both American Express and Morgan Stanley that can probably get me interviews. From what I can tell, both AmEx and MStanley are relatively good "feeder" companies to MBA programs, whereas my current company is less well known. I was wondering if my odds would be much better if I did a year at, say, AmEx and then applied next year.

The other benefit of switching jobs (besides admissions) is that I would be making more over the next year. The downside is that my goal for an MBA is to switch industries and my heart isn't in marketing/finance. It would also make the ROI lower... if I started bschool next fall from my current position I'd expect a salary bump around 70-80% post-MBA. Instead, if I switched jobs now and waited a year to apply, that increase might be around only 10-20%, which isn't worth it in pure dollar terms.

This seems to be the paradox of admissions - with the better job, getting an MBA is less valuable, but without the better job, getting into an MBA program is more difficult. Perhaps I'm wrong and working for AmEx would just put me up against tougher competition.

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Re: Pushing off MBA application for a year to work for a "feeder" company? [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2015, 02:41
Looking holistically at what your app might be like - you move to Amex or Mstanley and you get thrown in the Finance pool - one of the largest pools applying to bschools. That might a big difference depending on what 'industry sector' you are currently working in? In Finance and Consulting brand names can make up for less responsibility with a glowing reference. Outside they want to see responsibility and leadership (specifically hard figures on what you've added to the firm).

My issue with your story above is (if you are not in Finance already) is how do you spin the career change of industries to finance before telling a story of wanting to go to social enterprises or healthcare? Think thats a tougher sell than applying now with three good years of experience to leverage.

The next point is if you switch - you are gambling on finding people willing to give a GLOWING recommendation. A year into the role that might be tougher.

Could you find a Pharma/Healthcare firm or social enterprise to switch to instead for the next year? - you could apply in Sept using rec's from current employer and the switch would help justify your story. It would also put you in a lower represented industry segment which could benefit you in applications. Then you could apply again the following year leveraging the years experience.

The problem with the main 'feeders' is you really do need to have superb rec's suggesting you are the very best of young talent in the firm / excellent job roles / and interesting experience to talk about. It would be better to get a big brand name that is not a typical 'feeder' by nature of the industry - it adds weight if the adcom already know the company and what its about and that firm has been willing to hire you. Insurance firms, Media, Communications, Pharmaceuticals have some huge brand names but due to the nature of the work etc theres limited people looking to go to Business School so they are seen as less of a feeder.

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New post 26 Jun 2015, 04:39
Thanks for the input, everyone. I am still leaning towards applying now. I was worried about the LOR which is one of the reasons why I've stuck to my current job. And, as mentioned, the essays would be harder to write if I switched. I could make a good case for the industry switch now, but if I were working at AmEx I'd already be in a job that people aspire to post-MBA. But it would be one I don't think I'd enjoy.

Undergrad GPA is 3.3 with a math major, at a large main campus state university.

Scheduled to take the GMAT on July 27th. Practice test scores have been in the low-700s, but I haven't taken one in a couple weeks. Plan to get that up to mid-700's and will take another "official" CAT next week to gauge how close I am to that.

There are certainly people at my work who think I'm a top performer. I've been chosen for a few things (an interesting project, writing a case study, doing a short subject-matter video) at work because of that. The company that I work for does big data marketing analytics. I mostly do the statistical work and have worked on Dell, Toyota, and a few other clients.

I think I have some good extracurriculars. In college I did volunteer work, including planning a 5K and tabeling. I started, played, and managed sports teams at work. And right now I'm teaching an ethics discussion at a local synagogue.

As for the schools, I think I've narrowed it down to four - Wharton and Tuck for healthcare, Yale and Columbia for social enterprise. If I don't get into one of those it's not worth going.

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New post 25 Nov 2015, 23:23
I would say make the switch. Although I would hope for more than one year at american express or morgan stanley. If you can make it two years, your application will be that much stronger. Also, I would ignore your ROI calculations. It sounds like the only reason you would take the new job with the greater salary is to be better prepared for business school, so you should probably base your calculation on your current or desire job with no mba and see what the numbers say.
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New post 25 Nov 2015, 23:23
I would say make the switch. Although I would hope for more than one year at american express or morgan stanley. If you can make it two years, your application will be that much stronger. Also, I would ignore your ROI calculations. It sounds like the only reason you would take the new job with the greater salary is to be better prepared for business school, so you should probably base your calculation on your current or desired job with no mba and see what the numbers say.
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