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Request Profile Eval + Career change advice

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New post 15 Oct 2018, 00:07
Hi JonAdmissionado,

Kindly evaluate my profile

Age at Matriculation - 39 years
Matriculation yr - Aug 2019 or Jan/Mar 2020
Education - BE (GPA 3.0), MBA (Tier II school in India)
Programs interested - Full time MBA (1yr & 2yr)
Locations preferred - Europe & Canada
GMAT - 710, planning a retake in November, aiming 750+

Nationality - Indian

Extracurriculars - Powerlifting team captain at university, Bronze medalist at National level Powerlifting competition, Black Belt in Taekwondo, Winner of various State/National level Bodybuilding competitions

Community work - Taught Martial arts & guitar to children at a foster home, which took care of children born in brothels.
Taught the basics of fitness & nutrition to underprivileged teenagers at local community, to prepare them for a career in Personal training.

Experience - 9 years in Sales Support managerial role in Top companies in the Consumer Electronics Industry in India.
6 months Sabbatical, then for the last 1.5 years as a full time Freelance Fitness/Nutrition/Kick-boxing Coach. As a fitness coach i exclusively work with HNI's & provide customized Personal training & Diet programs. I also train fitness athletes to get them ready for Bodybuilding contests.

Global exposure - None, other than working for Chinese & South Korean firms, hence constant interaction with Global offices.

Post MBA goals - To get into Consumer Electronics Industry on an international level, to gain Global exposure working for Top brands primarily in Europe & North America. Hoping to someday be at the CXO level position.

Schools Targeted - Safe schools - Schulich, Ivey, HEC(Montreal), Smith, Mannheim, Leipzig,
Dream schools - Rotman, Erasmus, IMD, INSEAD, HEC(Paris)


Now my questions are

1. How do you rate my chances at the above schools, considering my age & untraditional current career choice?

2. Does my move away from corporate to start something on my own (which is very non traditional & untypical of a Bschool aspirant), looks bad on my resume, so much as to hamper my chances at these schools?

3. I have recently been offered a role back in the corporate as a Product manager. This role is new to me & is very attractive & also its a great opportunity for me to restart my career in corporate. However I am skeptical about leaving my business, which i built from scratch & is doing quite well.
I would not want to move back to corporate, unless it will help in showcasing my profile in good light, in a very traditional way. Will a move back to corporate look bad on my resume or will it be show a good shift, since i will be kind of re inventing myself again?

Thanks. Appreciate your inputs
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New post 17 Oct 2018, 14:43
You're in a bit of a tough situation since you've got so many years of experience & since you left the corporate world to do such non-traditional work. Although you did start a business, it sounds like your day to day work is working as a coach & the adcom may have concerns about whether the business world is the best fit for you since you chose to leave it & do work focused more on fitness. Even though there are business skills required in starting any business, running a freelance coaching business is not a traditional business to start & my guess is most of your time is spent coaching vs. on business-related activities? At the same time, it will also be tricky to go back to work in the corporate world & still apply for a FT MBA since you are already above the average years of experience, even for European & Canadian schools. The work you're doing also does not on paper seem like an obvious step in the direction of your goals & that may raise concerns as well.

One option would be to consider returning to the corporate world but in a fitness-related company (which maybe have a technology angle - FitBit for example) and then applying to a part-time or executive MBA program instead of a FT one. That would also read as a more linear story & would make your switch to a fitness role make more sense in the adcom's mind.

I would also work to improve your GMAT up if you can - a higher score will help allay any concerns that you're not up for the rigors of b-school or that you haven't had the chance to demonstrate enough business skills in your business - it sounds like your previous work was also fairly narrowly focused on sales skills in particular & the adcom likes to see some degree of breadth - but a higher GMAT can allay concerns.

I hope that helps!
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New post 18 Oct 2018, 20:00
Thanks so much Jon!! really appreciate your honest evaluation.

Just want to add a few details, would love to hear your inputs.

Reason to leave Corporate Job - Lay Off!! yes, because of the demonetisation drive which the Indian government had in 2016, the company that i was working for lost a significant amount of business revenue. My department was dissolved & I along with my colleague & supervisor were laid off. Up untill then I was in a mid managerial role leading a team of 6 business analyts (my best job role till date from pov of leadership).

Post lay off, the industry still being in a slump, i did a bit of soul searching (post a road trip across rural India) & made a decision to start on my own. Since i had been involved in the fitness industry (competing/coaching) using it as a part time stream of revenue throughout my career in coporate, It came as a natural way forward for me to expand my existing part time venture to a full time venture. The decision was partly out of necessity (needed a steady income generator in the months following lay off) & partly due to passion.

To give you a brief idea of my business, it involves Online coaching(major portion of business), Personal training/Injury rehab, Kick boxing/Taekwondo coaching(mostly to kids) & Bodybuilding contest prep. You can use the analogy of any Self employed business owner (GMAT tutor/boutique admission consultant/CA/Artist/etc.) to understand the nature of business.

I had been doing Diets/Workout Plans for my colleagues & supervisors, while i was working in coporate, often times for free. I eventually converted most of these clients to paid clients, while further expanding by getting in touch with all my previous colleagues & university classmates (most in their mid 30's & unhealthy, who were very well aware of my university level powerlifting wins). I had a great response & the business took off good.

Next i extensively used Social media (Facebook & Instagram) to reach to a lot of the younger clientele, specific to bodybuilding/fitness. Since i had been featured in a fitness magazine as well won numerous local bodybuilding shows, also in addition to the growing popularity of fitness & in general to look good (thanks to Bollywood/media), acquiring clients for Online coaching wasn't that hard.

I also collaborated with local dieticians/chiropractors/health clubs, which further has helped in gaining clients, especially the HNI clients (Named brand owners/indutrialists), whom i exclusively stick to Personal training/Injury rehab. Also referral plays a huge part, as a good word of mouth helped build my credibility.

To sum it up, the business is doing quite well, it keeps me busy with daily client trainings & on weekends with weekly online checkins. The only limitation is the number of hours I can physically put in or i am willing to put in.

Now the question is why leave all of this & why MBA now?
As i already mentioned i am 38, right now, although still in great shape & easily pass off as a 20 something year old, thanks to years of training & good diet (no alcohol/smoking). However, Fitness is still a young man's game, it is a very "looks" oriented field, dare i say a glamourous field, similar on the lines of cosmetic/makeup industry. Eventually father time will take over & it will become a hard sell, as young bucks would easily replace me. Even though knowledge & experience matter, but my philosphy is leading by example.

The motto of my business has always been customised/tailored service, which is the main reason for me to not launch my own website & give out a cookie cutter service, which is one size fits all. I only work with a limited clients at a time, so that i can gaurantee results to them. This approach is what has built my credibilty.

As much as i love fitness, i equally love to be a part of an organisation, particularly the Consumer Electronics Industry. I have been limited in my exposure to international markets/consumers in Consumer electronics, even though i worked for the top companies in the Industry (e.g. Samsung, etc.). I would love to work in the European or Canadian market, which is picking up great pace in fitness related products. As you rightly pointed out, that fitness related gadgets (fitbit) will be a right direction, it absolutely is & is my aim. Not limiting myself to just that but also branch out in health & wellnes related home applicances (air purifiers, etc.) & digital products related to fitness. I anticipate a huge surge of fitness related products, in the coming years, as the awareness of fitness & liftsytle related ailments increases. My goal is to eventually work in a leadership position for a firm, marketing & selling consumer electronics/health gadgets. I also plan/hope to stay in the fitness business through part time online coaching as long as I can.

I think my experience & stories will be valuable to any MBA class that i join, hopefully i will be able to convince the adcoms about that.

Assuming the adcoms buy my story, how much of a detriment do you think will AGE play in downgrading my chances?

Also, is it worth while to look at 1 year MBA options in the US (MSx, etc.)? although not really keen on Exec MBA, primarily since most do not support Visa & job placements. Eventually i want to settle in Canada or Europe, an EMBA will not be a great option to achieve that.

Definitely agree that i have to improve my GMAT score.
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New post 20 Oct 2018, 19:43
You definitely have an interesting story & I see where you are coming from. I do think age is going to be a sizable challenge unfortunately at full time two year or one year programs. I would definitely consider starting to try to make the career switch now & applying to part time programs. Your age would be less an issue there & you still get access to all the same professors, resources & network. An online MBA could be an option as well but then you miss out on the network & they're not viewed as favorably by employers. If you do want to apply to full time programs, I'd aim for programs that might feel like more of a safety based on your scores - if you are a stronger than avg candidate for a school they will be more likely to overlook the age issue. Good luck to you!
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