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Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)

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Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?

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Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2018, 20:24
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Hey Guys,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster, I could really use your help on this.

Profile:
- 24-year-old White American Male
- 3.7 GPA
- 328 GRE (168V, 160Q)
- Only 22 months of working experience, would be 27 months when classes start this year.
- My formal work experience has been at regional banks in mortgage banking/loan analysis roles
- Outside of that, I have founded a couple start-ups and worked as a digital/creative consultant for small business and local politicians (building websites, logos, messaging, etc.). I've also hosted/run weekly stand-up comedy shows and won a few major storytelling competitions.
- Degree from a respectable state school. Studied Econ and Political Science.


Current Offers and Scholarships:
Olin - $50k over two years
Kelley - $30k over two years plus teaching assistantship worth approx. $16k
Mendoza - $60k over two years

Goals: Short-term I am trying to decide between pursuing a consulting role (I love working with businesses to solve their problems) or pivot towards to the tech industry to work in marketing role (preferably product manager). After gaining experience and establishing myself financially I'd like to move into the start-up space and found my own company.

TLDR: I applied in a pretty rushed fashion this year without doing enough research. I have received decent offers, but after taking my time to research, I'm worried I may be selling myself short and should instead work these next few months to improve my profile and apply to better programs in the fall. What do you think?

Long Version: So I got to the game late. I was talking to a friend last Christmas about my current job and what I wanted to do moving forward, and he advised looking at MBAs now rather than later. I looked at the employment reports, promptly started drooling, and decided he was right. I applied at the January deadline for Kelley and Mendoza, which basically gave me no real time for in-depth research. Because of my general ignorance, I decided to apply to top 25ish programs that gave me the best chance of getting a scholarship, as I don't have a ton saved up and had to make the numbers work. Yeah, I know, most people spend a long time applying to school and this was dumb. I agree. After looking at employment reports I assumed that MBA programs were a lot like undergrad programs, where there is really not a huge difference income wise between the top 25. The difference between the median consulting starting salaries for Kelley and Tuck is only 7k, right? It was only after looking at salary info over time that showed me how different the degrees were. (I should've come here earlier lol)

So, despite my short work experience, state school education, and GRE in lieu of a GMAT, I have received the offers above. They are pretty good, any of them would elevate me out of my current job and get me closer to my goals. But now I'm starting to worry I've sold myself short. My gut is telling me to take this year, buckle down, improve everything on my application that I can, and shoot for better schools in the fall (Yale, Ross, Tuck, maybe Haas or Kellogg). At worst, I get rejected and just reapply to the schools above, right? However, I come from a pretty poor place and my parents are nervous about me turning down so much money.

What do you guys think? Any opinions would be massively appreciated, this site has already helped me a ton.

Thanks!
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Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 27 Mar 2018, 21:49
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You'll get responses from people far better versed in your path but from my perspective you have a really good profile (I believe that's a solid GRE as well but have you tried gmat?) and you definitely rushed into MBA applications, presumably out of excitement like I did a year ago myself haha.

Now those are good schools, and you definitely hurt your future chances by getting in this year and rejecting their acceptance so you may have burned those options if you wait. BUT I concur with your feeling that you are likely better off giving it one more year of work, honestly you're several years below the average age but I know the feeling you have and it's very much a "I'm not waiting more than one year" feeling. But with what you've told us I think you can get into a few top 15 if not higher programs next year.

Piece of advice though definitely remember not to obsess with rankings as a lot of these schools can get you where you want to go. Some are a bit easier and obviously ranked higher for a reason but if you're saving close to $100k and think you can get where you want to go anyway that matters.
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Originally posted by redfield on 27 Mar 2018, 21:29.
Last edited by redfield on 27 Mar 2018, 21:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2018, 21:44
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You come off very accomplished and seems you have done a lot.

However, you will be one of the youngest guys in the class. That will have an impact on the overall experience you’ll have during your MBA. Nothing hard work can’t fix and sounds like a sense of humor for it but still, connecting with the more established and mature candidates will take some time.

It really depends if you can wait a year and grow your profile. It doesn’t sound like you’ll have a problem with that but if you’re thinking of changing jobs or you feel that your industry may result in you getting laid off in the next six months, I would reconsider. However, I think you can do great, esp if you get planning early end get extra umph using a skilled consultant.

When I was applying, I could not wait. I was in a dead end job and needed to get away. My choice was pretty easy. I had three years of work experience at matriculation and even then I felt a bit lightweight compared to those who had five years of experienced and managed multiple teams. I have missed out on a lot of learning and reflection opportunities due to lack of experience (maturity too perhaps). Intimately, I have not failed enough by the time I was matriculating to get the full potential and benefit of an MBA.... food for thought.

Check out a few other discussions like these. They come up from time to time to see how things turned out.

Congrats on your admits and scholarships!

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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2018, 06:12
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bb wrote:
You come off very accomplished and seems you have done a lot.

However, you will be one of the youngest guys in the class. That will have an impact on the overall experience you’ll have during your MBA. Nothing hard work can’t fix and sounds like a sense of humor for it but still, connecting with the more established and mature candidates will take some time.

It really depends if you can wait a year and grow your profile. It doesn’t sound like you’ll have a problem with that but if you’re thinking of changing jobs or you feel that your industry may result in you getting laid off in the next six months, I would reconsider. However, I think you can do great, esp if you get planning early end get extra umph using a skilled consultant.

When I was applying, I could not wait. I was in a dead end job and needed to get away. My choice was pretty easy. I had three years of work experience at matriculation and even then I felt a bit lightweight compared to those who had five years of experienced and managed multiple teams. I have missed out on a lot of learning and reflection opportunities due to lack of experience (maturity too perhaps). Intimately, I have not failed enough by the time I was matriculating to get the full potential and benefit of an MBA.... food for thought.

Check out a few other discussions like these. They come up from time to time to see how things turned out.

Congrats on your admits and scholarships!

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bb: I constantly see your thoughtful advice and it makes me wonder where you matriculated! Are you comfortable sharing?

OP: I think you would do best to reapply assuming you can continue your work experience in a positive and effective manner (to position yourself both in life and applications). I know after getting accepts some might find it hard to do the whole process again -- but if you are fine doing this, you definitely have potential for your targets!
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2018, 07:47
Thanks for the responses, everyone!

redfield - Awesome, I appreciate it, man! I haven't taken the GMAT, I took the GRE because out of college I was exploring pursuing a grad degree in Econ. Of course, I decided against it, but now I'm wondering whether to learn a completely new test (GMAT) or just try to improve my GRE. I know we're on a forum literally called GMATclub, but what do you think?

bb - Thanks for weighing in! I'm a big fan of the site and the advice you give on these forums, so I was happy to read your response. I think the point you bring up about my age is really true and I'll have to work to overcome that. I do have one question though. When you say if I am looking to change jobs soon to reconsider, do you think getting a better job at a name brand company more in line with my post MBA interests would hurt my fall applications? I'm not worried about losing the job I currently have, but I have been exploring jumping into another job to enhance my resume and MBA profile. Would that be a mistake from your perspective?

dan3067 - Great! Thank you for your advice, it's heartening to read from someone who has such great admits.
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2018, 07:27
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Hey,

So, my short answer is yes, you should shoot for a higher school.

2 things to keep in mind:

1) I'm assuming you dont mind doing what you're doing for another year which is great. But keep in mind, top schools are very unpredictable so you might not get an acceptance next year. Are you good pushing this off for 2 years instead of 1? You're young enough where it doesn't matter, but you have to consider would you be ok working for another 2 years, and if so, are you going to show some professional growth in the next 2 years? Worst case scenario what about 3?

2) Check out what deferral policies are at those places; see if there's any way a rational, polite, clear letter can get you to defer admission while you reapply. Now, if you think that isn't ethical, don't do it. But there are many who think that's part of the MBA game-- securing one option while looking for another.

Even if the schools dont allow deferral, you can say something like "I appreciate you thinking about my request, but I cannot accept this year for personal reasons. I really love your school for X reasons and I will apply again next year. Thank you blah blah"

That obviously doesn't guarantee readmission, but I THINK it makes it more likely; adcoms appreciate honest and good notes.


3 tips for applying to better ranked schools:

1) Take the GMAT and improve your quant.

I know there are many topics about how GRE will be fine. But I promise, take the GMAT and score 720 or above-- that is your goal. I PROMISE THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

2) Think about a smart and authentic way to pitch your startups-- it doesn't matter if they're million dollar companies or not -- what matters is you have an intellectual takeaway from being a part of that process that taught you something bigger about business/life.

3) Pick 3-5 schools that you research thoroughly AND go to admissions events (at least 1 for each if possible, or at least for the school you want to go to most) -- take notes and have a good takeaway if you're ever in an interview situation and it comes up.

Good luck and PM if you want-- I was poli sci major at state school, non-traditional background, and got admitted to Yale and a WL at Haas+ waiting on a M7 school. Trying to help as much as I can.
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2018, 12:13
urbanac - Thanks so much, I really appreciate the offer to help. Also, great advice, I will definitely look into deferring. Congrats on your admit and good luck with the M7 school you're waiting on!
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2018, 13:37
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Hi alansmoothie

I think you have received great comments from the GC community.

I would highlight 2 issues why to deffer this year. I strongly agree to defer for up to 2 years:

1- You need to get seasoned so that you can benefit from the MBA through synthesizing your experience and MBA knowledge.

2- You will augment you resume with professional experience which will you get higher salary when entering the job market when you have 5 years of experience rather than 2 years.

You have high GRE score so it might be your essays or interview was not good enough or convinced of your goals. I believe you have story to tell and this makes wonder which schools you applied besides what you mentioned. I advise you next time to maybe hire a consultant to help you showcase. S/he might polish you experience.

Another issue which I do not know, If you want consulting field, do consulting firms require GMAT or now they accept GRE? This maybe demand you to start thinking in GMAT.

Good luck
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2018, 14:02
Mo2men - Thanks! I agree I've gotten some great feedback here and thank you for contributing to it.

To answer your question regarding what other schools I applied to, the only school I've been rejected by thus far is Vanderbilt, and in the rejection letter they explicitly said it was due to lack of experience. It went on to say they would keep my file, stay in touch, and encouraged me to reapply. I was waitlisted at Emory and the other applications have resulted in the offers above. I don't think I had bad essays or interviews per say, but because I only started looking into MBAs around the 26th of December, I only had a few days before I had to submit full applications. This resulted in worse essays than if I had taken my time, but I still think the outcomes have been very encouraging taking circumstances into account. Of course, there is room for improvement though, and having another year will allow me to distill my story and career goals in a way that will make me more competitive.
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2018, 14:07
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alansmoothie wrote:
Mo2men - Thanks! I agree I've gotten some great feedback here and thank you for contributing to it.

To answer your question regarding what other schools I applied to, the only school I've been rejected by thus far is Vanderbilt, and in the rejection letter they explicitly said it was due to lack of experience. It went on to say they would keep my file, stay in touch, and encouraged me to reapply. I was waitlisted at Emory and the other applications have resulted in the offers above. I don't think I had bad essays or interviews per say, but because I only started looking into MBAs around the 26th of December, I only had a few days before I had to submit full applications. This resulted in worse essays than if I had taken my time, but I still think the outcomes have been very encouraging taking circumstances into account. Of course, there is room for improvement though, and having another year will allow me to distill my story and career goals in a way that will make me more competitive.


With your persistence and spirit, I think you will be great applicant soon. I still say you have great story to tell in the next years.

Keep it up. :-)
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2018, 15:51
Mo2men wrote:

With your persistence and spirit, I think you will be great applicant soon. I still say you have great story to tell in the next years.

Keep it up. :-)


Will do! And thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it :-)
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Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2018, 06:12
My 2 cents-

Being a 25 year old who will be matriculating this year, I say- WAIT ON and REAPPLY to R1!

And apply to much better school. One thing that I have realised over the course of my application to schools in the 25-40 bracket is that is that MBA application is not as hard as some people perceive it generally. Studying for the GMAT/GRE is 10x times more arduous.

Apply to Kellogg. Apply to Harvard. Apply to Booth. Apply to MIT. Your alma mater will get attached to you forever. If you are not vehement on to matriculating this year, just apply to better schools in R1 man!

All the best. Let us know the end result.


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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?)  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2018, 12:05
Definately Wait. I think your profile with a few more WE would be competitive at many T20 programs.
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Re: Settle for Top 25 or Shoot for Top 10? (Olin, Kelly, Mendoza or wait?) &nbs [#permalink] 09 Apr 2018, 12:05
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