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Unconventional applicant's story

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Joined: 27 Mar 2008
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Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 27 Mar 2008, 17:51
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I am an unconventional applicant...There, I said it. Being an unconventional applicant can be rather lonely, as I have scoured every forum and blog but have yet to find an applicant like myself. People from more "conventional backgrounds" have no problem finding others like themselves in order to gauge their chances at admittance. For example, let's say that you are an engineer with 4 years experience and a 730 GMAT score. In this forum alone, you can find around 5,000,000 similar profiles, along with their accept/ding results. We unconventional applicants have to fumble around in the dark, beating our own path in the jungle that is the MBA application process. This post is for all you unconventional applicants out there, in order to give you hope that, yes, it can be done.

My profile:

28 years old
2.75 years experience by matriculation, mostly as an English teacher in China
720 GMAT
4.0 graduating GPA, degree in Finance
Accepted by the University of Minnesota's full time program

So, as you can see, you don't see a profile like mine too often. From the beginning...

I suppose I should start with my educational background. At first, I went to a State Uni in NC for 2 years. When I first went to college it was so that I could party, drink, and escape a small redneck town, not for the education. I managed to obtain a 2.5 GPA before I left. I decided to move to NYC to give music a chance and try to start my own band. While there I waited tables at night and worked as an accountant intern for a very small company during the day to gain experience. I figured that since I wasn't going to school I might as well do something productive. The band thing didn't work, so I went back to school at a State Uni in NJ. I kept the accounting internship and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Finance in January 2006. I actually applied myself this time and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Thank goodness, all those annoying “C’s” from the first University changed to “transfer credits” at the second University. In December 2007 I took the CFA level I exam and passed.

I suppose many of you are asking yourself, "Why is a guy that majored in Finance teaching English in China?" Here is where it gets strange... A friend of mine that I had met in NC that was living in China told me about a Mandarin summer program at a Chinese University. I asked my University if I could take this course to satisfy my foreign language requirements. My University allowed it, so I went to China in 2005 and stayed with my friend for the summer. Things happened, yada yada yada, we fell in love, yada yada yada, and I asked her to marry me. She said yes, so I returned to the US to finish my last semester of college and shortly afterwards went to China to marry her. Around graduation time I had a few good interview opportunities, but I turned them down because I didn't want to be apart from my current wife. I didn't want to marry her, then come back to the US and wait months or years for her visa to be approved. I naively came to China with a semi-inflated ego, thinking that because of my 4.0 GPA I could find a job in Corporate Finance easily. However, I found that in China only foreigners with high level degrees and experience are needed. I sent my CV everywhere, but in vain. Companies in China don't need foreigners that are fresh out of college. If they need someone for an entry level position they will most likely hire a Chinese person. In order to obtain a visa so I can stay with my wife, I took a job teaching English. Now I am in China teaching English at a University, only making around 600 dollars per month.

It was around January 2007 that I got the "MBA idea". My wife wants to end up living in China. She doesn't want to permanently immigrate to the US and I'm fine with that as long as we live in a place like Beijing or Shanghai. Obviously, I don't want to teach English forever, so I need the MBA to be able to compete with the other foreigners in China.

Because I am an unconventional applicant, I felt that I had to go above and beyond in order to be able to compete with the "normal" applicants. I simply didn't have the money to travel to each school I was researching, so I had to show my interest in the school through other means. Perhaps it was a bit of an overkill, but I contacted around 10-15 students/alumni for each school I was researching. I made each school's website my personal Bible, pouring over every little detail. Of course, the essays were critical in my application, so I spent an ungodly number of hours writing and re-writing. I guess the extra effort paid off, as I was accepted by the school I most wanted to attend.

In the end, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I ended up going with Carlson at the University of Minnesota. Why? First of all, Carlson offers great experiential learning through the "Carlson Enterprises", which are basically student-run businesses. Given my lack of experience in the business world, participation in one of the Enterprises will give me something to talk about in future employment interviews. Secondly, I would like to live in Minneapolis after graduation while gaining experience leading up to the move back to China. Carlson has great connections in the Minneapolis area, an area that was recently voted the #1 city for business (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/m ... 94DC6C0%7D). Also, my entire extended family resides in the Minneapolis area and I would like to be close to them.

Anyway, that's my story. I hope that this can help any other unconventional applicants that happen to be cruising this forum. It IS possible!
_________________

MBA Blog: University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management- http://unconventionalapplicant.blogspot.com/


Originally posted by carlson2010 on 27 Mar 2008, 17:33.
Last edited by carlson2010 on 27 Mar 2008, 17:51, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2008, 17:47
Carlson2010,

Kudos! Great post. Congrats on getting into the school of choice for your personal goals, that is something to be very proud of.

I am an unconventional applicant as well, although maybe not to the same extent. I used to own a painting business, now run incentive and rewards program for fortune 500 companies, and working to go to b-school to transition into Management Consulting. Quite a change. 730 GMAT, 3.3 GPA, hoping to go to a top 15 school. We shall see!

Thanks for the inspiration, and best of luck!

~S
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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2008, 18:10
sam77sam7 wrote:
Carlson2010,

Kudos! Great post. Congrats on getting into the school of choice for your personal goals, that is something to be very proud of.

I am an unconventional applicant as well, although maybe not to the same extent. I used to own a painting business, now run incentive and rewards program for fortune 500 companies, and working to go to b-school to transition into Management Consulting. Quite a change. 730 GMAT, 3.3 GPA, hoping to go to a top 15 school. We shall see!

Thanks for the inspiration, and best of luck!

~S


You should be fine. You've got "entrepreneur" and "Fortune 500" in your resume. Not too shabby. Good luck!
_________________

MBA Blog: University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management- http://unconventionalapplicant.blogspot.com/

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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2008, 19:13
+2 kudos, carlson, and congrats! Would you mind creating your own profile in the member profile area? Ask river for permission. :)
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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2008, 21:15
Oooh... If you"re targetting China, I highly recommend the CEIBS or HKUST.

If its finance you're after HKUST have a very very strong finance specialism and a focus on China. They are also very international so your experience could be well rewarded. So if your school offers exchanges, i recommend attending a China based one
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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2008, 21:27
Awesome story.
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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2008, 21:38
togafoot wrote:
Oooh... If you"re targetting China, I highly recommend the CEIBS or HKUST.

If its finance you're after HKUST have a very very strong finance specialism and a focus on China. They are also very international so your experience could be well rewarded. So if your school offers exchanges, i recommend attending a China based one


Actually, Carlson offers a semester exchange with HKUST (http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/Page6430.aspx). I don't know for sure if I will participate. I'm going to have to wait and see how things go. If I already have a job locked up when it is time to apply for the semester abroad, then I will probably do it.
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MBA Blog: University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management- http://unconventionalapplicant.blogspot.com/

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Re: Unconventional applicant's story [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2018, 10:52
Hello from the GMAT Club MBAbot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
Re: Unconventional applicant's story   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2018, 10:52
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