How am I a weird bschool applicant? Let me count the ways…

500px-Numbers.svg 1. My nonprofit professional background.

After I graduated from college, I only wanted to do nonprofit work, and that’s all I have been done so far. I hear that there is growing interest from folks in the nonprofit sector to get MBAs, but it’s still nowhere near common. And on top of that, my nonprofit experience is not in education. It seems like the majority of MBA candidates who are from the NP sector are in education…either in administration or people who want to start their own charter schools (or something like that). I didn’t even know that whole phenomenon existed until I went to a Forte Forum and saw that Teach for America was one of its main sponsors. I was pretty confused by that, to be honest. But by now I’ve heard everything about how running a charter school is like running a business, which is interesting, but not what I am looking for.

2. My career goals.

I’m really afraid of coming off like some kind of PETA-ish militant or a softie “omggggg that puppy is sooooo cuuuuuuuuuute,” but I am so not. I eat meat! I’m brains over heart! I’m really pragmatic! I just really think we need to treat animals with decency and not be jerks about it.

3. I am old.

Not that old, but definitely old when compared with the average ages/years of work experience of most bschool student bodies. I never think about this (who’s old??? not ME!), but now that I’m filling out apps and calculating the number of months/years of work experience I’ll have by fall 2014, the numbers looks staggering. I’ll have 96 months of work experience by then. Ninety-six. Yale’s latest class profile has an average of 68 months of experience. Stanford’s average years of work experience for their 2014 class is 4.2. I’m going to have eight. I’ll be 31 years old when most everyone around me will be 27. In my mind, this is all not a big deal since I don’t think my age should be counted against me. And four years ago, I was not ready for business school, so it’s not even like I have something to regret. But I guess all that really matters is what the schools think, and they seem to not like older people.

4. I lean creative and have little to no quantitative work on my applications.

I actually *do* have a lot of quant experience–I lived and breathed math and science from ages 0-18, but the second I got to college and was free of those shackles I dove straight into creative work. I’ve published poetry and have done a lot of visual art. But I also can’t escape my super practical and numbers-focused childhood. Even when I’m writing a poem, I have this nagging question in the back of my head: “What is the purpose of this?? How does this help anyone??” I’m no free spirit.

5. I don’t want money. 

OK–I’m not being literal here. Of course I both want and need money. But wanting  money is definitely NOT one of the reasons why I’m applying for bschool. What I do want, though, is more power. (And although money = power for some people, it doesn’t for me.) I want the power to do the following things:

  • Come up with BIG IDEAS that WILL BE IMPLEMENTED. That kind of reminds me of a recent Dilbert comic strip. I swear I won’t be that bad, though. I actually enjoy implementing a project just as much as coming up with the vision beforehand. I just want the power to make things actually happen. 
  • Be able to provide opportunities to other people. I really like mentoring. The thing is…I barely have anything to offer right now. I rarely hire people. I barely manage one other person as it is. I ‘m basically at the bottom of the ladder, and that doesn’t really lend itself to being able to give chances to other people.
  • I want to work for a well known brand/organization with a wide audience so I can really, truly make a worldwide impact.

I’m sure there are lots more ways that I’m weird than these five reasons, and I’m not saying they are detriments to my applications. Well, of course, I personally don’t believe they are detriments at all…but I guess that’s up to the admissions committees.

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One thought on “How am I a weird bschool applicant? Let me count the ways…

  1. Pingback: My first interview invite: Yale SOM | MBA the nonprofit way

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