Fresh College Grad

<p>Hi... let me briefly introduce myself.</p>

<p>I'm in my final year of attaining my Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in Finance. For various reasons, I did not put much effort during my first 2 years and by the time I realized I needed good grades for grad school it was too late; I didn't understand the importance of grad school back then. My GPA is only 2.75 but I'm confident I can bring it to above 2.8 by the time I graduate; I can also retake a few courses.</p>

<p>I've been taking GMAT prep class with Kaplan and so far can achieve a score of 640. I am confident that 680 is within reach.</p>

<p>But here comes my biggest problem: I do not have any full-time work experience on paper since I'm still in school. However, for the past three years, I have been in charge of the regional branch of our family-owned business (our company employs over 1,000 people, is publicly-traded and has substantial turnover). </p>

<p>Furthermore, I've been given the opportunity to assist my father, who is the President and CEO of the group, in various projects. As the "Special Assistant to the CEO", I have been actively involved in: real estate acquisition, property development, raw material procurement, business development, Management Info System development, legal matters/litigation, intellectual property protection, project management (set up of new factory), corporate/finance restructuring, acquisition, bond issuance, IPO, public relations, etc. I have been involved in high-level meetings/discussion with senior mgmt of various partners/companies as well as government agencies. Recently, I have also been appointed to the Board of Directors of our family-held investment holdings company.</p>

<p>Basically, I have much exposure and experience but I am unsure of how to translate this onto paper. I can get letters of recommendations without problem. If given an interview opportunity, I believe that I can very much impress the admission officer. From my experience, my age has always been somewhat of a problem or factor for people to doubt my ability. Within our own company, being the son of the CEO entitles me to all these opportunities but I also want to gain the respect of our people. I have been using my performance to prove myself but I believe having an MBA will really help me further my credentials for all purposes. I also envision to change the way we do business and hope that my MBA may help me.</p>

<p>What is your advice?
- Will my low GPA render my chances zilch?
- How do I articulate my experience to paper? Will they believe me? I know my career did not develop through the normal ladder.
- Should I include in my essay who I am and my relation to my company?
- Is it realistic to be aiming for top 10 schools?
- Based on my profile, which schools should I consider? I am open to options in the US or Europe. I have done my research but it seems that on paper I do not meet the criteria of top schools.
- If it really comes down to it, will it help if I work for a year or two then apply? I really do not wish to go this route if possible because unlike others I cannot just quit my job once I'm fully committed to it. But as last resort, if I'm only 1 or at most 2 years into my job, then I might still be able to take 2 years off for my MBA. But if it's 3-5 years into it, I doubt I can take 2 years off. </p>

<p>Thank you for reading and I do appreciate your opinion.</p>

<p>I was extremely impressed for a second and then realized that "Special Assistant to the CEO" is probably a fancy term for administrative assistant. It sounds like you have received a lot of great exposure to various parts of the business. However, it's hard to believe that you have gained much substantive experience in that many areas. Also, it sounds like you just did this in a part-time capacity.</p>

<p>Is your plan to just return to your family business? If that is the case perhaps you should work a few years and then get an executive MBA on the side (if there are decent ones offered where you are located). Most executive MBAs are older, but I know some younger candidates that have gotten in and you would certainly.</p>

<p>I guess it's all how you put it on paper, but it is hard to envision that your part-time work experience is greater than that of applicants who have been working 60+ hrs a week for 3 to 5 years. Given that your GPA and GMAT are below avg at those schools, your work experience and essays would have to be outstanding.</p>

<p>BTW, your GPA doesn't necessarily disqualify you.</p>


<p>Thank you for your comment.</p>

<p>It may sound like a fancy term, but let me explain a little: in my position, I am above the personal assistant because there are many higher level issues that are very sensitive and highly confidential (such is the nature in our industry). </p>

<p>Indeed before going into college, I started as an "administrative assistant" doing very basic secretarial/clerical work such as filing, making appointments and flight bookings (especially when the itinerary and schedule of the executives involved are confidential). Back then, my work was mostly on an "ad-hoc" basis (becoming "full-time" only during school holidays). </p>

<p>Today, it has progressed a long way from being a mere "administrative assistant." I actually engage in and become actively involved in not only coordination, but also decision-making. Most of the time, sensitive tasks are delegated to me by my father and I will follow up on his behalf. This involves considerable leadership. As mentioned, the hard part is putting this on paper. At best, on paper this is categorized as "part-time." But to the contrary, I am on-call 24/7. While I agree it is not full time in the sense of 9pm-5pm daily, it isn't exactly part-time either if you know what i mean. Sometimes I have to work on highly urgent matters that require working through extended hours. From time to time, there are (urgent) contracts that have been filtered through all levels in the company including our attorneys and when it comes to the CEO's office for final action, I have to assist in reviewing from a higher level. As for more "scheduled" tasks, throughout the week, I review all the reports coming into the office of the CEO. I am also in charge of policy-making from the corporate level (usually MIS, HR and other policies). In addition to all that, I also work with my father on our family's personal (non-business) affairs/investments/portfolio/trading. At times, because of these (I enjoy what I do though), I inadvertently neglect my studies (part of why the below avg GPA at school).</p>

<p>As you can see, the difficult part lies upon articulating all the above in my essay/resume. Even then, I won't be surprised if they find my claims dubious. There isn't one specific title for my position. My experience isn't quite full-time but definitely not part-time either. But I've definitely been exposed much, up to certain things that are very high-level. My exposure did not just start recently either, I started back when I was in high school. I have taken up tasks that many of our senior managers (in some cases even our COO) hasn't taken part in before.</p>

<p>Appreciate other opinion and guidance on my road to MBA. I have as much use as passion to have an MBA experience and I am very sure of my readiness to positively participate/contribute in MBA classes. And thereafter, to immediately apply what I learn in our own business. I totally understand why top schools require work experience because in many classes I noticed how many fellow students are lacking the exposure to be able to give useful contribution to class discussion. During these circumstances, I am often the one with "industry experience" (so to speak) that can contribute some examples/experiences to the class discussion. I would strongly prefer getting an MBA now over an exec MBA a few years down the road for a few reasons.</p>

<li><p>Where do you currently live?</p></li>
<li><p>I would indicate that the "special assistant" is a a mentored position by the CEO (and yes, indicate it is your father), that your position is to take an active part in senior level decision making processes with the intent to become and to deliver senior level guidance to the company. The mentoring has been ongoing since X date and the efforts have born fruit in the following ways... I would mention nothing about part/full time in trying to describe your position. If asked, say during an interview, I would indicate that your hours were not rigidly set, and while the organization compensated for time allocated to course work that you were expected to contribute when required and at the request of the CEO.</p></li>
<li><p>The 2.8 is pretty tough to overcome, even with your work history. VW suggests Executive MBA because they generally overlook gpa if you are in a position to make a difference with the education. Still, if you destroy the GMAT you could stand a good chance at a Top 30 school, especially if you work a couple more years. Additionally, if your father is able to make a sizable contribution to the school or knows alumni there may be additional benefits that may be able to be "worked out".</p></li>
<li><p>Is it realistic to aim for Top 10 schools? I think you chances are slim, but that doesn't mean zilch. The higher you aim the further you go.</p></li>
<li><p>Don't be in a rush, schooling isn't the only place to get an education, and MBA admissions knows this better than anyone. If they don't see you taking advantage of the University of Life they will wonder what they have to offer you. It's not only what you can contribute, but what you can get out of it. I would plan on taking 2 years, which means applying in 1.5 years.</p></li>


<p>Thanks for your comments.</p>

<li>I am currently located in Canada. </li>
<li>Indeed my poor GPA during my first 2 years have severely hurt me. My upper division GPA is above 3 though. I also know if I were to retake a few courses my cumulative GPA can be pushed nearer to 3. I would certainly not mind making contribution if I had the contacts to have things "worked out." However, with my desired schools being in the US, I have less contacts. Would certainly appreciate tips on this via PM if anyone has more info.</li>
<li>I too have this feeling that my chances are slim especially if I applied in the next year or so. However, I have this habit of not giving up unless I actually give things a try. Worse comes to worst, I do not get accepted and I can reapply in a few years, right? Being a re-applicant does not subject one to more stringent admission criteria or hurt my credibility (as far as the MBA admissions are concerned), right?</li>

<p>Top 10 programs are wholly unrealistic. You don't have any of the 3 most important things, extensive work experience, top grades, top score.</p>

<p>As it seems like you will probably end up in the family business I agree with the executive program idea. Go to work for a few years and then have the company sponsor you. You may see the inside of a top school that way.</p>

<p>In all honesty, if you have a decent BBA, there isn't much you would learn now in an MBA program. Most go just for the networking.</p>


<p>Thanks for your comments.</p>

<p>I will look into the E-MBA option. Any recommendations as to which schools offer E-MBA programs for those with <10 years experience? Also, I've heard of some US schools offering E-MBA program where the course is delivered through modules carried out throughout a year or so and the class would meet in different locations each time. I cannot recall which school off the top of my head. Can someone enlighten me? Many thanks in advance.</p>

<p>I knew a guy that got his at Texas with about 4 yrs of experience (although, their website says minimum 5). Kellogg says they recommend a minimum of 8 to 10 yrs, but your profile would allow you to be the exception to the rule (how far will they bend that rule? I'm not sure).</p>