As a non-traditional candidate, I feel isolated in my decision to apply to MBA programs. Not only do I not know anyone applying to business school, I know only one or two people who even attended one!
One of the major reasons I decided to start a blog was because this isolation has been somewhat exacerbated by the forums. What I wouldn’t give to be an Indian techie or an American financier–all those connections and all that relevant advice!
Joke’s on them in the long run though since they represented an oversaturated pool. Knowing that, I’m happy these poor souls have the forums–they deserve all the help they can get!
Nevertheless, I hope that my story and process resonate with non-traditional candidates who wonder what the hell they are doing, and even with the traditional candidates who experience isolation in their own uniquely snowflake way.
Why I’m a snowflake among snowflakes:
At 29, I’m a wee bit old by MBA standards.
I work for a non-profit, and about half of my experience has actually been in direct service (meaning with children).
GASP, my direct service wasn’t even with Teach For America!
I’d never even heard of Haas, Ross, Fuqua and all those other exotic names before researching the world of business schools.
So now the answer to the now age-old question that every aspiring MBA candidate needs to answer: Why do I want an MBA?
My favorite part of my job is not at all unique to non-profits–in fact it’s just general business practice. I love strategic planning, I love creating organizational vision, I love training people, and weirdly enough, I love supervising people.
On the heels of this is a lack of mentorship. My boss is truly amazing, but teaching me the things I want to know is a full-time job (i.e. full-time degree). I’ve been lucky, but so many other non-profits are horribly mismanaged. Lack of resources should not mean lack of competence and organization.
The skills I lack but desperately need to manage a non-profit include finance and accounting. And I know I have tons to learn in soft skills like strategy development and marketing.
Business school is an amazing place to meet people, network, and think critically and creatively with diverse people.
The dirty little secret: a masters in education is (not my words): “a waste of a degree if you’ve already worked in the field.”
Sassafras is a 29-year-old MBA applicant who works for a San Francisco-based non-profit organization with a primary focus on youth development and education. With a 730 GMAT and a 3.4 grade point average from a highly ranked liberal arts college, he currently blogs at MBA: My Break Away?