Best Work Experience For Top MBAs Besides I-Banking/Consulting/etc and coming from a non-target?

Hi,

I'm only a sophomore, but I'm trying to brainstorm my plan of attack for getting into a top MBA (realistically, I'm hoping for Yale SOM, Dartmouth Tuck, or Duke Fuqua, but I'm open to any place that will provide i-banking/ER opportunities) after my undergrad. Currently, as I have so few contacts in the US, I'm trying to use my relatives to help myself establish a presence in Asia so that I can maybe if I'm very lucky/impress the right people get an offer from a BB in Asia right after undergrad (I'll use an MBA to transition back to the US hopefully). However, I'm wondering, in case nothing i-banking works out (this includes boutiques or anything), what kind of work experience outside of the obvious prestigious jobs that may be out of reach at this point do you recommend I aim for? I think commercial banking/corporate finance at a F500-1000 company should be doable, but what do you recommend I aim for to give myself the best work experience necessary for a good MBA?

Furthermore, I also want to say that I want to avoid Big 4 accounting (I know it will come up) as much as possible, but if its absolutely the next best thing (also keep in mind it will just be audit/tax, not TAS), then I will go for it. I want to avoid it because I'll need to sit for a MAcc program, which wastes 1 year and money (I'm hoping to work for 5 years since that's how long my GMAT will last) to sit for the CPA, and because accounting simply isn't that exciting for me. But if you guys truly think this is the best path, then I'll do it.

thanks in advance.

 

Top consulting - Mckinsey/bain by far, though those are probably harder to get than any banking job

things like peace corps or kiva fellowships would be really cool outside the box jobs

best options are consulting, banking+private equity, and something different or cool

 

Haha as much as I think I'd love to be a consultant, I HIGHLY doubt I'll be working at McKinsey any time soon.

Also, I have respect for peace corps, but I'm not sure if I'm cut out for something that extreme, although I can certainly look into it a bit more.

 

what is your gpa? are you a strong test taker?

from a non-target, you might want to check out law school instead of business school if the numbers are right (especially if they are high enough to get into the big 3 law schools: Harvard, Yale, Stanford). i would rather go to one of those law schools than the b-schools you listed.

you are going to be struggling uphill to try to gain nice b-school experience and then admission into a top MBA from what it sounds like.

 
bschool2012time:
what is your gpa? are you a strong test taker?

from a non-target, you might want to check out law school instead of business school if the numbers are right (especially if they are high enough to get into the big 3 law schools: Harvard, Yale, Stanford). i would rather go to one of those law schools than the b-schools you listed.

you are going to be struggling uphill to try to gain nice b-school experience and then admission into a top MBA from what it sounds like.

Why would I go to law if I want to do business? Besides, if you look not only here, but ask professionals and even look on law school forums, most people hate being lawyers. Plus, I really have a passion for working internationally (i.e. traveling to different locations, talking with international clients, researching international issues, etc.), and law offers very few opportunities for this, and if I ever wanted to leave the US and work overseas, my JD is worthless. This desire to work internationally is another reason why I'm pursuing opportunities in other countries rather than just the US, so this is a huge minus for me in terms of the appeal of law.

Now having said that, I haven't completely eliminated it, but the only reason I'd want to do it is because I don't mind doing behind the scenes work (i.e. I think I would enjoy being the behind the scenes guy that attempts to structure/research the legality of an M&A transaction for example and do the due dilligence/drafting of it) and since Biglaw is a bit more stable salary-wise. Other than that, I'm not sure law is a good choice.

As far as me as a student, I'm having a bit of a rough term since none of my classes really interested me and I started the semester off slowly, but otherwise, I have decent grades, and I'm going to bust my ass HARD for the GMAT. I'm aiming for 750+. However, I'm not a great test taker (only got 30 on the ACT, although I did get 35 on math and 31+ on reading/writing...it was the science section that got me sadly enough), so that one's a bit of a tossup.

 
ibankingreject:
bschool2012time:
what is your gpa? are you a strong test taker?

from a non-target, you might want to check out law school instead of business school if the numbers are right (especially if they are high enough to get into the big 3 law schools: Harvard, Yale, Stanford). i would rather go to one of those law schools than the b-schools you listed.

you are going to be struggling uphill to try to gain nice b-school experience and then admission into a top MBA from what it sounds like.

Why would I go to law if I want to do business? Besides, if you look not only here, but ask professionals and even look on law school forums, most people hate being lawyers. Plus, I really have a passion for working internationally (i.e. traveling to different locations, talking with international clients, researching international issues, etc.), and law offers very few opportunities for this, and if I ever wanted to leave the US and work overseas, my JD is worthless. This desire to work internationally is another reason why I'm pursuing opportunities in other countries rather than just the US, so this is a huge minus for me in terms of the appeal of law.

Now having said that, I haven't completely eliminated it, but the only reason I'd want to do it is because I don't mind doing behind the scenes work (i.e. I think I would enjoy being the behind the scenes guy that attempts to structure/research the legality of an M&A transaction for example and do the due dilligence/drafting of it) and since Biglaw is a bit more stable salary-wise. Other than that, I'm not sure law is a good choice.

As far as me as a student, I'm having a bit of a rough term since none of my classes really interested me and I started the semester off slowly, but otherwise, I have decent grades, and I'm going to bust my ass HARD for the GMAT. I'm aiming for 750+. However, I'm not a great test taker (only got 30 on the ACT, although I did get 35 on math and 31+ on reading/writing...it was the science section that got me sadly enough), so that one's a bit of a tossup.

People on here are funny. "Only got a 30 on the ACT" Come on dude, that's better than 96% of the population

corresponds to a 730 on GMAT- a lot of people would kill for a 700+

 

I could use perspective on the following:

With an excellent GPA and GMAT score, how hard is it to get into a top 15 MBA program after 3-4 years in operations at a top bank, assuming you've done very well in operations? I ask because I know that operations is considered a less-prestigious aspect of finance.

Also, everyone says consulting is a great path for getting into the best MBA programs, but what if it is not one of the huge name consulting firms.. think smaller, more niche-specific consulting?

Thanks

 
Best Response

Someone mentioned law school. Aren't law schools more particular when it comes to academic success than business schools? If your academic track record will keep you out of a top tier business school, you probably won't be getting into a top tier law school. That's one of the cool things about business, you can be extremely successful, even if you are a bad or mediocre student. Sure, you won't be attending HBS, and you probably won't be getting a analyst job at a top IB after graduation. But so what? Look at the Forbes 500, or any other lists of top business people, and you will see that many of them didn't attend Iveys, some of them never graduated high school or college, and many of them never could have landed an IB job at 22.

 

Look into financial development programs or other rotation programs at F500 companies. GE has an incredibly well-respected program. Other options might include J&J, EMC, Raytheon, etc. These can give you a diverse skillset and often put you on the fast track for management roles. They don't place like IB/Consulting do, but they will give you a reasonable shot at the top schools if the rest of your stats line up.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/
 

My friend, you don't seem to understand what kind of doors a top law school opens. I would not rule that out at all. But, as said before, it's probably H/Y/S law admissions are probably as competitive as HBS, etc.

 
maxcanada:
My friend, you don't seem to understand what kind of doors a top law school opens. I would not rule that out at all. But, as said before, it's probably H/Y/S law admissions are probably as competitive as HBS, etc.

Sorry, I just re-read my post, and it came off as really snotty even though that wasn't my intent. But could you elaborate on those opportunities? The problem with this, in my opinion, is that getting in is no guarantee to begin with, and even once you're in, you'd probably have to be one of the absolute best at HYS to land a job with the likes of Goldman/McKinsey. I have heard about a few people that get into consulting from Harvard law, but is it really worth risking all that debt, wasted time, etc. for such a low percentage play?

 
ibankingreject:
maxcanada:
My friend, you don't seem to understand what kind of doors a top law school opens. I would not rule that out at all. But, as said before, it's probably H/Y/S law admissions are probably as competitive as HBS, etc.

Sorry, I just re-read my post, and it came off as really snotty even though that wasn't my intent. But could you elaborate on those opportunities? The problem with this, in my opinion, is that getting in is no guarantee to begin with, and even once you're in, you'd probably have to be one of the absolute best at HYS to land a job with the likes of Goldman/McKinsey. I have heard about a few people that get into consulting from Harvard law, but is it really worth risking all that debt, wasted time, etc. for such a low percentage play?

Actually, all of the BB Ibanks that come to campus target both MBA's and Law Students. It's easier to get into a Top Law School than it's to get into a top Bschool, provided that you have top grades. Law schools are more concerned with numbers and academic achievement whereas Bschools are concerned with whether you'll be able to make it through the first year AND whether you have the leadership capability, soft skills, achievement-orientation, etc. Look at the acceptance rate for schools with great B and Law schools (Harvard, Stanford, Columbia). One more point to the OP, you made a mistake in transferring out of a decent school because you didn't want to major in Econ. Most top schools only offer Econ as their business degree equivalent. Did you actually look at the curriculum before transferring out? I'd be surprised to learn that you wouldn't have taken some finance classes were you to continue pursuing a degree in Econ at the better school.

 
Affirmative_Action_Walrus:
Also, why don't you focus on networking now to get a job in IB rather than settling for F500? You are only a sophomore.

Finally, I won't reveal it, but you mentioned in an previous thread where you go to school- why the hell did you go there if you got a 30 on the ACT?

I didn't get into anything that much better. I got waitlisted at Cornell, Vanderbilt (and Vandy isn't even that great for banking) and didn't get into Virginia. I actually attended another institution (think Michigan, Texas, UNC range) for a bit, but I didn't get into the biz school from high school or as an undergrad and I didn't want to major in econ since econ is seen as the major for people who couldn't get into the business school. Plus, from out of state, its expensive, and I wanted to do pre-law at the time, for which prestige of undergrad is inconsequential (for the most part), so I decided to come back home. Looking back, I really regret transferring down (in terms of quality even if it is econ since I did alright there academically) and I think I made a horrible list of schools to apply to from high school, but there's nothing I can do about it now. Just gotta make do with what I got.

I also don't want to transfer again unless ABSOLUTELY necessary because:

a. Its a huge pain in terms of making sure all my units get through, signing up, etc. b. I don't want to keep moving around as that looks bad to companies as well. c. My parents will probably not allow me to switch yet again.

I also don't get why people think me getting a 30 is something amazing. I must hang around too many overachievers because 5 of my friends got 35s and a majority of the others save 1 got 32+ (the other one got 29 and was the only one I beat out).

 
ibankingreject:
Affirmative_Action_Walrus:
Also, why don't you focus on networking now to get a job in IB rather than settling for F500? You are only a sophomore.

Finally, I won't reveal it, but you mentioned in an previous thread where you go to school- why the hell did you go there if you got a 30 on the ACT?

I didn't get into anything that much better. I got waitlisted at Cornell, Vanderbilt (and Vandy isn't even that great for banking) and didn't get into Virginia. I actually attended another institution (think Michigan, Texas, UNC range) for a bit, but I didn't get into the biz school from high school or as an undergrad and I didn't want to major in econ since econ is seen as the major for people who couldn't get into the business school. Plus, from out of state, its expensive, and I wanted to do pre-law at the time, for which prestige of undergrad is inconsequential (for the most part), so I decided to come back home. Looking back, I really regret transferring down (in terms of quality even if it is econ since I did alright there academically) and I think I made a horrible list of schools to apply to from high school, but there's nothing I can do about it now. Just gotta make do with what I got.

I also don't want to transfer again unless ABSOLUTELY necessary because:

a. Its a huge pain in terms of making sure all my units get through, signing up, etc. b. I don't want to keep moving around as that looks bad to companies as well. c. My parents will probably not allow me to switch yet again.

I also don't get why people think me getting a 30 is something amazing. I must hang around too many overachievers because 5 of my friends got 35s and a majority of the others save 1 got 32+ (the other one got 29 and was the only one I beat out).

a 30 ACT is good enough to get into almost any top school, provided you have a well-rounded application (strong GPA, solid extra-curriculars, and well-written essays). anyways, you got into a good undergrad on par with Michigan and UNC but didn't get into the business school? were your freshman year grades too low to get in as a sophomore?

anyways, i advise you to start getting straight 4.0's for the remainder of your college career and start networking like crazy. I'm sure there are boutique IBs, MMs, and even regional BB offices in Seattle and San Francisco that will take you if you start applying yourself.

 
maxcanada:
Still, better than 96% of the population doesn't get you into HBS. ;-) I think you need a bit more.

of course it does- any 700+ score will give a fair shot into HBS provided you have the work experience and a well executed application.

 

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