Quitting while applying to b-school

Is this ever a good idea?

I fully committed to applying by the December deadline just a few weeks ago. The problem is that my current position is very demanding. There is simply no way that I can work the hours that I do while giving serious time to GMAT prep and my bschool apps. I need to either quit and give it my all starting NOW or stay for another year. I am in a very good spot but I am really not happy currently and I don't believe that staying makes any sense at all. However, I have heard that applying to school while unemployed is not a good idea.

How much does it hurt to be unemployed while applying? Is there anything that I could do in the free time that I would have if I quit that would look good to the admissions counselors?

Please advise if you have any helpful information. This is a very confusing time for me so any advice is greatly appreciated.

Comments (24)

Aug 20, 2013

why did you commit yourself to Dec deadline if you havent even taken the GMAT yet? You should also give yourself some time to retake in case you don't get the score you want.

It's certainly not bad if you can do some other things while you're working on the apps (go work for a startup or volunteer). However, if your reason for quitting your job is because you can't juggle multiple things, then how are you going to convince adcom that you can juggle school/recruiting/networking/others in a year's time? The adcom people are paid to see through things like this.

One hurdle at a time. Kill GMAT first and foremost, and work on your essays when you're taking a break from GMAT. You can work on your essays during lunch/gym/subway as a large amount of time is spent on brainstorming ideas. It's definitely doable, but not sure if realistic. Let's say you study hard for four weeks and take it end of Sept, that'd give you a good two months to get your essays and letters of recs in. If you need to re-take, then you'd have another month to study. However, depending on your test-taking skills, you may need more than 1 month to study.

TL;DR: Think about whether your Dec. deadline is realistic. Re-evaluate. Don't quit your job.

Aug 20, 2013

You are making poor decisions. Applying while unemployed is a dealbreaker 99% of the time. Why are you committing yourself by the round 2 deadline when you haven't taken the GMAT yet, am in a demanding job, and don't have time to write a strong application? Moreover, plenty of people with even more demanding jobs than yours manage to apply successfully to top programs, so you just need to manage your time better. If that means, being a hermit until the round 2 deadline and not going out for a few months, then so be it. It all boils down to how badly you want it.

Aug 20, 2013

I am aware that people with very busy schedules manage their time better to apply for school. some circumstances recently changed that made me recently realize this right now would be the optimal time to apply (I was initially planning to do this next year).

given that I have now decided that I really want to apply by December, quitting feels like the only way to do so. If I quit, I know I can make it by December. If I stay, I know that I won't make it. It's as simple as that. Being a hermit and not going out will not help me enough if I stay or else I would obviously do this.

Had I made the final decision sooner, then yes I absolutely could have juggled both work and apps. This far into the year, I can't. My one and only option is to quit, study/apply like hell, and find a valuable use of free time to convince the adcom that I did not just quit to have more time for the application. Is the last part of this plan difficult to do? I can think of a couple valuable and more fulfilling ways to use this time than staying at my job (such as volunteering). Would the adcom believe me though? I wouldn't lie about doing these things. I would definitely do them. The "lie" would just be the reason for leaving the job in the first place.

Best Response
Aug 21, 2013
challengeaccepted:

My one and only option is to quit, study/apply like hell, and find a valuable use of free time to convince the adcom that I did not just quit to have more time for the application.

You'd never get an interview. If you did, it would go something like this:

Interviewer: "So, what is your current job title and what are your responsibilities"

You: "I am a full time GMAT test taker, free from the burdens of gainful employment."

Interviewer: "So, what would you say your biggest weakness is?"

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Aug 21, 2013

You need to wait one more year. If you quit your job and apply (assuming you're targeting top 10 programs) I can almost guarantee that you will get dinged.

Aug 21, 2013

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Quick follow up questions: why exactly would I get dinged just for not having a job when my experience has been great? I would not do this but just as an example, someone may quit from a job because of a personal issue such as a family member that is ill. If this guy is going up against someone who is working FT, is an adcom really going to ding you for leaving abruptly? You guys are acting as if no employment = automatic ding and I'm just trying to understand if this is completely accurate.

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Aug 23, 2013

Well you CAN get in without employment, and lots of folks do, but they are all right you do NOT want to put yourself in that situation, because it makes things a lot harder. First of all, "quitting to prepare your applications" is a poor story cause everyone else manages to apply while working, so that won't work... second of all, remember that you will be going to school a YEAR after applying, and as much as loafing around the poolside with cocktails may be, the schools don't like that image too much.
If you can't make the December deadline because work is too tough, my first thought is: think about how you can prepare yourself to make R1 deadline next year. I don't know the details of your situation, but basically if you have not taken the GMAT yet, you might be rushing yourself a bit (what happens if you don't have enough time to study? if you don't get the score you hope for?) Instead, I'd take the GMAT only once I was ready, and prepare myself NOW for applications in R1 of 2014. (unless you have strong reasons not too, and if so, tell us about that).

Aug 23, 2013

I'm sure you've heard the cliche phrase, "What have you done for me lately?" In terms of admissions, adcom wants to see steady UPWARD career trajectory. What you've done most recently is the most important because it shows mobility or lack thereof. Being unemployed at time of application looks plain awful, and you would need a DAMM good explanation for it.

Aug 25, 2013
challengeaccepted:

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Quick follow up questions: why exactly would I get dinged just for not having a job when my experience has been great? I

Assuming you're aiming for a top-10 B-school, you're competing against 1000s of other candidates with work experiences that are at least at the same caliber as yours, if not better. So when you tell adcom you quit job so you can apply to bschool will be an automatic ding because why would they pick you over other candidate who's had demanding job AND pulled off a fabulous application? Put yourself in adcom's shoes.

Aug 25, 2013

Obviously I wouldn't tell them that I quit just so I could have time to apply to bschool. I'm telling you on this site that that would be my main reason but clearly I wouldn't say this to the adcom.

I haven't yet thought of what I would tell the adcom. This will require some more time to think about.

Aug 25, 2013

Terrible idea.

Aug 25, 2013

Don't burn bridges.

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."

Aug 25, 2013

@challengeaccepted

I know exactly what you're going through. I have a dickhead boss, a career I've lost passion for, and two months and three days until I'm taking the GMAT. While maybe not up to the banking standards here, but I work 10 hour days, commute 2 hours a day total, and once or twice a week I'm at after hours events on top of it.

You still gotta fight through though. Wake up an hour earlier and study, study for an hour or two when you get home, make the weekends "work" days for studying, and grind it out.

Your life isn't what you want it to be right now, correct? Well you have a chance in front of you to change it in a terrific way, but you can't throw everything away in the process. As people have said, it's not a smart move.

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Aug 25, 2013

Dude, it's just a terrible idea. Why are you resisting sound and unambiguous advice? Quit if you want to quit, but know that you're making a horrible move that will likely result in you without your/a job and without admission to b-school. If you don't want to put yourself in a terrible situation, postpone your GMAT/applications or find a way to get it done in time alongside your work.

Aug 26, 2013

what job do you do?

Aug 26, 2013

Am I the only one that sees a scenario where this rocket scientist doesn't get into bschool and is now out of a job, an income and his preferred option of going to bschool?

This is simply the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I've seen people studying for gmats, writing essays etc after they get done working late. If you're that committed to going to bschool you should be able to swing it. And like others have said, there are plenty of people who do swing it. If you can't swing it while balancing a demanding job... well that in of itself is a screening mechanism for top bschool programs.

Aug 26, 2013

Who are you going to have write your recommendations? I had two of my managers write them for me and I know that in good faith, that was in exchange for me working my butt off until the very last moment before I had to leave for school.

Aug 26, 2013
eskimoroll:

Who are you going to have write your recommendations? I had two of my managers write them for me and I know that in good faith, that was in exchange for me working my butt off until the very last moment before I had to leave for school.

His landlord.

Aug 26, 2013

I hate to be an ass about this, but your username is "challengeaccepted". Come on.

Aug 26, 2013

Lol I'm not worried about recs, I know my MDs (both former and probably current) would write them.

Aug 26, 2013

How many vacation and sick days do you have left? Just take them all in one go and cram hard for the GMAT then. I did that for work - told everyone I was going abroad on a family trip for two weeks but instead was cramming hard and took the GMAT. Just don't quit work, that doesn't give you a fall back plan.

Aug 27, 2013

you realllllly think your current MD would write a letter of rec for you after you hand in two week notice or leave? oh dear

Aug 27, 2013
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