After doing a Comprehensive Profile Review for a high-potential but early-career BSer in the Fall last season, they disappeared on us (which often happens – and which is totally fine) and then resurfaced in February after Round 2 interview invites started coming out, with this question:
So I took a lot of your advice, bought the strategy guides and applied to Stern and Yale SOM R2, keeping the 5 others that I think would be good fits for R1 next year if either school doesn’t work out this round. I got an interview invite from Yale now, and I’m wondering whether you have any advice re: a career decision I’m being faced with. I know you’re not a career coach so feel free to tell me to shove off ? Anyway, right now, my boss and his boss are moving to a different organization and have given me the option to go along with them. I have a great relationship with these 2 people and they wrote my r2 recommendations. However, the work I’ll be doing is managing a team of email marketing experts, reducing my current direct reports from 6 to 2. On the other hand, my current org has offered me the chance to report directly to the CEO and lead a marketing initiative across 5 cities, with 5 direct reports. But, I will have to work on the relationship building recommendation thing between now and september. Which is the better for my MBA apps, do you think? (Btw, I’m more than happy to pay for advice, so let me know if we can maybe consult on this and I can pay or something?)
Thanks a ton!
So first of all: No, we’re not technically a “career coach” but an awful lot of what we do involves helping people evaluating their career goals (which is a huge part of your application process to lots of schools, right?). So we can offer at least a little sumthin sumthin on this topic.
Here’s what we said to this BSer:
Hey R. – CONGRATS ON THE YALE INVITE!! Super exciting!! It’s also exciting to hear about the career options you’ve got in front of you.
On the career options, regardless of whether you’re applying to bschool or not but ESPECIALLY since you’re applying to bschool (!!!), the best way to look at it is, which path do you feel will let you get closer to where you want to go through the MBA? Or another perspective is, which will let you have a greater impact? If you’re planning on headed to bschool in the fall then you’ll want to evaluate which choice will let you do more in the short time you have available – and also, which will give you more autonomy, or resources, or free rein to pursue your projects in a way that you can drive real results, in case you’re not successful with these two apps you have in play right now. Where will you be able to build more skills? Which will let you prove yourself more, by doing bigger/better things? It’s not really that important to have direct reports, in the context of your apps. What’s much more important is where can you grow more, and how will you be able to show evidence of that?
You didn’t say when you’d be starting if you stay where you’re at and report to the CEO, so the question about having a strong recommendation is important, but assuming that that transition would happen soon, then that’s enough time (probably) to have that be solid – but you probably also need to inform him that you’re applying to school now, if you haven’t done so already. We have a bunch posts on similar questions on the blahg in case you haven’t checked those out before.
Hope this helps, at least a little bit – and please write back with an update on everything! This is exciting stuff!!! 🙂
Also just for the record, in case anybody gets the wrong idea based on this question: It’s not “better” to have a letter of recommendation for your bschool apps to come from the CEO of the company. In this case, the BSer is going to be directly working for the CEO, in which case, that’s great. But that is not an inherent advantage, based on the job title. So just don’t get confused by such things. It’s always more important to get a recommendation from someone who knows you best. For reapplicants, getting a recommendation from a new person is sometimes advisable, and sometimes you can go back to your original recommender and ask for a new recommendation (just make sure that they don’t submit the same rec as they had the first time!! it needs to have new/different content on your performance subsequent to your original app).
Anyway, if you’re currently considering some new opportunity, then yes, it definitely needs to be evaluated carefully! But don’t overfocus on “what will help my MBA apps.” That thinking is a little too narrow. Instead, ask yourself, “What will let me get where I want to go? What will challenge me? What is going to offer greater chance for bigger and better things?”
That will let you maximize your opportunities, not just with this whole MBA admit thing, but in life.