The Importance of Region and Career Path to Your Choice
If your foreseeable professional plans are West Coast centric, then UCLA may be your best choice (especially given the additional commute and tuition penalty). But if your startup plans are truly scaleable and global in focus, then you may find a Wharton EMBA justifies its added cost in terms of the doors it opens and credibility it confers. Certainly Wharton’s strengthened presence in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley should weigh into your thinking given your plans to approach VCs.
The Best Schools for Entrepreneurs
For entrepreneurs I would recommend EMBAs connected with Silicon Valley or other entrepreneurial and venture capital hubs, like Boston and New York. So look at programs like the UC Berkeley/Columbia executive program (Editor’s note: The schools split ways in 2013 and run independent EMBA programs), or Columbia and NYU’s standalone EMBA programs. Also consider programs like IE in Spain or Babson’s Fast-Track MBA, which are noted from entrepreneurship. (Editor’s Note: In a later post, Bodine also recommends the University of North Carolina and Babson College).
The Value Schools Place on Growing a Small Business
*All* top EMBA programs would value your entrepreneurial success…EMBA admission is much more of a resume-driven game, so outsized professional success like yours, combined with evidence of large-scale leadership in multiple parts of your life, are 80% of the process. So if the actual team you lead at your company is small, you would hopefully have extracurricular leadership to enhance the leadership message.
The Value Schools Place on Undergraduate Grades
Luckily for you, undergrad GPA is less important for EMBA applicants, especially if you can show a high GMAT score, can explain the GPA, and have post-degree evidence (which you do) that you’re strong in the areas that dragged you down. EMBA admission is all about the resume and the degree to which managerial experience and responsibility jumps off it.
How to Cope with a Bad Interview
It sounds to me that you ran into an issue over the interview and little else. Don’t worry. What you find in MBA admissions is what you find in life: there are a lot of random and uncontrolled things that can go wrong and can prevent you from achieving your goals. But realize that there are many very good EMBA programs out there–just as there are many other opportunities in life waiting. The key here is to pick yourself up and move on. Apply to another school with a top-ranked EMBA and I think you’ll see a different outcome.
What Adcoms Want to Hear about Management Experience and Career Goals
This is basically a goals essay. They want to know how the experience of leadership or of expanding responsibility in your own career has changed your sense of your own potential and your specific post-MBA goals. For example, perhaps earlier in your career your goals were more technical and now you have confidence that you can aspire to senior management. It’s also possible to say that, no, your post-MBA goals have always been the same — then describe them. Either way, aside from describing your post-MBA goals, you could also talk about how you have found that you enjoy managing others — and provide brief examples of your leadership effectiveness